BOSBOK 920 – WARBIRD RESTORATION
“Warbird”, a commonly derived term in aviation circles to describe aircraft types that have previously been involved in military operations and usually no longer in widespread military service which have been restored to flying condition to make public appearances to commemorate their military service. Bosbok 920 not only meets the requirement for military operations but was involved directly in operations ‘under fire from the enemy’. General Des Barker describes some of the more interesting aspects of the restoration of Bosbok 920 to flying condition at the SAAF Museum.
Such aircraft are highly sought after by collectors and in particular by aviation museums. Bosbok 920’s restoration to flying condition has allowed the South African Air Force (SAAF) Museum to now include on inventory, not only the first Bosbok off the production line, but one with an illustrious combat record, being the aircraft in which Lt Danie Laubscher was awarded the Honoris Crux
It was during Ops Protea at the battle of Xangongo that Captain Danie Laubscher of 42 Squadron was awarded the Honoris Crux decoration for bravery under combat conditions. Battle Group 20's attack on Xangongo had been held up by ZU-23-3 anti-aircraft guns. Attacks by Mirages failed to destroy the site and a third attack by artillery was unsuccessful. There were two options open to Lt Laubscher, return to base with his highly vulnerable, low speed, forward air controlling Bosbok, or to attack the AAA site with the marker rockets. Weighing up the options, in a shallow dive, exposing himself and the aircraft to great risk, he attacked the AA site and scored a direct hit with the smoke rockets thereby taking out the gun emplacement and allowing the ground forces to continue with their attack on Xangongo.