In the 1960s and 70s, the small besieged country of Rhodesia was seen as something of the Israel of Africa. Their military, largely operating on a broken shoestring of a budget, had to improvise, adapt, and overcome. Many of their small unit tactics were revolutionary.
Rhodesian soldier of fortune Mike Rousseau was a private military contractor to the Portuguese colonial forces in nearby Mozambique during the Mozambican War of Independence. In literally the last days of that war in September 1974, Soviet-backed FRELIMO rebels and Portuguese forces locked horns in a counter-coup at Lourenco Marques International Airport. A Kalashnikov-toting rebel at a distance of about 8-10 yards confronted Rousseau. Armed only with a handgun, the Rhodesian popped two rounds center mass into Mr. AK47 bad person seemingly without effect. A third round was then placed to the head that, severing his spinal column when it hit low, stopped said bad person for good.
- Many private military contractors wound up in southern Africa from 1964-1990. One of them was the supposed inventor of the Mozambique Drill
Rousseau soon left Mozambique, met Colonel Jeff Cooper and imparted his story to him, and promptly died in the Rhodesian Civil War. Colonel Cooper took the story, dubbed it the 'Mozambique Drill', and began teaching it at his school after 1976.
The drill was soon picked up everywhere and in October 1977, the German commando group GSG-9 splashed four terrorists on the tarmac inside Lufthansa Flight 181 in Mogadishu with two to the chest, and one to the head. British SAS commandos who observed the Germans in turn recycled it for the Iranian Embassy Siege in 1980. By 1981, the "Mozambique Pattern" was so widespread that it was even being referred to in episodes of Magnum P.I.
GSG-9 using the MD vs Terrorists in 1977, = Winner GSG9
LAPD SWAT borrowed to concept, renamed it the 'Failure Drill', and began widely teaching it. Over the past 38 years, this drill has evolved into two different animals.
To Pause or Not to Pause
The classic Mozambique Drill, in the hands of 'operators' such as military, elite counter-terror teams, SRT units and the like eliminates the pause between the pair of rounds fired center mass and the single round to the head. In the Marines, it is referred to as the 'Box Drill' while others use the term 'Triple Tap'. This drill is fast, reliable, and increases the likelihood of making a kill and moving past the threat. It is performed in about 2 seconds and all three shots are fired without hesitation other than adjusting aim. This is fired like:
The Mozambique ran five times with good results. Photo By Brian Cremer.
The law enforcement, security, and civilian personal defense community have their own version of the Mozambique Drill. Often referred to as the 'Body Armor' or 'Failure to stop' drill, it differs from the above in that there is a noticeable pause after round 2 is fired to see if round 3 is needed. This is especially useful when encountering assailants with body armor, or under the influence of drugs. Conducted in about four seconds the drill is fired like: bang-bang to center mass - (pause to assess while remaining on target) and bang to the head zone (if needed)
Make no mistakes; all of the above is a potentially lethal use of force. Off the battlefield however, civil liability directs that the minimum of force be used to stop a threat. The drills are out there and easy to learn if given enough range time and brass equity. However, it is up to the individual shootists to decide how they train and who will judge their actions in the end.
I am sure Mike Rousseau would say the same thing.