top of page

Former commander of the British Armed Forces reviews Battle For Hurungwe.


"Asymmetric warfare is another type of war; war by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, and assassins; war by ambush instead of by combat; by infiltration instead of aggression seeking victory be eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him. It preys on economic unrest and ethnic conflict. It is population-centric – the population being the ultimate key to victory for both sides of the conflict. It requires new and different strategies, different sorts of forces and different types of military training.

Battle For Hurungwe is a formidable and detailed account of the nature of the asymmetric war in Rhodesia from 1965 to 1979. It is both a detailed diary of events during the period and an object lesson in the development of strategies to deal with this new form of warfare. It reinforces the absolute requirement to bring the local population onside at a time when much of it feels that their country has forsaken it. It portrays the irony of the country being defended by those who owe it the least. It highlights the imperative for politicians and their security forces to sing from the same song sheet and reveals what the human cost can be when they do not.

With his arrival to take over his command in the Tribal Trust Land of Hurungwe, the author was able to bring all his hard-won experience and his comprehensive understanding of the type of operations which would be successful, to running the campaign in this strange, asymmetric warfare environment. Had his techniques and approach been accepted and used more widely, the outcome of the unwinnable war might have been different. It is a remarkable, accurate and historical narrative which all students of conflict would benefit from studying."

Field Marshal the Lord Michael John Dawson Walker of Aldringham, GCB, CMG, CBE, DL, was born in Southern Rhodesia (7 July 1944). His father, William Hampden Dawson Walker, was a Senior Assistant Commissioner (3088) in the British South Africa Police (29/3/1929 -3/8/1957). Michael Walker was educated at Milton School, Bulawayo, and then Woodhouse Grove School, West Yorkshire. After a brief period of teaching, he attended the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and was commissioned into the Royal Anglian Regiment as second lieutenant on 29 July 1966.

He served in Cyprus, Gibraltar, Northern Ireland and Germany before taking command of the 2nd Infantry Division. Lord Walker’s other previous roles for the Ministry of Defence include:

  • Chief of the Defence Staff (head of all British Armed Forces), a post he held for 3 years before retiring and receiving a life peerage in 2006.

  • Chief of the General Staff (the professional head of the British Army)

  • Commander in Chief, Land Command

  • Commander of NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps

  • Assistant Chief of the General Staff

  • Patron of the British South Africa Police Trust.

Field Marshal the Lord Walker of Aldringham GCB, CMG, CBE, DL

Recent Posts

See All

Book Review Neil Petrie

Battle for Hurungwe, by John Padbury is essential reading for those interested in the Rhodesian conflict, irregular warfare and national strategy. It is a personal but professionally produced work cov


bottom of page