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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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Thursday, July 24, 2008

A STORY ABOUT GREEN LEADER


Any survivors found themselves being attacked by Hunters dropping Frantans and carrying out strikes with their deadly Aden 30 mm cannons.
The K Cars from Seven Squadron led by Squadron Leader Graham Cronshaw arrived like vultures taking on the remnants of the ZIPRA terrorists. Due to the age of the 20mm cannons the Seven Squadron technicians experienced stoppages which they managed to clear in record time.

While the K Cars were cleaning up Green Leader made his famous transmission to Lusaka Tower.
Here is the transcript of what was said in the Green Leader Canberra bomber:-
Most of the conversation takes place between Green Leader Squadron Leader Chris Dickson and his navigator/bomb-aimer.
Portions of this tape were released to the Rhodesia Broadcasting Corporation and the Press immediately after the raid by the Rhodesian Air Force.
The strike force consisted of Green Section (Canberra’s), Red, White and Blue Sections (Hunters) and K-Car helicopter gunships. As the aircraft approached the border, they began their descent from 4,500 feet to 1,600 feet to come in under the Zambian radar with the banter as follows:-
Nav: Start descending from this road.
GL: Okay. Do you want me to maintain the same speed or do you want me to reduce to 250?
Nav: No, maintain the speed. We’ll have to increase it to maintain 300.
GL: Okay.
GL (to formation): Green descending.
Nav: Go right four degrees...
GL: (altimeter setting QNH) 1019 is set now, 4,500 feet, 310 knots.
Nav: Zero-zero-five.
GL: Zero-zero-five. Ya.
GL (to formation): Right, let’s tighten it up a bit now.
Nav: Coming up to one minute out. We’re on track and we’re on time. Get your speed up.
Blue Sec: Green, what’s your level?
GL: Roger, we’re at 1,600 feet.
GL: 290 knots coming up.
Nav: 290 knots.
Blue Sec: Got you visual.

The Hunters come into loose formation joining up with the Canberras.
GL: Okay. We’re coming up to the stream now (Zambezi River).
Nav: Zero-zero-six.
GL: Zero-zero-six we’ve got. We’re crossing the stream now.
Blue Lead: Check.
GL: Well done JR (leading the Hunters).
Nav: Turn left now.
GL: Onto?
Nav: Now, three-zero-four.
GL: Three-zero-four.
Nav: We’re going to have to climb a bit.
GL: Ya. One bird! Three-zero-four. Rolling out now. How’s our speed? We’re holding about 290.
Nav: No it’s fine. Just check on these rivers. Go left—about two degrees.
GL: Three-zero-two. Roger.

Rhodesian Air Force Canberra’s and Hunters are now heading on a course west-north-west towards their target—Joshua Nomo’s ZIPRA Chikumbi (Freedom) Camp at Westland’s Farm.
Nav: We’re a bit starboard of track.
GL: Roger. We didn’t get round that turn as fast as I wanted.
Nav: Speed back 15 knots. On track. On time...
GL: Dead right.
GL: (Looking at the Hunters flying in formation with them): These Hunters with this bloody golf bomb here, or something. It’s all painted bloody red. Quite f. . .ing weird!
Nav: Go two degrees left.
GL: Roger, that makes us three-zero-zero. I was on three-zero-two.
Nav: Steer three-zero-two.
GL: Three-zero-two. I was on three-zero-two.

The Canberra at low level is very susceptible to the turbulence and flying can be extremely uncomfortable. The pilot and the navigator can be heard trying to breathe normally, but the air is forced out of their lungs as they hit each bump. There had been a case of structural failure in the air force Canberras.
GL: Oh shit! I hope the f.. .ing wings don’t fall off!
Nav: What’s your speed?
GL: 275—which is the 15 you wanted off. Do you want me to get down?
Nav: Yes. You can go down a bit.
Nav: OK. We’re on track, on time.
GL: Dead right—it’s about a minute and a half before the Hunters leave us.
Nav: Two starboard onto three-zero-four.
GL: Two starboard.
Nav: No, make it three-zero-five
GL: Three-zero-five. OK.
Nav: Make it three-zero-six.
GL: Three-zero-six. OK, you ‘ye got it.
GL: There’s not a peep out of tower so that’s going to be superb. We won’t have to talk to him.

The attack aircraft were listening in on the Lusaka tower frequency to see if they had been picked up on Zambian radar. It was time for the Hunters to accelerate ahead for their attack.
Nav: The Hunters will be going in about 50 seconds.
GL: Roger.
Nav: Go right another two degrees.
GL: Three-zero-eight?
Nav: Ya.

The voice s of Lusaka tower controllers are heard talking to a Kenya Airways flight.
GL: That’s the bloody tower.
Nav: OK, just stand by sir, we’re coming up to...


A second Canberra pilot offers advice to Green Leader
2nd Canberra: I think we passed it—I think that rise on the right, is the one. That should have been our turning point.
GL (to 2nd Canberra): Oh! Shut up, man.
Nav (to GL): OK. Go Hunters go!
GL (to Hunters): Blue Section Go. Blue Section Go.

Blue Section, with JR Blythe Wood, Tony Oakley and Baldy (Malcolm) Baldwin leaves to carry out its mission.
Nav: OK. They were spot on time.
GL: That’s OK. Roger—270 knots. You ‘ye got it now. Shit, they only accelerated bloody quickly.

Just before 08h30 and the ZIPRA forces were all on parade as the Hunters prepared to dive down on them with their cargoes of golf bombs.
Nav: Heading now two-eight-one, sir.
GL: Two-eight-one. Roger.
Nav: When I give you ‘doors’, can you switch on at the same time?
GL: Will do.
Nav: OK! We’re coming up to 40 seconds to turn, sir.
GL: Roger.
Nav: We passed a river on our left here. We’ll see the bridge fairly shortly.
GL: We ‘ye passed two-eight-one. Shall I turn back on it now?
Nav: Yes, back to two-eight-one.
GL: Two-eight-one we’ve got.
Nav: Can you bring the speed back—240?
GL: Steering two-eight-one.
Nav: Two-eight-zero.
GL: Two-eight-zero.

Green Section is now heading on a westerly course, which will take them over the ZIPRA Terrorist camp.
Nav: Everything is set up and ready.
GL: There’s a school coming up.
Nav: Roger, I have 310 knots, two-eight-zero, QNH 1019.
GL: There’s nothing from tower and I’m not going to call them. OK?
Nav: Okeydoke.
GL: It’s going to be perfect.
Nav: Little dam coming up. We’re drifting port. Go to the right. Two-eight-three. Two-eight-four.
CL: Two-eight-four? Or two-eight-five?
Nav: J want to do a kink, sir, to get it spot on.
GL: Tell me when to roll out.
Nav: Go left. Two-eight-two.
GL: Roger, coming up to two minutes to run. Two-eight-two. Got two minutes to run. Perfect.
Nav: Go left a bit. Steady.
GL: Two-seven-eight?
Nav: Two-eight-two!
GL: A school coming up—acceleration point. Two-eight-two is the heading.
Nav: OK. We should start accelerating now.
GL: Roger. Shall I go?
Nav: Just leave it in case they (the Hunters) are going to be a bit late— to the minute.
GL: OK.
Nav: Accelerate!
GL: Roger.

The tension in the Canberra becomes apparent. The voices of both the pilot and navigator go up an octave and they begin to speak quickly, using short phrases.
Nav: You want to get your doors open.
GL: Yes, as soon as I’ve got my speed.
Nav: Go left a bit. Go left.
GL: More?
Nav: No. OK. Flatten out on two-eight-two. Quickly. Carry on. Flatten out. Quickly. Carry on.
GL: Roger.
Nav: Up there—target!
GL: Ab! Beautiful. Yes! Switches. Speed up, or is it OK?
Nav: Speed’s fine. Go left. Steady. Steady. Two-seven-eight.
GL: Roger.
Nav: Steady. Steady. Left a touch.
GL: Beautiful!
Nav: Steady. Steady. Left a touch. Steady. Steady. Steady. Can I switch the doors open?
GL: Yes. Switch your doors.

The adrenalin is now pumping in the Canberra cockpit as excitement reaches fever pitch. Both the pilot and the navigator are shouting. They realize that the strike is going to be right on target. They can see the terrorists running.
Nav: Right. I’m going to put them into the field.
GL: Yes!
Nav: Steady. I’m going to get them. Steady.
GL: YES! F. . .ing beautiful!
Nav: Steady. Steady. NOW! Bombs gone. . . They’re running...
GL: Beautiful! Jeez! You want to see all those bastards. The f.. .ing bombs are beautiful!

The tension in the crews’ breathless voices eases, but the euphoria carries on for a long time. The fact that they have another duty to perform in getting the message to Lusaka tower reduces the elation for a moment they have a job to do. They have a written message to read out.
GL: Roger, just let me get onto the f.. .ing tower and give them our bloody message. Where’s this f. . .ing piece of shit? (the message).
Nav: Things will be better when you’ve climbed up, sir. (Radio communication with the tower).
GL: Yes, I know. I’m just trying to get the thing ready...
Nav: That was lovely! F. . .ing hundreds of the bastards. It worked out better than we could have.. they ran straight into the bombs.
GL: Those f...ing bastards.
Nav: Look out for aircraft, sir.
GL: There’s the bloody city. There.

Alouette 3 K-Car gunships can be then heard over the target, with their cannons firing.
Nav: Are we putting in K-Cars here?
GL: Yes, they’ve got K-Cars there. They’ll have a beautiful time. They are like f…ing ants running around there. Jeez. That was marvelous. Shit!
Nav: Straight ahead for one more minute.
GL: OK
Nav: Keep an eye open, sir.
GL: Yes, I was going to say – a big pylon.
GL: Just check the tape recorder while you’re there. Otherwise just leave it.
Nav: OK. Still running.
GL: Roger. OK. Let me get this spiel off. (He obviously had a pre- prepared statement to read out)
GL: Lusaka Tower, this is Green Leader. How do you read?
(No answer)
Lusaka tower, this is Green Leader.
Lusaka tower: Station calling tower?
G.L.: Tower this is Green Leader. This is a message for the Station Commander at Mumbwa from the Rhodesian Air Force. We are attacking the terrorist base at Westlands Farm at this time. The attack is against Rhodesian dissidents and not against Zambia. Rhodesia has no quarrel, repeat no quarrel with Zambia or her security forces. We therefore ask you not to intervene or oppose our attack. However, we are orbiting your airfield at this time, and are under orders to shoot down any Zambian Air Force aircraft which does not comply with this request and attempts to take off. Did you copy all that?
Lusaka tower: Copied!
G.L.: Roger, thanks. Cheers!
GL: Jeez, you should have seen the bombs raining down form the other aircraft here. F…ing unreal.
Nav: I hope the K-Cars get those bastards. I was so tempted to drop short.
GL: But the other ones (alpha bombs from other Canberras) were going onto them.
Nav: They were running that way.
Nav: It couldn’t have worked out better – they ran straight into the bombs. I couldn’t believe it.

The Canberras are now setting course for New Sarum, and Green Leader deals with the air traffic problems that have arisen at Lusaka.
Lusaka tower: Rhodesian Air Force, 118.1.
GL: Go ahead.
Tower: Can you confirm we can let our civil aircraft take-off from here? You have no objection?
GL: Roger. We have no objection there, but I advise you for the moment to stand-by on that. I request that you hang on for a short while—half an hour or so.
Tower: I copy. Can you please keep a listening watch on this frequency so we can ask you what we want to ask?
GL: Roger will do.
Tower: What do I call you?
GL: Green Leader!

Having dropped their golf bombs, Blue Section has completed their task, the Canberras are heading for New Sarum and the K-Cars and White Section (John and Dave) to mop up the scene. K-Car cannons can be heard in the background of the pilot interchanges. Meanwhile Red Section (Alf Wyldeand Jim Stagman) are still orbiting the Mumbwa Airbase to deal with any possible threats from the Zambian Air Force.
K-Car Lead: How does it look?
K-Car 1: Beautiful. (Bursts of machine gun fire).
White Lead: What would you like us to take out?
K-Car Lead: White Section—I think that building you are going for was taken out completely but you might like to have a re-go at it just to make absolutely certain.
White Lead: Roger. White 2, White Leader. Sir, if you would like to watch my strikes and then re-strike after us.
White 2: Roger.
White Lead: I think if you could take out the radio shack down there if you know which one it is.
White 2: Affirmative.
White Lead: Roger, sir—if you take out that one I’ll put my frans on the headquarters. I’ll be attacking from south to north.

The Kenya Airways aircraft, which has been denied landing permission, is becoming more and more frustrated with Lusaka tower. But the tower has other immediate concerns.
Kenya Airways: Lusaka tower this is Kenya 432.
Tower: 432 stand by.

The command Dakota, Dolphin 3, with Air Commodore Norman Walsh on board has kept a listening watch but has not heard the result of the Canberra attack.
Dolphin 3: We’ve heard nothing from Green Section. Confirm they did go through?
K-Car Lead: Affirmative. Right on target.
Dolphin 3: OK. Thanks very much.
GL: Dolphin 3 from Green Leader.
Dolphin 3: Green Leader, this is Dolphin 3, go ahead.
GL: Roger. Shortly I’m going to ask you to take over.
Tower: Green Leader, Lusaka.
GL: Go ahead.
Tower: How much longer is this operation?
GL: Roger. If you’ll hang fire, I’ll advise you shortly. Tower: I have one to take off to the north and if you have no objection one to take off to the south. Civilian, you know.
GL: Request you hold them for another ten minutes.
Tower: Roger. Will do.
GL: Lusaka, this is Green Leader. Would you now contact Dolphin 3. He’ll be taking over my transmissions.
Tower: Roger. Dolphin 3, Lusaka.
Dolphin 3: Lusaka, this is Dolphin 3, do you read me?
GL (interjecting): Dolphin 3, this is Green Leader. I have advised Lusaka to hold their The captain of the Kenya Airways jet asks who has priority. Lusaka tower replies in all truth: I think the Rhodesians do!
Meanwhile Green Section Canberras have moved out of range and Green Leader is checking with Salisbury radar. Green Leaders final transmission:
GL: Salisbury radar, this is Green Section.
Salisbury: Green Section, radar.
GL: Flight level 250. We’ll be top of descent at 58, the field at 08 and request priority landing for all our aircraft.
Salisbury: Report top of ‘D’.
civilian traffic for another ten minutes. We’re going out of range shortly.
Dolphin 3: Roger. Lusaka, this is Dolphin 3. Just a message that you are to keep your air traffic on the ground for another ten minutes. Did you copy, over?
Tower: Copied, thank you. I have a civilian aircraft coming in from the north to land in about one-zero minutes. Any objection to him coming in to land?
Dolphin 3: Roger, there is no problem with that. You can let him come in and land. The main thing is that if there is any air force, repeat air force traffic, they are to remain on the ground. You can let that civilian traffic land—there’s no hassle on that.
GL (to his Nav): The Hunters are f.. .ing squalling back like scalded cats up there making little trails of white shit in the sky.
It was not long after the initial Strikes on FC CAMP that wounded ZIPRA cadres were arriving in large numbers at Lusaka’s hospitals for assistance.
The first wave of K Cars returned to Mana Pools to refuel and re-arm for the next round of action.
At 1140 am the camp at Mkushi was attacked with Hunter and Canberra strikes going in first. A wave of six Dakota’s came in dropping 120 members of the SAS in the west and northern boundaries of the Mkushi base camp.

K Cars including Ian Peacocke and myself flew around the Mkushi River to the east of the target area.
Sticks consisting of 44 SAS troopers were put down in the contact area by 11 G Cars to the south east of the camp.
Once the SAS troops moved into position and began to sweep and making contact with the terrorists, they found themselves taking on female cadres. These women were dressed in camouflage and khaki uniforms and fought back at the Rhodesians with aggression. By this time there were many grass fires in the area and I sat behind the 2omm Cannon looking for targets, the camp area was dotted with foxholes and Russian style zig zag trenches.
At first there were very few targets to engage, however things quickly changed.
I was sitting eating some bully beef from a rat pack surveying the ground below me and watching raptors flying in front of the grass fires emanating from the strike area, suddenly as if by magic my eyes adjusted to the scene below, I saw movement and it was in front of the bushfires which were burning slowly.
The area in front of the fire was riddled with terrorists who were slowly crawling away from the camp in front of the fire.

I went cold, the adrenalin began to pump and I had to get a grip of myself before telling Ian what I had spotted. “Boss – get ready-I’ve spotted a shit load of gooks. From the river –go three hundred meters-in front of that grass fire, they’re armed and crawling in front of the fire.”

The K Car jinked as Ian spotted the terrorists. I brought the heavy cannon to bear as Ian adjusted his orbit to suit and I yelled “K Car’s firing!” as I began to double tap the heavy cannon at the numerous targets on the ground. It was like a duck shoot at first as the terrorists were reluctant to run as the surrounding bush was open savannah and any break out would have been put down immediately from the deadly blast of my 20 mm HEI rounds.
We flew along the fire line taking out many targets both trying to hide on their own or bunched up in groups. I also saw tracer coming out of some of the foxholes and put a round of 20 mm HEI into them as well. The game was on and we were culling gooks like a well oiled machine. There was a fair amount of small arms fire coming back at us but a lot lighter than we expected.

After some time in the orbit we were relieved by another K Car and flew to an “Admin area about eight clicks to the southeast. Fuel had been paradropped at this assembly point for our helicopters which was in a grassy plain known to Zambian’s as a dambo, as I was refuelling we had to “take cover!” as a fuel drop took place, there were drums dropping all over the place with some of them having broken their harness come screaming down and hitting the ground with a bang, the impact sending the drum lids spinning wildly into the surrounding bush!
While we were refuelling a few G Cars arrived carrying captured female terrorists who were wearing khaki uniforms, they were quickly taken to a secure area.
While we were refuelling a radio message came over the net to warn us of an enemy aircraft which was seen stooging around the area but nothing came of it.

On the third day of the attack the SAS were preparing to return to Rhodesia when they were alerted of an armed patrol Mkushi camp. They ambushed this patrol which consisted of the Zambian police and army with ZIPRA terrorists in their midst’s. This contact resulted in 47 Zambians and terrorists being killed and the ZIPRA Logistics officer, a Zambian soldier was also captured in this action.

These two, together with five female captured ZANLA terrorists were flown back to Rhodesia.
The ZIPRA Logistics officer turned out to be a terrorist known as Mountain Gutu and would be good for the Rhodesian intelligence soon afterwards as he gave the Rhodesians intelligence on other ZIPRA Logistics bases which were attacked by fixed wing aircraft on 2-4 November.

I can also recall that we recovered to Mana Pools after each day and after debriefing were sent to various places to spend the night. We spent one night at Makuti with some game rangers who took it on themselves to take care of us. We had a magnificent night with them braaing (roasting) meat over a wood fire and beers flowing, we were exhausted but the adrenalin was still flowing. I can recall singing the Engineer’s song ,”A Prick of steel” with Dick Paxton with our dicks wrapped in tin foil!

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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.