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Nairobi, Kenya
I an ex member of both 7 and 8 Squadron's of the Rhodesian war spending most of my operational time on Seven Squadron as a K Car gunner. I was credited for shooting down a fixed wing aircraft from a K Car on the 9 August 1979. This blog is from articles for research on a book which I HAVE HANDED THIS MANUSCRIPT OVER TO MIMI CAWOOD WHO WILL BE HANDLING THE PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK OF WHICH THERE WILL BE VERY LIMITED COPIES AVAILABLE Contact her on yebomimi@gmail.com The latest news is that the Editing is now done and we can expect to start sales and deliveries by the end of April 2011

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

K Car Gunships Rhodesia CHOPPERTECH

Dalmation Gunship SAAF above we operated them in Rhodesia : Photo SA Bushwar page.

K Car gunship (without army commanders seat) This is a SAAF aircraft similar to the Rhodesian models. My Choppertech book will have many photographs of Rhodesian K Cars in the bush war.
This photo SA Bushwar page.

In my book Choppertech I will describe Rhodesian Air Force Operations in K Car gunships and G Cars during the Rhodesian war and relate many operations and contact in which I was involved. I also describe many incidents and accidents relating to Seven Squadron helicopter crews in the bush war.
When the bush war began in ernest from 1972 with attacks on white farms in the North Eastern districts of Rhodesia the Air Force operated with G Cars armed with 7.62 MAG machine guns.
As the war escalated the G Cars were re-armed with faster firing .303 Browning machine guns of WW2 vintage, each gun being armed with 500 rounds of ammunition.
K Cars came into being after the Rhodesians saw them in operation in Mocambique being operated by the Portugeuse.
K Cars were armed with Matra MG 151 20mm cannons which were bolted to the floor of the Alouette fitted to floor mounts.
This 20mm cannon utilised a short cartridge thus reducing muzzle velocity and recoil and had a relativley slow rate of fire which suited Fireforce operations.
The cannon was fitted with a Collimateur deflection sight which was calibrated for the cannon to fire at 90 degrees from the left hand door of the helicopter to a fore and aft axis from an altitude of 800 feet and an airspeed of 65 kts.
Most of our experienced crews preferred to operate at 600 feet and 70 kts.
Due to the price of the rounds only experienced gunners were deployed on K Car gunships.
The cyclic rate of fire was 350 rounds per minute and the gunner normally fired two to three rounds per burst. We gunners had to make a kill within three to five rounds.
The 20 mm HEI rounds are highly effective in hard ground and frustratingly ineffective in heavy vegitation or soft ground. We normally armed the ammunition belts with four HEI to one ball round.
Dalmation Gunship
The Dalmation gunship was introduced in 1979, this was a South African invention where the K Car was equipped with four hydraulically operated .303 Browning machine guns.
These Dalmation gunships normally operated at very low level as K Car 2 and were used for clearing fire as .303 ammunition was readily available. Each gun fired at a cyclic rate of 500 rounds per minute.
In Choppertech I describe operations in which the Dalmation gunships operated and thier sucesses and failures.
K Cars operated with a crew of three being the pilot and technician /gunner and the Army commander who normally held the rank of Major.
The pilot or K Car Army commander would normally control operations and troops on the ground.
Choppertech describes these Fireforce activities in detail.

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I welcome comments from everyone on my book Choppertech.
I am interested especially on hearing from former ZANLA and ZIPRA combatants who also have thier story to tell.