South African Air Force Fighter Colors

Vol. 2 The War in the Desert 1941-1942

Piet van Schalkwyk

After the conclusion of the East African Campaign, the participating SAAF fighter squadrons moved north to Egypt and Palestine for the Desert War, where they were joined by new and reformed squadrons. The squadrons eventually operated Hurricanes, Spitfire Mk. Vs, Tomahawks and Kittyhawks in this successfully completed campaign.
Date Published :
January 2021
Publisher :
Model Centrum Progres
Series :
Warplane Color Gallery
Illustration :
20 full-color plates, 95 b/w photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9788360672334
Pages : 88
Dimensions : 8.5 X 11 inches
Stock Status : Out of stock. Available in 6-8 weeks


Once the East African Campaign was concluded, some of the SAAF Fighter Squadrons, operating in Ethiopia and Sudan, moved north to Egypt to partake in the campaign in Palestine and the Desert War. 1 Squadron operated Hawker Hurricanes, while 2 Squadron operated the American built P-40 Tomahawks. 4 Squadron also transitioned to Egypt and soon joined 2 Squadron, flying the Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk. These two units were also joined by 5 Squadron, which had been formed and trained in the Union of South Africa. All three these units would eventually fly different marks of the P-40 Kittyhawk towards the end of the campaign. The ferocity of the aerial campaign over the North African desert and coastal plains can be illustrated by facts such as the numbers of fighter aircraft involved. The three SAAF Squadrons alone operated at least around 275 Tomahawks, that the author had been able to identify. This was followed by a similar number of Kittyhawk Mk. I and Kittyhawk Mk. II aircraft. The SAAF would also operate more than 160 Kittyhawk Mk. II and Mk. IV fighters in the late stages of this campaign and the follow-up campaign in Italy. The different SAAF squadrons that eventually operated Hurricanes, also operated well in excess of 200 Hurricanes of different models during their time in North Africa.

This volume covers the combat history of these fighter squadrons during the campaign, as well as the colors and markings of their aircraft. Primary sources, such as Squadron War Diaries, Pilot Logbooks, Personal Diaries, Aircraft Movement Cards, Medical and Incident Reports, Combat Reports and Supplementary reports, were used in the preparation of the text contained herein. This volume contains 88 pages, 20 full-color plates and 95 b&w photos, indicating the people and aircraft operated by these squadrons.

This volume will be followed by a third volume, tracing the onwards history of these squadrons as well as additional SAAF Fighter Squadrons during the final months of the campaign in North Africa. More volumes will follow, detailing the SAAF Fighter Squadron operations in Malta and the campaign in Sicily, Italy and the Balkans.

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