Rhodesia - Intaf

Callsign - Lighthouse

Vehicles used by Intaf

Intaf has used a varity of vehicles over the years.  Traditionally the Land Rover has been a popular form of every day transport to travel around the TTLs.  The Agricultural Development Fund worked on a number of projects where bigger loads had to be moved and trucks were used.  These ranged from old Bedfords to 5 ton Nissans and Isuzus.

When the threat of land mines increased there was an attempt to try and sandbag the vehicles to give some form of protection.  Eventually all Land Rovers were fitted with thick metal anti blast plates over the wheels and roll bars were fitted over the cabs to try and prevent the occupants from getting injured should the Land Rover over turn in the blast.

 Developments to mine protect truck also took place and a mine protected truck was designed and based on the chassis and engine of a 5 ton UG780 Nissan or Isuzu.  These vehicles were known as Pumas.  The idea was further developed and the army were also equipped with  a very similar design known as a Crocodile.

 Many Intaf members were involved in land mine blasts all over the country.  Some areas were more susceptible that others and the areas nearer the Mozambique border as well as the Zambezi Valley saw many vehicles badly damaged and on occasion their occupants injured or killed.

Number plates.  Army vehicles always used a number plate system that included digits and letters followed by more digits. The last two digits sometimes referred to the year the vehilce was issued.  The Police and Intaf used a number plate system that generally always included the letter G (for Government) followed by letters and numbers. Land Rovers usually used the letter L and  Leopards were numbered G - LPD and a number.  Kudus were numbered G-KD and a number.

This page should be read in conjunction with the phtot gallery on Intaf vehicles.

Land Rovers

The sketch depicts a Land Rover fitted with anti blast plates and roll bars.  Quite often when a vehicle detonated an anti tank mine the enemy launched an ambush in an effort to kill the occupants.  Due to the fact that the vehicle had doors the driver and co-driver stored their rifles in the cab.  The drivers' rifle was placed butt down next to the accelerator and the barrel at his right elbow.  The co-driver often held his rifle between his legs.  In one of the first land mine incidents in Mtoko the blast lifted the vehicle into the air and the co-driver's rifle barrel rammed into his eye socket, completely dislodging the eyeball.  Suffice to say the man lost his eye.  In one respect it was a valuable lesson.  All doors were then removed so that the occupants could place their rifles on their laps with the barrel pointing outwards.  This assisted in two ways.  If the vehicle hit a mine the rifle was stopped from going too far by the occupants arms.  It was also handy in case of ambush.  The occupants could easily get out of the vehicle with their weapons at the ready.


Intaf Land Rover at Charewa Keep Mtoko

Guard Force Land Rover at CMED workshops, Mrewa.  National Service Cadet Brian Salmon - left and Graham Wright.  All security forces used the same model Land Rovers

Mine Protected Vehicles (MPVs)

The mine protected Land Rover proved to be fairly effective to begin with.  However it was still vulnerable to ambushes.  The enemy also started to design pressure plate devices placed on the tyre tracks so they could plant the land mines in the middle of the road.  This meant that the tyre pushed the pressure plate down to complete an electrical circuit which in turn detonated the landmine under the Land Rover which was not protected by the blast plates.  Several Intaf members were killed in this manner.

The Leopard MPV was designed around a VW chassis, gearbox and engine.  It afforded protection for the occupants from both land mines and small arms fire.  The Leopard was produced in quite large numbersd and was eventually used by all of the security forces.


PDO Ian Paper and Vedette John Davies at Soswe TTL, Marandellas (Photo from Ian Paper)

Leopard in Marandellas District  (Photo from Ian Paper)

Leopard and Land Rover on patrol in Soswe TTL, Marandellas  (Photo from Ian Paper) 

Leopard at Fort Desolation (Charewa) northern Mtoko (Photo Webmaster)

This vehicle was still somewhat susceptible to anti tank Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG 2 and RPG 7s) and the Kudu was designed with deflection plates to ensure that the grenade detonated before it actually hit the side of the vehicle.  The grenade worked on the principle of an inverted cone through which the core of metal was propelled by explosives to penetrate armoured plating.  The zig zag shaped deflection plates were effective and vastly reduced casualties.

The Kudu MPV (Photo from Pete Henning)

Side view of the Kudu  (Photo from Pete Henning)

Kudu on the Gwaai River bridge (Alex du Plooy in the background.  (Photo from Pat Rundgren)

Kudu undergoing repairs at the workshops at Mrewa.  Gerald Hawksworth at left.  Gerald was one of the few people who was captured by the enemy and then later released.  (Photo from Nick Baalbergen)

Troop Carriers

The important job of building Protected Villages (PVs), Keeps and then protecting them meant that there was a requirement for personnel, supples and equipment to be transported over distances from the DCs Station and the outlying areas.  When the ARUs were established they deployed in the same fashion as any infantry unit and also required larger vehicles.  The Puma was designed on the chassis, gearbox and engine of Isuzu or UG780 Nissan 5 ton trucks for this purpose.  They had a V shaped body which gave adequate protection from land mines and the sides were sloped which assisted in deflecting RPG rockets and small arms fire up to a point.

 There were not enough to go around so standard Isuzu and Nissans were used to carry equipment.  An effort was made to protect these vehicles with sand bags and thick rubber conveyor belting.  Suffice to say, protection was limited and casualties were suffered.

ARU Puma in Mudzi District (Photo Webmaster)

Mudzu DCs Station 1978.  Three workhorses of Intaf - Puma, Isuzu and Land Rover.  (Photo from Nick Baalbergen)

Later versions of the Puma were fitted with roll bars to give added protection when it detonated a land mine and rolled over.  (Photo from J.D. White)

The army used Pumas as well as a different variant of the troop carrier known as a Crocodile and MAP75s.  The photo below is for comparison purposes.  (Thanks to NRF for the correction on the name of the vehicle below.)

Army MAP 75 (Photo from J.D. White)