Operation Bastille, April 13, 1979


The attempt to assassinate Joshua Inkomo leader of ZIPRA forces in Zambia.

Seven ageing Landrovers (Sabres) were brought out of moth balls and prepared for a deep external operation into Zambia and the Zambian capital Lusaka. The force of 7 Land Rovers and 42 Rhodesian SAS would be transported across Lake Kariba by the commercial Ferry See Lion. They would then travel north along rough bush tracks until they found the main road. One Land Rover was lost due to break down in the process. They would then drive north to Lusaka crossing the Kafue River bridge on the way. There was much apprehension that they would meet resistance at various stages but they traveled north and penetrated Lusaka with ease.

Three targets were to be attacked, Nkomos house, the ZIPRA armoury and Liberation Centre. Due to the loss of a vehicle only Knomos home and the Liberation Centre was attacked successfully.

Unfortunately Nkomo had left the building but the building and guards were taken out. Read more details in the book Elite, The story of the Rhodesian SAS by Barbara Cole.

The SAS wore Rhodesian cammo uniforms, Russian helmets, but were armed with RPDs, AKs, FNs. Each Land Rover had two FN MAGs. They also carried home made bunker bombs in plastic mortar bomb containers.

The Land Rovers were painted all over cammo green with straight blotches of a light colour to simulate Zambian vehicle camouflage.

RhSAS DETAIL sas lusaka 3 sas lusaka 5 IMG_3164 IMG_3166 IMG_3167

op  bastille map


4 thoughts on “Operation Bastille, April 13, 1979

    • Hi Pete Yes I just received some Elheim Isreali vehicle figures so I am going to sand down the helmets to get rid of the skrim netting. Not exactly the same shape as a Russian helmet but it will do. Going to order packs from Elhiem to attach to the rails on the side of the Land Rovers. Will keep you posted. All the best John Hop

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