Op Grampus 10th Aug 1966

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I have put some early RAR photos on. Note the 5 man stick or patrols. In those days the helos carried no machine guns and so they could carry 5 men, with pilot and Tech. The photos show a company deploying in the very beginning of the Bush War (1965-66) and 2 helos deploying with them. Masodja describes this! What you will note that most are carrying SLRs or Sterling SMGs, but no sign of Bren Guns or MAG. They initially deployed only with SLRs or SMGs thinking to move fast and light on follow ups. The initial contacts proved that they needed MAG support.

Having spoken to a lot of the old bods they said that they continually had limited helicopter support but more in a transport, deployment and resupply role! Not an offensive role and were not to get into contact with the Terrs.

Gradually this was to change as helos were armed with single MAGs and once the twin MAGs were introduced this cut troops down to 4 in the helos.

With the advent of the 20mm cannon things got a lot more aggressive!

At the start of the Bush War (1965-66) the RAR had gone over to the SLR and apparently the MAG replaced the Bren Gun LMG. As I mentioned with reactive operations, follow ups, cross graining, etc the RAR felt the chaps needed light order and only carried the SLR or SMG.

Anyway it was soon realized that the MAG would be needed. Infact they even considered carrying limited amounts of ammo to keep weight down. That myth was soon dispelled in contacts.

By the end of the war troops were carrying 8 mags and a bag of extra ammo in packs. Some carried more.

The 7.62 LMG (Bren Gun) continued to be used in the early part of the war by the Royal Rhodesia Regiment and all their battalions and Indep Companies. Saw an interesting conversation on Facebook concerning blokes from the RR

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These photos are of Op Garmpus 10th August 1966. D Coy RAR

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