Girish Mahajan (Editor)

12 Squadron SAAF

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Squadron Identification Code  VL 1942
12 Squadron SAAF
Active  1939–1945? 1946–? 1963–1990
Branch  South African Air Force
Engagements  World War II South African Border War

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.


12 Squadron was formed in December 1939. 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. 12 Squadron later saw combat during the Second Battle of El Alamein operating Boston light bombers. Following the end of the war in Europe the squadron flew South African personnel home until it was disbanded.

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 that were at times also utilised in anti-Tsetse fly spraying duties, it but was eventually made a flight of 28 Squadron.

The squadron was re-formed in late 1963 to operate English Electric Canberra bombers. It was the only SAAF squadron equipped with Canberras, and they were used as both tactical bombers and high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. The squadron saw combat over Angola during the South African Border War, and remained active with these aircraft in 1981. 12 Squadron was disbanded in 1990.

Two ex-12 Squadron Canberras have been preserved by the SAAF.


12 Squadron SAAF Wikipedia

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