Biafra 1970 - The blind gunner
goes without saying that no machine guns suitable for aircraft mounting were available in Biafra.
However, the Biafrans were masters of improvisation and, following a visit to the government armoury from which he was invited
to take his pick of the available equipment, Zumbach returned to the airfield with two antiquated army issue Czech made machine
guns. Biafran mechanics soon had the first one mounted in the nose of the Invader with the barrel protruding from the nose.
The hapless forward gunner was obliged
to crouch in the dim recesses of the nose cone, without any view of the outside world and without any voice communication
with his pilot. Again, Biafran ingenuity came to the rescue. A length of cord was attached to the gunner's arm with the other
end threaded through to the pilot's station. Zumbach, equipped with a simple home made gunsight, simply tugged once on the
cord to instruct the gunner to start firing and twice when he was to stop.
solution! The second one was rigged to fire through the open bomb bay.
With regard to the bomb release system
The electrical bomb release mechanisms were still in place but
were designed to function with conventional bombs of a certain configuration and weight. The Biafran bombs were makeshift
affairs often fashioned from oil drums and gas cylinders so were in no way compatible with the relatively sophisticated systems
in the Invader. Zumbach, who by this time was calling himself “Johnny or Kamikaze Brown” had no choice but to
instruct his "bombardiers" to throw them out the opened bomb bay.
The bombs were made by a Biafran artificer, Willy Achukwe, whose
former trade, it was rumoured, lay in the manufacture of fireworks! Willy's bombs were marvels of ingenuity and even included
delayed action devices. Zumbach describes one creation having "a base containing phosphorus suspended in an insulating liquid.
A Bickford fuse ran from this compartment through a partition plugged with wax, into a second stage. This compartment contained
gunpowder. The third was crammed with scrap metal. Two big nails protruded from the base of the thing. The impact of landing
drives the nails into the base of the bomb and pierces the first compartment. The insulating liquid runs out of the resulting
punctures and the air gets in. It sets the phosphorus alight, the heat melts the wax and the Bickford fuse detonates the gunpowder."