The first five F-86Fs (serials 601 to 605) were delivered to No. 2 Squadron late
in January 1953, and after conversion training the first missions were flown
from March 12, 1953, along the Yalu River in the notorious ‘Mig Alley’. In
the remaining four months before the armistice, the SAAF Sabres flew 1 694
sorties. Even on July 27,1953, the last day of the war, No.2 Squadron flew
no less than 41 sorties before the armistice came into effect at one minute
Of the 20 or so Sabres flown by No. 2 Squadron, only four were
lost on active service, although a fifth crashed after the armistice. All
operational flying ceased on October 1,1953. Ten days later the Cheetahs’
brief but passionate love affair with the beautiful swept-wing fighter ended
when the last two
Sabres were flown to a USAF base to be handed back.
Apparently, all the ex-SAAF F-86Fs found their way to the Philippines Air
Force, who later scrapped them. No. 2 Squadron returned to the Union of
South Africa, where it was re-equipped with Vampire F.B.Mk.S2s - recently
been delivered from Britain. But the memory of the beautiful Sabre stayed
with the flight crews for the next three years.
The one that I decided to build was number 603, B - Ruth II. The SAAF Sabres
were overall natural metal with standard Korean I.D. Markings consisting of
28" FS13432 Yellow bands bordered by a 4'' black stripes around mid fuselage
and wingtips. SAAF rounded springbok roundels were worn in the standard 6
positions. above, below wings and sides of fuselage.
Almost full length fin
flash. high aircraft codes, repeat on the upper nose wheel door. Serials and
individual aircraft names were in black. 2 Squadron badges were positioned
behind the gun troughs.