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Operation Dragon Rouge



5 Commando,Katanga Mercenaries

AKA Wild Geese

Mike Hoare, Commander, then Major


    I realize with the Internet today what I am writing can easily be substantiated with a little work with today being 9.25.05, about five years after I started my attempt to go on line and write about events that happened many years ago. All I have to go on is a foggy memory, a few photos and a willingness to set forth facts that are on record everywhere else but here. I will be writing about men who's breed probably do not exist but the movie and television industry have painted a picture of Mercenaries in a vary bad light. When I say "Breed of Men" guess this can be the only way I can tie Isshinryu into why I would have such a page as the Wild Geese. Without Isshinryu and it's unique ability to make a man do the undoable, I would not have survived up to today.


    Maybe today they do not amount to much but during the Stanleyville uprising circa New Years eve 1964 the mercenaries were the only thing standing between innocent civilians and animals called Simbas.


    Actually I didn't start out as wanting to be part of any operation or event which came down but circumstances just happened and some things just cannot be turned down.


    There were men in the Federal Government who trusted no one and they wasted many men and time wanting even the smallest bit of information.


    I started my life as a auto body mechanic when I was about 15. A friend of mine, Ed Chambers, worked as a janitor of sorts for St James Church and School in Steelton, PA


    Ed is same age as I. Little did I know that starting out playing with cars always seem to sentence you to a life time of doing just that.


    Anyway, I was sent to work at Durban Motor Cars LTD on West Street. This was a Rover dealership owned by Mike Hoare. This is how I was supposed to transfer information back to the states but there is an old saying,'Water seeks its own level', and Mike was my kind of man.


    I was offered money do do some work but didn't, at the time, want to get involved. Then Mike stole a Red 1963 MGB from a guy named K.N. Swayer, Supervising Engineer of Unit Rig Corporation, a business with a home office in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Mike gave me the car and I was hooked. We finally ended up using the car going somewhere bad, I forget now, but we overloaded it and it broke down, it was left abandoned where it stopped. I had plans for that car. I finally ended up with a Black three year old Porsche. All I remember about it was that it was a convertible and had oversized Michelin tires.


    By the time I left South Africa I could not take the car anyway.


    Mike was born in Northern Ireland and served with the Chindits in Burma during World War 2, ranked as Major. When Mike ended up in Katange, the wealthiest province in the Congo, he was commissioned by Tshombe into the Gendarmerie De Katanga as Major. Mike had one weakness; he liked Horse racing at Greyville Race Course. He also was a Born again Christian which forced us to hide our booze in Coconuts.


    Won't go into the details written in Striped Moons, an unpublished biography, because it is too graphic, embarrassing and humiliating. At the time I wrote it I was a younger man and the things we did and lived through seemed manful, now the feeling is gone and a sort of shame dwells in the soul.


    I will write the specifics of just one of the several operations I worked with him. Later I butted heads with Neil Gallagher because his interests and Mikes were completely different regarding the Seychelles.

Operation Dragon Rouge


    Stanleyville, estimated population 150,000 at the time, is 350 miles from Bukavu at the head of Navigation for the middle portion of the Congo river. It is surrounded by miles of jungle, apartment houses on wide boulevards, warehouses, large villas, shops. You could see the white water rapids of the Stanley Falls, taken from the Stanley-Livingston episode.


    Also set there was the American Consulate. Looking at the Consulate, it had a large white and Red roofed villa with a swimming pool. It also was where the employees of the Embassy, Nuns, Priests, civilians, and a lot of children were being held hostage by Lieutenant General Nicholas Olenga, Commander in Chief of the Peoples Army of Liberation. He was the leader of bastards who called themselves Simbas. Before Olenga held this post he was a railroad clerk.


    The United Nations forces had abandoned the hostages there at the mercy of the Simbas.


    The Simba's had a sort of Mascot called Madame Orena, who by the way, had a $50,000 price on her head and I sure wanted that. The Simbas look like something out of a Johnny Weissmuller movie, if you ever saw old time movies. Bare-chested, barefoot, marked with mud and had animal skins draped over their bodies. They were between 14 and 16 years old. They were treacherous bastards, got their strength from Madame Orena, a witch doctor, who had them believing they were invincible.


    As I stated I am not going into specifics but we kicked a lot of ass and did the same to them as they did to others. Among these things were making them drink gasoline and then sticking them and sitting them on fire, tying them between jeeps and pooling them apart, castrating and Crucification. You see they did the same thing to any hostage they caught, Belgian Nuns, Priests, women and children. We never raped, they were too ugly, buy they did get a kind of do as to others thing. They also, and this is gospel, cut out livers and ate them, beheaded many and mutilated anything that walked. Their favorite targets were the Nuns.


    When we started out we had 120 mercenaries, of whom about 100 who spoke English and only about 35 had previous military backgrounds. We ended freeing the hostages and losing about half of the group.

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Copyright 2005 Harry G. Smith