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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...




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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...


Re: Photo Gallery of Operation Sceptic (Smokeshell) added

good post!

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

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

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

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

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

Re: Photo Gallery of Operation Sceptic (Smokeshell) added

Was in Smokeshell

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

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

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Recent Blog Entries
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Posted on: Sunday, August 23, 2015
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Posted on: Friday, August 21, 2015


Recent Blog Comments
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By Cindy on: Saturday, October 10, 2015
Re: Supper in Sá da Bandeira
Thank you for that steak story, Johan! I remember when we started withdrawing from Angola in 1988, one of the Senior NCO's of the battery (no names! LOL), brought in a massive Rooiwildebees strapped across the front of the Ratel. Incredibly, it just "appeared and jumped in front of the moving Ratel", with the obvious result that the entire artillery battery's ratpack diet was about to be supplemented by some really fresh meat! No one seemd to notice the small bullethole behind the animal's ear, though! Be that as it may, the "poachers" of the battery were soon revealed as the animal was skinned and cut up in record time. We were thus able to issue every member of the battery with a huge chunk of steak, which, without salt and proper preparations, and with the animal not having been allowed to bleed out first, turned out to be rather tough and not at all as tender as we would have expected. However, it was a steak, and thoroughly enjoyed as it was, after been grilled over open fires in our shovels using every spice and soup/cooldrink powder pack from our ratpacks. It was the first fresh meat most of us had seen for almost three months! While we were demobilising at Rundu, we, the officers of the regiment, went to the Rundu Hotel with the CO for some real, well-prepared steak, of which we could not eat a quarter because our stomachs had shrunk so much!
By Johan Schoeman on: Friday, September 11, 2015
Re: Photo Gallery of Operation Daisy, November 1981
Stapie is inderdaad dood tydens Ops Protea.Ek was by die dag van sy ontydige dood.
By Dougie Mills on: Tuesday, September 08, 2015
Love it! Very interesting topics, I hope the incoming comments and suggestion are equally positive. Thank you for sharing this information that is actually helpful.

By ufgop.org on: Friday, August 28, 2015
Re: Operation Savannah
Hi Gert

I was not part of Savannah (was involved with Ratel evaluation at the time); but I have the greatest admiration for those who were - including my youngest brother who was at 2 SAI.

Your recollections are amazing and your comments totally acceptable - as you can only really comment on what and how you experienced. Others may well differ from some of your comments but that's life!

Personally, I think that you should continue writing until you have thoroughly exhausted your memories - and then you should sit back and read through them and accept how important what you guys did was to what followed; and be thankful that you gave your best and survived.

Nobody likes war but soldiers are prepared to die to give others the privilege of saying so.

Forget the politics and look upon yourself as a professional soldier:


I have never ceased to give thanks that life,
Whatever else it might have in store for me, has brought me
Not as a mere traveller but as a soldier into this world.
Wherever we go we often encounter hostility. The eyes that meet ours are often sullen with a consciousness of grievance and hurt.
Even the salesmen, the porters and the others who cheat us and harry us, resent us.
But none of it bothers us.
It is not we, but they who are the newcomers, the interlopers, the transients. We know it and they know it.
We belong to that which is older than any nation.
We are the Greeks, the Romans, the Moguls, the Tartars, the Aryans and the Dravidians.
We go back to the beginning of history. We are the beginning of history.
We are the soldiery!

Best regards

Tony Savides
By TonySav on: Thursday, August 27, 2015
Re: Exclusive Photo Gallery of Operation Protea added
My broer was deel van operasie protea, en het gesterf dd 1981/08/28, ek sal graag van die fotos wil sien, Dankie
By Harriet on: Sunday, August 23, 2015
Re: Exclusive Photo Gallery of Operation Protea added
My broer was deel van operasie protea, en het gesterf dd 1981/08/28, ek sal graag van die fotos wil sien, Dankie
By Harriet on: Sunday, August 23, 2015
Re: Exclusive Photo Gallery of Operation Protea added
My broer was deel van operasie protea, en het gesterf dd 1981/08/28, ek sal graag van die fotof wil sien, Dankie
By Harriet on: Sunday, August 23, 2015
Hi Graham and Chris.

1980/81 was the real development year of 1 SAI and mech infantry as we began to produce more and more JLs and mech soldiers (following on the success of the 1979 intake). 1980 was also the terrible year of Op Sceptic (Smokeshell). You guys were thus pioneers in a way.

Chris your visit to 1 SAI was a real blast. Unfortunately though, some other requests and visits of this type at current units have been given short thrift by a new generation of bigots who do not understand the camaraderie of the Soldier. Thankfully, these idiots seem to be few and far between and most of the new guys seem eager to learn from the past - not simply discard it or use it as a whipping block.

I assume that you guys are aware of the book on Ratel that is currently being written and for which we will still accept anecdotes about training, ops and, especially Ratel itself. So, get writing!


By Tony Savides on: Monday, August 17, 2015
Hi Chris

Did you do your JL's in 1980 at 1 SAI?
It was called the T&D Wing in those days

Maybe we were in the same platoon. I was in Bungalow 124
Cpl Nel ( Lank Nel) was our instructor.

Cheers and hope to hear from you

Best regards

By Graham Bowran on: Monday, August 17, 2015
Hi Tony
I was also enlisted at 1 SAI 80/81, did JL's, was part 61 Mech and was involved in a few operations and exercises. Continued my citizen force time at 1 RNT. My entire army experience was a good one. I ended with the rank of Major, which means a lot to me! Pity our youth cannot have what he had. Like to share something. Few years ago we (my wife and son of then 12) were visiting a doctor at the Univ of OFS. We drove around Tempe - I wanted to show them where I had my training. I stopped in front of the 1 SAI gate (how things have changed in 30 years!). I suddenly had a notion and I told wife and son to stay in the car. I approached the gate and asked the guard to take me to the duty room. He obliged. I spoke to a young 2Lt and I explained that I was at the unit 30 years ago and I just wanted to show my son a Ratel and maybe organize a short drive. I immediately also said that I did realize that it was a "out-of-norm" request. He looked at me skeptically and said I must accompany him to the RSM. RSM was very friendly and I told him the same story. He also looked at me a bit strangely and took me to the OC's office (your old office!) I remember standing in the hallway looking at the pictures on the wall of previous OC's. He invited me in and I yet again put my request forward. He offered me tea, we had a long chat and then he picked up the phone and summoned his transport park commander to his office. Long story short, I eventually had a long talk with a few of the officers, them wanting to know how it was 30 years ago. My son (and wife) had a ball. They brought a Ratel, me and my son in the turrets, my wife at the back. We had a lekker drive through the Koeikamp - my son was ecstatic. He even left with a few ratpacks! Thumbs up to 1SAI!
By Chris Schutte on: Monday, August 17, 2015
Re: The Children of the war
Thanks for loading this incredible new perspective on the war, Dino. So many sad but inspiring stories of the war are still to be told!
By Johan Schoeman on: Sunday, August 16, 2015
Hi Graham
Many thanks; I too enjoyed 1 SAI - albeit from the perspective given! I still have a few more bits to add to this series, which I will insert in due course.

Best regards
Tony Savides
By Tony Savides on: Friday, August 14, 2015
Good day Tony
Very interesting article.
I was a NSM at 1 SAI in 1980 when you were the OC.
Went on to do the Mech leader course under Major van Lill and Capt Cassie Schoeman.
It is interesting to hear it from a PF point of view, and we as NSM's really looked up to leaders as yourself.
Really enjoyed my time at 1 SAI and then went on the Army Battle school as a Mech instructor.
Thank you


By Graham Bowran on: Friday, August 14, 2015