This is coolbert:
Continuing my interview with Deke.
American combat vet from the Vietnam War who served as a stock detective during the Rhodesian Bush War. A face off with the armed insurgents of ZAPU and ZANU. Protecting and guarding the cattle of the ranch owners using military and quasi-military weapons and tactics.
Bert: You carried the sniper rifle, the Model 70. And you zeroed the sniper rifle for what range?
Deke: I zeroed it at 200 yards--I memorized trajectories up to 500 yards, but would be most certain of any target up to 400 yards. Above that, there might be a 50-50 chance of a miss, given the difficulties of determining the exact range beyond 400 yards. A mistaken guesstimate after 400 yards becomes critical at any range beyond that point because of the accelerated rate of drop of the bullet.
[the Winchester Model 70 bolt action rifle with telescopic sight firing the NATO round was used extensively by U.S. military snipers in Vietnam. A superior weapon capable of precise long-range shooting.]
Bert: That Model 70 WAS equipped with telescopic sights?
Deke: Yes, I don't recall the make or power, but I think it was a fixed four power scope--another reason it was only good out to 400 yards (more power is preferred for the longer ranges).
Bert: That Model 70 fired the NATO round and therefore was compatible with the FN FAL round?
Deke: The Model 70 Winchester Rifle that I used was a sporting model, using the .270 deer rifle caliber, not the NATO 7.62x51mm (AKA .308 Winchester round). Not compatible, but it was what I could get when we set up the team.
Bert: Did you use a bipod for the Model 70 or for FN FAL? Use a sling for support when firing at long range?
Deke: No and no.
Bert: That three man hunter/killer team used the sniper rifle and had what other back up weapons?
Deke: FN FAL 7.62x51mm rifles, designed for full and semi auto use. They out-ranged the AK-47s carried by the terrs significantly and gave us a long range advantage . . . At night, I'd exchange my Model 70 Sniper rifle for an FN rifle for myself--shooting at night would be different and, since we had no night vision devices, would not entail any need for sniping skills and weapons.
[the FN FAL rifle is roughly analogous to the American M-14 of the same period. A full-size assault rifle firing that NATO round, semi-automatic, twenty round magazine.]
Bert: You carried a side-arm, .45 ACP Model 1911?
Deke: Yes, I brought several accurized .45ACP pistols for use. My mates usually used 9mm Browning Hi Power pistols (aka Model 1935 or P-35) with what was then considered high capacity magazines: 13 rounds per magazine. My attitude was the bigger the bullet, the better, so I wanted the .45
Bert: The Rhodesians were using the Browning hi-power at that time so your two SF SOG mates carried that weapon for ammo compatibility I would think?. And having a high capacity magazine during a last stand moment would be handy too I would think?
Deke: Ammo compatibility was one reason they carried the Hi-Power. Another was the magazine capacity as you said. However, both had carried the Hi-Power during their cross-border operations on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in the Vietnam War and were very comfortable with it. They did not view their pistols as a true secondary weapon as much as I did, as I shot in pistol competition a lot and was much better qualified with it.
Bert: Did you ever wear body armor or a flak jacket, etc.?
Deke: Yes, wore bullet-proof (more appropriately named bullet-resistant) armor on a couple of occasions, but stopped because of weight and heat problems.
Bert: Did you have night vision devices?
Bert: I know the Rhodesians captured from time to time enormous quantities of Soviet small arms and ammo. Including the SVD sniper rifle. Did YOU ever use the SVD or other Soviet small arms on operations?
Deke: I used SKS rifles one time in a lodge when we had some down time--we had very little ammunition for our FNs so when we found a cache of SKS rifles with over a thousand rounds of ammo at the lodge, we felt quite well prepared for whatever might come. I did not see AKs used other than for familiarization purposes at ranges--I have a photo of myself using one then. The word in the bush was not to be seen with an AK--the Army was trained to fire on short notice and having an AK in hand might lead to friendly fire before identities could be sorted out.
I don't recall seeing a SVD at all during my work.
[Soviet SVD a premier sniper rifle, first fielded by the Soviet in 1959 [?], allegedly field tested in Vietnam. Telescopic sights that were infra-red sensitive, a semi-automatic sniper rifle firing that 7.62 X 54R Russian round.]
At one ranch, I used a .375 H&H magnum rifle with a scope, but that was for one emergency that came up while I happened to be visiting that ranch with only my pistols for defense. It was simply a hunting rifle that was handy when the ranch was hit one night in one of its paddocks--it was one that had the territory broken up into 5,000 acre fenced in paddocks.
Bert: While on patrol or ambush, did you ever use land mines for either defensive or offensive purposes? Did you have remotely controlled detonated land mines of the Claymore type?
Deke: Our team had no claymores or the like. I was led to believe that such weapons were rare in the Rhode Army inventory as well, thanks to sanctions. At one point, my team had only had one hand grenade, called locally "the British Mills bomb"--the generic Brit and Commonwealth nickname for all Commonwealth grenades, whether a true Mills bomb or not--I think the term came from the grenades used in World War One. Our plan was to use the grenade as a "contact breaker"--a weapon used to confuse or drive the enemy to ground momentarily when things went bad for us, giving us time to run away and re-group elsewhere.
To be continued.