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Nwanda

Green Leader - Rhodesian Air Force Canberra B2

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As background to my build of a Canberra of the Rhodesian Air Force, a little background to the war in which it was used, a war, which considering its relatively small scale, occupied a disproportionate amount of international attention from the mid sixties to 1980.

The colony of Southern Rhodesia was founded by the British South Africa Company in the 1880/1890’s, on the basis of a Royal Charter granted by the Imperial Government to the BSAC. From 1923 until the mid 50’s, Rhodesia (then known as Southern Rhodesia) played an important, considering her size, role in Imperial and Commonwealth wars and defence. By the 1960’s the Southern Rhodesian Air Force was reputed to rival the South African Air Force in strike power. Its inventory included Hawker Hunters, Canberras, Vampires, Dakotas, Percival Provosts and Alouette Helicopters. These had deployed as far afield as Aden in support of British forces.

During the sixties, however, things started to go awry. The failure of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland had led to the creation of independent Malawi and Zambia. Southern Rhodesia, under a white minority, had expectations of independence which the British Government was not prepared to grant. The end result was the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by Southern Rhodesia, made by Prime Minister Ian Smith on the 11th hour of the 11th day of November 1965. The international community brought sanctions to bear with varying degrees of honesty and enthusiasm. This hardly affected Rhodesia for many years, as the economy grew in leaps and bounds. However, military equipment and spare parts were problematic, and the Air Force in particular was only kept operational through ingenuity, sanctions busting and substitution.

As a result of the UDI, a guerrilla war began in the 60’s and escalated for the next 15 years. As the war intensified, the Rhodesian Security Forces began cross border raids against bases in neighbouring countries. These were generally heavily supported by air action. Most famous of these was the strike on Westlands Farm, outside of Lusaka, Zambia. This raid was partially in retaliation for the shooting down with SAM 7’s of unarmed civilian Viscounts belonging to Air Rhodesia. The strike force consisted of Green Section (Canberras), Red, White and Blue Sections (Hunters) and a number of 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. The raid began with an airstrike on the camps, after which helicopter gunships and ground troops would move in. Climbing away after the first bomb run, the commander of the raid – Green Leader – contacted Lusaka control tower. The tape of their conversation was broadcast throughout the world; it provided an incredible boost to Rhodesian morale, and is still talked about by Rhodesians today.

“Lusaka Tower, this is Green Leader. This is a message for the station commander at Mumba from the Rhodesian Air Force. We are attacking the terrorist base at Westlands farm at this time. This 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 replies that they have understood, and ask whether civil aircraft are still cleared to land. Green Leader asks them to wait half an hour or so. The impression given is very much that the Rhodesians are totally in control of the situation. And when Lusaka tower was asked by the incoming Kenya airways jet who had priority, Lusaka tower simply replied "I think the Rhodesians do".

The edited transcript of the tape can be found at www.greenleader.net

This then, the background to Green Leader Canberra.

RhAF.jpg

5Squadron.gif

Edited by Nwanda

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Really looking forward to this build, having considered it myself, but found that my references for the actual aircraft were a little elusive.

I came across the Green Leader recordings a couple of years ago- it's a fantastic record of the events and well deserves its place in Rhodesias proud aviation history, made all the more poigniant by the current state of affairs in Zimbabwe.

Edited by Troffa

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Really looking forward to this build, having considered it myself, but found that my references for the actual aircraft were a little illusive.

I came across the Green Leader recordings a couple of years ago- its a fantastic record of the events and well deserves its place in Rhodesias proud aviation history, made all the more poigniant by the current state of affairs in Zimbabwe.

The references are elusive - by the very nature of the war and the clandestine way in which the RhAF was kept going, it is very difficult to be 100% sure of anything. My references show the aircraft in the standard overall dark earth with disruptive green on the upper surfaces, and roundels on the fuselage only, as well as fin flashes. The serial number is one of two, and a deep search is on the go as we speak to locate the source book which I know specifies the serial number at that time. The pilot was Squadron Leader Christopher John Taylor Dixon and his nav was F/lt Mike Ronnie. Dixon was awarded the Defence cross, albeit not for this op in particular.

chrisdixon.jpg

Above is green leader himself

Edited by Nwanda

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Do you have any decent drawings or images of the Golf Bomb in your references? The two images I have found on-line were not very helpful.

I have some drawings of the bomb itself - Beryl Salt in Pride of Eagles and also in Contact and Winds of destruction. I will see if I can get some posted - if the mods are comfortable with this thread drifting ever so slightly :offtopic: I also have drawings of Alpha bombs if you are interested - awesome weapon. The interesting thing is the hoppers used on the Canberras to drop them - they look like shopping trolleys, from the one image I have. There are some on display at Gweru Military Museum in Zimbabawe (or were). Separation from the aircraft was, as I recall, something of a problem. They are of immediate interest to this build (Which started in real terms yesterday by taking the box out and putting it on my work bench) as Green leader was loaded with Alphas as far as I can determine.

Mike

(Note to self not to type and talk on telephone at the same time - confusion reignd between alpha and golf ....)

Edited by Nwanda

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Green leader has finally got under way - box on workbench now opened and building commenced. Photos tomorrow when I log onto the work server, this being sent from a 3G connection which just doesn't get there. I must say that the first building work went so smoothly I have great difficulty believing it, particularly for a modeller of mediocre abilities. Maybe because it is a labour of love, on an aircraft which really stirs my blood. Research has shown that green leader had no national markings - I will take that undr advisement and maybe show the final product as it would have looked before roundels were removed. We shall see.

I can say one thing tho, this is going to be a chatty thread - I write better than what I build models LOL

Mike

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Firstly, the traditional box and content picture:

1.jpg[/img]

2.jpg[/img]

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Hi Mike,

Watching with interest. I've had the Classic Airframes version in the loft for ages - too scared to get it down for fear of all the lead it's going to need.

Mike

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In complete contrast to any other build, I started this one out by making the base, using a B(I)12 of the SAAF that I also have on the bench as a template. This is the end result.

4.jpg

Edited by Nwanda

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Generally out of the box with the adittion of a NeOmega bang seat and MAV decals

3.jpg

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Cockpit built and heavily weathered to represent an aging A/C

7.jpg

8.jpg

Note the scratched bombsight, which may or may not represent the real thing but is a lot better than the Airfix item - used a part from a C47 and some scrap

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Wings under way

5.jpg

6.jpg

Edited by Nwanda

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Then I decided to take a break with a few glasses of the finest produce of the Cape

DSC00031.jpg

More next week

Mike

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I am enjoying this! Your MAV decals look more golden than mine - mine look rather yellow...

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Mike,

Good start there, Im looking forwards to seeing this one, definately will be different from the norm :thumbsup2: Would you mind adding a few more cockpit photos please?

Bexy

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Interesting...........and lovely base..........

Will be tracking this one........with interest

Best

Mr B

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I am enjoying this! Your MAV decals look more golden than mine - mine look rather yellow...

I think it may be the reflection from the flash ........

Mike

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I worked with Chris Dixon when he was at Affretair (as a DC-8 Captain), and later at MK Airlines (DC-8 and 747). He's retired now, and was a nice chap but a real grumpy sweetheart at the best of times! He did not like to be reminded about green leader, although behind his back others called him it (I didn't dare). I remember him phoning me in ops after he checked into the Thistle Hotel at Luton, and asking if he should open his case, or lie on the bed. I asked why, his answer was the room was too ******g small to do both!

Colin

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I worked with Chris Dixon when he was at Affretair (as a DC-8 Captain), and later at MK Airlines (DC-8 and 747). He's retired now, and was a nice chap but a real grumpy sweetheart at the best of times! He did not like to be reminded about green leader, although behind his back others called him it (I didn't dare). I remember him phoning me in ops after he checked into the Thistle Hotel at Luton, and asking if he should open his case, or lie on the bed. I asked why, his answer was the room was too ******g small to do both!

Colin

Thanks for the input - if one listens to the un expunged green leader tape it is clear that he thought very little of the whole pre prepared spiel - refers to it, as I recall, as "where is that piece of S*** (to his nav about the text))

Edited by Nwanda

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When I go to www.greenleader.net, all I get is an RIP page for Ian Smith. Where is the transcript page, pls?

David

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When I go to www.greenleader.net, all I get is an RIP page for Ian Smith. Where is the transcript page, pls?

David

Hi David, I got it there but a google search would probably show a bunch of sources - will have a look

Mike

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David, You Tube has it, the audio tape - just search green leader

M

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Nice work so far Nwanda!

Cheers,

Håkan

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David, You Tube has it, the audio tape - just search green leader

M

Thanks - got it.

David

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Another cockpit pic as requested

11-1.jpg

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