Operation Dingo

Operation Dingo

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Operation Dingo, also known as the Chimoio massacre was a major raid conducted by the Rhodesia
Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognised state located in southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965...

n Security Forces against the ZANLA headquarters of Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is the President of Zimbabwe. As one of the leaders of the liberation movement against white-minority rule, he was elected into power in 1980...

 at Chimoio
Chimoio is the capital of Manica Province in Mozambique. It is the fifth-largest city in Mozambique.Chimoio's name under Portuguese administration was Vila Pery. Vila Pery developed under Portuguese rule as an important agricultural and textiles centre.The town lies on the railway line from Beira...

 (15°53′0"S 39°14′0"E) and a smaller camp at Tembue (14°47′33"S 32°50′10"E) in Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

 from November 23–25, 1977. More than 3,000 ZANLA fighters were reported as killed and 5,000 wounded while only two government troops died and six were wounded.

96 SAS and 48 RLI
Rhodesian Light Infantry
The 1st Battalion, The Rhodesian Light Infantry, commonly the Rhodesian Light Infantry , was a regiment formed in 1961 at Brady Barracks, Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia as a light infantry unit within the army of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland...

 paratroopers and an additional 40 helicopter-borne RLI troops attacked the camps at 07h45 in the morning to exploit the concentration of forces on the parade ground for morning parade, directly after a strike by the Rhodesian Air Force
Royal Rhodesian Air Force
The Rhodesian Air Force was the air arm of the British colonial state of Rhodesia. It existed between 1935 and 1980 under various names, and is now the Air Force of Zimbabwe.-History:...

's aging Canberra
English Electric Canberra
The English Electric Canberra is a first-generation jet-powered light bomber manufactured in large numbers through the 1950s. The Canberra could fly at a higher altitude than any other bomber through the 1950s and set a world altitude record of 70,310 ft in 1957...

 and Hunter
Hawker Hunter
The Hawker Hunter is a subsonic British jet aircraft developed in the 1950s. The single-seat Hunter entered service as a manoeuvrable fighter aircraft, and later operated in fighter-bomber and reconnaissance roles in numerous conflicts. Two-seat variants remained in use for training and secondary...

 strike aircraft. In order to strike as many ground targets as possible six mothballed Vampire
De Havilland Vampire
The de Havilland DH.100 Vampire was a British jet-engine fighter commissioned by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Following the Gloster Meteor, it was the second jet fighter to enter service with the RAF. Although it arrived too late to see combat during the war, the Vampire served...

jets dating from the 1940s were brought back into use for the operation.

A DC-7 airliner was flown over the Chimoio camps 10 minutes before the airstrike as part of a deception plan at which the insurgents dispersed only to reform on parade a few minutes later in time for the main airstrike the approach of which did not cause alarm due to the ruse of the overflight of the DC-7 minutes earlier. When the first Air Force jets arrived, the assembled ZANLA forces did not take cover again as they assumed it was the DC-7 that was returning.
In the first pass, four Canberra bombers dropped 1200 Alpha bombs (Rhodesian-designed anti-personnel fragmentation weapons) over an area 1.1 kilometers long and half a kilometer wide.

Following the initial devastating air strikes by the Canberras, Hunters and Vampire FB9's plus ten Alouette III helicopter gunships engaged opportunity targets in allocated areas which together inflicted the majority of the casualties, while 2 Vampire T11's flew top cover. The paratroopers and heliborne troops were effectively deployed on three sides of the objective into various stop groups and sweep lines, and were effective in killing large numbers of fleeing ZANLA cadres but the lack of a complete envelopment allowed a number of fleeing ZANLA cadres to escape.

The Rhodesian force withdrew in good order having suffered one SAS member being shot and killed at Chimoio, and a Vampire pilot was killed trying to crash land his Vampire in a field after his plane was damaged by ground fire while overflying Vanduzi Crossroads on return to base and led to a partial loss of power. The pilot chose to attempt a forced landing rather than execute the dangerous act of abandoning the Vampire model FD9 which was not fitted with an ejection seat. (18°57′14.5"S 33°15′49"E).

Several tons of equipment were destroyed or returned to Rhodesia.

The attack on the Chimoio camps on November 23 was repeated two days later at Tembue.