Ferreday and Sons of Sailsbury, in the former Rhodesia, was the premier maker of tactical equipment to the Rhodesian security forces during the bush war.
Due to the short comings with the standard issue webbing, which was similar to the 58 pattern webbing, the Rhodesian Forces began tailoring their own belts as well as taking the better constructed Warsaw Pact chest rigs of dead terrorists. Often buying from Ferreday and Sons in Salisbury, Rhodesia. Some of the foreign volunteers who came from the U.K. Europe and the USA came with their own load bearing kit which was incredibly superior to that of a Rhodesian soldier.
The Rhodesian forces had a lot of freedom when it came to equipment and clothing in the bush, hence the bush shorts and gym shoes. One soldier in 3 commando RLI wore a top hat into battle adorned with an AA badge. This ended in the mid seventies as the influx of foreign volunteers and media attention drove the Rhodesian forces the adopt a more rigid order of dress, the takkies and veltschoen were gone and boots and trousers were back.
The load usually carried on a Fireforce mission was generally suited to carrying ammunition and water for short fire fights with quick support from aviation assets.
For the collector, these vests are hard to source but can be found in online retailers in Zimbabwe or if you’re looking for a decent reproduction some Ferreday kit can be found on eBay.
I thought I’d bring this interesting bit of history back into the light, as I see a lot of similarities between the fighting load carried by a Rhodesian soldier on Fireforce and the new fight light policy being pushed by the Infantry Battle School at Brecon. Tell me what you think and leave a comment on the post.
Remember to read the history of those who fought as well, however doomed the fight may have been – Callum.
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This Kit Pest Review article was written by Callum J Bickerton. Hopefully you enjoyed it and if you have any thoughts or comments related to this article then leave a comment!