The Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI), was at first a regular army infantry regiment
in the Rhodesian army. Composed only of white recruits, the First Battalion Rhodesian
Light Infantry was formed within the army of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
in 1961 in Bulawayo.
In 1964 the RLI was converted to a commando role with companies redesignated as Commandos,
and privates redesignated troopers. During the Bush War it consisted of soldiers
from Rhodesia, Britain, West Germany, United States, Canada, Australia, France, Belgium,
New Zealand and South Africa to name a few..
The R.L.I. was at the forefront of the Bush War and “Fireforce” operations, which
they perfected. They were also used in cross border raids into Mozambique including
the raid on Chimoio in 1977.
The Rhodesians were to produce a unique and deadly variant of the tactic of ‘vertical
envelopment’ of a target by helicopter-borne infantry which they called ‘Fire Force’.
This later included Paratroopers as well.
Undoubtedly one of the world’s finest Commando Regiments which bore the brunt of
“Fireforce” contacts in the Bush War.