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Congo Mercenary (ePub)

Military > Greenhill eBooks > Greenhill: 20th Century P&S History > By Century > 20th Century

By Mike Hoare
Greenhill Books
File Size: 3.4 MB (.epub)
ISBN: 9781784388720
Published: 30th November 2022


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‘I make no apologies for being a mercenary soldier. Quite the reverse. I am proud to have led 5 Commando. I am proud to have fought shoulder to shoulder with the toughest and bravest band of men it has ever been my honour to command. I am proud that they stood when all else failed.’

In July 1964, four years after gaining independence from Belgium, the Democratic Republic of the Congo came under threat from an armed rebellion that spread rapidly through the country.

To suppress the rebels and bring the unrest and bloodshed in the country under control, Congolese officials enlisted the help of mercenary leader Mike Hoare. Working alongside military officials, Hoare assembled a band of several hundred men that became known as ‘5 Commando’. In Congo Mercenary, Hoare tells the story of the role that these men played in the rebellion, describing in gripping detail how this band of mercenaries were recruited, trained, and how they swept through the country. His team undertook four campaigns in just 18 months during which they fought rebels, liberated Stanleyville, freed European hostages and brought order back to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Hoare’s experiences in the Congo and his involvement in suppressing the Simba rebellion were hugely significant from a political and a military standpoint. His influence, however, did not stop there. This account of his time in the Congo was first published in 1967 and had a huge cultural impact, as well, contributing to the glorification of the mercenary lifestyle in magazines and pulp novels, and even inspiring the 1978 war film The Wild Geese starring Richard Burton and Roger Moore.

5 out of 5

I recommend this book without reservation.

Read the Full Review Here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

The ongoing descriptions of running a mercenary unit proves fascinating and you can pull a number of scenarios from the pages (although you'll need to extrapolate the terrain and rebel forces). The gritty details leave nothing to the imagination.

Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An excellent book covering the civil war in the Congo in the 1960's, written by the man who ran the mercenary commandos who supported the government in the fight against the rebels.
The book is beautifully written, very old school style which adds to the charm of the book. The story is fascinating and gives a unique insight to the the workings of a mercenary unit fighting in Africa.
Highly recommended and worthy of a space on your bookshelf.

NetGalley, Kevin Stabler

About Mike Hoare

Michael ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare was born to Irish parents in Calcutta in 1919, but spent much of his youth in England. After leaving school, he began training as an accountant and joined the Territorial Army. At the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted in the London Irish Rifles before joining the Royal Armoured Corps as a 2nd lieutenant, eventually becoming a major. Following the war, he qualified as a chartered accountant and emigrated to South Africa. By the 1960s he yearned to be a solider again, which led him to the Congo.
Hoare’s military career came to an end in 1981 when he was jailed in a South African prison after unsuccessfully leading a Seychelles coup. Despite this failure, his status has remained unimpeachable, and he is widely considered as the world’s best-known mercenary. Hoare is the author of six other historical memoirs. He died in  in February 2020 at the age of 100.

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