Vlamgat by Brigadier-General Dick Lord
“Vlamgat”, literally ‘flaming hole’ in Afrikaans, was the nickname the South African Air Force (SAAF) gave to the Mirage F1, its formidable frontline jet fighter during South Africa’s long ‘border wars’ in South West Africa (Namibia) and Angola from the late 1960s to the late 1980s. Battling Soviet MiG-21s and -23s over African skies, the Vlammies, the Mirage pilots as they were affectionately known, acquitted themselves with distinction and honor.
Vlamgat is a gripping account of these pilots and their deeds of bravery; their experiences are authentically related with accuracy, humor and pathos—by the author, himself a Vlammie. As Willem Hechter, former Chief of the SAAF, says in the foreword: “Vlamgat deserves a place of pride in the long history of this, the second oldest air force in the world.”
“… Perhaps it is the early morning chill that awakens them. They are mostly young—but combat is a maturing process that can change a youth into an adult overnight.
… At last they are suited up and have completed the briefing. The weapons are loaded and the aircraft are serviceable to fly. The pilots forget the anxieties and tension of the early morning hours.