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PDF 2 - Establishment of 1 Reconnaissance Commando


									                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Establishment of 1 Reconnaissance Commando

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       A period photo taken
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       by an operator of the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       headquarters building
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       at Oudtshoorn as used
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       by 1 Reconnaissance

                   Establishment of 1 Reconnaissance Commando

                           While the concept of a special force developed in the command structure of the SADF, a group of soldiers
                           were developing themselves along a new approach, which had been introduced and effectively demonstrated by
                           elements within the Defence Force and outside, such as the Hunter Group – a group of ex-soldiers and civilians
                           who volunteered for after-hours training, based at Doornkop outside Johannesburg. Later the Army would
                           adopt many of the training concepts that the Hunter Group was advocating, thus changing the Army’s policy
                           from passive defence to aggressive defence. The SADF eventually abandoned the passive defence training,
                           which had been in place since after World War II, in light of the ever-increasing unconventional threats on its      Breytenbach, Maj E. Webb, Sgt van Zyl, Sgt J. Kruger, Sgt Smit, Frank Bestbier, Sgt T. I. Floyd, WOII M. L.
                           borders by insurgent Communist elements. As a result of this, the School of Infantry – based at Oudtshoorn           Potgieter and G. J. Viviers, amongst others. During later years, more and more South African Special Forces
                           – established the Irregular Warfare Branch (a think tank) to explore new ways of training soldiers, as well as       would go to Rhodesia for cross-training with ‘C’ Squadron SAS. Initially they were deployed with the SAS on
                           exploring unconventional warfare methods such as guerrilla tactics, etc. They had little contact with the members    operations, but later independently in their own areas of operation in Rhodesia.5 Unofficially they became known
Rhodesian SAS cap
emblem. Much cross-
                           undergoing special operations training at the School of Infantry, as the expertise required to train these members   as ‘D’ Squadron, under the command of a South African officer. Since the formation of ‘D’ Squadron, an SADF
training between           was not to be found in the country at that time.                                                                     colonel was always attached as a liaison officer to the Rhodesian Combined Operations HQ.
Rhodesian and South
African forces took                           First Counter-Insurgency Operation by Elements of the SaDF                                                                                         ‘D’ Squadron
place. Selous Scouts       Operation Blue Wildebeest was the code-name for the heliborne assault on a SWAPO training base at
were para trained in                                                                                                                            WOI Moorcroft, former Sergeant Major of the Army states in his article on the formation of ‘D’ Squadron that
Bloemfontein, with the
                           Ongulumbashe in Owamboland. The operation was in support of the South African Police, and took place on              as far back as 1967, the Chief of the Army and founding member of 1 Parachute Battalion, Lt Gen Willem Louw
SAS undergoing navy        26 August 1966 with (then) Captain J. D. Breytenbach in command of the SADF support element. After a brisk           decided that the South African Army should have a Special Force capability like the Rhodesian SAS. Contact
diving and pathfinder      contact, two insurgents were killed and many captured.                                                               was made with Maj Dudley Coventry, OC ‘C’ Squadron SAS, for advice on the matter. Coventry duly visited
                                                                                                                                                South Africa, and when asked to determine a location for a South African Special Forces unit, he recommended
                                                                         First Cross-Training with the Rhodesians                               Oudtshoorn because of the suitable terrain. Coventry submitted a report stating that ‘C’ Squadron would select
                                                         During 1967, Captain Breytenbach was allowed to select 12 paratroopers who             and train South African candidates and give them an insight into Special Forces operations; give them the
                                                         would accompany him to Rhodesia to be trained by the British (Rhodesian)               knowledge to run their own selection and train soldiers to become Special Forces members. The ultimate aim
                                                         SAS. They were attached to ‘C’ Squadron for six months, while they passed the          was to work together on operations with ‘C’ Squadron. Capt Jan Breytenbach then left for Salisbury with a few
                                                         rigorous SAS selection course, and completed various survival, tracking and            officers and NCOs who had been specially selected to undergo SAS selection. This small group spent some time
                                                         advanced demolition courses. The designation ‘C’ originated when the Rhodesians        acclimatising before undertaking an SAS selection course in Inyanga. Together with the Rhodesians candidates,
                                                         were deployed in Malaya during the 1950s as the Malayan Scouts; the British            they started on the same selection course. After selection, some of the South Africans returned to South Africa,
                                                         SAS already consisted of an ‘A’ and ‘B’ Squadron, thus the Rhodesian contingent        having failed. Three officers and four NCOs remained after the ‘all in’ phase. The South Africans then carried
                                                         became ‘C’ Squadron. The group sent to Rhodesia consisted of Capt J. D.                out formal training in demolitions, bush craft, tracking, survival, minor tactics, radio work and escape and
                                                                                                                                                evasion. Some training took place in the Zambezi Valley. Maj Coventry made a written recommendation that
                                                                                                                                                this group of South Africans should become the nucleus of the South African Special Forces. This group of South
                                                                                                                                                Africans then carried out operations in Biafra in 1969, behind Nigerian lines, and trained guerrillas of the Biafran
                                                                                                                                                Organization of Freedom Fighters.
                                                                                                                                                   In 1974, Breytenbach decided that the time was right to work with ‘C’ Squadron and liaised with OC Maj
                                                                                                                                                Brian Robinson in this regard. The idea, approved by Gen Loots and his Rhodesian counterparts, was that two
                                                                                                                                                five-man teams would work with ‘C’ Squadron for six months on external operations, to be integrated with ‘C’
                                                                                                                                                Squadron call signs, and their tactical headquarters being at Macombe. In 1977, a need was identified to give
                                                                                                                                                young badged Recce operators an opportunity to undertake external operations with the SAS. Loots asked Lt
                                                                                                                                                Gen Peter Walls, and it was agreed that 1 and 5 Recce would send teams to work with ‘C’ Squadron on external
                                                                                                                                                operations. However, due to ‘C’ Squadron being heavily committed, Lt Col Jake Swart and Brian Robinson
                                                                                                                                                decided to allocate an operational area to the Recces, in support of ‘C’ Squadron. The cover story was that an
                                                                                                                                                additional SAS Squadron was being formed, and thus ‘D’ Squadron came into being in October 1977. They did
                                                                                                                                                not wear any distinctive insignia of their own. Service in ‘D’ Squadron rotated between 1 Recce (Alpha or Bravo
                                                                                                                                                Groups) and 5 Recce. In January 1978, 1 Recce under command of Hannes Venter, took over duties from 5 Recce
                                                                                                                                                in Rhodesia. Moorcroft served as a Commando Sergeant Major. During this period six members of ‘D’ Squadron
The jump cage, or aapkas, at 1 Para where the early     A group of South African Recce operators in Rhodesia.                                   were killed in action, and several wounded. The members of ‘D’ Squadron killed in action have their names
parachute courses were held.                                                                                                                    inscribed on the ‘C’ Squadron memorial plinth.

   22                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   23
    A Collector’s Guide to the South African Special Forces                                                                                                                                                                                                  Establishment of 1 Reconnaissance Commando

    Some of the members who passed the first SAS selection course were Capt J. D. Breytenbach, Maj Ferreira, Pep van Zyl, Johnny Kruger,                 A merit certificate
    Tillie Smit, and Eddie Webb. Some who passed the second SAS selection course were J. J. Moorcroft, T. du Plessis, Nic Visser, D. de                  for best student on
                                                                                                                                                         course, awarded to
    Beer, Vingers Kruger, and Kernaas Conradie. Some members of the first group who operated with ‘C ‘Squadron were Breytenbach,
                                                                                                                                                         one of the members
    Floyd, Oberholzer, Tippet, and Wannenburg and in the second, Moorcroft, du Plessis, de Beer, Kruger and Conradie.                                    who underwent Navy
                                                                                                                                                         diver training at
                                               The Oudtshoorn Group at the School of Infantry                                                            SAS Simonsberg – the
                                   The first special grouping within the SADF was initiated under various cover names, which served on a                 Naval Training Unit.
                                       sub-unit structure of the School of Infantry at Oudtshoorn. At one time this group was known as the
                                          Irregular Warfare Branch.1 This caused confusion in that there already existed an Irregular Warfare
                                             Branch at the School of Infantry. Later they were known as the Special Research Section.1 The
                                              initial purpose was to conduct specialised infantry training for units of the South African Army.                                                                                                                   A very early diving course; Gavin Christie
                                                They then became known as the Operational Experimental Team, conducting operational                                                                                                                               at centre.
                                                research and advising the Army on operational training, and giving specialised instruction to
                                                 units going to the border. The eleven members who founded the Operational Experimental
                                                 Team were: J. D. Breytenbach, D. P. Lamprecht, J. R. More, P. J. van Vuuren, T. Floyd, Pep
                                                 van Zyl, M. J. Potgieter, J. J. Moorcroft, J. L. Conradie, D. de Beer, J. J. P. Fourie, later joined
                                                by N. Visser, P. W. van Heerden, D. B. Tippet, F. G. Wannenburg and one Oberholzer. This
                                               sub-unit would later perform specialised operational tasks for the SADF. Initially this group
                                             operated under the administrative command of the School of Infantry but, as Chief of the Army
                                           troops, they later came under the direct command of the Southern Cape Command HQ. Later the
                                        eleven members, including some who trained with the Rhodesians, formed Alpha Group in 1970,2 still
                                    under the administrative command of Southern Cape Command; this group formed 1 Reconnaissance                                                       The first South African seaborne operation took place in
The cloth shoulder flash            Commando in 1972.                                                                                                                                   1972. Although not totally successful, the foundation for an             Dropping through a ship’s anchor shaft
worn at the School of
                                                                                                                                                                                        amphibious capability was established. During Operation                  makes for a quick getaway.
Infantry in 1968.
                                                   The First Special Operation Conducted by Elements of the SaDF                                                                         Savannah in 1975/76, the need to deploy a seaborne force was
                                                              During 1968, four paratroopers, Capt J. D. Breytenbach, WO F. C. van Zyl, Sgt                                                consequently recognised. Thus a seaborne sub-group, known
                                                              T. I. Floyd and Sgt M. J. Potgieter – were selected to assist the Biafrans in their war                                        as C Group at 1 Reconnaissance Commando in Durban,
                                                              against Nigeria, as they had far more training and experience than most South African                                            was formed. During 1977 a decision was made to form
                                                              soldiers. They operated as a training team, functioned as advisors and finally led                                                  a specialised unit for water-originated operations. The
                                                              guerrilla elements in battle behind enemy lines. After South Africa’s involvement in                                                   Langebaan lagoon and especially the Donkergat
                                                              Biafra ended, Breytenbach and a small team were sent to France, where they spent time                                                   area provided ideal training conditions.
                                                              with the French Special Forces. In March 1970 they returned to South Africa. The
                                                              ‘success’ of the Biafra operation helped Maj Gen Loots and the Chief of the Army, Lt
                                                              Gen Louw, illustrate the necessity of the SADF having a special operations capability.                                                     The best student trophy of the Navy Diving
                                                                                                                                                                                                         School, awarded to the first Army diver
                                                              Gen Hiemstra, Chief of the SADF, still opposed the concept thus no formal unit was                                                        course.
                                                              established at that time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 South African Navy Diving School.
                                                                 The members of group were nicknamed the ‘Dirty Dozen’ and consisted of Cmdt J.
                                                              D. Breytenbach, Maj D. P. Lamprecht, Maj P. J. van Vuuren, Capt J. R. More, WOI
                                                              T. I. Floyd, WOII F. C. van Zyl, WOII M. J. Potgieter, S/Sgt J. L. Conradie, S/Sgt J.
Members of the course were S/Sgt. J. J. Moorcroft,            J. Moorcroft, Sgt D. L. de Beer and Cpl J. J. P. Fourie, and behind the scenes Capt
WOII F. C. van Zyl, 2Lt A. G. Jones, Sgt. J. J .P.            M. Kinghorn4 contributed his valuable organisational skills. They would later be the
Fourie, Sgt. D.L. de Beer. Cmdt. J. D. Breytenbach            founding members of 1 Reconnaissance Commando.
(front centre), pictured here with their naval
                                                                               First Naval Diving Course for army Members
                                                              From April – May 1970, Cmdt J. D. Breytenbach and six members of his group left
                                                              for Simon’s Town to attend a 12-week diving course with the South African Navy.
                                                              Members on the course were Cmdt J. D. Breytenbach, WOII F. C. van Zyl, S/Sgt J. J.
                                                              Moorcroft, Sgt D. L. de Beer, Sgt J. . P. Fourie (diving supervisor) and 2Lt A. G. Jones
                                                              (doctor/Navy). This group later went to France to update their skills at the French
                                                              Special Forces attack diving school at Ajjacio, Corsica. There they were also trained
                                                              in clandestine air infiltration techniques. Approval was granted for Army personnel
                                                              who qualified at the Navy Diving School to wear the Army Divers insignia from June
                                                                The second diving course took place from January – April 1971, with the second
                                                              team consisting of Maj D. Lamprecht, P. van Vuuren, Maj J. More, S/Sgt J. J.
                                                              Conradie, WOII M. J. Potgieter and WOII T. Floyd. This group would also later
                                                              train with the airborne group at French Special Forces in Cercottes. When Admiral
Ship’s Diver Course 040 101 SB 8501 held at the               H. Bierman took over as Chief of SADF and Lt Gen Magnus Malan as Chief of the
Navy Diving School from 29 April 1985 to 7 June               Army, this select unit at Oudtshoorn was officially recognised and formally constituted
1985. Col van der Spuy is standing top right.                 as 1 Reconnaissance Commando (1RC) in 1972. (Two alternate names proposed at the
                                                              time but not adopted were, South African SAS and 7 South African Infantry.)8 It was
                                                              administered by the Army but tasked by Directorate Military Intelligence.
                                                                                                                                                         South African Navy (SAN) Diving School bullion wire blazer badge –
                                                                                                                                                         Afrikaans. Note that the SAN in the scroll should actually read SAV                   South African Navy Diving Branch bullion wire blazer
                                                              (* Letter of Authorisation AQ/834/June1970)                                                (Suid-Afrikaanse Vloot).                                                              badge – English.
    24                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 25
   A Collector’s Guide to the South African Special Forces                                                                                                                                                                                    Establishment of 1 Reconnaissance Commando

                                                                                                                                                 South African Recce operators serving with the Rhodesian SAS.     An operator wearing a foreign uniform, probably Renamo.

                                                                                                                                                   The following operators were killed in action during service with the Rhodesians:
                                                                                                                                                   1. L/Cpl C. de Wilzem           5 Reconnaissance Commando           4 Jan 1978 (ambush)
                             Members of 2RC preparing for Operation Kropduif – the attack on Eheke.                                                2. L/Cpl C. I. Menigke          5 Reconnaissance Commando           4 Jan 1978 (ambush)
                                                                                                                                                   3. Cpl M. A. I. Ganhao          1 Reconnaissance Commando           28 Jan 1978
                                                                 Special Forces Concept Misdirected                                                4. Lt J. H. du Toit             1 Reconnaissance Commando           11 Feb 1978
                              While much was achieved with the establishment of 1RC, the senior military command still did not understand          5. Rfn A. Shilemba              5 Reconnaissance Commando           2 Sept 1978
                              the purpose or correct application of a special force. Maj Gen F. Loots, SSO Spec Ops, eventually resigned in        6. Sgt H. G van der Merwe       5 Reconnaissance Commando           21 Sept 1978
                              June 1973 over this issue, when a follow-up operation into Tanzania was cancelled due to pure ignorance on the
                              part of the military command at that time. The newly created 1RC, under command of Cmdt J. Breytenbach,                                      Involvement with the Resistance Movements in angola
                              had not been developed as planned and was placed under the command of the Chief of the Army, who deployed          The coup d’ état of 25 April 1974 in Portugal resulted in the signing of the Alvor Accord on 15 January 1975. The
                              them as a conventional infantry force.                                                                             signatories to this accord were Portugal and the liberation movements: MPLA (Movimento Popular de Libertaçâo de
                                When Maj Gen Loots returned to service in August 1974, he was dismayed to find 1RC in a bad way. In the          Angola – Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola), FNLA (Frente Nacional de Libertaçâo de Angola – National
                              words of Gen Malan: “1RC is dead.” There was no special operations training being undertaken, no specialised       Liberation Front of Angola) and UNITA (Uniâo Nacional para a Independéncia de Angola – The National Union for
                              equipment or uniforms had been obtained and not even a budget in place to do so. No further special operations     the Total Independence of Angola). According to the terms of this agreement, Angola was to gain independence on 11
                              had been undertaken other than those initiated by Maj Gen Loots. The morale of the men was very low, with          November 1975 with lawful representatives of MPLA, FNLA and UNITA forming an interim government. Due to lack
                              many wanting to leave Special Forces.                                                                              of common goals and actions, this interim government disintegrated and ceased to exist by 11 August 1975.
                                After evaluating the situation, Maj Gen Loots appointed Cmdt J. C. Swart as OC 1RC on 13 January 1975               The first serious conflict between FNLA and MPLA took place on 25 March 1975 in Luanda. By 25 July, the MPLA
                              and Cmdt J. Breytenbach transferred, later establishing 32 Battalion. The main problem was still to clarify        was in control of the city and requested military assistance from the Soviet Union. It was decided that Cuba would
                              and validate the concept of special operations, and with it a special force, to the military command. In 1975      provide the bulk of military advisers for training and support while the USSR would foot the bill. On 27 July 1975,
Gen M. Malan, Chief of        a meeting was held with the Chief of the Defence Force, Gen Magnus Malan, who approved the concept                 FNLA declared war on the MPLA, while UNITA declared war on the MPLA on 21 August 1975. With the Angolan
the Army at inception of
                              in principle. Thereafter, Maj Gen Loots had to present the concept to the Supreme Command. After initial           declaration of independence on 11 November 1975, a full-blown civil war erupted between the three liberation
the Special Forces.
                              disapproval of the concept and much debate, they eventually accepted the proposal.                                 movements.
                                A budget was prepared and approved, Special Forces was placed under the command of the Chief of the                 South Africa did not want a strong Communist presence in Angola, as it had some interest in the hydro-electric
                              Defence Force and developed as originally planned fom 1976. However, Special Forces were still deployed            scheme at Calueque in southern Angola. South Africa entered the conflict on the side of UNITA and FNLA on 23
                              conventionally until the attack on Eheke on 28 October 1977, when five operators were killed during a              October 1975, after being requested to help by the FNLA and at the behest of the America CIA. The Republic of South
                              conventional attack. Maj Gen Loots confronted the Chief of the Defence Force, Gen Constand Viljoen, on             Africa agreed to provide advisers and instructors. Training camps were established on 15 September 1975 at Mpupa
                              this, and eventually convinced him of the importance and relevance of Special Forces. Thereafter they were         for the FNLA, on 29 September 1975, at Capolo for UNITA and another for the FNLA on 15 October 1975 at
                              withdrawn from a conventional application and applied in special operations only.                                  Menongue (formerly Serpa Pinto). The nucleus of these training groups consisted of Special Forces members.
                                                                                                                                                 Their legacy would later be the formation of Bravo Group, which would evolve into 32 Battalion. They
                                                                Cross-Training with the Selous Scouts                                            would also play an important role in the life of 31 Battalion/201 Battalion (the ‘Bushman Battalion’).
                              During 1975, the South African Police were withdrawn from support operations in Rhodesia, and South African           Historical animosity between the Bushmen and blacks prompted the Bushmen to enlist as
                              Special Forces were tasked to take their place. The nature of the war in southern Africa soon made it clear that   fletchas with the DGS, the Portuguese security police. After the coup in Portugal, the Portuguese
                              black soldiers must be employed to effectively combat the insurgents. No one in the SADF had any experience in     started to withdraw from Angola. Anyone attached to the DGS fled south, to escape being killed or
                              working with black soldiers or of pseudo operations for that matter. The Selous Scouts, who were past masters in   imprisoned. Thirty-nine fletchas crossed the border to Rundu in the Caprivi Strip. The SADF soon
                              pseudo operations, were approached and asked for assistance. In March 1976, 15 operators from B Group (1RC)        realised their potential for future operations. During September 1974, they were moved to Camp Alpha
                              in separate groups were sent to Wafa Wafa, the Selous Scouts’ training base at Kariba, to attend a ‘dark’ phase    in the Western Caprivi, under the code-name Project Alpha, which was placed under the command of
                              (pseudo) course. Thereafter they remained for deployment with Selous Scouts pseudo groups to gain operational      General Officer Commanding Special Forces. On 2 November 1974, the first 21 Bushmen joined Project
                              experience. Towards the end of December 1976, the group left Rhodesia to return to South Africa. Since the         Alpha. The aim was to train and deploy them offensively against SWAPO. Alpha was officially recognised
   A Selous Scout             Rhodesians trained the South Africans in pseudo operations and gained invaluable operational experience, the       as a battalion and on 9 September 1976, was designated 31 Battalion. On 23 September 1976, camp Alpha
   beret badge.               South Africans reciprocated by presenting courses in diving and parachuting for the Rhodesian Selous Scouts.       officially changed to Omega. During 1976/77, two reconnaissance wings (recce wings) were established, one for 31        A 201 Battalion
                                 In December 1977 a group of 55 Recces was temporarily sent to Rhodesia to operate in the Gaza Province for      Battalion and the other for 32 Battalion. Both these scouting wings were trained by 1 Reconnaissance Commando,          (formerly 31
                              three months. They deployed with the Rhodesians and then later on their own; this deployment was mostly via        and initially executed operations from Fort Doppies in the Caprivi as infantry reconnaissance.                          Battalion) recce
                              freefall/HALO methods. A lot of bush warfare experiance was gained during this period. They were replaced by                                                                                                                               wing flash.
                              ‘D’ Squadron

   26                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 27
   A Collector’s Guide to the South African Special Forces                                                                                                                                                                                                      Establishment of 1 Reconnaissance Commando

                                                                The First South african Pseudo Course                                                                                               Some Miscellaneous Enemy Forces Insignia
                            The first basic course was conducted in South Africa by the team trained by the Selous Scouts and lasted six
                            weeks, from 7 March 1977 to 17 April 1977, during which they trained 46 black soldiers, who were drawn from
                            31 Battalion and 32 Battalion. Only 22 candidates passed this course. This team of 15 pseudo instructors are
                            considered to be the founding members of 5 Reconnaissance Commando.

                            In 1980, the Rhodesian Central Intelligence Organisation and the Rhodesian SAS (no longer ‘C’ Squadron, as the
                            British had withdrawn from Rhodesia; in June 1978 ‘C’ Squadron (Rhodesian) SAS became 1 SAS Regiment) and
                            ceased their involvement in Mozambique, due to the changing political situation in Rhodesia. During the 1980s,
                            South African Special Forces, specifically 5 Reconnaissance Regiment, got involved in the training and operation of
                            the Mozambican National Resistance Movement. It is reported that the instructors who conducted para training
                            with the MNR, or Renamo, (controlled by Military Intelligence) even had their own unofficial wings.
                                                                                                                                                           An MPLA/FAPLA badge.                                                   The emblem for Umkhonto                 The emblem for APLA, the
                                                                                                                                                                                            Frelimo army badge.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  we Sizwe (Spear of the                  military wing on the Pan
                                                                        Koevoet and Special Forces                                                                                                                                Nation), of MK (Military                Africanist Congres (PAC).
                            Koevoet (crowbar), the SAP COIN component, was first accommodated at Fort Rev. For a short while between                                                                                              Kommand) the military
                            1979 and 1980, some members of Koevoet also received some very basic training at Fort Doppies. However, this                                                                                          wing on the African
                            arrangement was short-lived after the GOC of Special Forces had a fallout with them over their way of doing                                                                                           National Congress (ANC).
                            things and asked them to leave.
 Angolan Veterans’
 Union Medal — the                                                               Enemy Forces
 crossed swords             One of the many enemy forces faced by the South Africans, particularly in the Angolan ‘Border War’ and to a
 indicate a combat          lesser extent in Mozambique were the Russians. Although this was mostly in terms of the billions of dollars of
 role. The same
                            equipment they provided to South Africa’s many opponents, it also included thousands of their regular troops,
 medal, without
 swords, is issued to       advisers and Special Forces (Spetsnaz).
 non-combatants.               From as early as 1961 the USSR started supplying weapons and advisers to the Marxist MPLA in Angola. From
                            1975, after the first South African invasion of Angola, the Soviets helped in delivering 22 infantry and motorised
                            Cuban brigades. Included were 1,500 Soviet military specialists and special forces. This would rise to over 3,500             Gilt metal with lucite,                                                Brass Soviet Star beret badge,          East German pilot cap
                                                                                                                                                          Yugoslav Star beret                                                    worn by various liberation              badge. These pilots flew
                            by the end of the conflict.
                                                                                                                                                          badge, worn by several              Cuban troops were                  groups during the Border War,           many of the Mig-23s
                               By current Russian estimates they lost over 700 Spetsnaz soldiers in the war in Angola alone, aside from                                                                                          taken off an enemy soldier in           and -27s in the Angolan
                                                                                                                                                          liberation groups during            heavily deployed
                            conventional infantry losses. Some 3,500 Soviet soldiers were also stationed in Mozambique, including five                    the Border War.                     in Angola.                         Oshikango in 1977.                      conflict.
                            groups of Spetsnaz troops.
                               (Authors’ note: This information and the photographs below were kindly obtained and printed with the
                            permission of Maxim Gladkov and his team from their ex-Angolan war veterans website. A fascinating,
                            informative and well-run website which is highly recommended:

                                                                                                                          Message from Col. J. D.
                                                                                                                       Breytenbach on the occasion of
                                                                                                                       the 1RR colour parade held at
                                                                                                                       Durban 1 Oct 1993.
                                                                                                                          BG SM/G/307/2 dated 19 Apr
                                                                                                                       1991, Annex. A.                              The East German electronic warfare teams managed to
                                                                                                                          File Army A/AOM/6/1                       locate several South African operators by electronically                                            A South West People’s
                                                                                                                       historical records in Chief of               pinpointing their location while deployed on operations in                                          Organisation (SWAPO)
                                                                                                                       Army files:1VK.                              Angola and South West Africa.                                                                       cap badge.
Soviet military advisers attached to the first FAPLA
                                                                                                                          Interview J. D. Breytenbach –
tactical brigade at Cuito Cuanavale in October/November                                                                SA National Museum of Military
1989. Note the soldier on the right with the blue and   Soviet military personnel and armour, Angola February          History function 1999
white-striped airborne / Spetsnaz vest.                 1987.                                                          5
                                                                                                                          Interview D. L. Scales 28 Mar
                                                                                                                           Interviews with Recce
                                                                                                                       operators who wish to remain
                                                                                                                          Unpublished manuscript, M.
                                                                                                                       G. de Klerk.
                                                                                                                          Proposals made by
                                                                                                                       Directorate of Mobilisation at
                                                                                                                       Army HQ 1972.
                                                                                                                       * According to WOI Koos                                                                                                                         GRU and Spetsnaz were
                                                                                                                       Moorcroft.                                                                                                                                      deployed against South African
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ground forces, over and over.
                                                                                                                                                                        Soviet cap and beret badge.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Russian GRU – Military Intelligence.
Soviet, Cuban and FAPLA soldiers examine spent
APILAS Armbrust and RPG anti-tank weapons left
behind by successful Special Forces anti-tank hunting        Soviet and FAPLA personnel posing in front of a Mil
teams, November 1989.                                        Mi-24 Hind, used in the successful evacuation of a team
                                                             behind UNITA lines.
   28                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   29

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