In the Congo's vast spaces - ill-served by roads and railways - aerial transport may be the key to military-political success; hence the importance of Russian planes loaned to Mr.
GV Russian plane at Leopoldville
LV Lumumba down from plane, greeted
SV & CU Lumumba
GV Lumumba reviews troops
GV Closed airfields in Katanga - 3 shots
GV Tshombe shakes hands with Belgian pilots
GV Pan along planes
SV Tshombe looks at Katanga flag on plane
CU & LV Tshombe
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Background: In the Congo's vast spaces - ill-served by roads and railways - aerial transport may be the key to military-political success; hence the importance of Russian planes loaned to Mr. Lumumba, and Force Publique planes secured by Katangan leader Moise Tshombe.
Fifteen Ilyushins were sent to help Mr. Lumumba, and one - an outright gift - was painted with Congolese markings. The Ilyushins, designed as troop-carriers, had eight-man crews and were loaded with spares. But United Nations control of Congo airfields, Sept 6, after the Lumumba-Kasavubu split, has halted the Russian airlift of men and equipment.
The Katanga, Moise Tshombe recognised the danger of airborne landings by Lumumba troops and runways were blocked as they had been in face of United Nations intervention. But on Sept 7, Elizabethville airport was temporarily cleared to permit arrival of a plane bearing arms from Belgium, Mr. Tshombe has an airforce of his own; Belgian pilots seized 6 civilian aircraft - formerly used by the Force Publique - from Leopoldville, and flew them to Elizabethville, where they now bear Katanga's emblems on their fuselage.