SANDF News

Only a quarter of the air force’s aircraft are serviceable and the army’s combat vehicles are more than 40 years old. None of the navy’s submarines is serviceable and only one of its frigates can be used. Of the aircraft purchased in the controversial arms deal in the late 1990s, only three of the 24 Hawk fighter training aircraft and three of the 20 Agusta helicopters are currently flying. The 26 Gripen fighter jets and three Lynx helicopters are grounded.
 

RaiderBoat

On ROPS
On ROPs
Only a quarter of the air force’s aircraft are serviceable and the army’s combat vehicles are more than 40 years old. None of the navy’s submarines is serviceable and only one of its frigates can be used. Of the aircraft purchased in the controversial arms deal in the late 1990s, only three of the 24 Hawk fighter training aircraft and three of the 20 Agusta helicopters are currently flying. The 26 Gripen fighter jets and three Lynx helicopters are grounded.
Putin will sell to SA.
 

RaiderBoat

On ROPS
On ROPs
"Buy" ?
You don't understand how cANCer finance works.
Yes I do.
The ANC et al get free money from everyone else because its racist not to support the African.
Then the ANC et al siphon off 80%.
Then they “buy” product from their ”lenders….but they don’t pay.
”Lenders” don’t complain because it’s…racist.

And The White man once again has to bail out the Dark Continent, AKA the White Mans Burden.
 
Yes I do.
The ANC et al get free money from everyone else because its racist not to support the African.
Then the ANC et al siphon off 80%.
Then they “buy” product from their ”lenders….but they don’t pay.
”Lenders” don’t complain because it’s…racist.

And The White man once again has to bail out the Dark Continent, AKA the White Mans Burden.

Ah, such cynicism from one so young and pretty.


Can't say you're wrong though...
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
Received this from, and by Roland de Vries.

We Were Soldiers.

Be proud of who you were and still are, soldiers of the former South African Defence Force (SADF).
Remain self-respecting and be steadfast, now, even as we grow older as veterans !
We shall honour and remember our fallen.
Do not forget about those maimed for life, body, mind, and soul.
None of their names can be checked against name-lists on memorials, their wounding lives on in countless memories of family members, friends, and veterans.
In this short reflection about the war, in which we were involved in Southwest Africa and Angola… yesterday, today, and tomorrow… I can only feel and express gratefulness.
Our combined best had proved good enough.

Most of the 23-year long Border War, so called by South Africans, played out in the northern border region of SWA/Namibia and southern Angola from 1966 until 1989.
The conflict initially raged between South Africa and the Southwest Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO). SWAPO was fighting a revolutionary war for the independence of Namibia whereas the SADF fought a counterinsurgency war against the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN - the armed wing of SWAPO) to halt the revolution.
SWAPO was supported in their struggle by Russian military advisers and other Soviet support structures, the Soviet’s substantial Cuban protégé forces and the Angolan Government forces.

The presence of the Soviet contingent and their large Cuban proxy forces confirmed the suspicions of many intelligence sources namely that the actual reason underlying SWAPO’s superficial revolutionary objectives for the war, was to allow the Soviet and Cuban forces the opportunity to annex South Africa with its great mineral wealth and strategic geographical position for the Soviet Union.
The South Africans realised this and understood the need to ensure that none of the very visible communist (so called support forces for SWAPO) could cross the South African/Namibian borders to facilitate a hostile political takeover of the country.

The South African Army supported by the South African Air Force, South African Navy and South African Medical Services were the main role players in the counterinsurgency war.
However, it should be noted that South African Special Forces played a vital role, both at the strategic as well as the tactical level.
They operated with small teams deep inside hostile country and were inserted either by foot, vehicle, air, or naval means.
This included clandestine seaborne operations undertaken by South Africa’s 4 Reconnaissance Commando Regiment, who engaged in a range of raiding and war fighting activities along the coastline of southern Africa.
These operations saw the clandestine reconnaissance of harbours, the sinking of enemy ships and the destruction of shore installations in Angola and Mozambique.
Likewise, the South African Air Force (SAAF), South African Navy (SAN) and South African Medical Services (SAMS) conducted autonomous operations, as well as joint operations in support of the land battle.

In considering the course of the Border War, it evolved through three distinct strategic phases which will be discussed in more detail below, namely:
• Phase 1: Low intensity warfare from 1966 until 1975.
• Phase 2: War escalation from 1975 until 1987.
• Phase 3: High intensity warfare from 1987 until 1989.

The war could therefore be described as a three-act drama, with the dense entangled African bush, sandy soil and challenging meteorological conditions adorning the theatre of war.
Pitch in bouts of triumph, disaster, anguish, and rapture.

The mentioned strategic phases were all marked by a clear domination of the SADF over SWAPO and how they successfully controlled the conflict in northern SWA/Namibia and southern Angola.
The SADF equally stood their ground against the numerical military odds faced across the border and succeeded in maintaining a favourable balance of military power right up to the end.
This was not attributed to fighting numbers, but to tactical prowess, superior combat leadership and resolve.

The SADF had proven beyond doubt that they could adequately cope with the insurgency, remain in control, and outlast their enemy.
These are all important lessons to learn in counterinsurgency and wars of long duration.

Until the mid-1980s the SAAF enjoyed air supremacy in southern Angola but then, out of the blue, the tables were turned.
In the blink of an eye the Angolans were dominating the air space with sophisticated Russian made fighter aircraft, radar, and air defences.
This came as a nasty surprise and made the ground war extremely challenging for the South African Army.

The precarious political-military conflict festering in southern Angola and northern SWA/Namibia at the time had the makings of an all-out regional war.
The situation was described as follows by the Maldon Institute, Washington, DC, 1 July 1988:
The dramatic transformation of the military status quo in Southern Angola and Namibia ... has the potential of setting the stage for a regional war in Southern Africa
It was a touch and go situation!

It is almost uncanny to realise that the conventional war of the final phase had forced the hands of the politicians from all sides to opt for peace.
This was fortunate !
That is probably why a controversy of who had won the so called "Battle of Cuito Cuanavale: still rages in certain political and military circles until now.
It was as if this issue and misguided propaganda and continued arguing about this from all sides are still important today, foolishly so.
Give them that, the Cubans were good at using disinformation at heart’s content.

The point being that these great conventional battles fought in southern Angola in 1988-89 had been the turning point of the war.
Accept this whole-heartedly and the fact that the individual armies involved, had not fought until the one or the other were defeated in the end – another lesson to be learned for warfare in Africa !
Learning by Experience and Exposure in Denseness, Darkness and Daylight

When reflecting on the South African experience, concerning counterinsurgency and conventional style mobile warfare during the South African Border War, one cannot but otherwise recite the wise words immortalised by Mao Tse-tung in his military writings, namely that:
Knowledge starts with practice, reaches the theoretical phase via practice, and then has to return to practice. Practice, knowledge, more practice, more knowledge; the cyclical repetition of this pattern to infinity, and with each cycle the elevation of the content of practice and knowledge to a higher level.
This the SADF had learned the hard way during the South African Border War (1966-1989) through superb training and successful campaigning through the seventies and eighties.
In achieving this level of excellence many young officers, non-commissioned officers and their soldiers had made manoeuvre warfare a way of life – a band of daring young commanders and men had tossed aside irrelevant military textbooks and developed their own doctrine for counterinsurgency and mobile warfare, South African-style.
The South Africans became quite adept at counterinsurgency and conventional style mobile warfare requiring nimbleness in bush-manoeuvring.
In so much warfare in Africa as experienced by the South Africans were not neat and clean, easily comprehended, or linear, with peace and war at the opposite ends of the spectrum.
At the blink of a commander’s eye, one could switch from counterinsurgency to conventional warfare mode and back again; or apply a combination of the two as we did.

Therefore, embedded in their operational concepts, within the African context, was the necessity to wrest the initiative from the enemy, which was achieved through high mobility operations and deep penetrations behind the enemy’s static positions.
Many deep operations were launched from temporarily established helicopter bases.
These fighting methods were well attuned to the African battle space, and many trials by fire resulted in doctrinal innovations founded on the lessons of the battlefield.
It goes without saying that the South Africans had learned that fluid conditions were necessary for mobile warfare to flourish; that the answer to superior forces lay in achieving greater mobility; that tactical victory was brought about by seizing fleeting opportunities following any ensuing confusion. Insurgency vis-à-vis Counterinsurgency and a touch of Mobile Conventional Warfare.

At the military level, the SADF fought a counterinsurgency war against the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN - the armed wing of SWAPO) to halt the revolution. SWAPO was supported in their struggle by Russian military advisers and other Soviet support structures, the latter’s substantial Cuban protégé forces and also the Angolan Government forces.
As the war continued South Africa became allied to the Angolan rebel movement UNITA.

Invariably, as the SADF became more and more involved in cross-border operations from 1978 onward, they became conventionally embroiled in pitching mobile battles against a vastly numerical superior Angolan-Cuban coalition force.
The war reached its climax during the high intensity conventional battles fought in south-east and south-west Angola in 1987-1988.
As such, the South African Border War, and the war in Angola in particular, could be widely used as a benchmark for the study of not only contemporary warfare, but future warfare as well, e.g., fourth generation and asymmetric warfare.
For instance, it was an armed struggle which typically evolved into a transnational conflict over time and which brought about all the imaginable political, diplomatic, military, and social ramifications and complexities of war in Africa.
More so, this war included low as well as high intensity engagements across the full spectrum of warfare, playing out within a vast geographical expanse over an extended period of time – all elements and events resulting in valuable lessons from which to learn.

Phases of the Border War and War Escalation In considering the course of the border war from a South African perspective, it is clear that it evolved through three distinct strategic phases as mentioned above, namely:

• Phase 1: Low Intensity Warfare from 1966 until 1975.
A long-long internal conflict in SWA/Namibia characterised by low intensity counterinsurgency warfare directed essentially against SWAPO.
In the latter, the South African Police (SAP) initially led the fighting process, until the SADF finally took charge by 1974.
This war phase included the momentarily clandestine invasion of Angola by the SADF during Operation Savannah and the rude shock that came from its proceeds.

• Phase 2: War Escalation from 1975 until 1987.
An era exemplified by rapid advancements in military technology and when the development of doctrines for counterinsurgency and mobile conventional warfare saw the light.
This period was amplified by cross-border operations against SWAPO and of fierce conventional battles with the Angolan and Cuban armed forces, as the war gradually intensified.

• Phase 3: High intensity warfare from 1987 until 1989 and Peace-Making.
By the mid-eighties, the Namibian War of Independence and Angolan Civil War had become closely intertwined, as the SADF sided with UNITA against the combined armed forces of Angola and Cuba in southern Angola.

The counterinsurgency war in SWA/Namibia by now was almost perceived as a side-line.
The conflict took on a transnational colour and was destined to become much-much more than mere low-intensity-and-semi-conventional style fighting.
It was driven to its peak between August 1987 and August 1988, when the SADF and the Angolans and Cubans became locked in high intensity conventional battles.
It was fought between the Lomba and Cuito rivers and later on north of Calueque on the SWA-Angolan border.
The mentioned strategic phases were all marked by a clear domination of the SADF over SWAPO and how they successfully controlled the conflict in southern Angola.

The SADF equally stood their ground against the numerical superior military odds faced across the border and succeeded in maintaining a favourable military balance of power right up to the end.
Throughout the conflict there were many attempts at peace-negotiations and when the war eventually ended after 23 years it was not with a clear-cut victory for any side, but in a peaceful settlement.

It is therefore important to realise that the objectives of war and its associated strategies may well change incrementally over time as it assuredly did over the long duration of the Border War.
From all sides, it may be added.

Many of the soldiers in the front-line rarely realised that the war in SWA/Namibia and Angola was continuously influenced by a series of high-level peace negotiations at political and senior military levels.
This happened at alternating overseas venues and usually involved the South Africans, SWAPO, Angolans, Americans, Soviets and Cubans.
UNITA, it seemed, where more or less left out of this arbitration loop.
Fight-fight, talk-talk, one step forward, and two steps backwards, three steps forward it seemed !

How did we as the mere mortals in the firing line perceive this lengthy war ?
For many it was just another day on the border and away from home... of discomfort in the humidity, denseness, and darkness of Africa, of ailments, heat, dust, mosquitoes, and flies.

Many of our young soldiers never saw the whites of the enemy’s eyes, whilst others became locked in fierce encounters and either survived, or succumbed in fire fights, were wounded, or killed by landmines.


Epilogue – Strength, Honour, and Faith

It is clear from this historical perspective that the former SADF had stood the test of time as far as professional militaries are concerned and of military history.
Especially for the mark it had made on the successful conduct of both counterinsurgency, unconventional and mobile conventional warfare in southern Africa.
This legacy reveals the blending of tactics from different military cultures; the tradition of a citizen army rather than a large regular force; and an emphasis on keeping casualties to the minimum, reflecting a military ethos that accentuated effectiveness rather than sacrifice.

I pronounce that the South African Army, one of the best small armies in the world at the time, fought in such an astute way that the war never escalated to regional status and that our soldiers had fought with honour.
You were simply the best !

I sincerely believe that some of the reasons the Cubans and Angolans were prepared to opt for peace in 1988, were because of the tactical prowess of our soldiers, outstanding leadership and will to fight when necessary.
I maintain that the purpose of war is to create a better form of peace.
This is what the soldiers who fought on all sides had achieved, also in the high intensity battles fought in southern Angola from August 1987 until August 1988.

However, in Africa peace is never that perfect.
When one looks at South Africa today one could ask whether this was the kind of peace we had fought for:
A country fettered by poor governance; deteriorating service delivery at provincial and local government levels; corruption and greed prevalent all over in government circles; a country besieged by violent crime, which daily threatens the lives of ordinary citizens; ongoing taxi violence; the degrading effect of a country stifled in racial tension and violent protests, rioting and plundering and similar forms of civil disobedience.

We currently live in a criminal state, where the government and its police force does not manage to maintain law and order adequately !
Observe the rapid deterioration of our wonderful country, especially the smaller towns.
Cry our beloved South Africa !

The ANC government has brought shame to South Africa.
However, I remain positive about the amazing prospects South Africa offer also in the quality of its people and continuous lucid human endeavour by many good people.


A last reflective thought, with gratefulness and without regrets:

So many individuals, so many truths, each story has more than three sides.
Even the myths spread by Fidel Castro about FAPLA winning the battle of Cuito Cuanavale, bless his leathered hide.

We knew well that everything did not always go our way in the successive battles fought for southeast Angola.
However, the mere fact remains that we were never defeated tactically.
As such I had found the reflective thinking and the telling of this short account most enlightening, liberating, satisfying, and rewarding in discharging my responsibility.

To my mind the South African commanders in the field had done their job extremely well in balancing two consistent pressing responsibilities – the one battling to outweigh the other and the scale was mostly tipped at a precarious angle under dire operational circumstances.
On the one end of the gauge balanced the accountability to win tactically at all cost, because there was no alternative.
On the other end hinged the responsibility not to incur undue casualties and to bring our troops safely home.
This we had done.

Every person who were involved in the border war, in some way or other, counted !
May all our veterans, their families and friends be blessed !
Strength, honour, and Faith !

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you...If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, and... Which is more... you'll be a Man, my son !”
– Rudyard Kipling
 
Yes I do.
The ANC et al get free money from everyone else because its racist not to support the African.
Then the ANC et al siphon off 80%.
Then they “buy” product from their ”lenders….but they don’t pay.
”Lenders” don’t complain because it’s…racist.

And The White man once again has to bail out the Dark Continent, AKA the White Mans Burden.
A 727, from an African airline, came to Dublin for overhaul, back in the 80s. It was in absolute shite. It was rebuilt from the ground up and was returned to first class flying condition. During the period of the rebuild, the African representatives lived the high life, partied long and hard and acted like they hadn't a care in the world. No shortage of money. Came the day when the aircraft was ready to depart and bills had to be paid. On the ramp, the mechs watched as the aircraft was filled to the gunnels with fridges and tyres and car parts and so on. Inside the head office, the Africans filed in, along with a man from the World Bank, who had not been seen before this point and was introduced to the waiting locals. When the bills were presented to the Africans, they broke out into wide grins and said "We have no money. He will pay", indicating the WB guy. He didn't bat an eyelid and produced a chequebook and asked how much. At this point, there's normally been a bit of prenegotiation so that both sides understand what the ballpark figure will be and there might be a final bit of haggling, mostly for show. Our lads said a figure and the guy simply wrote the cheque and handed it over. The Africans thanked everyone, shook hands and went on their way. Outside, the mechs watched them board, the aircraft started up, taxied out and they all watched it take off, half expecting it to crash because it was fully loaded. Off it went, trailing the usual cloud of smoke, never to be seen again. The WB guy, who was an old hand, when asked, said, "If you'd gone after them for the money, you'd have got nothing and the aircraft would be seized. It's easier this way".
 

Tool

LE
It's perceived, rightly or wrongly, that General Piet Joubert was the only general to defeat the British during Queen Victoria's reign.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
It's perceived, rightly or wrongly, that General Piet Joubert was the only general to defeat the British during Queen Victoria's reign.
Not sure he was ever on the SANDF ORBAT.
 

Latest Threads

Top