Famous characters of the Border War – Major Helmuth Adolf (Tikli) Kessler, who flew a PA28 Cherokee which he converted to have fire power and bombing capability in support of operations.
Major Kessler from the SWATF (South West Africa Territorial Force) – 1 SWA Squadron used the PA28 primarily as a spotter and also engaged combatants with his improvised weapons system. He was tragically killed whist supporting ground operations in 1982.
Major Kessler had a ” tube” which he used to drop grenades from between the seats and the two RPK’s (each with two 40 round RPK magazines welded together) under the wings.
He experienced an engine failure (attributed to a bent valve) whilst in support of ground operations and called in a forced landing. On landing the plane up-ended and the grenades in the tube fell out and exploded.
Major Kessler was regarded as a bush war a legend with a larger than life personality and he is sorely missed by all who knew him.