“If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles” so said the great Chinese general and strategist Sun Tzu. Though all military tacticians since the dawn of time have tried to predict and understand their enemy, few organisations have succeeded and truly become their enemy.
To truly become one’s enemy, takes more than putting on a uniform. Empathy with their foundation, a knowledge of their society, traditions and customs are the basics when trying to get inside your enemy’s head. In modern military times, when discussing becoming one’s enemy, the name of the Selous Scouts easily stands out above all others. Of the few special operations units in recent history to attempt to impersonate their enemy, none have done so to such a level as the Selous Scouts.
This episode was written by By Captain W. Taylor.
William Taylor is a Captain in the Australian Army currently serving in the 1st Brigade based in Darwin. He is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy where he majored in Australian Military History. He maintains a keen interest in British military colonial history and is a member of the Australian Army History Society. As one of the many Zimbabwean ex-pats in the Australian Army, William has always been interested in the Rhodesian Bush War and the Selous Scouts, particularly how a unanimous tactical victory still translated into their strategic defeat.