Frag Out! Magazine

Frag Out! Magazine #34

Frag Out! Magazine

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17th, they reach the town of Kinselele, 30 kilometers from the capital. This is whe- re they stop, due to the lack of fuel and supplies. This has dire consequences, as it buys Zimbabwe's soldiers time to receive strong air support via the N'Dijili airfield. On August 17th a Ukrainian Il-76 brings in eight Alouette 111 helicopters that, immediately after being started up, are sent into combat. One day later, four AB412 helicopters were delivered. On August 20th the first combat aircraft arri- ve from Zimbabwe (four Cessna FB337G Lynxes), also being immediately deploy- ed into combat and reconnaissance. On August 22nd, four BAe Hawk Mk 60 jets come, making a stopover at Kamina, just recently conquered by ZDF. The Hawks are the latest bomber aircraft operated by Zimbabwe at the time. Maintaining more than 20 combat aircraft is a chal- lenge since the airfield has no facilities available. All infrastructure has been destroyed and incapacitated. The gro- und services are forced to establish the infrastructure from a scratch, everything is transported from Harare and Gweru, by C-212s. Only one big hangar is usable. There, all aircraft and helicopters are ma- intained. Sleeping quarters for the pilots and maintainers have also been arranged here. On Aug. 22nd ZDF has 800 paratro- opers, an SAS regiment, 20 pilots, and around 50 maintainers, 8 fixed-wing air- craft, and 12 helicopters at its disposals. The first combat sorties are flown by the Hawks on the very same day, 2 PM. A two-ship flight attacks a Rwandan co- lumn in Cebo, near Matadi. Immediately after rearming at N'Diji, the jets take off again to attack the second column in Kisantu. The arrival of aircraft is a sur- prise for Kabarebe. He did not expect Kabila to use combat aviation, leaving the anti-aircraft missiles behind in Kigali. It was too late to bring these assets back to Kinshasa, as Angolan forces also en- tered the arena (gathered in Cabinda), taking over the Kitona airfield on August 23rd. The Congo's AAA assets taken over by Kabila are unusable, due to the gaps in skill and training among the rebels. No available MANPADS in the Rwandan inventory had a decisive impact on the Battle of Kinshasa. Airstrikes against the rebels began - from N'Djili (Zimbabwe Army Aviation), and Cabinda and Kitona (Angolan forces, using the Su-25 attack aircraft, and Mi-24 helicopters). For Kabarebe, conquering Kinshasa seems to be the only viable solution. This wo- uld get Zimbabwe's forces engaged in combat in an urban setting. Then, peace talks would begin. The rebels still have more than 15,000 troops, using several Type 59 and Type 62 MBTs, with good ANALYSIS

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