Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Germany V Rhodesia – a true war story

The last few nights have been hell. Again and again, the Luftwaffe attacked me, riddling me with holes whilst their Stuka aircraft, straight out the bad swamps deep in Bavaria they use as a cunning base - announced their arrival in that terrifying noise. Just like a mosquito amplified. Here is an example –

Except, as I slapped my own face, dug my nails into my ankles, wrists and feet till partly bloody - I recalled that compared to the monsters I grappled with during the war – this was tame stuff.

I am definitely getting old and soft.

Yeah, the biggest hammering I ever got still makes me wake up screaming ‘Bastard Mozzies’, in terrible nightmares as I slap the little German versions away. Nah, the Gokwe mozzies of Rhodesia were the size of a freshly hatched and very hungry Pterodactyl.

Now, if you really want to be frightened – have you ever see a video close up and in slow motion of how these bastard mozzies do it. Amazingly, they don’t work like a Woodpecker, banging a drill bit away like some bloke drilling holes in reinforced concrete – oh no, far to simple.

Instead, they have this huge extendible drill bit that is actually very flexible. Holding it in their mouths, they sort of swirl it around in ever decreasing circles until penetration. After that they suck your blood out till you swoon. I know for a fact that some clever-clever, bored out of his box, clocked this and – hey what do you know, he invented ‘fracking’. Promptly patented it and the mozzies haven’t seen a penny besides a bit more DDT sprayed on their homes. Poor mozzies (the bastards).

So whilst German mozzies leave you with self inflicted holes, the Gokwe mozzies pumped so much anticoagulant into you, the hills around the bore holes resembled a mump's victim after digesting several hundred golf balls cut in half.

And the ITCH! Drive you mad.

But, it was on a patrol in the badlands, top of Gokwe TTL, that I met up with these evil things. At least if the gooks had pumped some lead into me I wouldn’t die scratching to death – I would simply be scratched. But no – rainy season is in full swing. Off we go down the escarpment keeping a wary eye out for mozzies, er, I mean gooks, and then, as (yawn) another glorious African sunset (yawn) tinges the horizon with shades of (yawn) whatever… You make your dinner, argue in whispers about who is doing what watch first and who actually has a time piece that doesn’t mysteriously stop between two and four am.

And – then it happens. You try to be prepared. You lie in a thin nylon sleeping bag. Fully clothed in damp and seriously ponging camouflage. Socks humming a good night serenade. The hips and back are lying gently over some rocks that are probing your kidneys to see if they may be swollen from too much alcohol stress relief consumption.

Then, the air armada arrives – in force. You get a warning – the noise is unbelievable. It makes German Stukas sound like little kindergarten babies humming there first nursery rhyme out of tune.

Gokwe mozzies? Well, try a Lancaster bomber or a B52 that some bunch of lazy clowns had forgotten to oil the engines. It is a screech of stressed metal.

But – we Rhodesia’s finest, have a defence. It is in a label less aluminium tube. This was a deterrent cream. What the hell it was to deter was beyond me. I concluded if you pasted about four inches of the stuff on your face, the drilling mozzies would drown. The other problem is that, if unfortunately you were living off ratpacks, you could get confused with the tube of rancid margarine. Not that it made any difference.

You could, as a fighting member of the Rhodesian forces, pop down into town and lash out a month’s pay on some real cool deterrent made by the Germans and imported illegally. Problem was the stuff is loaded with perfume and nasty gooks could smell it. In other words – if the mozzies didn’t get ya - the gooks did. It’s a hard knock life…

But – one night, I will never forget. They came. (The mozzies, not the gooks.) I had no choice. Again and again they attacked my face. I buried it into my sleeping bag, almost suffocating – and then…much to my astonishment…

They actually managed to drill through the sleeping bag, through my ponging socks, and my canvas boots - and sucked away on my anchovies’ heel. (NOT a spelling mistake – my feet smelt rather fishy.)

My FN was fully loaded by my side. It was useless. Even with two hundred rounds of ammunition, there was no way I could defeat them.

I will suffer tonight and for the rest of this week. Today, in this one horse town (less the horse), I searched desperately for some netting either for the windows or, proper style, a real cover over the bed. To no avail. Bloody Bill Gates gives them out for free in Africa, but what about poor ME. The Germans must go to bed in lederhosen. These are so thick, that they can stop a bullet, never mind their baby mozzies.

Oh woe is me… No net and no lederhosen.

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