3 Squadron "Swift to Support"
The role of No 3 Squadron was that of air support, paratrooping, re-supply, sky shouting, search and rescue, and air communications including VIP transport. 

PRE-WAR YEARS
Established in 1947 as a communications flight operating C47 Dakotas based at New Sarum south of Salisbury, in 1959 the Nyasaland Emergency saw the squadron airlifting troops to Nyasaland (now Malawi). With the formation of C Squadron (SAS) the squadron began to experiment with paratrooping; in 1960 the Squadron was involved in the Katanga crisis, where it was to fly out a number of (white) Rhodesian refugees to Salisbury - the aftermath of the crisis may have inspired The Wild Geese. The next foreign emergency came with the declaration of a state of emergency in Kuwait; British troops were flown from Kenya to Kuwait. The other most notable pre-war change was with the aircraft's silver paint scheme, which was changed to two tone green camouflage. Further changes were to take place to reduce susceptibility to heat seeking missiles - a non reflective paint scheme, and the exhausts of the engines being fitted with a device to reduce the temperature of the exhaust gasses and prevent acquisition.

WAR YEARS

As the war intensified, the initial squadron involvement in rain-making trials was to be abandoned, the squadron instead carrying out Psyops inspired sky-shouting trials, (two large loudspeakers fitted in the doorway of the Dakota used in conjunction with leaflet dropping). From 1968 onwards, the squadron was used to supply forward airfields with both troops and equipment, and civilian activities, such as a rain making trial, were abandoned; the squadron was now to concentrate more on free-fall parachute training (including night descents).

In March 1973 South Africa supplied a further two Dakotas; two more were added in April 1974 from Central African Airways, and in October 1975 the squadron received a Cessna 421C from South Africa.

1976
During 1976 a Douglas DC-7CF was placed on the fleet. This saw service until November 1980.

From June 1976 until November 1979 a large number of Brittin Norman Islanders were acquired from various sources; the fall if Portuguese rule in Southern Africa led to many being acquired from Mozambique and Angola, some through South African sources.

1977

On the 31st May 1977 one Dakota was destroyed when it was hit by an RPG7 rocket during its take off run at Mapai. 

During 1977 three more Dakota aircraft arrived on the squadron via various routes.

1978

One of the Dakota aircraft was configured as an airborne Command Post and another for electronic intelligence gathering.

Post Zimbabwe Independence

On the 18th December 1980 Dakota 3711 was destroyed.

March  12th 1983 the squadron replaced the Dakotas with the Spanish CASA C-212, a turboprop-powered STOL medium transport aircraft.

 

Trace