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12 Squadron
Canberra B12 - 453.jpg
A 12 Squadron Canberra in flight
Active 1939–1945?
1946–?
1963–1990
Country South Africa
Branch South African Air Force
Engagements World War II
South African Border War
Insignia
Squadron Identification Code VL 1942[1]
12 Squadron Insignia 80px

12 Squadron was a South African Air Force squadron that served in World War II in East Africa and the Western Desert as a medium bomber squadron. After the war, the squadron was used in various roles, including that of a helicopter squadron until 1963 when it was equipped with Canberra light bombers - remaining a light bomber and reconnaissance squadron until disbanded in 1990.

History[edit | edit source]

12 Squadron was formed in December 1939.[3] On 16 June 1940 it flew the first SAAF bombing raid against Italian forces in Abysinna when it attacked the town of Moyale using Junkers Ju 86 bombers.[4][5] 12 Squadron later saw combat during the Second Battle of El Alamein operating Boston light bombers.[6] Following the end of the war in Europe the squadron flew South African personnel home until it was disbanded.[7]

12 Squadron was re-formed in October 1946 equipped with Avro Anson aircraft for anti-Tsetse fly spraying duties. It operated in this role in Zululand and Mtubatuba. The squadron was later re-equipped with Sikorsky S-51 helicopters, but was eventually made a flight of 28 Squadron.[7]

The squadron was re-formed in late 1963 to operate English Electric Canberra bombers.[7] It was the only SAAF squadron equipped with Canberras, and they were used as both tactical bombers and high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft.[8] The squadron saw combat over Angola during the South African Border War,[9] and was still active with these aircraft as of 1981.[7] 12 Squadron was disbanded in 1990.[3] Two ex-12 Squadron Canberras have been preserved by the SAAF.[8]

References[edit | edit source]

Citations
  1. Flintham, Vic (2003). Combat Codes. Barnesly: Pen & Sword Aviation. pp. 165. ISBN 978-1-84415-691-7. 
  2. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  3. 3.0 3.1 Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  4. Potgieter (1970), p. 264
  5. Macdonald, J.F. (1945). "Chapter II - The Story of 237 Squadron". Lion with tusk guardant. Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia: The Rhodesian Printing and Publishing Co. Ltd. pp. 23. http://www.archive.org/stream/LionWithTuskGuardant/LionGuardant#page/n22/mode/1up. 
  6. Latimer (2002), p. 292
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Potgieter and Steenkamp (1981), p. 68
  8. 8.0 8.1 Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  9. Lord (2008), pp. 70, 101, 139, 172
Bibliography

External links[edit | edit source]

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