The guerilla war continued to expand and intensify. In January 1977 Rhodesian sources estimated the number of guerillas operating inside the country at 1,500. In April and September 1977 the estimates rose to 2,500 and 3,600 respectively.2 By September 1977 it was also estimated that there were some 8,000 guerillas ready for action in Mozambique and Zambia.3 The number of casualties rose dramatically with almost

Although the guerillas intensified their operations and strengthened their hold on the African population, particularly in the ZANU areas, the impact of the guerilla effort had not yet decisively shifted the military balance in the guerillas' favour. Smith may have been overoptimistic when saying that his military chiefs had told him that they could go on indefinitely,6 but the Rhodesian military and political leadership, even later in 1977, did not perceive the military situation as being desperate and uncontrollable. They did not totally lose the military initiative on either the internal or the external front. While not able to stop the guerillas' infiltration and the expansion of the guerilla war, the internal military effort was not without success. In almost daily encounters during 1977 the Rhodesians claimed to have killed 1,774 guerillas compared with 1,917 for the period between 1972 and 1976.7 The internal military operations were backed up by an increase in the pace of resettlement of Africans in protected villages.8 However, because of the limited effectiveness of internal operations and the defensive nature thereof, the military thrust was increasingly directed towards external operations in which the security forces could seize the initiative and give expression to their definite superiority in military skill and ingenuity. The external operations were aimed at stemming the guerilla tide by disrupting their training, supply and operations infrastructure, mainly in Mozambique. Besides the extensive use made of the outdated but highly effective air force, the Rhodesian elite units were increasingly deployed in such operations. These operations, directed mainly against ZIPA in Mozambique, culminated in November 1977 in two successive attacks on guerilla bases in Chimoio and Tembue.9 In early 1978 Rhodesian forces began to launch across-theborder attacks on ZIPRA targets in Zambia.1o

The guerilla offensive failed to force the hand of the Rhodesian government partly because of lack of unity and coordination in the guerilla camp. The PF had originally been fonned as an alliance between two distinct political movements. However, in the wake of the Geneva conference the FLP, who had accorded the PF exclusive recognition, were keenly interested in fostering a more binding unity. ZANU and ZAPU also professed unity. Adopting the FLP rationale, Nkomo spoke of the danger of having more than one army at inde-

pendence.ll He sounded enthusiastic about the prospect of unity: "A dream since 1963 has finally come true. These reunification plans between us and ZANU are genuine because it comes from the inside."12 Mugabe stressed the need for a strong army as the motive behind the search for military unity.13