In Rhodesia, the escalation of the guerrilla war since 1972 has resulted in most farmers arming themselves to ward off attacks.
In Rhodesia, the escalation of the guerrilla war since 1972 has resulted in most farmers arming themselves to ward off attacks. They carry guns and rifles at all times, but the recent increase in guerrilla activity and the many incidents involving the deaths of black and white civilians, has encouraged one farmer to do more. On Wednesday (2 August) he demonstrated a new range of weapons which included a powerful, armoured vehicle capable of attacking as well as defending.
SYNOPSIS: A group of white Rhodesian farmers and members of the security forces gathered at the farm of Andre Holland, who is also a Member of Parliament, at Marimba, about 14 kilometres (about 8 miles) from Salisbury. They were given a demonstration of a new automatic weapon, the Commando Machine Pistol, which can be fired with one hand since it weights only three kilograms (about six pounds) when fully loaded. The gun uses no imported parts and the weapon expert stressed its usefulness in ambushes or surprise attacks. So far, more than 2,000 civilians have been killed in the guerrilla war in Rhodesia.
The painted mock targets on the farm wall could have been used for shooting practice anywhere in the world, but these farmers are grimly serious about the need to be efficient with a gun. They watched a demonstration of a new machine carbine with interest.
But the prize exhibit of the display was an ungainly looking armoured vehicle. It is manufactured by a Rhodesian mining equipment company and Mr. Holland adapted the original model into its present lethal form. Called the "Cougar" it is mine and bullet-proof and carries 36 cannons capable of firing in a 360 degree are. The cannons carry electrically fired cartridges, each containing about 250 pieces of jagged metal. Working on the same principle as a shot-gun, the Cougar cannons fire simultaneously spraying a circle of about 300 metres (yards) around the vehicle with about 9,000 deadly pieces of shrapnel. It also carries a light machinegun and in most cases crew members would also be carrying rifles and automatic weapons.