SWAPO’s military wing PLAN had created a specialised infiltration unit called Volcano. Members of this unit had received training from East German, Cuban and Russian instructors and were regarded as best PLAN soldiers. They had a training base situated 35 kilometres west of Lubango between the Umbria tunnel and the Leba Pass.
On the 13th December 1982: 24 Squadron was deployed to AFB Grootfontein with four aircraft. The next morning, they took-off at 07:50 for an IPMT (initial point medium toss) attack on the SWAPO ‘Volcano’ base. The radar, missile and MiG threat was now such that the whole flight had to be flown at low level to escape detection and they had to ‘hot refuel’ at Ondangwa on the way back to to Grootfontein.
The attack was very successful and Maj Lappies Labuschagne, the no 3 in the formation, was able to photograph lead and no 2’s bombs impacting inside the target with a handheld camera while in the break-off after their own attack (the bombs of no’s 3 and 4 were off course still in flight towards the target at that stage).
The Buccaneer Crews were:
No. 1 – Cmdt Snyman and Capt Mouton
No. 2 – Maj Siebrits and Capt Daniels
No. 3 – Maj Labuschagne and Lt Pretorius
N0. 4 – Maj Schroder and Maj Crowe
The following is a cockpit voice recording from the No. 2 aircraft from startup at Grootfontein and through to the actual attack.