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Jan 18

Written by: Tyrone Heyl
2011/01/18 09:27 AM  RssIcon

Having just returned from a weekend pass, a little late, ok quite late, some of us had not unpacked our kit. We are suddenly asked to fall in as there was an urgent announcement, so with whispers of what could be going on we fell in.

We were told that they need a G5 gun crew to escourt a gun being taken to Rundu and were calling for volunteers. With promises of a long weekend pass upon our return in a weeks or two, my hand along with 7 others guys went up. As most of us had not unpacked as yet it was to did not take long to get ready.

We were allowed to make 2 phone calls before going to hospital (still not sure why). I called my mom and told her I was going tp the border again but only for a week or two.I called my dad and told him I had a feeling this trip would be longer than "advertised". After sorting out the logistical requirments we climbed into a Samil and left for Pretoria.

Once there we were put into a corner and told to wait, and wait we did till the sun had set and the airport was quite. At about 8pm we were called to go through and there was the familiar C130 with the staff from Lyttleton supervising the loading of a brand new G5. Once all the additonal cargo had been loaded we boarded and the flight took off for Rundu. Arriving at about midnight we helped unload the gun, parked it to one side and we were shown to accomodation for the rest of the night.

We overslept the next mornning but when we surfaces we told to relax it was not a problem (warning bell 1). We were taken to the log office and given our "battle numbers", none of has had dog tags and never did despite numerous trips to the border. For the rest of the day we relaxed and late afternoon we were given nice thick steaks and a case of beer, we did not argue. Later we were told to report to the airfield at midnight, we asked for  more detail of why which was ignored. At midnight we reported as ordered and were told to help load the gun in the C130 afterwhich the rest of the cargo was added and a few extra people joined us. All efforts to find out where we were going were rather blatently ignored. 

This was in the earlier stages of Op Modular.

Off we went at about 1am with the windows of the Flossie covered and the red lights on inside the plane. The load master came up to us and asked who can drive the G5 to which I put my hand up. He gave me instructions that when I hear the undercarriage of the plane go down I must get onto the gun, get it started and be ready to exit the plane as soon as the cargo had been dispatched.

Later with the distinctive sound of the wheels being lowered I climbed aboard the G5, and waited......On touch down the rear doors opened and all we could see were the candles lining the run way, the cargo was pushed out and the load master started ranting that I must get the gun started and out of the plane. I tried to point out the little fact that we not really stopped yet to which I was told to get the (*&%(%^ thing out of the plane. Being the good soldier I obeyed the order and drove out and turned right off the runway as ordered, it must be noted at this time that the rest of the gun crew had stayed with the plane and here I was in the bush on my own with a G5 and my trusty R4 both of which I had no ammo for. The rest of the guys were delivered along the runway, the Flossie made its u-turn and took of while the rear doors were still closing.

The silence was defening, and then out of the dark these eyes came at me, it was the driver of the gun tractor who had come to fetch us, the rest of the crew joined me. We hitched up the gun and off we went, once again to destination unknown. after a few hours we stopped as it was getting light, cammoflaged the rig and waited. We tried to get clarity for the driver but we figured we were in Angola but not sure of exactly where. during the course of the day we heard "Victor Victor" over the radio and saw these planes over head, only after the 3rd such report and us running around trying to see if it was a Mirage or Impala did the driver politely inform us that in fact they were Migs and we should stop trying to attract their attention! Seems much funnier now.....

After more travelling we eventually joined the rest of Quebec battery (later to become Sierra). This was the 4SAI guys and we were in fact replacing a gun that had suffered a chamber burst,killing 7 of the crew (if I remember correctly) the only survivor was the guy in the ammo pit because he bent down to pick up anothe charge when the accident happened.

We took part in many engagments and I will try to put some of the events down in another Blog

6 comment(s) so far...


Re: Calling for Volunteers

Hi, Tyrone. When was this? Around 1987, Operation Moduler? I am keen to hear more... please feel free to continue your stories. ;-)

By Johan Schoeman on   2011/01/21 01:08 PM

Re: Calling for Volunteers

Please continue with the story, Tyrone. You have made such an interesting start!

By Phillip Vietri on   2011/01/26 11:07 PM

Re: Calling for Volunteers

Hi Johan,
yes this was at the beginning of Modular.

Phillip I will do, thanks for the feedback

By Tyrone on   2011/02/07 03:48 PM

Re: Calling for Volunteers

Thanks for completing the story, Tyrone. It is one of those weird stories one almost can't bring oneself to tell. But I can well believe it happened! I was involved in two absurd ops in 1975 about which I kept quiet for 35 years. If you look at http://www.warinangola.com/default.aspx?tabid=1120 you will see why. I look forward to seeing more of yours on this site. Pity more of the other outjs haven't responded yet.

By Phillip Vietri on   2011/02/10 09:25 PM

Re: Calling for Volunteers

He gave me instructions that when I hear the undercarriage of the plane go down I must get onto the gun, get it started and be ready to exit the plane as soon as the cargo had been dispatched.

By dcuo cash on   2011/09/26 04:17 AM

Re: Calling for Volunteers

The cannon at Quebec bty exploded as they did not fire the last round, but ceased fire upon a Victor Victor warning. Resulting in a barrel burst as the barrel was red hot at the time. It was quite a shock at the time, and after the incident, a standing order was issued by the Arty Col. that upon Victor Victor related cease fire orders, the last round be fired, and then the gun be covered. That was in late 87.

By Loftie on   2012/01/04 08:24 AM

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