About Me

My photo
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

Blog Archive

Search This Blog

There was an error in this gadget

Pages

Followers

Sunday, April 27, 2008

THE RUSSIAN FRONT


I am interested in hearing from anyone who operated in the so-called Russian Front of the South East border of Rhodesia from 1976 until the termination of the bush war.
I am interested in the Operations which were carried out externally into Mocambique and along the main road and railway line.
Members of the SAS,RLI, Selous Scouts and Independant Companies carried out various missions from snatching civillians and soldiers to mining the main roads and railway.
Many recon patrols and follow up missions were also carried out in this area.
As a member of Seven Sqadron Rhodesian Air Force I flew many missions into Mocambique from Mabalahuta, Palfreys Store or Grootvlei and sometimes from Boli.
On some operations we went in high level and others very low level even flying under the Caborra Bassa power lines (which were an important landmark in the area).
We also were on constant standby with our Pegasus "Hot extraction gear" in Chiredzi's Buffalo Range Airport in case troops operating in Freddieland ran into trouble.
I would like to highlight these external operations and thier results in my book and would be grateful for any personal accounts of the operations and the Airforce input.
I do recall that the Dakota used to take off at last light from Buffalo Range airfield at night to drop off water and supplies to the troops operating in this harsh area of Msimbiti and ironwood scrub.
I also recount having to fly into Mocambique from Palfreys Store on a few occasions to search for troops who had been separated froM thier sticks and were being pursued by Freddies (FRELIMO)
I am also interested in any operations along the Nuanetsi River and along the minefield into the Sengwe TTL and from Grootvlei.
Here is some text from an unknown Support Cdo soldier who operated in this area:-
In 1978 it was concieved that each RLI Commando would spend an entire bush trip attached to the SAS.
It would be better use of RLI instead of Strikeforce operations. I was Support Commandos MA3 and here are some of the ops we did. Firstly we went to the SAS camp on Lake MacLlwane for Klepper canoe and landmine training. The fancy new anti-vehicle landmine with anti lift/detection features was covered with dark brown plastic hence the name "chocolate cake". Sadly some SAS personnel wisecracked RLI would blow themselves up with this mine which caused lingering bad feelings between the two units that were on the same side. I still went over and chatted to my SAS mates I had known from various courses trying to learn how thier war was going. One told me that he had laid a mine 100 meters from the front gate of a gook camp and he was nervous as hell planting it.
First op was a joint land mine job by the SAS and Support Commando deployed from Mabalahuta Camp. Each stick member carried an anti vehicle landmine as we laid them in sets of four. First a Russian TM mine then a kilometer down the road a chocolate cake, another kilometer a chocolate cake, then a Russian TM mine a further kilometer. SAS were deployed by parachute via Dakota to thier AO, we by chopper. Being the MA3 I went to the stick that had the deepest penetration of Mozambique. To enable a G Car to fly to our area of operations and back on one tank of gas it could only carry two soldiers thus we went in two choppers. When we landed deep in the area known as the Russian front and we could smell the sea from the Indian Ocean. We were to mine one road, get re-supplied and do another road the following night. The area was very sandy and we wore sandbags over our feet to help disguise our tracks. While hiking to our road we disturbed one of the biggest herds of wildlife I have ever seen, hundreds of wildebeest and zebra ran past us for quite a while. When we finally reached the road it had 4-foot high elephant grass growing in the middle. Wrong road! We were dropped in the wrong location so had a very long hike to the target road. We only ended up mining one road. I did security up the road each time while the sergeant did the planting of all four mines.
Returning to Rhodesia the next day I was seated by the door across from the Tech enjoying the long chopper ride at treetop level watching giraffe and other game below. Suddenly the Tech's eyes bulged out of his head and he screamed into his mouthpiece. Our Chopper pulled up as sharp as possible. Those huge power lines that ran down the Mocambiquan side of the border were in our face. We just barely flew over the top strand in slow motion. It was right there! Right bloody there! I could easily have stepped out of the Chopper on to it! The chopper wheels must have missed it by a milimeter seriously! I looked over at the tech, his eyes rolled upward than closed and his body sagged, I honestly thought he fainted. He than opened them several seconds later and had a few more gray hairs. SAS told us later that our joint campaign had caused about 200 casualties including 12 FRELIMO sapper teams RENAMO probably got the official credit for it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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.