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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: "Trying to destroy the Olifants"
Lourens, dis juis wat ek na verwys as mens daar reg op die grond is. Al die feite is nie onmiddelik beskikbaar nie en mens sien net wat jy KAN sien. Die feite wat tot dusvêr bevestig is, is dat drie tenks agtergelaat is, naamlik 12A (A Esk), 52 (B Esk) - hulle het op die hoof-mynveld vasgesit en is albei later daar opgeblaas deur die Kubane omdat selfs hulle nie die tenks kon uitkry nie. Hulle is albei vandag nog daar enm ons hert verskeie fotos van hulle. Die derde tank (53, van B Esk) het op pad uit in die heel eerste mynveld agtergebly nadat dit ook 'n myn afgetrap het maar het slegs geringe skade opgedoen. Eerder as om dit saam te sleep het die generaal bepaal dat die tenk later herwin moet word wanneer ons weer anval. Dit het egter nie gebeur nie en diue Kubane het 'n geskenk gekry in die vorm van 53 wat hulle na ligte herstelwerk uit die mynveld self kon ry en oor die rivier neem. 53 staan vandag weer daar as vertoonstuk van die tenk wat hulle oorgeneem het (maar sonder toring - die is skoonveld!) Volg gerus die hele storie oor Operasie 53 by http://www.warinangola.com/default.aspx?tabid=590&view=topics&forumid=3026
By Johan Schoeman on: Monday, July 27, 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: Saturday, July 25, 2015
Re: "Trying to destroy the Olifants"
Dit was nie alles waar nie .Ek weet Ek was daar. Ek was gunner in die eerste tank wat n mynveld geslaan het .My tank is weer gerecover. daar het net twee tanks agter gebly van a eskadron
By lourens van wyk on: Thursday, July 23, 2015
Tony, I have made your WarBlog available for Public viewing so that others can also read your Entries. For some reason it was not flagged as Public and was therefore not visible to users outside this portal. Now I will be able to share your entries on Facebook on my War In Angola page! Thank you for your excellent posts!
By SuperUser Account on: Wednesday, July 15, 2015
"Hate" is a very strong word; and yet, how many kids have said "my Mom/Dad hates me"? Towards the end of any training period NSM and PFs would have become aware that the "hate" was what made them endure; and that in the end it was not hate at all but a type of (I shudder to say this) "Fatherly Love"! I think that I address this in some of my entries, the next of which follows soon. Every course or intake had its particular "baddie", some of whom were really bad whilst others just had this façade. The question was always to what degree does this façade hide true professionalism?

By Tony Savides on: Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Thank you for posing this entry, Tony! I hope it will be the first of many! Reading this reminded me so much of my own predicament of being PF while on Gunnery Course at the much feared Gunnery Wing ("Skietkuns Vleuel") at the School of Artillery in Potchefstroom in 1980.
I was one of two PFs (of about 25) selected to do the Gun Post Officer's course and promoted to the most honourable rank of "Candidate Officer"! I am SURE you know what this means to a young 18 year old that had decided to make a career out the army... While I knew we were going to face some REALLY hard times and "opfoks", little did I realise how much animosity the two of us would face during especially this phase of our training. The reason was simple, we were the only two PFs and bundled in with about 30-odd National Servicemen (also COs), who really did not seem to like either one of us as they thought us CRAZY to have joined up PF! So while this was bad enough, knowing your "buddies" all hate you, there was a lot more we had to cope with... the junior leaders at Gunnery Wing were practically all NSM... and ALSO HATED us for that very same reason! Even the senior NCO's, the two sergeant-majors especially, absolutley despised us! After all, after we finished that course sucessfully we would be promoted to 2Lt, and after spending less than a year in the army, be "senior" to them despite their 10 or 15 years of service! I remember SM "Sampie" Claassen, who was a LOT shorter than I was (I was 6'1"), would stand very close to me and look up into my face and snarl "Over my DEAD BODY will I ever allow you to become a damn officer!" I was sure I would be found dead somewhere on the shooting range - we were VERY intimidated by this little man, I must confess. Any gunner will tell you about him.... a true MASTER GUNNER, and a FIRE EATER!
Anyway, to make this very long story a bit shorter, somehow I survived the ordeal at that terrible place and became the only PF gunnery officer for that year {I KNOW NOT HOW OR WHY!], but I think the more senior officers of the wing had something to do with it.
The amazing thing was that SM Claassen came up to me immediately after I got promoted to 2Lt, smartly came to attention, saluted, and was the VERY first person to congratulate me on my commission! You could knock me down with a feather! I have SO MUCH RESPECT for that man!
Surviving that course really prepared me for dealing with practically any situation where interaction between PFs and NSM were called for, as it gave me the THICK SKIN that to this day help me cope with bad situations!
By SuperUser Account on: Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Re: The English-Afrikaans thing in the SADF - another view
Interesting post and series of comments thereafter. I am an English-speaker and served in the SADF for 31 years without experiencing any real (as opposed to teasing or comic) prejudice. I fared reasonably well in that very Afrikaans environment and progressed well through the officers' ranks - as did several of my "even-more English" friends. Of course there were prejudices and idiots all round (bigots too) but it was often the case that some "victims" saw themselves as such - taking such things to heart rather than absorbing or deflecting the jibes and responding in a very eloquent way (as English-speakers with a penchant for a good turn of phrase are able to do). However, I am not disregarding the very real prejudice that happened from time to time - an unfortunate product of the country at the time.

Oh, just to complicate matters, I am of Greek descent (the son of a Greek-Cypriot immigrant) with a surname that most certainly does not start with a "van" or end is a "-zen" or a "-erwe"!

I'll be posting something on my own blog soon regarding national service as seen from the "other side" i.e. the dreaded PFs!
By Tony Savides on: Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Re: The English-Afrikaans thing in the SADF - another view
Wow. Awesome article. Please do more articles like this in the future. Very informational and knowledgeable. I will expect more from you in the future. For now i will just bookmark your page and surely I'm gonna come back later to read more. Thank you to the writer!

By Leslie on: Friday, May 29, 2015
Re: The English-Afrikaans thing in the SADF - another view
Hi there You have no idea how much I have enjoyed reading your blog. I am an Indian teacher teaching Afrikaans in Durban and almost every Engelsman I have met have fallen over with shock at the thought of it. In fact at one of the ex-Model C schools I taught at, I used to have white male staff members cruise past my classroom to listen to my pronunciation of die taal. I too, have found Afrikaners more accepting especially if you speak their language, but prejudiced towards Indians in general. The problem in SA is that very few people are willing to move out of the comfort zones of their own particular race group and take the time to learn about let alone embrace the culture of another. I once walked in on the only other Afrik staff member at the school I currently teach in, saying to other white staff members ; "Well, you know these Indians and what they are like.." then go pale when she saw that I had heard. But the reason I am reading your blog is because my experience of white SA males re their time on the border, is to clam up. fidget and look uncomfortable, even start sweating a little and I always wondered why. As Indian teenagers growing up in the townships, we were blissfully unaware of conscription and what it meant or entailed. It is a part of history that was confined to a small group of the population. Ive tried to find books on the topic since the men I teach with, will not open up, some calling it a 'dirty little war', others mumbling that it was wasted 2 years of their life plus 2 in the camps and still others saying they don't want to remember it...which makes me want to find out about it even more. Ive only just discovered these blogs and they are providing me with hours of interesting reading. I can recognise now WHY these men are like they are, some bosbefok, some completely mal, som giving the boys in the school PT of the same ilk they went thru in Basics, some raging at boys that they need to "toughen up. Thru these blogs I am able to get into the psyche of these men. thank you and to all fellow bloggers for that!'
By sandy on: Friday, May 08, 2015
Re: On the Shooting Range
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By hanna on: Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Re: An SADF Conscript Remembers the Early 70s – Part One
I understand that every person has the passion in any aspects or things. If you love something and it came in front of you it completes your day and your mood turns into something you won't expected. I love your work and I want to read more about it. Visit my site if you have time . Thank you.


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Re: Exclusive Photo Gallery of Operation Protea added
Ongiva battlegroup 30 . 7SAI.All I remember was we were in the road next to the church when the friendly fire hit a group in front of us. Being a skietpiet we were told to le laag nogal in the tarred road , but when the second bomb fell we ran ignoring instructions, and dug in and buggerd up the garden of the house to the right of the church .
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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
@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