Somehow, rummaging through the expanse of the Internet in search of information about the jacket of a Belgian paratrooper bought on the occasion (for some reason the jacket was called "Congo"!) mechanic a hybrid of a combine harvester and a jeep in the Bigfoot style! On top of this whole pile of khaki iron towered a weapon vaguely reminiscent of the ZU-23.
This device was called by a completely unpronounceable name: "Yestervark" and turned out to be a variant of an equally amusing machine:
BTR "Buffel" This is how the African buffalo was called in Afrikaans - a powerful animal, known for its bad temper, and more dangerous than a lion.
The appearance of "Buffel" is due to the ban on the supply of weapons to South Africa, imposed by the UN, due to the fashionable enthusiasm for various national liberation movements of Black Africa in those years … The car was a lightly armored vehicle with mine protection of the bottom, and was developed in 1978 by the company "Armskor", for the South African army, which was then conducting counter-guerrilla operations in the areas bordering Angola. The local black followers of the teachings of Marx and Lenin entered into direct clashes extremely rarely, but, under the guidance of Chinese instructors, they got the hang of the ways of possible movement of units of the South African army. Mine TM-57 has become a real curse of roads and paths in the bush.
"Buffalo" was assembled on the basis of an all-wheel drive truck Mercedes "Unimog" 416/162.
The driver's cab was mounted on the chassis: an armored capsule, open at the top, this is how the driver got to his workplace.
If necessary, the cabin could be installed both on the right and on the left.
Separately, an armored open airborne compartment designed for 10 people was mounted. In it, back to back, 5 in a row, there were seats equipped with seat belts, designed in such a way as to weaken the effect of the blast wave on the fighter as much as possible.
Mine protection was achieved due to the V-shaped bottom of the troop compartment. In combination with significant ground clearance, this form made it possible to dissipate the explosion energy of an anti-vehicle mine. They also helped to resist the explosion filled with water (!) - 500 liters in each (!) Tires of large dimension.
Under the bottom of the troop compartment there were two plastic tanks: a 100-liter for water, and a 200-liter for fuel. The water was used for drinking, and it was believed among the soldiers that the mass of water saved the personnel in the event of an explosion.
In the absence of heavy weapons among the black partisans, the height of the vehicle was rather an advantage, since it allowed the soldiers to find the enemy hiding in the grass of the savannah earlier.
Machine guns of 5.56, or 7.62 mm caliber were installed on the machine. Machine guns were mounted diagonally: front right and rear left, there was also a variant with a "twin" behind the armor shield.
The following models also took place:
- "Buffel" MK I - with an improved engine and a reinforced bumper - "kenguryatnik"
- "Muffel" is an open cargo platform.
- "Buffel" MKII - with a closed troop compartment, rear doors and bulletproof windows on the sides and back.
- "Jestervark" - equipped with an automatic cannon "Bushmaster" of 20 mm caliber.
- There was also an option with an 80-mm mortar installed in the troop compartment. At the same time, the landing seats were dismantled.
On the latest models of armored vehicles, instead of the original Mercedes engines, diesel engines from Atlantis Diesel Engineering were installed, built at the company's plant somewhere near Cape Town.
It had a car and certain drawbacks. So, according to the recollections of veterans, the excessively acute reaction of the steering wheel to bumps and potholes cost many drivers broken fingers …
In total, more than 1400 cars were produced before the end of production. In a modified version, the "clones" of "Buffalo" continue to serve in the armies of other countries at the present time.