Algerian MiG-15 and Mi-4 - The Sand War - Mecheria Airfield, 1963

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Tim R-T-C
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Algerian MiG-15 and Mi-4 - The Sand War - Mecheria Airfield, 1963

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Mecheria Airfield, Algeria, November 1963. During the Sand War against Morocco a MiG mechanic tries to scrounge spare parts from a supply truck without much success...

The first military act of a newly independent Algeria in September and October 1963 was to defend itself from incursion by Morocco over disputed border territories - like so many post-colonial regions, once purely administrative and so vaguely defined boundaries became matters of national pride and identity.

Algeria's nascent air force included MiG-15bis donated by Egypt (probably of 1955 Czech origin) and Mi-4 helicopters, some from Egypt, others delivered in crates from the USSR.

The Tom Cooper book Showdown in Western Sahara on warfare in this region has a photo during this conflict of MiGs and Mils based at Mecheria Airfield, so that is what this scene is based on.

At the southern edge of the inhabited coastal region of Algeria, the airfield was built and used by French colonial forces and I have found some photos of a well established airfield in the 1950s, but from the accounts in the book it was largely abadoned at the time of the conflict with minimal facilities.

The MiG is the excellent Eduard kit with AK aluminium paint and decals lifted from a pair of MikroMir Yak kits.

The Mi-4 is from the Eastern Express kit - the military boxing but with the cheat line decal from the civilian boxing. Not the easiest kit with a lack of locating points and a lot of buttress joints.

The figures and former French military truck are from Arrowhead Minatures.

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