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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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Monday, August 24, 2009

MIKE BORLACE AND MIKE UPTON



MIKE BORLACE AND MIKE UPTON
On the 27 March 1976 Mike Borlace and Mike Upton were operating in a K Car with the Mtoko based fireforce which was despatched to Mudzi near the Mozambique border for an operation which turned out to be a lemon (failure).
The fireforce were told to return to Mtoko on the 27 March which they did carrying sticks of RAR troopers and an RAR major in the K Car, the remainder of the fireforce set sail for Mtoko by land tail.
On arrival at Mtoko the fireforce were told that they were to be deployed immediately to a sighting of 25 ZANLA terrorists spotted by a Selous Scout OP on a kopje at Kathana which was 25 km to the North of Mtoko and was in a frozen area.
The plan was for the fireforce to attack the terrorist position with the heliborne RAR troops and pick up the remainder of the troops by G Car from the land tail as required.
Mike Borlace was leading Amber Section which consisted of two G Cars with K Car being commanded by a South African pilot who was not very experienced in Rhodesian fireforce operations. The K Car was an Operation Polo (SAAF loan) helicopter. This small fireforce was supported by a Lynx armed with 68mm Sneb rockets and Frantan bombs.
The Selous Scout call sign who were positioned on a ridge talked the fireforce on to the target area which was a thickly wooded kopje surrounded by open country and fields in a wide valley.
The fireforce approached from the north overflew the Scout OP and ran in to the target with K Car pulling up to a height of 800 feet above the ground. When K Car pulled up things started to go wrong when the K Car pilot made a map reading error which could not be rectified by the other aircraft as the pilot was keying his mike and jamming all transmissions.
The two Amber Section G Cars headed for the correct target kopje and set up a left hand orbit around it and after an initial orbit a group of terrorists were spotted from the G Cars. Mike Borlace flying in Amber 1 told Mike Upton to engage the terrorists with his MAG 7.62 machine gun with Amber 2 also engaging the same group.
The ZANLA terrorists on the ground opened up with accurate small arms fire and RPG 7 rockets at the two G Cars orbiting their position.
Amber section once again attempted to raise K Car to no avail and in an attempt to attract K Car’s attention threw smoke to mark the target area. K Car was yelling at the Scout call sign on the ground and it was clear that the K Car pilot was getting flustered with the Scout on the ground who was also confused with the situation on the ground. After some time a more senior Scout came onto the net and informed the K Car of the contact in progress with Amber section. K car broke off and headed for the correct target area and began firing at the kopje.
Amber 1 at this time was taking an incredible amount of small arms fire but as luck would have it no one was hit in the G Car.
The ZANLA terrorists opened up on K Car wounding the RAR major on board.
Once again Amber 1 the G Car took a huge snot squirt from the terrorists with an AK round striking the G Cars ammunition belt putting the MAG out of action, Mike Upton grabbed an FN from one of the RAR troopers and continued firing at the enemy troops below.
The Lynx circling overhead the contact area acted as a Telstar and radioed a sitrep to JOC who in turn deployed the Mount Darwin fireforce which consisted of a K Car and four G Cars to assist. It would take the Darwin fireforce just over half an hour to get to the contact area.
The terrorist’s bomb shelled with some of them running away from the kopje and into the valley.
Amber 1 was struck by small arms fire in the transmission and hydraulics and Mike Borlace was forced to land the stricken G Car in an open area about a kilometre from the contact site. As soon as the G Car landed the RAR stick on board formed a sweep line.
Amber 2 by this time had uplifted the seriously wounded RAR major and casevacked him to Mtoko. (He died from his wounds later). Unfortunately K Car also had to leave the area as it was low on fuel and ammunition.
Mike took over from the ground and spoke the Lynx on to the target to put down rocket and Frantan to keep the ZANLA terrorists down.
The G Car crew then joined the RAR troops in the sweep line and headed off to the contact area.
The Darwin fireforce arrived about an hour after the initial contact with an experienced K Car pilot in control and an RLI fireforce on board to assist the RAR troops already deployed in Stops on the ground.
Once the RLI sticks were deployed there were a few fleeting contacts with sticks on the ground killing a number of ZANLA terrorists. Sweep lines found four dead terrorists on the kopje at the initial contact area.

2 comments:

  1. Interestingly Mike Upton was awarded the BCR, which his younger son in Australia cherishes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mike Borlace....still has a copy of that particular log-book

    ReplyDelete

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.