Sep 17, 2010

Dropzone Africa: Airborne and Airmobile Warfare in Southern Africa: 1961 - 1994

By Marius Whittle

Product Description

Much has been written on airborne and airmobile warfare from a First World perspective, but very little has been written from Africa’s. The African—and especially southern African—operational theatres posed unique challenges. The lack of infrastructure, the lack of key points to attack, as well as the lack of mobility facing conventionally mounted forces and their subsequent inability to respond rapidly over the types of distances inherent in most African operational theatres, all played a role in the development of a uniquely African approach to this type of warfare. France’s experiences in Algeria and the birth of the helicopter ‘gunship’ and its associated tactics led the way. Foremost among the forces operating in subsequent theatres were the Portuguese, Rhodesians and South Africans during their various counter-insurgency (COIN) campaigns, with the helicopter playing a pivotal role with its mobility, firepower and shock effect. This book studies the role played by their airborne and airmobile forces during these campaigns as well as their equipment, doctrine and tactics. While it is safe to say that the advent of rotary-winged aircraft had a seminal impact on modern warfare, it had an even greater effect on the COIN battlefield. Combining both the advantages of the glider (concentration of force upon landing) and the parachute (vertical descent) and having none of their disadvantages, it changed the face of vertical envelopment overnight.

About the Author

MARIUS WHITTLE, a South African paratrooper who served during South Africa’s Border War, has an Honours degree in Strategic Studies and a Masters degree in International Politics from the University of South Africa. Having published various articles, this is his first book. He is an accomplished public speaker on matters military. He lives and works in Pretoria.

Dropzone Africa is available at or