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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...




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...


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 Comments
Re: The English-Afrikaans thing in the SADF - another view

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By clover on: Saturday, January 24, 2015
Re: A nerve-wracking ride to Cuito Cuanavale
Its nice to read some stories of the bush.THe time I spent with Bravo Co 4 Sai in Ops Askari 1983/84 looking after Artillery was such an eye opener. We BRAVO COMPANY 1 SAI were trained in Mech Infantry , and boasted some of the best firing in movement you have ever seen only to find ourselves sent off to Angola very early during Ops Askari to look after Artillery and when all from 61 Mech Bat had moved back to the States from Angola we were still in Angola in Quiteve walking patrols and lying in ambush for tanks and even marching in Company formation in Angola ..Quiteve.:.Bravo Co 1 SAI spent a lot of time in Angola and returned from Angola to take over Alpha Company 61 Mechs Ratels in January 1984. We did not return to the States after Ops Askari, but took over the A Company Ratels at 61 Mech. It was so nice to be in the Ratels again, but they had been left in a state from Ops Askari. 13 Bravo was not there as it had been shot out by a T 52 tank. The Ratels were full of shrapnel marks and we built up many spare tyres which had been pinctured in Ops Askari. We did some patrols in the Etosha Pan area with our new Ratels at 61 and had a nice time intil we finally returned to the States for pass in February. It was a long stint up there but most enjoyable. It was nice to be the Alpha Company of 61 Mech for that Year 4 months all together and Bravo in 4 SAI. My time in 61 Mech was the best time I had in the military and I have a few stories to tell from the time at 61 in 1984. Regards Ralph Wortmann .
By Ralph Wortmann on: Monday, January 12, 2015
Re: Various opfoks and rondfoks during Basics
I opened up the WarBlogs site for registration for ONE person to register in order to set up his own Personal WarBlog, and in ONE day I get 160 hacker attempts to register and get in to my data as well...! I have closed up free registration again. German volunteer, please email your registration details to johan@warinangola.com and then I will register you.
I have deleted the following accounts, NONE of which were successfully authorised:
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By Johan Schoeman on: Saturday, January 10, 2015
Re: Various opfoks and rondfoks during Basics
@Yevgeny,you see, I read this:
http://www.russianembassy.org.za /Embassy/Photo.html
But then I know that diplomacy is not necessary what is playing off behind the scenes.Just for interest sake, some history of my remote connection to Russia. My grandfather on my fathers side was a german engineer in Moscow (under the leasehold system by Catherina, who wanted to attract skills in order to modernize Russia), my grandmother won the first prize at the Moscow conservatorium for the piano. Then came 1917, the Russian revolution, and they had to flee for their lives to Latvia, then again fled under the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact into Eastern-Prussia, then under the collapsing Eastern Front after Stalingrad had to flee again before the end of the war to Germany. My mother (she can still talk some phrases in Russian, had to learn it in school) escaped out of Eastern Germany, which suffered terrible from hunger after the war. Parents emigrated to South Africa when I was a little one. That is how I landed as a national serviceman in South Africa, defending against communism, for we were always on the receiving side of that system, just like your late Alexandr Solzhenitsyn. And now I fled again. What is my true fatherland, where do I belong to...when will it ever end, Destiny landing us between the millstones of higher international politics...
By German volunteer on: Friday, January 09, 2015
Re: Various opfoks and rondfoks during Basics
German volunteer, You posts are always welcome! In fact, I have now opened up the Registration Process on the Blogs so that you can register for free and set up your own WarBlog! ;-)
By Johan Schoeman on: Friday, January 09, 2015
Re: Various opfoks and rondfoks during Basics
I don't know if this belongs to this warblog. But it shows "The other side of the hill" (was the title of the book by the military theorist Liddel Hart, which I have read, where he described the German generals perspective of WWII) of Russia, which we knew little off. The Russian Mig pilot told me before glastnost they spoke of the Soviet Union, not Russia.

When the Soviet Union fell to pieces, it was a terrible shock for the people, for it was like an earthquake hit the economy. Before they had a planned economy, where country A had to buy certain items from country B, and country B from country A by decree. This system fell apart with the end of the Soviet Union, and literally millions of people lost their job.

That caused great hardship, and according to this Russian, more people died due to these hardships (e.g. by suicide) than they had casualties during WWII. And then drugs started streaming into Russia. I was quite shocked, this was quite new to me.. South Africa before 1994 was the same, hardly any drugs, afterward it was flooded by drugs.

Today Russia only has recovered spotwise. There are still many areas which suffer terrible under poverty. Russia, like South Africa, is rich in minerals, but many minerals have been exported according to the planned economy system. And the skills are lacking in order to exploit these minerals. I have read an interesting analysis that there are forces at work that want to prevent German technical skills joining up with Russia and its minerals, for that would be a deadly combination for those forces that want to create this new world order.

And while Russia just has managed to recover its feet again after the end of communism, the sanctions against it have now begun. What would happen if the South Africans advise Russia with South Africas experience of managing a total embargo? This brings interesting musings - erstwhile enemies helping each other with help and advice, and perhaps build future bridges for an alliances which might free South Africa and its Boers in the future again ...

As long as it does not send a signal that communism can be revived. I would life much more comfortable with the idea that Russia has to start its history from 1917 again, without the communism part.
By German volunteer on: Monday, January 05, 2015
Re: Various opfoks and rondfoks during Basics
One last serious article before Christmas. Russia seems to be now in the position South Africa was, when the whole world was against it. The world must not forget - when the going was tough, that is when South Africa really grew beyond itself. That can also be the case of Russia.


Very interesting to be in Europa. Met a Russian the other day during a course, a year younger than me. Many years ago he was a Mig (21 &23) pilot (but not in Angola), left the army in 1984, to study as an engineer. We chatted a bit about the past, as time allows it. I showed him pictures of how the SADF veterans now visit the Russian Angola veterans. Old adversaries that have become friends. Strange how the world has changed.
By German volunteer on: Wednesday, December 17, 2014
I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. .

By rachelle on: Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Re: Various opfoks and rondfoks during Basics

don't know if you are still reading this. Perhaps it is a naive request, I don't know, perhaps I am misreading the situation.

The Angolan War is over, Boer and Russians, once combatants, are today shaking hands, like in an earlier era, where Russians sided with the Boers in the Anglo-Boer War. We are sort of on the same side now. History moves on. In a strange sort of way, the western leadership (not the people) are becoming more and more liberal and leftist, while Russia is returning to its pre revolution values.

The other day I saw a TV program of the old Romanov famliy, how Yelstsin rehabilitated them. Some surving members of that family stay in the UK. President Putin is an incomprehensible figure for me, I don't know enough what is happening in Russia, other than reading. I do not understand who stands behind him, for a president is not like a king in the middle ages, he is just a figurehead. From the face value his actions are admirable, one cannot help to have some sympathies for him, hopefully this is not a wrong analysis.

I am certain you Russian veterans have noticed that South Africa as a country has got into troubled times. The white minority is standing with its back against the wall. The blacks are suffering under the current government, but they do not have enough insight into what is happening to them, they are not that advanced. Now Rosatom wants to sell nuclear power stations to South Africa, but under the current incompetent government with its affirmative action policy, the chances are good these power stations will Tjernobyl into our faces sooner or later, because of incompetent management. Ou national power supplier, Eskom, is already crumbling to pieces due to incompetence.

Do you Russian veterans have any influence with Putin, to show him what is happening over here? Will he be able to influence events in South Africa in a positive way, or does one overestimate the powers he actually has?

Russia has sanctions against her, she sits with the Ukraine problem, and the USA (to be more precise, certain insiders in the USA, that do whatever they want without asking the American people), it is a very difficult situation, so perhaps Russia does not have so much space to manouver. I understand the USA is trying to encircle Russia, so as to force her into a "world republic" envisioned by the money powers.

How do you Angola veterans assess this situation (helping South Africa)? Or is it a topic that should rather be discussed offline?
By German volunteer on: Saturday, November 29, 2014
Re: An SADF Conscript Remembers the Early 70s – Part One
Tor, ek was 'n 56 Kg sissie toe ek ingeklaar het, en vir my was julle ouens monsters! Vir die eerste ses weke, in elk geval. "my" PTI was 'n regte Blikskottel, maar te danke aan hom, soos jy gelees het, het ek man geword. Julle ouens moes maar julle jop doen - sooselkeen van ons. Deel 2 en heelwat ander artikels in op hierdie webwerf - 9 inskrywings, as ek reg onthou. Ek was maar 'n doodgewone troep, en my 2 jaar was heeltemal onmerkwaardig, daarom skryf ek maar oor die SAW se alledaags. Laat weet wat dink jy van die res. Dankie, man.
By The Ancient Armourer on: Thursday, November 20, 2014
Re: An SADF Conscript Remembers the Early 70s – Part One
For sure an incredible read,where do I get part 2,3 and more? . I was a PTI in the army 1975-1976 bet you would not call a PTI a monster in those years!!!(In elk geval nie as hy jou kon hoor nie) 'n Klomp van hulle was maar dose,miskien ek ook,ons moes maar almal ons werk doen,ou PW en John Vorster het so gese.Goeie tye wat 'n ou nie wil oor he nie,mis na al die jare nog van my ou army pelle.SAK VIR 10!!
By Tor Lombard on: Thursday, November 20, 2014
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