From Fledgling to Eagle

The South African Air Force during the Border War

Brig-Gen Dick Lord

The crucible of combat over 23 years forged the fledgling South African Air Force into a formidable strike weapon, capable of defeating the best Soviet air defences of the time.
Publication date:
January 2008
Publisher :
30 Degrees South Publishers
Language:
English
Illustration :
300+ colour & b/w photos, 40 maps, diagrams
Format Available     Quantity Price
Hardback
ISBN : 9781920143305

Dimensions : 234 X 153 cm
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+
£24.95
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Overview
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• The evolution of the South African Air Force, from a fighter pilot who saw it first-hand

The crucible of combat over 23 years forged the fledgling South African Air Force into a formidable strike weapon, capable of defeating the best Soviet air defences of the time.

From Fledgling to Eagle chronicles the evolution of the SAAF in the‘Border War' that raged in Angola and South West Africa (Namibia) from 1966 to 1989, covering all the major South African Defence Force (SADF) operations from Ongulumbashe to the ‘April Fools' Day war' in 1989. Dick Lord, who writes in a ‘from the cockpit' style, has drawn on his own first-hand operational reports and diaries, incorporating anecdotes from dozens of aviators from a wide variety of squadrons—Buccaneers, Canberras, Mirages, Impalas, Bosboks, C-160s and -130s, Dakotas and helicopters. He also expands on the close relationship the SAAF had with the ground troops in a variety of operations, such units as the Parabats, Recces and Koevoet.

However, Lord studies the broader ramifications of the conflict in that it was not a simple war between black and white. Angola was really just a sideshow for the Soviets who wanted to bleed the SAAF in a war of attrition before attempting total domination of South Africa, their ultimate goal. He is unafraid to admit SADF mistakes; of Operations Hooper and Packer he says:"Lines of communications were too long to ably support the battle, which is why we did not clear them off the east bank of the Cuito River and why they captured the three Oliphant tanks which was their only propaganda victory.”

About the Author
Brigadier-General Dick Lord joined the Royal Navy as an air cadet in 1958, where he qualified as a fighter pilot. Returning to South Africa in early'70s, he joined the South African Air Force (SAAF), commanding 1 Squadron during the Border War.