Portuguese Air Force in Combat – Counter insurgency (COIN)

Information kindly supplied by former PoAF T6-G pilot Joao M. Vidal


The T-6G was also used in a light attack or counter insurgency role by France during the Algerian War in special Escadrilles d’Aviation Légère d’Appui (EALA), armed with machine guns, bombs and rockets. At its peak, 38 EALAs were active. The largest unit was the Groupe d’Aviation Légère d’Appui 72, which consisted of up to 21 EALAs.

From 1961 to 1975, Portugal used more than a hundred T-6Gs, also in the counterinsurgency role, during the Portuguese Colonial War. During this war, almost all the Portuguese Air Forcebases and air fields in Angola, Mozambique, and Portuguese Guinea had a detachment of T-6Gs.



Portuguese T6 Harvard “Bombed up”

The airplanes had a lot of different armament choices:
– Four Browning 7.7 machine guns (ex-Hurricanes and Spitfires of our ancient fleet).
– Two Matra LR 361 rocket launchers each with 36 S.N.E.B. T/447 37mm. rockets
– Two 50kgs plus six 15kgs bombs as normal load.
– Two 100 Liters/80 Kg. napalm containers.
– Guns and bombs aiming sight was a French S.F.O.M. 83A.

Harvard with gun





































José Fonseca – Among many others Canadian Cars & Foundry (CCF) Harvard IV that I was flying in fire missions at ex-Portuguese Mozambique between August 1969 and August 1971, as a Portuguese Air Force ( F.A.P.) Pilot Officer and Flying Officer later on, “1741” was the airplane were I made  most of my 1000 operational flying hours during the two years I spent in that ancient Portuguese territory. After Elementary Flight Instruction in D.H.C.-1 Chipmunk ( at B.A.7 ) and Basic Flight Instruction in Cessna T-37C (at  B.A.1 ) I was then designated to close air support missions.

I was then send to Mozambique. Arriving there I had been assigned to AB6 (Nova Freixo) and frequently detached to AM61 (Vila Cabral) or AM62 (Marrupa).
The operative armed T-6 I flew there in combat missions were:
CCF4-425 // 52-8504 // F.A.P. 1727
CCF4-426 // 52-8505 // F.A.P. 1750
CCF4-432 // 52-8511 //  F.A.P. 1782
CCF4-451 // 52-8530 // F.A.P. 1751
CCF4-483 // 52-8562 // F.A.P. 1753
CCF4-507 // 52-8586 // F.A.P. 1763
CCF4-510 // 52-8589 // F.A.P. 1735
CCF4-541 // 53-4622 // F.A.P. 1780
CCF4-548 // 53-4629 // F.A.P. 1741 <<<
CCF4-551 // 53-4632 // F.A.P. 1786