|Part of the Rhodesian Bush War|
|Rhodesia||Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army|
|Commanders and leaders|
| Lt. Gen Peter Walls (Chief of Combined Operations)
c. 200 ground troops
4 x Canberra light bombers
>10,000 guerrillas/trainees + ZANLA political/civil elements
|Casualties and losses|
Operation Dingo, also known as the Chimoio massacre, was a major raid conducted by the Rhodesian Security Forces against the ZANLA headquarters of Robert Mugabe at Chimoio and a smaller camp at Tembue in Mozambique from 23–25 November 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.
Ninety-six SAS and 48 RLI 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's ageing Canberra and Hunter strike aircraft. To strike as many ground targets as possible, six mothballed Vampire jets dating from the 1940s were brought back into use for the operation.
A Douglas DC-8 airliner was flown over the Chimoio camps 10 minutes before the airstrike as part of a deception plan in which the insurgents were dispersed in a false air raid alert, so that when the aircraft participating in the actual airstrike approached, they did not cause alarm. When the first Air Force jets arrived, the assembled ZANLA forces, as planned, did not take cover again as they assumed it was the DC-8 that was returning. In their first pass, four Canberra bombers dropped 1200 Alpha bombs (Rhodesian-designed anti-personnel cluster bombs) over an area 1.1 kilometres long and half a kilometre wide.
Following the initial air strikes by the Canberras, Hunters and Vampire FB9's, ten Alouette III helicopter gunships engaged opportunity targets in allocated areas that together inflicted the majority of the casualties, while 2 Vampire T11's flew top cover. The paratroopers and heliborne troops were deployed on three sides of the objective into various stop groups and sweep lines, and were also effective in killing large numbers of fleeing ZANLA cadres. Nevertheless, the small size of the ground force and 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 FB9 which was not fitted with an ejection seat.().
Several tons of equipment were destroyed or captured and taken to Rhodesia.
The attack on the Chimoio camps on 23 November was repeated two days later at Tembue ().
- Petter-Bowyer, P. J. H. (2003). Winds of Destruction: the Autobiography of a Rhodesian Combat Pilot. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 1-4120-1204-X.