Bandit Mentality

Hunting Insurgents in the Rhodesian Bush War. A Memoir

Lindsay O’Brien

Date Published :
August 2017
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
21 b/w photos, 1 map
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781911512028
Pages : 352
In stock


Bandit Mentality captures Lindsay ‘Kiwi’ O’Brien’s Bush War service from 1976–1980 at the coalface of the Rhodesian conflict. Starting in the BSA Police Support Unit, the police professional anti-terrorist battalion, he served across the country as a section leader and a troop commander before joining the UANC political armies as trainer and advisor. Much has been written about the Army’s elite units, but Support Unit’s war record was mainly unknown during the conflict, and has faded into obscurity afterwards. Support Unit started poorly supplied and equipped, but the caliber of the men, mostly African, was second-to-none. Support Unit specialized in the “grunt” work inside Rhodesia with none of the flamboyant helicopter or cross-border raids carried out by the army. O’Brien’s war was primarily within selected tribal lands, seeking out and destroying terrorist units in brisk close range battles with little to no support. O’Brien moved from the police to working with the initial UANC deployment in the Zambezi Valley where the poorly trained recruits were delivered into the terrorist lair. They had to learn fast or die. O’Brien’s account is a foreign-born perspective from a junior commander uninterested in promotion and the wrangling of upper command. He was decorated and wounded three times.

About The Author

The author was born and raised in New Zealand, joining the NZ Army at 16 in order to run away from home. Afterwards, he roamed around Queensland Australia on construction sites before heading off to London via Johannesburg. In South Africa he stopped over and hitchhiked around before heading up to Rhodesia, and subsequently found work managing a tobacco farm. The farm lay inside the war zone and two years later, after several incidents, he joined the BSA Police where he was involved in the fighting between the government forces and nationalist insurgents until the ceasefire in December 1979. He was awarded the highest police gallantry award. Subsequently, he has mined in Tasmania, rose to senior management in a retail chain in Queensland and Victoria and has been running his own businesses for the past 20 years in Queensland. Currently he is writing and running a small business in Queensland.


"I remember the "negotiations" between the British Government and Ian Smith as if it were yesterday. This was a dark period in Rhodesian history, brought into stark reality by Lindsay O'Brien. Remarkable."

- Books Monthly

"This is an excellent first-hand account…provides a valuable insight in to why the Rhodesians lost in the end after so long.”

- Miniature Wargames

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