Sunday, September 8, 2013

Book Series Etc. Review: The Col. Mike Hoare Mercenary Cronicles

Since I did my review of 'Congo Mercenary' last year, I've picked up a number of other books by Mike Hoare regarding his adventures in Africa. Instead of doing individual reviews, I'm going to lump them all here since they all follow a similar thread. 

The Road to Kalamata:  This is somewhat of a prequel to 'Congo Mercenary' in that it occurs before the major communist insurrection when a rogue province of Katanga hired Hoare and his '4 Commando' to help shore up their military.  Not much action as compared to the other book but very dramatic as it details the units run-ins w/ the United Nations 'Peacekeeping' forces and the hunt for several members who were lost in the woods in areas controlled by an enemy known for torturing and killing prisoners.

Congo Warriors:  This isn't a history of the various conflicts directly but instead a collection of vignettes describing some of the more memorable and sometimes downright bizarre personalities Hoare worked w/ over the course of his Congo experiences.  Some are very entertaining, some 'meh'. US military veterans will definitely pick up on the differences between our services and ones based off of the British (same w/ 'Fireforce' by Cocks).

The Seychelles Affair: The final book in the series detailing  his attempt to re-instate the rightful gov't of the Seychelles Islands (becoming a complete and total cluster), his railroading by the South African courts, and his subsequent incarceration in the S.A. penal system.  Some of the experiences are right out of a spy novel and others like that of the Keystone cops.

The Wild Geese: Not a book by Hoare but a film that he was a technical advisor on in 1977, shortly before the events in they Seychelles above.  It relates a group of mercenaries run by 'Col. Allen Faulkner' who are hired to rescue a deposed African president from being killed.  Made in the UK, it has some more graphic scenes that is common in US films of the time although the hammy acting is typical, especially from Roger Moore.  Technical aspects (firearms, uniforms, etc) of the film are top notch.  It is also much more culturally progressive than was common in US films.  The unit medic was shown as a flaming homosexual but was accepted by all the members because he was damn good at his job.  There are also some interesting scenes of racial conflict and later understanding between several of the black characters and a South African officer.

On a personal note, Col. Hoare is still alive and I was able to send an email to him through Paladin Press.  I received a response from his son thanking me (geek out moment) and that his father is always glad to hear from fans/supporters. I also found on Ebay some of the original '5 Commando' patches sold by the family through SOF magazine to help w/ their finances during his incarceration.  Those are on order.

Currently Reading:  The Rhodesian War: A Military History by Moorcraft/McLaughlin

On the Cue:
Africa @ War: Selous Scouts  by Peter Baxter
Gunship Ace: The Wars of Neall Ellis  by Al Venter
Cuban Diary by Che Guevara

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"I also found on Ebay some of the original '5 Commando' patches sold by the family through SOF magazine to help w/ their finances during his incarceration."

I felt the need to buy some of them for that purpose, too. Guess what: eBay has decided that these might be too terrible to own for Germans, so they are being nice and protecting us from buying them. I feel so much safer now.