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The Bushveldt Carbineers (BVC) were a short-lived, multinational mounted infantry regiment of the British Army, raised in South Africa during the Second Boer War. The BVC is recognized as the world's first modern Special forces[citation needed] for the use of counter insurgency (COIN) tactics.[citation needed] The 320-strong regiment was formed in February 1901 and commanded by an Australian Colonel R. W. Lenehan. It was based at Pietersburg, 260 Kilometres north-east of Pretoria, and saw action in the Spelonken region of the Northern Transvaal during 1901-1902. About forty percent of the men in the BVC were Australians, and the regiment also included about forty surrendered Boers, known as "joiners", who had been recruited from the internment camps.

The unit is infamous as the one in which Australian Lieutenants Harry "Breaker" Morant and Peter Handcock were serving when they were court martialed. They were executed on 27 February 1902 by a firing squad of Cameron Highlanders, having been convicted by the British army of murdering a civilian and Boer prisoners of war. Breaker Morant claimed that the BVC was given an order not to take prisoners. Lieutenant George Witton who had also been sentenced to death by the court-martial, later commuted to life imprisonment, was released after serving 28 months following a public outcry.

See also[edit | edit source]

  • James Christie, an account by a member of the BVC (Bushveldt Carbineers)

References[edit | edit source]

  • The Bushveldt Carbineers and the Pietersburg Light Horse by William (Bill) Woolmore (2002, Slouch Hat Publications Australia) ISBN 0-9579752-0-1

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