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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, May 6, 2010

Hendos Shot Down-


Thanks to ORAFS Eddie Norris and Marcus for this incident report

ALOUETTE III A/C NO. 5732

SHOT DOWN 16th JUNE 1979 (PREVIOUSLY UNRECORDED)

OP MULLIGAN – ENTERPRISE DISTRICT


SHOT DOWN 16th JUNE 1979 (PREVIOUSLY UNRECORDED)

OP MULLIGAN – ENTERPRISE DISTRICT

K-car Dalmatian fit or K-car Alfa
Pilot A/Lt. Ian Henderson (Hendos)
Tech. Sgt. W.J…..
Commander/SB Observer Mike Norton

Mike Norton takes up the story –
Enterprise Base, at the Enterprise club, was set up in March 1978, to stem the flow of "terrs" into the Salisbury area. I was Bailiff Acorn at the base. The Enterprise district and adjoining TTL ((Tribal Trust Land) was totally subverted, and where the ‘Salisbury Detachment’ gang was based, this was the group responsible for the attack on the fuel depot in Southerton suburb.

After a few months of intensive operations a reasonable degree of control prevailed, particularly after Op Enterprise, the most successful internal operation. Most of the gooks had been forced into the adjoining Chikawaka/Mangwende/Msana TTL’s. However, late on the 15th July, Mrs. Yvonne Mulligan, a farm manager’s wife, (Strathlorne Farm) was abducted and marched into the Chikwaka TTL, presumably for propaganda purposes. Being of ample frame she was put on a bicycle and later a wheelbarrow to hasten their escape. Follow up was swift but running out of light, the Patu (Police Anti Terrorist Unit) guys had no option but to sleep on the tracks. We liaised with Salops (Salisbury Operations) for more troops and aircraft for the next day. Can you imagine my surprise when we received 3 Commando RLI (this was to be a black day for the unit) and 10 helicopters positioned at the Enterprise Club/Base! Someone must have leant on Comops (Combined Operations) to get this type of response (Farmers Union?).

Early in the day information gleaned from a locally trained terr. was that a white woman had been seen in the Chipagura Kraal area with 25 plus "terrs". Another source told of 8 terrs (Rhodesian term for terrorist) 2 km’s away at Gwamura Kraal. The Colonel and Bruce Snelgar’s plan was simple, split the fire force, one section (with 20mm k-car) to Chipagura (refer Charlie Warrens book Stick Leader for this contact) and the other (k-car Dalmatian) to Gwamura Kraal. Sticks were briefed and cautioned about Mrs. Mulligan as our objective was to rescue her.

After about 8 flying minutes we approached the Gwamura Kraal line, Hendo’s pulled up to 800ft and started the orbit. Stops were positioned and sweep lines formed. Everything was going like clockwork and stop 2 was ordered to advance. As these brave troops approached a brick house/school, all hell let loose. Fire spewed from the windows felling 2 troopies (Tpr .Mike Elsaesser and Tpr. Bruce McKend) they didn’t stand a chance. The tech. Sgt. WJ filled the building with .303 ball from the 4 Brownings silencing it permanently. We then took heavy fire from another building, the Alfa fit also took care of them, but were still under heavy pressure. (An RLI stick leader, who was on the ground, reported controlled RPD fire). By this stage the K-car (20mm) was on its way to support us. Things were really getting hot and we were taking more hits, when, suddenly, a message came through from the orbiting PRAW (Hamish Harvey) that we were on fire, WJ and I peered out the side and saw black smoke trailing behind us, Hendo’s had already lowered the orbit height to bring the guns to bare under some trees, not giving him much room to auto rotate, he shut the fuel flow lever and we dropped like a stone. We took more hits as Hendo’s struggled to control the aircraft, then, I heard a very loud bang and felt as if I had been hit by a 4 pound hammer, next, we ploughed into a sandy field and I was thrown into the Perspex, rotor blades, smoke and dust filled the air. There was a lot of blood but fortunately nothing serious. We were still in the contact site and scrambled to a nearby ditch and were picked up minutes later by a G-car. It was only later that I found out that a round had passed between my head and headphones!!

The battle on the ground ended with a few ‘Golf’ bombs. It was late by then, so the troops went into ambush mode, watching over the downed aircraft.

Meanwhile back at New Sarum, WO Doug Quinn of ASF, (Aircraft Servicing Flight) had been instructed to get his crash recovery team together. Doug takes up the story. We left early the next morning with my two recovery vehicles and crew and headed out on the Shamva road. We eventually got near the site at mid afternoon, after escort delays and the road condition. I was told by an army Lt. that an Alouette would be coming to collect me and one other tech. to take us to the downed helicopter! I was rather confused but selected my engine tech the necessary tools and waited for uplift. (Little did I know that the area was still hot.) We were uplifted at 3.45pm and after about 10mins were dropped at the crash site. It was apparent that the Alo was quite badly damaged, the main and tail rotor blades were scrap, the nose and main oleo’s had collapsed, tail boom damaged due to impact and most panels bent. With the help of the RLI troopies we set about dismantling the blades and tail boom from the main frame, however it was getting late and requested an airlift by Alo from New Sarum. I knew that an Alo stripped to the bones could airlift another, as I had done this at least 4 times before !! After about an hour I was shocked to hear a Bell 205 in the distance, no way, it’s never been done by Bell. Sure enough the Bell tech came across to us and asked how I wanted this done!! Well we were ready for the extraction anyway, so the pilot positioned the Bell in a hover above the Alo, the downwash was unbelievable. I then lifted the chain attached to the main rotor head and hooked it to the Bell cargo swing under the Bell. It then lifted the Alo like a toy back to the road and recovery team. A short while later the Bell returned to collect the tail boom, other wreckage, tools and return us to the recovery team. We arrived back at ASF New Sarum at 10.30pm that night.

It was only the next morning (Monday) did I find out what had occurred in the Chikawaka that day !

Alouette 5732 was classified as a CAT 4 and was rebuilt at Rhotair to fly again.(?)

Ian Doig from Rhotair confirmed that the engine took a round through the oil return pipe and continued into the combustion chamber, hence all the smoke ! This engine was re-built with old parts as an experiment, to run on sunflower oil ?

Mrs. Mulligan was taken to Chimoio where she remained till November. She was released to the Red Cross and immigrated to South Africa on the spoils of her story to a magazine. She claimed that she had been well treated throughout her ordeal.

Thanks to Mike, Charlie, Doug, Budgie, Ian and many others for filling in the gaps and helping to record this event.

Dedicated to Mike Elsaesser and Bruce McKend. Also Ian Henderson who died in 2008 of acute pancreatic problems.

Marcus Main-Baillie

Postscript
The K-Car Dalmatian was the name given to the weapon fit - 4 x .303 Browning machine guns.
The K-Car Alfa was the operational name to distinguish it from the 20mm gunship

Comment by Eddy Norris
Thanks to Marcus Main-Baillie for this story.
Marcus researched this story for a long period of time and he is to be congratulated on sticking with it till its completion.

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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.