Military Review

Memo to mercenaries in Africa

Memo to mercenaries in Africa

A rather interesting text is a memo to Americans who are going to participate in African wars as a mercenary. The text does not have a specific author (it is also given in some abbreviation) - but it is based on materials and regulations, on the basis of which the 5 and 6 battalions of Michael Hoare acted in the Congo, the Death Battalions of Bolfre in Biafra and several other units. Compiled and readable by Soldier Of Fortune magazine staff.

The funny thing is that the text in the form in which it is presented here appeared in the middle of the 1980's - that is, just by the time when the figure of the “white mercenary in Africa” (already firmly entrenched in the mass consciousness) was practically gone. Generally, contrary to popular myth, the Giants Blancs century was short - some decade, from the beginning of 1960's to the first half of 1970's. For the ten years that have passed since the "Year of Africa", negros have learned to fight poorly or poorly themselves, weapons Africa was flooded above the roof, and the lone mercenaries ceased to play any significant role. In Rhodesia, there were no mercenaries in the 1970s: foreign volunteers and professional contract servicemen fought in the ranks of the republic’s armed forces on the same grounds as the country's citizens. In 1980, the South African army fought in Angola, and foreign volunteers also served in the ranks - but they were also in the ranks, and the single goons, who imitated characters from books like “Wild Geese,” couldn’t stand that they were not there). The Odyssey of "Colonel Callan" in Angola in 1975 ended in failure - 13 of the mercenaries were captured, 9 was sentenced to various terms, and 4 received the highest measure. Michael Hoare’s adventure to take the government of the Seychelles in 1981 on a bayonet year (despite the fact that a significant part of his team were former special forces) also ended in failure.

In general, the “private side of the war” after the end of the Border Conflict (“The War in Angola 1966 - 1988”) was taken over by companies and corporations: in Angola during the Second Civil and in Sierra Leone, not white individuals fought, but companies . natural private armies. By that time, the heroic captain of Katanga’s army, Bruce Curry, from the movie “Darkness under the Sun” was a gray-haired old and firmly entrenched in the category of “tales by the fire”.

However, those wishing to make war in Africa - among the American public in the 1980-s - were fairly. In 99% of the cases, these were, of course, chairborne warriors ("sofa commandos") and it didn’t go further than the heroic fantasies on Fridays. In reality, those who were willing to risk themselves in the African bush or the jungles of Central America were extremely few - and, as a rule, they did not need these tips (because they knew many times more).

But if we consider all this from the point of view of the market, then the request was And if there is a demand, then there should be an offer. Actually here.

Как historical document - yes, this memo is curious. Not to mention the fact that some tips and regulations are relevant in our days.


Savannah does not forgive dancing with the devil.
(African proverb)

11 commandments commandos 5-th battalion of Michael Hoare

1. Always keep your weapons in order - always. Constantly lubricate. Do not forget to check ammunition and shops.
2. The soldier always works in pairs.
3. Check all the information - otherwise the consequences for your unit will be the most sad.
4. Be ready to speak on orders at any second. Mark all your gear and never move away from it further than the arm's length.
5. Always take care of equipment - helicopters or cars. Help the mechanic or the pilot - no matter how much time and effort you have to spend on repairing or refueling.
6. Do not risk in vain - count up the chances in advance.
7. In combat, never drive yourself or a comrade into a situation that you cannot control - or from which you cannot exit.
8. Be especially vigilant at dawn and dusk - as a rule, all armies are taught to attack at this particular time.
9. If you are in the bush for a long time, try to put yourself in the enemy's place and mentally become them - know his tactics and impose your own conditions on him, only then the victory will be yours.
10. In the offensive, show determination, in defense - hardness.
11. The worst way to stand out is to walk along a strange grave with a brave air.

Mercenary Requirements

1. Age: from 25 to 40 years.
2. Mandatory knowledge of at least one foreign language: French, Arabic or any of the African dialects.
3. Neutral attitude towards political issues.
4. The experience of active military service is at least 5 years; the interval between service and enrollment in mercenaries should not exceed 6 months.
5. Confirmed participation in at least two conflicts of low intensity.
6. Good physical condition and endurance.
7. It is advisable to have experience of skydiving - since in the vast majority of African countries, parachutists, as a rule, are more often involved in combat operations.
8. Handling skills with small arms.
9. Experience of service as an instructor is highly desirable.
10. An officer or a personnel non-commissioned officer as a candidate fits poorly - most of them have their strong negative beliefs about working in Africa and, as a rule, are not able to cope with non-standard situations typical of African armies.

Requirements for a potential candidate for commando

- ability to overcome very long distances with increased load
- the ability to operate in extreme climatic conditions for a long time.
- the ability to carry out an offensive with water, land and air.
- the ability to control rowing, sailing and motorized vessels.
- The ability to drive a two- and four-wheeled vehicle, including heavy trucks.
- the ability to jump with a parachute, including night jumps, long jumps and jumps on the water.
- skills of handling night vision devices of various systems.
- the ability to read the map.
- the ability to read photos and air intelligence data.
- the ability to overcome mountain obstacles (descent and ascent with full equipment).
- knowledge of all types of small arms and the ability to use them; skills with cold weapons, including crossbows.
- the ability to set and remove land and underwater mines, as well as the skills of setting and removing surprise traps and the use of other anti-search means and methods.

The qualities of a mercenary - a reminder to a recruiter

1. Ingenuity. The basic mental abilities of a soldier, affecting decision-making and execution of orders.
a. Low Sagrendum - the order will fulfill, but the order should be brought to him in all the smallest details.
b. Average. Standard infantryman from the category of "nothing outstanding."
c. High. A fighter who is able to assess the situation and make the appropriate decision.
d. Extremely high. A fighter who is able to instantly assess the situation and make an appropriate decision that will benefit both him and the unit. Able to survive in any situation.

2. Knowledge. The level of military training received by the fighter.
a. Civil. A stupid person who has no experience in military matters, but who has knowledge of the unsightly aspects of life.
b. General knowledge. Possesses basic knowledge gained in the course of primary military training.
c. Additional knowledge. Possesses basic knowledge gained in the course of primary military training. Capable of learning and passing additional specialized commando courses. Candidate department commander.
d. Advanced level. Possesses basic knowledge gained in the course of primary military training, as well as specialized knowledge acquired during subsequent courses. Able to teach the necessary skills and disciplines. Candidate platoon / company commander.

3. Mobility. The ability of a fighter to undergo physical tests.
a. Low A sign with the concepts of "forward", "back", "right", "left". When walking in the bush, it resembles a pregnant female hippo in elephant grass - however, it is notable for its stamina. It is worth it to hire him - but at the same time he can never be put in the vanguard.
b. Average. Able to move along the bush in any direction, withstand the pace and fall for about three kilometers. Able to run / march without help.
c. High. Athlete. Able to perform any physical exercise and not to lose the rhythm - at the same time able to perform the military task.
d. Very high. Moves at high speed, which does not affect the quality of the tasks. Hard exercises / tasks for it does not exist.

4. Strength and endurance. Necessary combination for any fighter.
a. Below the average. The average level of physical strength. With enough stamina - a good candidate for reconnaissance / rangers, provided that he is able to walk lightly for long distances.
b. Average level. A fighter is able to go with a full combat display, keep the unit’s rhythm and carry additional cargo (wounded, explosives, etc.) for short distances.
c. Strong. A fighter is able to carry his display and, if necessary, another one. Able to carry a machine gun and ribbons to it or a light mortar and mines. The best combination of strength and endurance.
d. Very strong. It has exceptional strength. Able to carry anti-tank mines and a large amount of explosives for raid operations. Endurance is low, but it is bought by the fact that the payload, as a rule, is quickly spent on operations.

5. Previous military service experience.
a. No A civilian who is trying to enlist in mercenaries, without having any experience. You should not hire him (except for the cases when he is a former police officer who was dismissed for careless handling of a weapon, causing the death of a suspect or a former high-level bodyguard). The latter is worth taking, because he is not familiar with the basic conditions, skills, tasks, etc. If, however, he is hired, it is best to use him as a personal bodyguard (provided that he does not snore in the bush).
b. Standard. The fighter served in the armed forces of his country and took part in hostilities. The term since the dismissal exceeds five years.
c. Experienced fighter. The fighter served in the armed forces of his country, took part in hostilities, and also served in the armed forces of any of the countries of Africa. Hiring for a period of one year - a short-term contract (two or three months) is undesirable, because in this case the probability of desertion increases.
d. Exceptional experience. Non-commissioned officers. He served in the armed forces of his country, took part in hostilities, and also served in the elite part outside his country (French Foreign Legion, Spanish Legion, Israeli paratroopers, Rhodesian Light Infantry, CAC, Scouts Selus, parachute units of the South African armed forces, RDO Sun South Africa, Portuguese Flechas, etc.).

6. Ability to survive. The ability to predict a clash, assess the combat situation and stay alive in battle.
a. Zero. The fighter runs forward in the ranks and stops firing only when everything is quiet.
b. Average. The fighter acts as a unit, firing and advancing.
c. Above the average. Able to feel the danger and predict possible ambushes. Instantly responds to danger and acts accordingly.
d. Exceptional. The fighter realizes when a clash occurs, takes action even before the battle begins, and turns the course of the battle in favor of the unit.

7. Specialization. The commando division has its own specialization, but long-term contracts are best hired fighters with general training. As a rule, a commando consists of the following:
a. Ordinary fighter.
b. Deputy squad leader.
c. Part-commander.
d. The platoon / company commander is the deputy commander of the unit.
e. Commander of the unit.

8. Candidate preference order. (Some disagree with this list, but by and large, the history of conflicts in Africa shows that the order below is correct.)
a. British or Rhodesian CAC. Top-class specialists.
b. British Paratroopers, Royal Marines, Rhodesian Light Infantry, Selus Scouts.
c. The Foreign Legion is the 2 REP (Regimente Etrangere de Parachutistes) or Regimente Etrangere Coloniale.
d. West German paratroopers, French colonial parachutists.
e. Spanish Legion, South African scouts, saboteurs or paratroopers.
f. American marines, paratroopers, rangers, special forces.
g. Italian or Portuguese paratroopers.
h. Canadian or Israeli paratroopers.
i. Other regular parts.

9. Under no circumstances hire Arabs. It doesn't matter how good their recommendations are or how beautiful they are about themselves. The conflict between Arabs and Africans came to the proverb, and quarrels between them happen at the most inopportune moment, leading to the worst result.

10. Try to hire specialist wagons with multiple skills.

What should remember the candidate for mercenaries

1. When recruiting, tell honestly about your experience - do not embellish or exaggerate. If in the course of operations you show yourself from the best side - it will only be a plus, both in monetary terms and in your career.
2. Do exactly what you get paid for. Do exactly what you expect from you - no more, no less.
3. Do not rush to make friends - it is better to have one or two and get closer to them gradually. Very well, when you are in the same compartment, you can cover each other’s backs.
4. Do not get involved in disputes on political, military or personal topics - keep your opinion with you.
5. Count only on yourself - always. Help is needed - ask for it, but try to give courtesy in return as quickly as possible.
6. No one should believe the word - even the commander of your squad. Follow orders clearly, from and to - without zeal and without laziness.
7. Do not give bribes - neither military nor civil. Once you do this, they will never get rid of you. If you need something, but you can only get it with a bribe - most likely you don’t need it.
8. Do not talk about your biography - with the exception of interviews when recruiting, and even then only answer specific questions. Sometimes unnecessary information about you can turn against you the same - or used as a means of blackmailing your loved ones.
9. Keep your belongings and equipment always with you. Do not lend them to anyone under any circumstances. You bought them for your money - you need them.
10. Always have one verified address and send letters to it. If something happens, then through it it will be possible to transmit the news.
11. Always watch everyone; always learn - there are no know-alls in this world.
12. No alcohol until personal time.
13. No drugs. Point.
14. Don't mess with the gossips. If you hang out with them, you will become such, and then - goodbye work. Forever and ever.
15. Stay away from any intrigue - especially political. You're a soldier, not a spy.
16. Do not believe the local, do not mess with them and do not rely on them. Be polite - and more. Do you want to be Mother Teresa - go to the Peace Corps.
17. Even if you fulfill all the requirements flawlessly, anyway there will be people (in headquarters or in the ranks) who will be unhappy with you and will not miss the chance to find fault. Spit on them and keep doing your job. They will still find someone to cling to - not to you, so to whom.
18. Do not bother with political assassinations - except when a clear and unequivocal order was given to this during the operation. Better to spit and leave. It is not worth it. Too many variables will have to be taken into account - and for this you need to have a brilliant mind. And if you have a brilliant mind - what are you then doing in some god-forgotten hole in the middle of the African bush?
19. Try to establish a good relationship with the local police. A souvenir handed from time to time (not a bribe), especially if it is a deficit (and there’s almost all a deficit) will pay off in the future in terms of the necessary information.
20. Never Desert. If you feel that the task is beyond your power - go to the commander, explain your doubts to him and in nine cases out of ten he will release you from the task (and also from the contract). If not, then be patient: you were not driven to this express.
21. Know your weapon like the back of your hand. The same applies to enemy weapons. Never relax. War veterans in the bush, who had a couple of decades of service died from an accidental shot. Do not think that you are cooler than them.
22. Always keep a knife and a gun on your body. Do not forget for a second where they are. And do so that others do not know about them.
23. The same goes for money and a passport.
24. Never sign up for additional tasks without completing a primary contract. The main thing is the sequence. You will chase after two rabbits - you won't catch a single one.
25. Always know exactly where your unit is after receiving the order. Do not reassure yourself with the thought that, say, you know. Make sure you know.
26. Take time to get used to the local food, local climate and local territory. But do not delay with this time.
27. Keep yourself clean between exits for surgery.
28. Do not get carried away local food. In general, try to eat as easily as possible. Two weeks before the operation, drink only water - exclude any alcohol.
29. Respect the local customs and be polite with the elders. While in the countryside, never try to engage in communication with women - and in the cities, too, do not try.
30. Not sure about grenades, mines and explosives - let the expert understand them. Watch, but do not bother with your help. He is paid for his work. You pay for yours - protect him.
31. Never disclose all your talents and potential to the full - neither in front of colleagues, nor in front of commanders. Use 90% of your potential - use the remaining 10% only in exceptional cases.
32. Do not be upset if the operation went wrong, as planned. Not always lucky.
33. Even if you are tired and not in the service - go in for sports. Not only does it dispel boredom, it also helps keep its shape.
34. People are different. Know the strengths and weaknesses of each in your unit - in any case, it does not hurt.
35. Try to remember who is the name - always helps, especially with the local population.
36. Remember the chain of command. At the service be strictly formal, outside the service - polite. Familiarity leads to disrespect.
37. During briefings, speak briefly and to the point.
38. Africa's pity and sympathy is alien. Do not pay attention and do your job - you will survive this moment. These emotions in Africa killed more good guys than from bullets and grenades.
39. If someone failed his unit on operations - this is none of your business. The command will deal with it itself.

Some common aspects

All the work of a mercenary, in one way or another, falls into one of the following four categories:

- A mercenary joins the ranks of the foreign army;
- The mercenary is taken to work by the security service of a large international company;
- A mercenary signs a private contract with his (or someone else’s) government to perform a secret assignment;
- A mercenary joins the ranks of any shock group.

The first (and simplest) way is to join the regular armed forces of another state. But there are a number of obvious drawbacks. Firstly, this is not actually mercenarism - this is exactly what is said: "service in the armed forces." Foreign armies, as a rule, are not much different from the good old American army (which you, my friend, do not like so much). Yes, and pay there even less than us. Service in a foreign army is good, except that it is possible to get acquainted with another culture, to acquire a certain combat experience (if lucky) and to understand whether there is an opportunity for a mercenary in this country.

Regarding the work in the Security Council of a large international firm - these days it has become quite popular, as the world has become a continuous hot spot. Terrorists / gangsters raise banks into the air, take corporate leaders hostage, attack transport companies, organize strikes, or vice versa, terrorize local workers, preventing them from working normally (and thus depriving capitalist predators of their hard-earned dollars). Today, all large international corporations have their own security services, which are often small armies. They pay well - but they don’t take everyone there. So your application for a job must be dry and professional - without any hints of feats a la James Bond. They need well-trained, serious and intelligent employees - and here the “employees” are the key word.

Hiring you to work will be the same bureaucratic apparatus that conducts interviews with candidates for secretaries - so it is best to keep a low profile and keep modestly. At least until the final interview with the head of the Security Council. That's when you will be taken to the staff - then yes, you can hang around with shoulder holsters and begin to sign on the wall in one long line from Uzi.

A private contract with your government (in the sense of the CIA or the NSA) or some other interesting government office (yes, we have some of which you didn’t suspect) to perform a secret assignment is always a double-edged sword (not to mention that this work is one of the most dangerous). Such contracts rarely happen - and this is their plus. Yes, even despite the fact that our government has invincible secret agents and generous intelligence budgets unknown to the general public - sometimes the big bosses need someone who could do a rather delicate (read - “wet”) job and not Substitute anyone from the government. And then they carefully (and in the strictest secrecy) develop a completely insane operation, hire people for this purpose and give them good. Good ones news: almost always get paid for such work. The bad news is that if you get involved in this kind of activity, then the office will use you to the fullest until you catch a bullet somewhere.

Another disadvantage is that the government usually collects files on such people - without this, your candidature will not even be considered. It is worth it that Uncle Sam knows about you, what you don't even admit to your best friend? In addition, such people, our government can, out of kindness, lend to another state apparatus - with all the ensuing consequences.

The latter category is the recruitment of the ranks of someone’s private army (grouping). Perhaps the most well-known topic, but in terms of mercenary work - as remote as possible from reality. In the worst case, this is a frank dirty crime. At best - the comedy of mistakes. Most often it is a combination of these two states. Private armies are organized by people who have the money (and the will) to enforce their decisions by force, or those who consider making good money in the event of a successful coup / assault, etc.

The surest and fastest way to provide yourself with enemies and troubles is to enter into such a private shop. Very quickly, you will find that not only your "legitimate" opponents will start hunting for you - but also the US Department of Justice. Uncle Sam has a fair sense of humor: he believes that he alone has a monopoly on the armed forces, whether large or small. But for those who are trying to play with him on this field, he looks very askew.

Private armies or "security forces" often have nothing to do with mercenaries. They are ordinary gangsters in the service of the mafia, engaged exclusively in war with other gangs of gangs - and nothing more. Friendly advice: never sign up for any "contract" involving work in the United States. Here it is not considered a secret operation - it is regarded as a banal criminal act. If you are tempted to cut down a couple of thousand dollars for non-stressful work like “putting a bomb in the car over that guy,” then perhaps you should think about it - what do you really want? In addition, other guys in expensive suits who are upset by such a course of events are sure to send someone (maybe even me) to say hello to you.

No, of course, there are real, not fictional covert operations - raids to rescue someone outside the country or raids aimed at eliminating someone. They are financed from undisclosed funds and commanded by such operations by people with real combat experience. In principle, the government should have dealt with such things - but, as usual, it lacks firmness in the knees. So think for yourself.

Policy issues

Admit it, only honestly - did you not have an hour before breakfast with some PLO fighter or could you discuss the horrors of democracy at dinner with someone from the Eastern Bloc?

What you said? Of course not?

Then, buddy, it’s better to stay home and don’t even think about going somewhere. Because, mother, apple pie and native Oklahoma are one thing, but abroad is completely different. Foreigners (even those whom you naively find friendly to us) have a terrific way of expressing incredibly different opinions from the US on world politics. And most of the foreigners, oddly enough, the US hates - for various reasons.

Perhaps you will win the first round - but if you constantly draw attention to yourself with your ignorance, then your employer is unlikely to like it. Yes, ignorance, I did not make a reservation.

These same foreigners have their own, different from yours, opinion on various world problems, because unlike you, they live side by side with these problems. Even if you read the local newspaper every day and don’t miss a single news release - at best you are fed a pretty edited and heavily Americanized version of what happened somewhere. The point, by the way, is not in censorship, but in money. The editors on TV and in the newspapers daily deal with a huge amount of material - and every day they decide questions from the series: what of this can be sold to the American public and what form to clothe it, so that the silent majority will eat and digest it. Nuff said.

Maybe you can't stand any race or nationality? In this case, think that you will have to live in the same tent with (here we enter "favorite" nationality), and sometimes your life will depend on this (we insert any offensive term).

The problem with other countries is that they are inhabited by foreigners. These natives are simple and rude people, they (wonderfully) speak only in their incomprehensible tongue. Pretty soon you will find that no matter how loudly or slowly you try to explain something to them in English - they still won’t understand.

If you are one of those who quickly learns, then maybe you will like communication in a foreign language. In the end, there is a certain charm in teaching the machine-gunner to curse in the language of Shakespeare - and trying to remember what the hell language means "nih-te" - "shoot them" or "shoot me."


Tell me, are you not one of those who send the ordered food back just because you found a couple of rat hair in it? If so, what will you say when you are served the whole rat? In the Congo, there are very few McDonald's in some way - and in the Rub al-Khali desert there are even fewer. Hygiene when cooking food - the concept in South America or North Africa is quite speculative (even in the most decent places). But the lack of cleanliness is, in fact, not the main thing. The problem is those weird things that locals think are eating.

In foreign armies, American dry rations do not happen. Soldiers live on grass - at best, they eat canned food on which you can’t read labels in life. Do not ask about the contents of these canned goods.

Other useful tips

One of the conditions for recruiting is personal presence. Those. you need to come to them (to those for whom you will work) - often it is on the other side of the globe.

Money (for which, in fact, the whole story is being started) carries with it a lot of problems. Until now, there are naive people who are sure that at the end of their work they will be given a check, which they will cash out at the nearest bank. Oh well.

At home, the dollar is the dollar, and the dime is the dime. But in all the Southern Deaflands, the local banknotes look more like money to play Monopoly, and besides, their course changes every week. From a series of possible surprises: you will be paid by local candy wrappers, and after you receive the final settlement, you will know that you will never change them with normal money.

In addition, there are taxes. Perhaps the local government will want to withhold tax from you, and perhaps not - but the American government will deduct tax from you anyway. If, on the sly, you take the risk of bringing money back to your homeland, then an interesting discovery awaits you: it turns out that the most vigilant and effective government structure is the Tax Service, where the CIA and the FBI are. Anything that crosses the borders of the country and at the same time has at least some value does not pass by its undisturbed eye, especially if these values ​​come from somewhere in the wild.

About the work

The work of a mercenary has its significant drawbacks - and one of them is the possible deprivation of American citizenship. In your passport in small print it is stated that under certain circumstances, citizenship can be lost - so, perhaps, this issue should be studied in advance, especially if you are going to swear to another flag.

The truth is that Uncle Sam usually looks through his fingers at American mercenaries and their citizenship. People who lost their citizenship for this reason over the past half century can be counted on the fingers of his left hand ... but in recent years there has been a problem. Congress finally noticed that the number of Americans working abroad as unofficial "military advisers" has somehow increased dramatically - and believing that this is contrary to the principles of American foreign policy (what are they doing about foreign policy?) that will take drastic measures. But, given the effectiveness of this body and the speed of the senators, in the next five to ten years we see no particular cause for concern.

In fact, that's all. The main issues we have disassembled. Only one is left - but rather substantial. Tell me what is more important to you - a sense of humor or a sense of self-esteem? Because in this business there is no dignity at all - and do not expect that they will play with you by gentlemen's rules.

Mercenaries exist because there is a need for them - but there are some pitfalls here as well.
Most people believe (if they even think about it at all) that mercenaries are those who replace regular soldiers, or is an addition to already existing formations. From a purely formal point of view, this is a fact. But this fact overshadows the unsightly truth.

Hired soldiers - this is the only way for the government, which does not want or can not fulfill its military duties. It often happens that the soldiers and officers of the regular armed forces do not have sufficient training to carry out an operation; or find its fulfillment impossible for reasons of a religious or moral nature; or can not perform the task for political reasons; or simply because of de facto existing restrictions (even if they have sufficient training).

A quick glance at history shows that the first mercenaries were hired not by the government, but by private citizens — for protection, conquest, or actually as soldiers, since there were no armies in the current sense of the word. Then, with the help of hired soldiers, it was possible to conquer or defend an entire country — or strengthen their army with a couple of regiments (if the treasury allowed it). Hence the definition of "mercenary", which we use today.

Over time, martial art became more complex, division and specialization appeared. The need for large mercenary formations disappeared - the governments realized that it was much easier and cheaper to drive into the army of dumb peasants.

But specialization brought other changes. There was a need for people with certain skills - and now highly skilled professionals could sell their skills to state armed groups in need of them. So the mercenary from just a fighter for hire gradually turned into a technical specialist. And if before that mercenaries, as a rule, were hired by groups, now such a professional was becoming an independent valuable unit and could already set its own conditions.

What, in general, is happening now. A mercenary is a professional specialist, acting alone or with a small group. Of course, he is able to command parts and divisions, but, as a rule, he acts as an adviser or instructor (naturally, we are talking about a highly qualified specialist, and not about the typical "Portuguese" who can neither read nor write and for the sake of a couple of good the boot will shoot anyone).

It turns out that the mercenary is a high-class military manager who is invited so that he can significantly improve the quality of his employer's army. But not only.

Today, a mercenary is perhaps the only way out for a country that wants to do some work, but cannot do so due to certain restrictions imposed on its armed forces. For example, take the United States - but in principle, this is true for almost the whole world.

Today in the United States there is a military and government bureaucracy that has incredible power and unimaginable scale. But - the bureaucracy is not looking for ways to do something. She is looking for reasons not to do this.

This means that we have spies who cannot and do not know how to spy, soldiers who cannot and cannot fight, and at the same time there are serious punishments for those who want to do something on their own initiative in the interests of the United States.

The military and government bureaucracy is committed to rattling weapons - i.e. buys high-tech and incredibly expensive Tanksmissiles, planes and states that this is enough. However, soldiers are not able to service this equipment; corrupt suppliers are not able to make convenient, practical and efficient equipment / weapons / equipment; and the ranks and officers consist of people who are not allowed to either begin the operation or complete it.

The raid on the Son-Tay prisoner-of-war camp (which turned out to be empty when the assault group arrived there), as well as the so-called “Desert-1” failure in Iran are two of the most vivid examples of how the bureaucracy is capable of conducting special operations.

And then a mercenary takes the stage.

Does the US government use mercenaries? But how!

When even the most thick-skinned bureaucrat suddenly begins to tingle in sensitive places - since his personal situation depends on the result of the work done, then the government recognizes that it is not able (due to various reasons) to do this. Sometimes it makes sure that all the work for it is done by some other country - usually a small but sensible one, which so far has not been able to host our system of irresponsibility and mismanagement. Through their raids, operations, and invasions, Israel, Rhodesia, and South Africa over the past ten years have pursued a policy of real, not declared, US interests.
But even if our allies do not want or can not - then who will pull the trigger?
Right. Mercenary. There are two ways that the US uses to "support" mercenary activities:

1. Ignoring - so that the operation goes by itself.
2. Assistance in the implementation of the operation.

Ignoring the operation (this usually means that the operation is financed or controlled by the closest ally of the United States and is in the interests of both countries), the United States government in fact silently blesses it and enables it to take its course. This is the favorite mode of action of the American bureaucracy.

Assisting in implementation is a completely different calico. At the mere thought of this, the bureaucrat is horrified. Help means "intervention" - and the Commandment Number One for the bureaucrat is: "Never interfere in anything." The state structure in 100 cases from 100 prefers the "nothing happens and everything goes without consequences" option "attempt with a possible failure option."

In order for the US government to intervene in something - oh, it must be something that has already risen over the horizon and has overshadowed half the sky. Then it is able to notice even the most short-sighted and narrow-minded official.

It often happens that “state aid” in reality means “state control”. As soon as control arises from the state, it is almost always a guarantee that the operation will either be phased out or failed. The reason is simple. To insure against all possible problems (well, for example, God forbid, someone will resent the fact of crossing the state border) and ensure success (difficulties with planning, with the military presence of the US Armed Forces staff) the operation details at meetings up to micron aspects - and accordingly dies still in the bud. The “help” of the state hinders the entire course of events, puts an end to improvisation and condemns even the simplest operation to an almost guaranteed failure.

Most of the qualified mercenaries are former military men who know the price of the state’s “aid” perfectly well and do not even risk in theory to deal with such difficulties.

The Neutrality Act is against mercenaries. He says that no one can conduct a "officially unauthorized" military operation from the territory of the United States on pain of arrest and imprisonment. The government can sometimes pretend that this law has been forgotten - but more often it is still used. So for any mercenary operation that is planned and carried out from the territory of the United States, this law is the essence of a punishing sword.

The official commando units that exist within the structure of the US armed forces are designed more so that on occasion the government could say: “Look, we have parts that are capable of a lot”. But only.

This does not mean at all that Wahlaks or cowards serve in these elite divisions - or that they are not capable of anything at all. These fighters are top-class professionals, but they are obliged to obey the decisions of crafty politicians, who are interested only in their careers, or cowardly bureaucrats, who in principle are unable to make a responsible decision. In such conditions, the good parts gradually fizzle out - and the professionals leave them bitterly.

Some legal aspects

The internationally recognized definition of "mercenary" appeared in 1977. This definition is recognized by the United States and other countries. This is what is said in Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 12 in August 1949 of the year, concerning the protection of victims of international armed conflicts.

Article 47. Mercenaries

1. A mercenary is not entitled to the status of a combatant or a prisoner of war.
2. A mercenary is any person who:
(a) Specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in armed conflict;
b) actually takes direct part in hostilities;
c) takes part in hostilities, guided mainly by the desire to receive personal gain, and which is actually promised by the party or on behalf of the party to the conflict, a material remuneration substantially exceeding the reward promised or paid to combatants of the same rank and functions, members of the armed forces of this side;
d) is neither a citizen of a party to the conflict, nor a resident of the territory controlled by the party to the conflict;
e) does not belong to the armed forces of the party to the conflict; and
(f) Not sent by a state that is not a party to the conflict to perform official duties as a member of its armed forces.

As a matter of fact, if a person taking part in a conflict does not fall under the status of a prisoner of war under the Geneva Convention, then he can still be considered a member of an irregular armed group. Provided that the following requirements apply to him, such a person is protected by the Convention:

1. Irregular armed forces are headed by a person responsible for their subordinates;
2. They have a definite and clearly visible distinctive mark;
3. They carry arms openly;
4. They comply with the laws and customs of war in their actions.

According to international law, any national government, regardless of whether it signed the Geneva Convention or not, is obliged to comply with the provisions of the Convention - since they are the basic rule of law for a civilized society. The defendants in the Angolan process 1976 of the year were punished not for their specific offenses of an illegal nature (any employee of any armed forces can be convicted of war crimes), but simply for their status in that armed conflict. International appeals for clemency had no effect. Daniel Gerhart and three more mercenaries were shot 10 on June 1976, another nine defendants were sentenced to long prison terms. On the day when the sentence was carried out, US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger stated:

"No one can forbid a person to lead his chosen lifestyle - but at the same time a professional in his field should not only have the necessary skills, but also be well versed in the political and legal aspects associated with it. Today, more than ever, a professional should count only for himself, his skills and abilities and his training - so as not to get into trouble. Before going into battle, he must learn everything he can about the situation in which he intends to be. "

However, any professional, if he is guided by ideological motives in his actions, can bypass the “mercenary” part of the Protocol - if he expresses a desire to join the ranks of the regular armed formations of the party to which he intends to offer his assistance. So, in the summer of the same 1976, the civilian government of Rhodesia stated that all American citizens who actually take direct part in counter-terrorist operations are full members of the legal armed groups established by the Government of Rhodesia.

All Americans who agreed to sign a contract for service in the Rhodesian Armed Forces did it out of ideological considerations — and not one American received more money than his Rhodesian colleague who was in equal status with him. (Although the servicemen of the Special Aviation Service Regiment or Selus Scouts received additional statutory cash bonuses for killed terrorists). This aspect alone alone draws a clear line between the combatant and the mercenary. At the same time, we note that those of the Americans who signed private contracts for farm protection work or worked in other civilian private security structures were not full members of the armed forces of the state — and received monetary rewards from individuals or corporations. In a number of cases they worked together with police structures, and sometimes on their own initiative.

Further. Article 75 of Additional Protocol I talks about basic guarantees.

1. To the extent that they are affected by the situation referred to in Article 1 of this Protocol, persons in the power of a party to the conflict who do not enjoy more favorable treatment in accordance with the Conventions or in accordance with this Protocol shall under all circumstances humanely and they, at a minimum, enjoy the protection provided for in this article without any adverse distinction based on race, color, sex, language, religion or religion, political Do other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, or on any other similar criteria. Each party must respect the identity, honor, belief, and religious rites of all such persons.

2. The following actions are prohibited and will remain prohibited at any time and in any place, regardless of whether they are being committed by civil or military officials:
a) violence over the life, health and physical or mental state of individuals, in particular:
i) murder;
(ii) torture of all kinds, whether physical or mental;
(iii) corporal punishment; and
iv) injury;
(b) Abuse of human dignity, in particular, humiliating and abusive treatment, forced prostitution or indecent assault in any form;
c) hostage taking;
(d) collective punishment; and
e) threats to commit any of the above actions.

3. Any person arrested, detained or interned for actions related to an armed conflict must be promptly informed in a language he understands of the reasons for taking such measures. Except in cases of arrest or detention for criminal offenses, such persons should be released as soon as possible and in any case, as soon as circumstances justifying arrest, detention or internment have ceased to exist.

4. A person convicted of a criminal offense related to an armed conflict cannot be sentenced and cannot be punished except by an impartial and appropriately established court that observes the generally accepted principles of ordinary legal proceedings, which include the following :
a) the procedure should provide for the accused to be promptly informed of the details of the offense imputed to him and to provide the accused with and before the court all the necessary rights and remedies;
b) no one can be convicted of an offense, except on the basis of personal criminal responsibility;
(c) no one shall be charged with or convicted of committing a criminal offense on the basis of any action or omission that did not constitute a criminal offense in accordance with the provisions of national law or international law, which was applicable to that person actions or omissions; neither can a more severe punishment be imposed than that which was applied at the time when the criminal offense was committed; if, after committing the offense, the law establishes a lighter punishment, then the action of this law also applies to the offender;
(d) Anyone charged with an offense shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law;
(e) Everyone charged with an offense has the right to be tried in his presence;
f) no one shall be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt;
(g) Anyone charged with an offense has the right to interrogate witnesses testifying against him, or to demand that these witnesses be interrogated, as well as the right to call and interrogate witnesses in his favor under the same conditions as for witnesses, testifying against him;
(h) No person should be prosecuted or punished by the same party for an offense for which, in accordance with the same law and judicial procedure, the person has previously been given a final conviction justifying or condemning it;
(i) Everyone who is prosecuted for an offense has the right to have the court sentence pronounced publicly; and
j) in sentencing, the convicted person must be informed of his right to appeal in a court or other procedure, as well as the period during which he can exercise this right.

5. Women whose freedom is limited for reasons related to the armed conflict are held in premises separated from those for men. They are under the direct supervision of women. However, in cases where families are detained or interned, they are, if possible, placed in the same place and kept as separate families.

6. Persons who are arrested, detained or interned for reasons related to the armed conflict enjoy the protection provided by this article until their final release, repatriation or restitution even after the end of the armed conflict.

7. In order to avoid any doubt regarding the prosecution of those accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity and their trial, the following principles apply:
(a) Persons accused of such crimes should be prosecuted and brought to trial in accordance with applicable international law; and
b) any such persons who do not enjoy more favorable treatment under the Conventions or under this Protocol enjoy the treatment provided for in this article, regardless of whether or not the crimes they are charged with are serious violations of the Conventions or this Protocol .

Thus, depending on the situation, a person who has signed an official contract for service in the armed forces (land forces, navy or air force) of a belligerent may rely on the status of a legal combatant and be protected by the provisions of the Convention as a prisoner of war.

Often the question arises: Does an American citizen have the legal right to serve in the armed forces of another state? The answer to this question is quite confusing and we will not risk overloading our notes with sophisticated legal terminology, if in brief - both "yes" and "no." The main provisions for entering the foreign service in the United States are given in Section 18, chapter 45, Code of the United States of America. More specifically, paragraph 959 (a) explicitly states that "Any person who is in the United States ... entered or inclined another to enter ... to serve another state ... as a soldier ... shall be punished with imprisonment for up to three years a fine of up to or without 1000 $. "

In addition, paragraph 1481 (a), Section 8, states that any citizen of the United States of America who has entered the military service of another state, without the written permission of the Secretary of State and the Minister of Defense, will be deprived of citizenship.

Here, however, it should be noted that not so long ago, the Supreme Court ruled that simply a law passed by Congress cannot deprive a person of American citizenship. A person can voluntarily renounce citizenship by taking an oath to foreign armed forces - but the Supreme Court stated that the mere fact of joining a foreign army is a mere volition, and it alone is not enough to deprive citizenship. Thus, despite the widespread opinion, serving as a mercenary or a member of the regular armed forces of another state does not entail an automatic loss of citizenship. With the exception of a few test attempts, the Department of Justice is not eager to deprive the citizenship of American volunteers who participated in or participate in foreign wars.

The Supreme Court ruled that this provision in Section 18 is unconstitutional, at least in its current interpretation. As far as we know, so far no American has been deprived of citizenship in accordance with the paragraphs of this section only because he served in a foreign army. We note, however, that there are cases when American citizens renounced their citizenship and did not acquire it afterwards.

After the Angolan process, most black African countries have become extremely sensitive to the topic of mercenarism. For example, the proposals put forward by Nigeria, in the original, generally deprived the mercenaries of any legal protection. Other Arab and African countries, together with the countries of the Eastern Bloc, initially warmly supported them - exactly until someone remembered about the Cuban and East German "advisers." Moreover, the Palestine Liberation Organization climbed out, insisting that its fighters could not be considered mercenaries under any circumstances. So the final definitions were the result of a compromise - and the US rather quickly accepted these provisions in order to make subtle additions to other articles and paragraphs, at first glance, in particular, protecting the injured and delivering them to medical facilities immediately, as well as protecting sanitary aircraft. devices.

Thus, according to the 47 article of the Protocol, the mercenary was deprived of the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war status. However, even if the party that took the mercenary in captivity did not extend to him the provisions on prisoners of war, the mercenary could still count on a humane treatment - because this was explicitly stated in the 75 article: "To the extent that they are affected by the situation described in Article 1 of this Protocol, with persons under the authority of a party to the conflict and not benefiting from more favorable treatment in accordance with the Conventions or in accordance with this Protocol, are treated humanely in all circumstances, and a minimum, enjoy the protection provided for in this article without any adverse distinction based on race, color, sex, language, religion or religion, political or other beliefs, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, or on any other similar criteria. "

However, these lofty and noble words are unlikely to be a consolation to those who are not lucky to be captured in some part of the world forgotten by God - and it is there that mercenaries mostly work.

Any military professional would agree that this Protocol is observed only by Western democracies. For some reason, many adventure seekers believe that mercenary looks like this: they sign a short-term contract to participate in an operation; this operation itself will be similar to a carefully observed contract with pre-established rules of the game, where all parties will immaculately stick to them. Oh well. True, to put it mildly, it looks much more ugly and rude - for these dreamers, reality can turn into a monstrous shock.

Any soldier who is taken prisoner may be declared a mercenary - and it does not matter that the authors who compiled the Protocol meant something completely different. In order for all signatories, roughly speaking, to blow in one tune, the drafters of the Protocol used the union and to “stitch” together the key definitions of the notion “mercenary”.

It does not matter how obvious this concept is - here it is necessary to exclude the double interpretation of all the points in the whole. If this is not done, then in theory any country can declare that a single item is enough to declare a foreigner a mercenary - and, accordingly, deprive him of his status as a prisoner of war and his defense.

Your profession and your pursuit of luck is, of course, your own business, but before you decide to sign a contract or join the ranks of the Mujahideen, guided solely by ideological motives, make sure that you study and take into account all aspects, including your internationally legal status. Only in this case can your decision be considered reasonable.

Virtually all legal systems recognize unions "and" and "or" as unconditional connecting elements. Even if some nation or state does not recognize traditional legal systems (like, say, many revolutionary governments), then just the laws of semantics will not allow the misinterpretation of these grammatical particles. (Well, here we must add that if you fall into the hands of rebels who hate you simply because of the fact, then all this verbal balancing act, alas, will not save you).

All of the above concerns one simple point - there is no international legal basis for denying you legal protection as a full-fledged combatant. If any party to the conflict wants to execute a foreign soldier for engaging in this conflict, she will certainly do it if she wishes. But at the same time she will have to give a damn about the definitions recorded in the Convention and prepare for the loss of support from public opinion. Well, if this party feels in power, then, of course, it will go to great lengths to drive the alien into the framework defining the concept of a mercenary.

It is not hard to guess why. War is a rather emotional matter and most civilized people, as a rule, need to convince themselves that they are not just howling with some abstract adversary, but with a clear impersonation of evil: with pagans, heretics, fascists, war criminals, child-killers, rapists - and with mercenaries. It is clear that national leaders are making every effort to put their opponents in such an unattractive light - in this case it is much easier to kill, hang and dismember.

The delegates of the diplomatic conference, who developed the provisions of the Convention, understood that the warring parties tend to deprive the enemy of human appearance. The presence of even the tiniest opportunity to brand the legal combatant as a “mercenary” could lead to a massive deprivation of soldiers of their status (and, accordingly, protection) - and the consequences could be the most unpredictable. Therefore, the most reasonable and cold-blooded delegates demanded that the term be as specific as possible.

It is clear that the interpretation of the concept "mercenary" varied and will vary in each country and in each war - below we give examples showing how the provisions of the Protocol may affect a foreigner captured during the fighting, in which he participated as a mercenary .

1. Persons hired by states, corporations, rebel / guerrilla groups to invade another state for a period of several hours to several weeks in order to destroy property, destabilize the situation or free someone.

They are mercenaries in the most literal sense of the term, in which it is spelled out in the 47 article. As a rule, they are recruited abroad precisely in order to fight in an armed conflict or to create an armed conflict where it was not previously there; they are in fact directly involved in hostilities; they participate in hostilities, guided mainly by the desire to gain personal gain; they are paid or promised material remuneration, substantially higher than the reward promised or paid to combatants of the same rank and functions that are part of the armed forces of this party; they are not permanently residing in the territory they invade; they do not belong to the armed forces of the party to the conflict; and they are not sent by any other neutral state to perform official duties as a member of its armed forces.

2. A person or group of people hired to overthrow a government through a military coup.

Using the list provided in paragraph 1, these soldiers can also be safely called mercenaries. There can be only one exception - if they can prove that they were guided not by personal gain, but solely by ideological motives. If not, they will be considered mercenaries - with all the consequences. But to prove that you were driven by ideology, and not reward, as a rule, in such cases it is incredibly difficult.

3. Persons acting as military specialists in partisan / rebel groups in the territory of a foreign country — for example, Che Guevara in Bolivia or Bob Denard in Yemen.

In principle, they are also considered mercenaries - although the main question is whether this partisan formation is an officially recognized belligerent / organization whose employees can be legally assigned to combatants or prisoners of war. New articles of the Protocol theoretically should have clarified this issue, but in reality there is no clarity. It is clear that the overwhelming majority of governments are not eager to recognize their belligerent opponents as legitimate opponents. As a rule, they are stigmatized as “terrorists” - since, while recognizing the legitimacy of armed opposition groups, the government thus questions its own legitimacy. So, neither an aborigine nor a foreigner should count on the understanding of the opposite side in this matter and demand the status of a prisoner of war for himself. The International Red Cross can recognize this partisan formation as legitimate (especially if the rebels are smart enough to declare themselves an anti-colonial or anti-imperialist movement), but only the weapon aimed at the captured partisans is in the hands of government soldiers, not the ICC. Afghan Mujahideen are a good example of anti-imperialist forces: the Red Cross considers them legitimate; Russians spit on this definition and destroy the Mujahideen as soon as possible.

If the guerrilla movement falls under the criteria of the legally recognized national liberation movement, then the members of this formation are considered legal combatants. This means that a foreigner working for UNITU in Angola, SWAPO in South West Africa or the Mujahideen in Afghanistan must - and can - be considered a member of the regular armed forces. At least that's what everyone thinks, except the side that takes him prisoner. Soldiers of the regular armed forces of a state that is not a party to the conflict, sent to perform official duties as a person who is part of its armed forces and accompanying irregular formations can not be considered mercenaries.

Rebel movements / formations that do not use anti-colonial / anti-imperialist slogans / demands in their struggle are usually not considered legitimate (unless the rebels suddenly triumph). So foreigners fighting in El Salvador are considered mercenaries in this case.

4. Persons working for the armed forces of a foreign state, but not included in the personnel of the armed forces of this country.

If foreigners were recruited abroad specifically to fight in armed conflict, and at the same time are not soldiers or officers of a belligerent, then most likely they will be considered mercenaries. If they were invited as instructors, then the situation becomes more complicated. If, as instructors, they found themselves in the epicenter of an armed clash and took direct part in it, then in the case of captivity they have a chance to achieve the status of a legal combatant - in the event that the captive party fails to prove that foreigners were recruited specifically for to fight in a conflict. If they were recruited to train personnel and fight, then from the point of view of international law they are mercenaries. Again, in order to recognize them as mercenaries, the side that captivated them must prove that their material remuneration substantially exceeds the remuneration paid to combatants of the same rank and functions that are part of the other side’s armed forces.

5. Military advisers that are part of the armed forces of one state, officially sent by this state to work with the armed forces of another state or to work with guerrilla groups opposing a foreign government - such as Russian military advisers in Syria, American military advisers in El Salvador or South African military advisers present in the UNITA formations.

These people are not considered mercenaries and cannot be considered. They are the legal exception - persons officially included in the armed forces of any country cannot be recognized as mercenaries.

6. Persons who are enrolled in the armed forces of any state as soldiers or officers, but at the same time belonging to separate formations, for a certain period. A typical example is Michael Hoare’s commando in the Congo in the 1960s.

If these separate formations are legally included in the general structure of the armed forces of a state and are officially considered as such, then the persons serving in these formations are not mercenaries. The personnel of the Hoara battalions fall under the status of legal combatants, with all the ensuing consequences.

7. Foreigners who have signed an official contract for service in the armed forces of the state as a private / sergeant / officer staff - such as the Americans and the British in the Rhodesian armed forces in 1970's.

There are no problems here - they are full-fledged soldiers, and in no way mercenaries. Similarly, those were, say, the Americans who fought in the Royal Air Force in the First and Second World Wars even before the official US entry into the war - as well as the fighters of the Interbrigade in the Spanish Civil War. These are legal combatants protected by their respective status.

8. Soldiers of "foreign legions" - the French Legion Etrangere, the Spanish Legion, the Libyan Arab Legion, etc. formations that joined them for regular service.

Again - they are under the protection of the law, as full-fledged combatants who are part of the armed forces on a legal basis. The fact that this formation consists of foreigners does not change matters.

9. Formally (deliberately) “civilian” personnel engaged in servicing military equipment — for example, specialists responsible for the condition of radars, missiles, and airplanes, which are present in abundance in virtually every country in the Third World.

Again, it all depends on a clear definition. If these specialists were hired specifically for the maintenance of equipment, and not to fight in armed conflict, then they can not be attributed to the mercenaries. But this is a rather poor consolation; if captured, their status will be the same as that of captured civilians or mercenaries. The question of semantics. Foreign technicians in the case of captivity can not claim the status of a soldier. On the other hand, they cannot be considered true mercenaries. Article 75 requires humane treatment. In addition, civilians can expect a slightly better attitude, as this is discussed in Part IV of the Additional Protocol.

10. All personnel of any part of the temporarily "borrowed" or specially hired to fight in armed conflict, often for higher material rewards - such as 20 thousand l / s of the Cuban contingent in Angola or 2 of the Foreign Legion in Kolwezi and Chad.

These persons enjoy all the rights of a legal combatant and are not mercenaries - despite the fact that the country that provided this unit for this task is not officially at war; and despite the fact that, as an expeditionary corps, these soldiers receive more material rewards.

11. Specially trained combatants of foreign origin, officially included in the management structure, and receiving material remuneration substantially higher than the remuneration paid to combatants of the same rank and functions included in the other side's armed forces. For example: pilots from Western countries in the service of some African states; Soviet pilots piloting Libyan fighters; English pilots who fought on the side of Nigeria in the Biathri war in the late 1960's.

Again, these individuals are not mercenaries. Although it may seem that there is a violation of Article 47, in part significantly exceeding the material remuneration, legally they are, nevertheless, protected by the fact that the receiving party does not have specialists of the required qualifications. If local soldiers have no elementary skills, then the very possibility of comparing rewards is missing. A pilot or a high-class technical specialist can receive for his work an amount many times over the salary of an ordinary soldier - and there will be no violation of the law. In addition, he is additionally protected by the status of a full-fledged combatant, since he is a member of the armed forces.

Just being a mercenary is not a crime. This is just a trick that allows the party who took this person into captivity to deprive him of the status of a combatant and equate him to the civilian population - and accordingly do not treat him within the limits provided by the Convention in such cases for military personnel. In any case, Article 75 of the Convention guarantees to both the combatant and the non-combatant a fair trial - which in reality happens rarely.

The demonstration process in Luanda - in which Gerhard and three other people were sentenced to death - is more the rule than the exception for most countries. Virtually no provision of the 75 Article at that court was executed - and the defendants were executed for "mercenary". (True, one of the executed was properly charged with the murder of his subordinates - but it is still unclear whether this accusation served as the basis for the death sentence).

The Angolan example clearly shows that some States have signed this Convention solely for propaganda purposes - and have no intention of complying with the provisions in it. The most recent examples are Iran and Iraq. Both countries have signed the Convention, but openly ignore its provisions concerning the humane treatment of prisoners. Western democracies, like some Asian countries (for example, Japan), are inclined to abide by the provisions of the Convention - at least those parts of it that they have ratified. If the conflict in which they participate is also widely reported by the press, then the prisoners can count on minimal compliance with the requirements of the convention. An example is the recent Falkland conflict - where both parties tried to abide by the provisions of the Convention regarding prisoners of war.

Summing up. In order to be protected by the provisions of the Geneva Convention, it is best to formally join the ranks of the armed forces and not to get involved with underdeveloped countries. In them, the law is not so much complied with as it is used for the needs of the current moment.

So the army, with its support and protection, is good, and it is best to be an official military adviser. But on the other hand, one can get tired of this very soon.

Practical advice

Upon arrival in an African country, you may be asked to fill out numerous forms - so it’s best to keep in mind the necessary passport data. Do not impersonate a journalist or a documentary - the attitude towards them is not always benevolent. In a number of countries, it is necessary to declare the amount of foreign currency delivered to the country — as well as to mark the dates when the foreign currency was exchanged for local currency and to keep checks. When leaving the country, these documents are transferred to the customs authorities. These things should be taken seriously - otherwise you can be accused of violating foreign exchange transactions. You should not change the currency on the black market - financial gain is minimal, and the punishment for this can be very serious. Try to change small amounts - for daily needs. Otherwise, you may have a pile of useless pieces of paper on your hands, which cannot be exchanged for a normal currency even when you leave. Always keep your passport and money with you - pocket theft in African countries is incredibly advanced. It's nice to have a pectoral girdle and wear it under your underwear.

Another useful thing is a pocket phrasebook of the local language. It is even better if you give yourself the trouble to memorize basic phrases and words in a foreign language. Unfortunately, Americans are known in the world for their inability and unwillingness to know a second language. With the exception of residents of Texas, California or Florida, where Spanish is widely spoken, the rest of the Americans do not bother to study foreign dialects. If you plan to work in South America, basic knowledge of Spanish becomes a necessity. In the case of Africa, it is better to lean towards the French and Portuguese - since the main conflicts occur in these regions.

Careful and long-term planning in Africa is pointless - the best solution would be to throw out your watch and enjoy the unhurried pace of local life. “Time” for an African is not at all what “time” is for a Westerner. Inflexible plans often end in total failure.

Upon arrival in Africa, you should not take pictures of airports, harbors, military and everything that can be considered military objects - including bridges and railways. Before you take a picture of someone, always clarify whether there are any objections - many Africans simply do not like being photographed. In a number of countries, the authorities have a negative attitude towards those whom they consider "hippies" and "Western decomposition." In order to avoid, it is recommended to have a short neat haircut and dress modestly. Women and young girls in Africa are generally safe - unless they wear provocatively provocative clothes. In almost all countries in Africa, there are harsh penalties for smoking marijuana and using other drugs.

As in the West, any big city in Africa is not the safest place, so you should not walk there at night, especially in unfamiliar areas. On the other hand, you are much more likely to fall victim to hotel thieves than to be robbed on the street.

You can not wash, bathe or drink from reservoirs with slow running water - bilharziasis caused by the larvae living in these reservoirs in Africa is widespread. At the first signs of dysentery, consult a doctor immediately, as this disease is fraught with serious weakening of the body and dehydration, which in Africa can lead to death. Avoid food prepared in advance and left for a long time. In rural areas, when quenching your thirst, try to always use water purification tablets. It is worth eating in places that look decent. But also you should not categorically refuse the local food that you can offer from the heart in rural areas - at least, this is an interesting gastronomic experience.

The sun in Africa is extremely harsh - so special attention must be paid not to burn in the first few days. Also, do not forget about the loss of salt and sweating - respectively, not only to drink plenty of liquid, but also to take salt. And do not get out without extreme necessity in the sun in the middle of the day.

You should have a first-aid kit with you - there are pharmacies and hospitals in the cities, but in the countryside there may simply not be the most basic drugs. It is recommended that vaccinations against typhoid and tetanus be made in advance. If it is known that malaria is susceptible to the region, then at least two weeks before arrival there, start taking antimalarial drugs. It is very useful to make a token (like a soldier's tag), on which to knock out a blood group, allergic reactions to something (if any) and other existing health problems.

Clothing for Africa needs a little - and it’s better if it is made of cotton. Long-sleeved shirts and high socks are very useful for walking around the bush. Headgear - for example, a hat with a wide brim - is required to avoid sunburn.

Important: for travel (on the plane, at the airport, etc.) all clothes should look as neutral as possible. Under no circumstances wear anything that even remotely resembles a military one. Check the clothes, paper, equipment once again - if something looks like military, then remove it. Try to present yourself as an African customs officer, closely inspecting your belongings at the airport of arrival, and ask yourself - does this or that equipment look like military equipment? If yes - refuse. Make sure that there is not a single camouflage thing in your baggage. In most African countries, this is actually a death sentence. At best, they will beat you enthusiastically for at least a couple of weeks - and only then they will call the consul. Remember that you - have been, are and will remain Pusky Dirty (even if your mother all her life told you the opposite).

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  1. Landwarrior
    Landwarrior 1 June 2013 10: 10
    Very interesting topic.
    I have a somewhat ambiguous attitude towards mercenaries. On the one hand, mercenary is bad and illegal ".... But on the other hand, take at least the guys Mike Hoare (" Mad Mike ") in Katanga. The guys fought great. Not having superiority in manpower and equipment, they managed with equal successfully hit Mordas and black rebels, and government troops, and even UN troops. lol
    1. xetai9977
      xetai9977 1 June 2013 10: 26
      Say what you like, and the European mercenaries in Africa were five goals taller than the non-Groves. All or almost all of them were retired commandos. The names of Michael Hoar, Siegfried Muller, Bob Denard are somehow associated with professionalism and competence in this specific field.
      1. Landwarrior
        Landwarrior 1 June 2013 11: 11
        Yes, exactly. Well, and still have to consider what years it was. Then WWII veterans did not turn into decrepit old people. These were seasoned experienced soldiers who knew how to hold weapons and use them.
    2. brelok
      brelok 1 June 2013 20: 55
      Quote: Landwarrior
      Guys fought great

      Ours in Angola, 66, got a lot from the mercenaries. The father told them the submariners were sent to fight on land. They fought mainly with mercenaries. Even they kept our hand-to-hand fighting. The father said half the company remained there. They fought hard: they gave the father a lieutenant for Angola, and he was an conscript!
      1. Landwarrior
        Landwarrior 1 June 2013 22: 53
        Quote: brelok
        Ours in Angola, 66, got a lot from the mercenaries.

        In the late 80s and early 90s, our people were abandoned in Angola. The captured advisers were chosen as best they could (see the film "Red Africa").
  2. laurbalaur
    laurbalaur 1 June 2013 10: 51
    Interesting article ! Thank ! You read, it’s direct and touched: mercenaries are such darlings (at least in behavior and respect for local customs).
    1. Argon
      Argon 1 June 2013 16: 16
      I honestly didn’t read it to the end, I didn’t have enough patience. In my opinion, these "rules" (not an article) are a product of the activities of the US government or the socio-political organization of the US, or any of the Western democracies concerned that In the wake of the popularity of books (films) about mercenaries, hundreds, if not thousands of "couch commandos" and "Indiano Jones" rushed to Africa. In the best case, becoming, upon arrival, the object of robbery, and in any case, pretty straining the consular service of the homeland, in the country and has the goal of discouraging this desire to travel. From personal experience I can say that it is not possible to create such universal rules of behavior in Africa (do not think that I am some kind of special forces, I’m an engineer) because socio-political, natural
  3. builder
    builder 1 June 2013 13: 10
    Foreigners (even those whom you naively think are friendly to us) have an amazing way of expressing incredibly different opinions from American on world politics. And most of the foreigners, oddly enough, the United States hates - for various reasons
    The problem with other countries is that they are populated by foreigners
    - That's what I call insight. lol
    Article - "+".
  4. builder
    builder 1 June 2013 13: 22
    When I asked Callan, the commander of a mercenary squad, an Englishman born in Cyprus (his real name is Costas Georgiou), what would he do if the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) offered him 300 pounds a week, he reacted instantly to how he reacts an experienced driver for a sudden change in traffic light, and replied:

    - Would go over to the MPLA side.

    I asked another Englishman, Colin Clifford Evans, about the same thing, and he, too, did not hesitate for a second, answering a question with a question:

    - Who will refuse big money?

    I asked an American Daniel Gerhart if he was ready to leave the FNLA for a double fee and go over to the enemy’s side. He cried out innocently:

    “Of course, sir!”

    Argentinean Gustavo Marcelo Grillo stated bluntly that he killed for money and if he were paid better, he would kill with even greater zeal.
    From the book by Raul Valdés Vivo "The collapse of the myth of the mercenaries"
    1. omsbon
      omsbon 1 June 2013 19: 31
      Quote: stroitel
      Argentinean Gustavo Marcelo Grillo stated bluntly that he killed for money and if he were paid better, he would kill with even greater zeal.

      How is a mercenary different from a killer? Nothing! Both of them kill for money.
      1. Landwarrior
        Landwarrior 1 June 2013 19: 53
        Quote: omsbon
        How is a mercenary different from a killer?

        The fact that the killer is a person hired specifically for the murder, and a mercenary can perform many functions, fight, guard, and train at last. Although the laws are equivalent, you can’t argue request
  5. pinecone
    pinecone 1 June 2013 17: 16
    Again these "weapons", "hanging out", with "bush movements" to the pile. From the "sirs" already sick. Write in Russian, good gentlemen.
    1. builder
      builder 1 June 2013 20: 04
      From the "sirs" already sick.
      When I quote the dialogues of the Americans from the book of the Cuban, the word "sir" (for you) will be replaced by comrade. wink
  6. GEO
    GEO 1 June 2013 20: 13
    It seems to me that this is a dupe ... No? It feels like I read it ...
    1. Andrey77
      Andrey77 6 June 2013 02: 31
      SOF, he is "Soldier of Fortune" with us. The article is as ancient as the omno mammoth.
  7. Ivanovich47
    Ivanovich47 2 June 2013 15: 40
    I read to the middle .... I almost fell asleep. Stopped reading.
  8. Apostle
    Apostle 2 June 2013 16: 20
    The impression was that Voennoye Obozreniye was recruiting wink ... a joke ... a good article, interested ...
    1. agrindler
      agrindler 5 June 2013 17: 20
      Maybe you are right! Everything can be! Sometimes it seems that it is!
    2. Andrey77
      Andrey77 6 June 2013 02: 29
      An article from SOF, ancient.
  9. The comment was deleted.
  10. smershspy
    smershspy 3 June 2013 09: 33
    Quote: omsbon
    Quote: stroitel
    Argentinean Gustavo Marcelo Grillo stated bluntly that he killed for money and if he were paid better, he would kill with even greater zeal.

    How is a mercenary different from a killer? Nothing! Both of them kill for money.

    I agree! A mercenary is fighting for money, not for his homeland! I have the honor!
    1. The comment was deleted.
    2. albanech
      albanech 6 June 2013 10: 18
      You can’t but agree!