The South African Border War (Bush War) 1966 - 1989

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    Sep 16, 2011 5:49 PM GMT
    The South African Border War, commonly referred to as the Angolan Bush War in South Africa, was a conflict that took place from 1966 to 1989 in South-West Africa (now Namibia) and Angola between South Africa and its allied forces (mainly UNITA) on the one side and the Angolan government, South-West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO), and their allies – mainly Cuba – on the other. It was closely intertwined with the Angolan Civil War and the Namibian War of Independence.

    Following the South African government's refusal, and the implementation of its apartheid policies in South-West Africa, SWAPO became increasingly militant, and, in 1962, formed its military wing, the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN).

    In 1966, a number of SWAPO bases had been established in neighbouring Zambia. SWAPO's insurgents began an incursion into SWA during September 1965 and again in March 1966, but it was not until 26 August 1966 that the first major clash of the conflict took place. A unit of the South African Police (SAP) supported by South African Air Force (SAAF) helicopters exchanged fire with SWAPO forces at Omugulugwombashe. This date is generally regarded as the start of what became known in South Africa as the Border War. The significance of this particular event is that the SAP were unable to engage in what had now become a military action, raising the issue of military intervention for the first time. This event thus triggered the first use of SADF Special Forces, not yet formally in existence, but being run as an experiment under the leadership of Colonel Jan Breytenbach. From these early roots the subsequent Reconnaisance Commando (Recce), 44 Parachute Brigade and 32 Battalion can be traced.

    At this stage the SADF presence was technically illegal because Parliament had not yet approved their deployment, so during the Omugulugwombashe incident, SADF Special Force members were hastily deputized as policemen. On 29 September SWAPO launched an attack on Oshikango on the Namibian/Angolan border. This attack is led by Johannes Nankudhu who was a survivor of the abortive action at Omugulugwombashe, giving an indication that the SWAPO force had not been neutralized, again raising the issue of SAP competence in what was now a military conflict. In December 1966 a SWAPO force attacked a farm known as Maroelaboom, taking the fight into SWA for the first time. Within weeks of this incident, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the armed wing of the African National Congress, infiltrated a small unit into Botswana under the command of Chris Hani, regionalizing the war.

    In late 1966 UNITA joined the fight against the Angolan colonial power of Portugal, who were already in conflict with the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA). UNITA was mainly active in southern and eastern Angola, while the MPLA and FNLA were mainly active in northern Angola. SAAF helicopters were first sent to support the Portuguese against UNITA in 1967, thus beginning South Africa's decades-long involvement.

    The first element of security involved in the conflict was the SAP. They mainly deployed light infantry platoons which acted as counter insurgency units. During this time the SAP and its local adjunct, the South West African Police (SWAPOL), bore the brunt of the ground fighting on the South African side, with the SAAF backing them up from the air. In the late 1960s a special police counter insurgency unit named Koevoet (Afrikaans for crowbar) was formed. When the unit was first formed it was nicknamed Koevoet to signify prying loose the SWAPO insurgents from the thick bush. The official name of the unit was South West African Police Counterinsurgency, SWAPOLCOIN. The SAP withdrew all their units, except the Uniform Branch and CID personnel which were on normal police duties, when the SADF took over the responsibility for the SWA Border.

    In April 1974, the Carnation Revolution in Portugal changed the politics of that country. The new government announced that it would grant independence to Angola on 11 November 1975; the three rival anti-colonial forces immediately began jockeying for control of the capital Luanda, with international intervention in support of the different factions. South Africa's first action in August was to secure the strategically important Ruacana-Calueque hydro-electric scheme. The reason for this action at Calueque was that a major civil engineering project being financed by South Africa was at risk after a unit of ill-disciplined UNITA soldiers held some engineers against their will. This triggered a request for assistance, which resulted in an armoured column being sent to secure Ruacana. This action must also be interpreted in light of the Détente initiative then underway in South Africa. Prime Minister B.J. Vorster was approached by certain African Heads of State, concerned that the presence of Chinese military advisors might link the local Angolan War of Liberation to the Cold War. Anxious to show that he could be trusted as an African Head of State, Vorster authorized the action, but with no defined objectives in the rapidly deteriorating security situation in the wake of the hasty Portuguese withdrawal, this single action escalated into what became Operation Savannah. On October 14, South Africa intervened covertly on behalf of UNITA and the FNLA through Operation Savannah; in response, Cuba launched an operation in support of the MPLA, which was able to gain control of the most important areas of the country. The authority of the coalition government was fading until the date scheduled for the independence (November 11, 1975) and Angolan Civil War started as the war of independence formally ended.

    GrensoorlogBorderWar.jpg



    Read More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_African_Border_War
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    Sep 16, 2011 8:43 PM GMT
    BOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNG.

    ;-)
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    Sep 18, 2011 7:03 AM GMT
    Inostrankan saidBOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNG.

    ;-)


    340383249_de199c672c.jpgicon_lol.gif
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    Sep 18, 2011 1:27 PM GMT
    Thanks for the post!

    I find it interesting because I took a course on the geography of South Africa in university and one topic we discussed was the former South-West Africa and Portuguese West Africa.

    Wars like this are such ugly remnants of colonialism.
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    Sep 21, 2011 7:50 AM GMT
    Columbusite777 saidThanks for the post!

    I find it interesting because I took a course on the geography of South Africa in university and one topic we discussed was the former South-West Africa and Portuguese West Africa.

    Wars like this are such ugly remnants of colonialism.



    Glad you found it interesting. That war, was South Africa's 'Vietnam'. 23 years we fought and for what exactly? We lost so many soldiers, some are still out in the bush; that have gone insane. And don't forget, that the army were also fighting a war in the townships against political opposition to White Minority Rule and the SADF were also engaged, in a small part, in Rhodesia too. Its little wonder, that as the National Party began to dismantle Apartheid, they found that the country was in debt by R5 billion; which back then was alot of money.