Login |  
..:: Home ::..
 
You must be logged in and have permission to create or edit a blog.
 

 

 

Categories
 

 

 

Tags
 

 

 

Search the Blogs
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to join this exclusive community and have your own WarBlog where you can post your personal stories about your experiences in the War In Angola, also known as the Border War, please go to the host site (www.warinangola.com) and register as a user.

Only Registered Users of War In Angola that have subscribed to the PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP will have access to their own WarBlogs. For more information on the Premium Membership, click here...

 

 

If you would like to join this exclusive community and have your own WarBlog where you can post your personal stories about your experiences in the War In Angola, also known as the Border War, please go to the host site (www.warinangola.com) and register as a user.

Only Registered Users of War In Angola that have subscribed to the PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP will have access to their own WarBlogs. For more information on the Premium Membership, click here...

 

 

 

 

View the selected Blog
Apr 20

Written by: Johan Schoeman
2011/04/20 05:12 PM  RssIcon

Angola had strong Soviet and Cuban backing, and supported SWAPO/PLAN to the extend of providing assistance to the insurgents, co-locating Angolan troops in PLAN base camps in order to help protect them from South African aggression. The continued support to PLAN incursions prompted another strike by the SADF into southern Angola in 1980. This was Operation Sceptic, launched on 25 May, targeting the extensive 'Smokeshell' complex and several other base camps in Cunene province just north of the border. This is a small gallery of about 20 exclusive photos taken by Kobus Nortje during the operation.
  • If you are not a member of this WarBlog, you can view a SAMPLE of 5 photos of the operation here...
  • To become a member of this Warblog, you will need to Register at www.warinangola.com and SUBSCRIBE to the PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP
  • If you are a member of this WarBlog, you will have to log in to view ALL the photos of the operation here...

 

7 comment(s) so far...


Gravatar

Re: Photo Gallery of Operation Sceptic (Smokeshell) added

good post!

By runescape gold on   2011/09/05 04:55 AM
Gravatar

Re: Photo Gallery of Operation Sceptic (Smokeshell) added

Graag sou ek graag van die foto's wil sien.My Boetie GJ Kemp in 61 mech Dink is Ratel 21 is oorlede in die Show.

By Marietha Kemp on   2012/07/13 03:14 PM
Gravatar

Re: Photo Gallery of Operation Sceptic (Smokeshell) added

Marietha, gaan na www.warinangola.com en Registreer (dit is gratis) en dan na die Gallery... kies 'Photos of Operation Sceptic (Smokeshell), 1980' en dan behoort jy almal te kan sien. Laai ook sommer die laaste ten of so Uitgawes van die Nuusbrief af (ook gratis). Dit bevat 'n redelike gedetaileerde beskrywing van die Operasie...Uittreksels uit die boek waarmee ek besig is.

By Johan Schoeman on   2012/07/14 04:03 AM
Gravatar

Re: Photo Gallery of Operation Sceptic (Smokeshell) added

Would love to see and hear from people who were in operation smokeshell

By Rose Sheard (nee Kruger) on   2013/06/20 07:09 PM
Gravatar

Re: Photo Gallery of Operation Sceptic (Smokeshell) added

I have loaded information, maps and stories about Operation Sceptic and the attack on Smokeshell on the War In Angola Portal at http://www.warinangola.com/Default.aspx?tabid=1644

By Johan Schoeman on   2013/06/21 05:31 PM
Gravatar

Re: Photo Gallery of Operation Sceptic (Smokeshell) added

Was in Smokeshell

By Ockert Coertze on   2013/07/16 11:09 AM
Gravatar

Re: Photo Gallery of Operation Sceptic (Smokeshell) added

Ockert, Please send me some of your experiences (and photos) of the operation if you have. I would like to consider it for inclusion in a book on the operation... You can email it to johan@warinangola.com

By Johan Schoeman on   2013/07/17 09:14 PM

Your name:
Gravatar Preview
Your email:
(Optional) Email used only to show Gravatar.
Your website:
Title:
Comment:
Security Code
Enter the code shown above in the box below
Add Comment   Cancel 
Recent Blog Entries
The Spirit of 53...
Posted on: Monday, July 21, 2014
A nerve-wracking ride to Cuito Cuanavale
Posted on: Monday, December 16, 2013
In Search for a Home: Omauni
Posted on: Thursday, December 05, 2013
In search for a home: proof of life
Posted on: Thursday, November 14, 2013
The Battle of Mongua: From Ondjiva to Preira d’eça
Posted on: Wednesday, October 02, 2013
In search for a home: Arriving at Buffalo
Posted on: Thursday, June 06, 2013
The outbreak for the border war
Posted on: Friday, May 24, 2013
Various opfoks and rondfoks during Basics
Posted on: Saturday, May 11, 2013
101 fun opfoks with a rifle
Posted on: Saturday, May 11, 2013
 

 

 

Recent Blog Comments
Re: Guard Duty at 81TSD
Somebody essentially assist to make significantly posts I might state. That is the first time I frequented your web page and to this point? I amazed with the research you made to create this particular post incredible. Magnificent job!
By UGG Boots on: Saturday, October 11, 2014
Re: "Trying to destroy the Olifants"
Thanks Cornie. I do also have that a squadron of tanks comprises of eleven tanks, but I did read somewhere that there were 28 in total (not sure where, though). I suppose that this included the three ARVs as well as the two command tanks of the regiment's CO and the 2IC, which brings the total to 27. Maybe there was another held in reserve? Be it as it may, there could have have been no more than 24 fighting armoured vehicles directly involved in the attack.
By Johan Schoeman on: Monday, August 25, 2014
Re: "Trying to destroy the Olifants"
Thank you Johan. Well from all accounts I have read, most were involved in some small part and only now get to share with others how they fitted into the big picture. Information is mostly memories and speculation so we will never really know what intelligence was provided by whom and for what reason. I'm really beginning to doubt what is put forward af fact. Just think about what you have seen, after Quito we were constantly reminded how outmatched and outnumbered we are and that piece is the only way. That there is an army on the SWA border ready to invade and we will have to retreat to Grootfontein as an optimistic estimation. I just don't see that, I can only find accounts of people facing SWAPO over the river. The logistics of moving and supplying an army is huge and it leaves clear traces. You can see those traces from Luanda to Quito. What you don't see is any trace of an army moved through the DMZ. There was no civilian infrastructure for several kilos into Angola and to supply from the air would have meant constant transport planes which would have been a turkey shoot. Im trying to contain my imagination but keeping the airforce out of the fight, pulling back to Rundu, hasty moving to Oshakati. And until now I did not realise that the commanders was young. In my opinion, someone was trying very hard to take us out of the fight and spread fear before we became unstoppable (dream a little). I just cannot see, realistically, how we can all echo that we were on a path to defeat due to technical or resource constraints. If you doubt that, just look at what executive outcomes did with precious little, and we had a lot.
By Hein on: Sunday, August 24, 2014
Re: "Trying to destroy the Olifants"
Hi Johan. A SA tank squadron consist of only 11 tanks. 3 x troops with 3 tanks each and then the commander and 2 in command tanks.
As on readiness we had more than enough just Pres Steyn had 35 ready and well maintained at 7 Div Mob centre and I believe the other tank regiments would have had the same amount. Tactical it did not matter whether is was Mk1 or Mk1A, we never really used the new features of the 1A.
By Cornie van Schoor on: Sunday, August 24, 2014
Re: "Trying to destroy the Olifants"
Hi Hein... Just a view points: the most tanks used in a single operation were 28, which were the 26-odd tanks from the two squadrons of Regiment President Steyn plus two command tanks (and/or 1 Command Ratel) used by the command element from the School of Armour. Most of these tanks had been in action in the previous operations and have simply been taken over by the RPS tanks, which only brought in a single squadron of replacement tanks. This explains the confusion that arose due to the call signs displayed on the tanks, e.g. Bravo Squadron using the tanks previously deployed as Echo Squadron, and therefore labelled with the 50 series of call signs and not the 20 series Another squadron was already on its way home, which, in theory, would bring the total number of tanks in the operation area to around 40. There had been previous rotations in December as well (at least two), but there had never been more than the two squadron, ad-hoc regiment of tanks deployed. I don't think there were any intention to create an appearance of having more tanks deployed than was actually the case as a deception measure, in fact, I would lean towards the other side, that in fact, the field commanders would have preferred the enemy to think there were only one squadron present. Deception measures that had been taken did include the simulated sound of tank engines to confuse the enemy, but that was more intended towards creating uncertainty as to which direction the tanks would actually be attacking from. Tanks do provide a demoralising effect on dug-in enemy troops and it is always good to let them know that they are going to be attacked by tanks. No surprises there... as I saw from my vantage point in the tree, when the tanks approached the objectives, there could be NO DOUBT at all as to where they were and where they were going to! The noise and dust could be heard and seen from tens of kilometres away! Given the extend of the defences and preparation allowed the enemy, and the limited artillery preparatory bombardment on known positions, I can only surmise that the attack was never intended to actually succeed, but merely to keep the military pressure on the enemy during negotiations. It was NOT the usual way of doing things in the SADF and we did notice it on the ground. While we were still supremely confident in our abilities, I think the writing was pretty much on the wall, especially after TWO direct frontal attacks had already failed previously! We were a new lot and were obviously ill prepared for what we were to face, but I think the field commanders were fighting with one hand tied behind their backs by the politicians, and were silently hoping that maybe the enemy resolve would crack and they would simply run away again.As to the combat-readiness of the Olifant tanks, while not really equipped to any technical level when it comes to the tanks, I don't think there were too many of the 250-odd actually ready as only a few of them had actually being upgraded to Mark 1A status... most of the others were Mark 1s although the regiments would have been maintaining them to a high standard in the way I knew the old SADF. The problem was that most of these regiments were Citizen Force units and were not exactly on a ready footing.Our Tiffies (Technical Service Corps) did a magnificent job of maintaining, fixing, and recovering our vehicles, including the tanks. Most of the tanks that had been attributed as losses by the enemy had been recovered and reintroduced in the field within days of their recovery. No tanks were actually shot out or destroyed by enemy fire but most had suffered from damaged tracks and bogeys, mostly caused by mines. This is what makes the events of 23 March 1987 so sad... that we had to abandon three slightly damaged tanks in the battlefield because we had been told that we would recover them later... except that we were prevented to do so by the political events which had overtaken the decisions in the field!.
Unfortunately I cannot comment on the intelligence picture as that was simply not my expertise, but, as you say, very interesting coincidences did occur and does give one the idea that things had been engineered.As to whether we ourselves would have been able to hold out in the field at Cuito Cuanavale until the Soviet collapse, I doubt it very much, judging from the level of deterioration that our equipment had gone through and the obvious economic strain the war was placing on the SA government. While I think it is safe to say that we had actively contributed to the Soviets collapse, it is probably safe to also say that they directly contributed to the demise of Apartheid by tying us up for so long in Angola! As it turned out, Namibia became an independent nation, which was the long term goal of all the parties concerned anyway, including the SA government.
By Johan Schoeman on: Saturday, August 23, 2014
Re: "Trying to destroy the Olifants"
Hi All. I know this thread is old but I find the best way to collect history is to talk to those who were there. I am fascinated by war, not because I'm a psycho, I just try to see what drives people to the point of breaking the 6th commandment. I have spoken to many a war damaged veteran soldier that had their lives changed in combat.
I would like to share some of my findings and hear your views. Please keep in mind, I was not there, a lot of the official accounts is not true and were politically motivated. So don't jump on me if you disagree, lets just discuss what we know and try draw informed conclusions.
Its difficult to build a sequence of events but ill attempt it anyway. SA paranoid about another communistic neighbor and desperate for favor on the international scene eagerly invaded Angola in 74 after the CIA intervention failed. Seen as the aggressor the UN pressured SA to withdraw and the Cubans were a formidable dug in force so it was better to leave than to get kicked out. To prevent SWAPO from positioning itself right on SWA border an DMZ was formed and financial and military assistance was provided to UNITA in the south east. SA kept the war alive and used it in my opinion to stay on the international scene albeit under sanctions. Arming up was done with a lot of covert help in contravention of the UN arms embargo. Cuba did something similar but with a motivation to stay in Soviet favor as an enemy of the west. Castro was looking for a fight to keep the revolutionaries from turning on him and to keep the Russian supply lines open. Early 80s for SA was a time of trouble, economic sanctions was beginning to take its toll and the cost of conventional war would sink SA. On the other hand the Cubans were continuously supplying Angola constantly urging the Soviets to help prevent a victory for the west in the wake of Vietnam. The conflict was kept small enough to prevent any direct super power involvement. But in the greater scheme of things the USSR was falling into financial troubles of its own. Afghanistan was taking its toll and an imbalanced flow of resources was making them poorer. Coupled with Gorbachev policies to reintegrate the USSR, was bringing their conflict involvements to an end.
From what I could gather so far, It looks like Pik Botha was either recruited by the CIA while in NY or he offered to be a backline for what he saw as the solution. Either way it looks like it was know that the Soviets were making a last ditch effort before withdrawing from Angola. Intelligence came to light that the Russians were sending their own advisers and what looks like about 1 Billion Dollars worth of equipment to Angola. The Cubans knew they were going to be left high and dry so they advised against attacking UNITA in the south east where moving military equipment was difficult and the SADF would intervene on UNITAs behalf. The Russians most likely had no plan to escalate the conflict as they did not put in place any measures the resupply a fighting force. All parties most likely knew this if you inspect the actions in hind site.
The SADF plan, as I see it, was not to go into a full out fight. 6 or 7 G5 155 Howitzers developed with help from dr Bull, were placed outside Quito about 45 kilometers from the runway which was just outside the range of Russian guns. MIG 23s from Menonge were supposed to find and destroy these but could not fly low due to UNITA being armed with stingers. The Recce teams would call out Victor Victor when a MIG 23 took off and that gave about 15 Minutes to stop firing and cover up. The SADF learned early on that a tank was really ineffective in Angola and that wheeled vehicles with better range could out maneuver a tank and shoot it from behind through its radiator with a much smaller gun. The Ratel 60 and 90 performed well against a tank and could be chained together for river crossings. Never the less to invoke a tank battle you need tanks. So the tanks were taken around to the north east and send down to the confluence as this would look like a move to capture the bridge and cross. This slow paced advance through a known mine field would give the enemy ample opportunity to send all armor across as a stopping force while the tanks simply turn around and leave with the enemy exposed to artillery on the eastern side of the river with very little chance to retreat back to Quito. The missions were called modular, hooper and packer, stop, push back and cross. We all know packer was deemed a failure. But was it? was it ever the plan? If you look at the ordinance supplied it does not look like there was ever an intention to cross the river, just to draw out and destroy enough equipment to justify an end of hostilities and withdraw. So Pik Botha and Magnus Malan goes to Egypt for piece talks and the agreement was that SADF leaves Angola immediately, Cuba withdraws over 2 years and leaves as Victors to keep piece at home and UN gets to start the handover process of SWA.
I am troubled by the pictures of the Olifants from 61 Mechanized (Ill stand corrected on the division number) as they were moved to the engagement aria, 1 tank would tow 3 tanks followed by a fuel truck. The 3 being towed would have their backsides in the air as if they were a little light were the engines supposed to be. As part of the upgrade programs on the Olifants, engines were changed to petrol and then back to diesel. And then there is the magic 8 tanks that kept on being upgraded. Is it possible that a lot of the 250 odd tanks were not even combat ready? That they were just towed in to create the numerical response needed?
Something else to ponder about. Sweden made its intentions agains SA clear and had their President killed or assassinated, but his friend Bernt Carlsson was the socialist who did most of the damage behind the scenes. He claimed he was the target of SA intelligence agencies while living in London. He was in Egypt for the piece talks and he was supposed to fly with Pik Botha and Magnus Malan to NY to sign the piece deal. The story goes that Pik Botha and Magnus Malan took an earlier flight, of course Bernt Carlsson never made it as he died on Pan Am Flight 103.
The rest is history as played out by FW de Klerk with some very questionable motives.
So if we did not play along, if we decided to stay in Angola, what would have happened 3 years after Quito in 91 with the fall of communism?
By Hein de Kock on: Saturday, August 23, 2014
re:
Just want to express my heartfelt gratitude and say thank you for spending some time to publish this article I have found lots of information.

www.triciajoy.com
By ramyun on: Monday, August 18, 2014
Re: Exclusive Photo Gallery of Operation Protea added
Die fotos kan nou deur geregistreerde lede van War In Angola besigtig word by http://www.warinangola.com/Default.aspx?tabid=1285
By Johan Schoeman on: Saturday, August 09, 2014
Re: Exclusive Photo Gallery of Operation Protea added
was ook betokke 61 Meg. Sal graag fotos wil sien ou Herineringe
Was Ratel DRYWER
By Jan VISSER on: Wednesday, August 06, 2014
Re: Exclusive Photo Gallery of Operation Protea added
Was ook daar meg bateljon sal graag fotos wil sie ; bring ou herringere terug
By Jan VISSER on: Wednesday, August 06, 2014
Re: The “PIKSTEEL LIEUT”
"when my driver rammed a cocked R1 rifle into my face, threatening to shoot me!"

Goeie genugtig, dis erg (good Lord, this goes over the top)!
By German volunteer on: Sunday, June 29, 2014
Re: The “PIKSTEEL LIEUT”
Thank you, German, volunteer... your story deserves to be on its own blog! ;-) But it remains VERY relevant to the subject here, and your input is much appreciated. It was a fact of our time in the army that infighting between units existed and sometimes got out of control. Call it stupid, call it idiocy... call it "ESPRIT D'CORPS"... the fact remained that it was ludicrous to be fighting with your own, especially so near to the start of an actual operation! Discipline was sometimes an issue which demanded action... as I subsequently discovered on this same Operation Daisy, when my driver rammed a cocked R1 rifle into my face, threatening to shoot me! But that story is probably worthy of a Blog Entry on its own...!
By Johan Schoeman on: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Re: The “PIKSTEEL LIEUT”
"But I remember some people had to be treated at I think it was 2 Mil (inside the Tempe base) afterward".

My mind is slipping with little details after all these years - googled it - must have been 3 military hospital at Bloemfontein.

@Stephan Swart: Ons probeer maar net ons herinneringe neer te skryf, ek het regtig niks teen die Bats nie. Wie gaan ons binneste gedagtes van daardie tye neerskryf, as nie onself nie? Daar word vandag so baie leuens vertel oor die ou SAW deur allerhand geleerdes, dat ek partykeer dink ek was in 'n ander weermag. Die tyd het in elk geval vir ons aangestap, ons raak oud, die diensplig gedeelte was maar 'n klein gedeelte van ons lewe, en vandag stoei van ons met baie groter probleme in die lewe. As ek van "ons" praat, dan is dit in die naam van ons generasie, beide dienspligtiges en die PF's wat ek nog in aanraking mee was of is. Daar was wenners, maar ook verloorders, waarvan sommiges vroeer hoee offisiere was, en vandag van genadebrood lewe. Ons is in elk geval al verby ons middeljare, en dis nog net 20 - 30 of wat jaar, dan is ons nie meer op aarde nie, en hopelik sal iemand ons nog onthou, maar ek weet mos hoe die mensdom is, die meeste mense is bra oppervlakkig en lewe net vir die oomblik. Ek is in elk geval altyd bly om nog van ons manne se stemme te hoor.
By German volunteer on: Friday, June 20, 2014
Re: The “PIKSTEEL LIEUT”
"I would also like to use this opprtunity to but the balsak and iron story away for good, it is rubbish to say but the least. If a person have to strike anybody's head with a balsak at full swing the person will most probably die, or end up in hospital with seriuos injury".

Your reasoning is correct, for I never saw an duffle bag with an iron. But I saw the guys speeding away for the rumble. It just had turned dark. Some guys bragged about it afterward. But I saw some rough guys there, and I know that there were some "skollie" (shady) types there that would shy away from nothing. But I know some guys put some heavy objects in their duffle bag, but it is too long ago to remember the exact details. Not every duffle bag was filled with heavy objects, not everyone went in with a duffle bag, so the percentage chance that someone would be hit was low. But I remember some people had to be treated at I think it was 2 Mil (inside the Tempe base) afterward. Remember it was national service, the army had to take in everybody, and that included the less civilized part of our population.

Let me tell you an example, where I personally was involved. In my bungalow (I was pantser, 1 SSB) we had the armoured car guys, and then also one infantry squad, in Germany they call them panzer grenadiers (infantry backing up the armour). One of them was a tall guy coming from Cape Town, about the size and looks of the once boxer Gerrie Coetzee, and bragged how he drove in civvy street with chains, moering (hitting) blacks along the road.He was about 6 feet tall, and I as a panzer, more on the short side. I did not like him one bit. He was stupid, but he was strong, so he could control his people, and got stripes for that. He one night got drunk back to base with his friend, and looked for a victim. And that was me, alone in the bungalow that one night. So they started throwing out all my stuff out of my locker, neatly packed for inspection. I lost my temper and started getting cocky, but did not have the body mass in order to defend myself properly. The next moment I found myself being kicked under my bed, and I had to curl up, in order to protect my head. They attacked me for about ten minutes, and then left me alone. That section leader gippoed (shy away from duty) once when we had to run around during punishment PT, and hid in the toilet. I then decided if he does not want to play along, I am also going to hide in the amnenities, just to prove a point. He obviously was very agitated, for he then had to leave the locker rooms, but not before giving me a nasty wipe with his fits against my head, where I saw stars, but thought up yours.

I met quite few chilish idiots like these guys, even some I thought that were not quite "lekker" (straight) in their heads, and some guys suffered quite more than me under their regime.

Even on the border there was this stupid wackhead (he could a stripe afterward, for he got some supervisory responsibilities at the stores) with a standard eight, who listened to rockability songs all day long. He started to grab my whatsisname (private part) down there one day out of boredom, and I threatened him. Then he started attacking me, and I threatened hm with the little scissor in our stitch-and-needle pack. The others stood around, waiting for some amusement. He then punched me in the face, so I walked around with a swollen parrot beak for about two weeks long, much to the amusement of the others. The leftenant (we called him 'old blue eyes') just stood around, did nothing. He was a good guy, but not a tough guy, for later when we had to dig trenches (Katima was shot up one year before I was there) some of our troops threw him with earth clods, and he just took it. I would have ripped those troops apart, if I was in his shoes. Most of our officers were very good, but you here and there had your duds, but that one would expect statistically.

These people would have no inhibition tackling Bats with irresponsible object in their duffle bags.

"You remind me of the guy (more than one by the way) one day that told me how many terrs he killed, and his unit".

I don't know whom in particular you are adressing, but you are speaking the truth. South Africa today is in many cases much more dangerous than the opertaional area back then. I was involved in an armed burglary at my home in 2008 in Alberton, my Rhodesian neighbor, to whom the robbers went afterward, was shot in his knees, and his mother with a shotgun through the glassdoor and both survived, as they say for the grace of God. In my period of 5 months duty at Katima there was no incident. It was not like Vietnam. Most probably because the area was cleaned up after the revenge attack after Cassinga, but those things I found out only many years afterward after the border war literature saw the light. After I left, one of the armoured car commander from the squadron thar replaced us, was shot dead while on patrol. I read it in the SCOPE magazine, while on pass. He apparently tanned on top of his noddy car while on patrol, thinking nothing happened on the border anymore, which was a stupid and undisciplined thing to do. A lot of casualties were because of stupidity, not because of war actions. I know, I saw it, and I heard it. One of our guys killed himself while throwing a handgrenade uphill during exercise (so it was told to us), and it rolled back. In our bungalow this one idiot shot his R1 (FN_FAL) rifle magazine, filled with blanks, empty on automatic. Another one killed himself on guard duty, playing around with his riflemagazine (we had five bullets, the magazine being sealed with a lead seal, which you may only break up in an emergency). The idiot broke the seal, and dropped his rifle, and the shot went off. So it was told to us afterward.

After an exercise on the firing range at De Brug, the unexploded ammunition had to be collected by experts. This one idiot (who landed in DB - detention baracks - at a stage) decided he was cleverer than everybody else. He fetched an unexploded 60 mill exercise mortar (those blue ones) and screwed off the primer cap, and hit it on a rock, like a baboon, just to see what a big bang sounded like. We were explicitly warned against this beforehand. Some people are unteacheable, but the army had to take in everybody, also the mentally challenged. Afterward we had to line up before the ambulance, in order to look at his hand, full of shrapnell. He could have been lucky that he did not loose his eyesight.

When I patrolled on the border, it back then was a very real war situation for us. People were shot. It could have been me. I did not know of all the things which appeared many years later in the border war literature. For me it was a situation where I as a gunner was confronted by the same questions of writing your last testament in blood in the sand (military testament), that we could run in an ambush, and how was I to fire my 60 mil grenade (I mostly was in a Eland 60 on border patrols) without hitting my own people. Nobody told you that. We for all practical purposes were in a mindset of readiness for an incident to happen, during patrols, and that was not a state of relaxation and on holiday.

One day, just before sundown, the generators were on already, there was a huge bang at Katima base. I was at our tents at the one end of the parade grounds, back at the fence of the camp, walking toward the guard room (we had to stand guard that night) at the Katima base entrance. It felt like a huge kettle drum like I never heard again in my life, you could feel the pounding inside your chest, and the ground shortly reverberating. The generator went out, it went dark. I thought now I will get my "vuurdoop" (baptism of fire), and will mortars now fall on the parade ground? Shortly afterward we were told to move to our armoured cars at the car park (which was just a few canopies near the generators, at a radio tower near the guard rooms). The infantry ran to their Buffels, frantically loading ammunition. I hoped that I had listened well enough during our lectures, and that my browning won't get a failure. One could feel the tension in the air, even now, as I write it. We were not scared, perhaps too dumb and inexperienced to be so, it only was a strange situation. We waited for orders. Then we were told over the radio that the RSM (regimental seargeant major) had tested a landmine, but forgot to inform us. We were quite relieved. I told my commander and driver we must sit still and keep quite and enjoy the show, looking how the infantery loeaded their guns and ammunition, obviously having not yet been informed. So we sat back and grinned at each other, we mischievous louts, until they also got the message.

Later on during camps, Regiment Mooirivier was called up for active duty on operations inside Angola. I missed out, due to the exemption boeard, because of my studies. My national service commander, now a business owner, and a Bcomm Unisa degree, did not get off so lightly. I still now and then write him a mail. He was send several times to Angola, it did not even help that he told the court he cannot understand Afrikaans (so he wrote me in a mail recently).

I went there for national service in a period when there was a high casualty rate on the border, according to the justdoneit website. The real dangerous time for all citizens of South Africa was only for a ten to fifteen years period, even when the border war was 23 years long in total, starting off, I reckon, just before the two years national service period was introduced. I met lots of people even of my own age group who never went to the border, or even to the army (e.g. Telkom guys, exempted because it was a national key point. Never knew before this that these guys did not have to go. My brother in law was such a case). Only one of my bosses in the early stage of my career, did national service, the rest were part of the older generation. Camps were a huge disruption to our personal life. If I look here overseas, the people could build their careers in a critical age group and time at work, while we had to battle with an animal of a completely different kind. For all that inconvenience (in my case, perhaps volunteerded inconvienience, for my parents lost all to communism after WWII, so I knew what the danger was) we lost a country, and I sat ten years without work, due to BEE, and nearly landed in a squatter camp, this while having a MINT qualification, and management experience, and will end up in pension without a pension, on the welfare, if I remain unlucky.

You see where I come from when I wrote about this incident.

Regards.
By German volunteer on: Thursday, June 19, 2014
Re: Photo Gallery of Operation Daisy, November 1981
Ek het sy gegewens as dood tydens Operasie Protea... Sien http://www.warinangola.com/Default.aspx?tabid=1596&Parameter=962... ongelukkig geen fotos nie
By Johan Schoeman on: Saturday, June 14, 2014