SMALL WARS COUNCIL
Go Back   Small Wars Council > Small Wars Participants & Stakeholders > Historians

Historians The practice of history, and historical analysis. See FAQ for where to discuss history relevant to other forums.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-21-2011   #41
Ken White
Council Member
 
Ken White's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,060
Default Yes and no.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carl View Post
I hope this isn't too far off topic but didn't some of the old tanks, M-48s etc have rounded bottom hulls the intention of which was protection against anti-tank mines? I think Bradleys and Abrams have flat bottom hulls. Is this a case of forgetting?
Not forgetting as much as a different and better riding suspension system (Torsion bars that run across the hull) favored flat bottoms and -- foolishly -- it was decided that the improved suspension merited taking a chance that land mines would be less used in the future. That didn't work out too well...

There was also the factor of increased interior roominess, important in peacetime, not so much in wartime, favoring the flat bottoms. As did production and maintenance costs, also a peacetime concern...

Still newer hydropneumatic and hydraulic suspensions will allow a return to sloped or rounded bottoms. Today's shallow 'V's work better than the old rounded hulls. Everything goes in cycles...
Ken White is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2011   #42
Firn
Council Member
 
Firn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,281
Default

Moderator's Note: the cited interview is not available in English and appeared in an Austrian military periodical. Now if anyone wants to volunteer and supply an English translation SWC will be indebted to you.

From the interview of Breytenbach in the ÖMZ 1/2009:

Quote:
Jedenfalls gab es unter uns Obristen einige, die dafür plädierten, den Vormarsch auf dem Westufer des cuitos einfach fortzusetzen, um cuito cuanevale vom Westen her anzugreifen, d.h. in den Rücken des feindes zugelangen. Dadurch würde das vorgeschobene Logistikzentrum des Gegners und, vielleicht noch wichtiger, auch die einzige Brücke erobert werden.
Die südafrikanische Brigade wäre dann genau auf der Versorgungs-
und Rückzugslinie des Gegners platziert, und dieser wäre von seinem Nachschub abgeschnitten.

Die Brigaden selbst waren ja schon allein durch das 32. Bataillon am Lomba aufgehalten worden. Doch sie konnten dauerhaft dort verharren, solange der Nachschub floss oder sie sich auf cuito cuanevale zurückziehen konnten. Würden wir cuito cuanevale nehmen, wären sie auf der falschen flussseite
ohne Nachschub gestrandet, würde bald kein fahrzeug mehr fahren können, und die Truppe, ohne dass wir einen Schuss abfeuerten, würde liegen bleiben. Was nützt ein Panzer ohne Treibstoff? Er wird zur metallenen hülle, dessen Besatzung sich bei einem Ausbruch zu fuß einer Umgebung voller UNITAKämpfer aussetzen müsste, die ihnen mit Begeisterung, v.a. den
Kubanern, die Kehlen durchschneiden würden. So hätten fünf Brigaden restlos vernichtet werden können.
I always wondered why the SADF didn't try to cut off in earnest the enemy brigades which relied for practically all their needs on the very long and difficult support lines from western Angola. As this interview shows some of the SADF officers, among them Breytenbach wanted to do exactly that.

Quote:
ÖMZ: Was hinderte Sie daran, genau dies zu tun? Doch nicht etwa politische Intervention?
Breytenbach: Vernichtung der feindlichen Kräfte war leider nicht auf der Tagesordnung, v.a. nicht beim Außenminister. Die Brigaden sollte lediglich nach cuito cuanevale zurückgedrängt werden, der Ausgangsstellung ihrer Offensive. Man hielt es für politisch klug, der fAPLA die Demütigung zu ersparen, fast ihre ganze Armee durch eine einzige südafrikanische Brigade vernichtet zu sehen. hier kamen die „win win“-Parole und die diplomatische Schiene durch, die nun ins militärische Umfeld transplantiert werden musste, egal ob der militärische „Patient“ diese außergewöhnliche Behandlung annehmen wollte oder nicht.

Wie man so schön sagt: Der Rest ist Geschichte. Die Südafrikaner saßen mit dem handicap am Verhandlungstisch, dass die fAPLA-Kräfte durch unsere eigenen Politiker vor der endgültigen Niederlage gerettet wurden.
Basically he says that some SA politicians didn't want to humilate the enemy too heavily to enable a "win-win" diplomatic solution, crossing deeply into the military strategy and tactis of the campaign. So instead of annihilation they just wanted a push-back. (Breytenbach accepts the supremacy of politics, but that it should limit itself to the political strategy. Overall he sounds pretty Clausewitzian in many of his answers)

In the end this political choice backfired on the SA diplomacy, as the Cubans, FAPLA and SWAPO could claim victory, retain their military strenght and take over the country after sitting out the process in their secret bases which were of no interest to the UNO.


Of course I have no idea how feasible the destruction of the five brigades could have been and how things would have shaped up after a devastating outcome for FAPLA.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-21-2011 at 06:18 PM. Reason: Add Mod's Note & PM to author.
Firn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2011   #43
ganulv
Council Member
 
ganulv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Berkshire County, Mass.
Posts: 896
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firn View Post
Basically he says that some SA politicians didn't want to humilate the enemy too heavily to enable a "win-win" diplomatic solution, crossing deeply into the military strategy and tactis of the campaign. So instead of annihilation they just wanted a push-back. (Breytenbach accepts the supremacy of politics, but that it should limit itself to the political strategy. Overall he sounds pretty Clausewitzian in many of his answers)

In the end this political choice backfired on the SA diplomacy, as the Cubans, FAPLA and SWAPO could claim victory, retain their military strenght and take over the country after sitting out the process in their secret bases which were of no interest to the UNO.
From my readings on this forum and elsewhere I am lead to believe that many foreign policy and military professionals seem to conceptualize the political and the military as separate and separable domains. In reading recently about the Angolan Civil War I came upon Chester Crocker’s quote that
Quote:
[r]eading the Cubans is yet another art form. They are prepared for both war and peace.
I was gobsmacked that this should be considered unusual.
__________________
If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-21-2011 at 07:10 PM. Reason: Crocker quote in quote marks
ganulv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2011   #44
Firn
Council Member
 
Firn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,281
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ganulv View Post
From my readings on this forum and elsewhere I am lead to believe that many foreign policy and military professionals seem to conceptualize the political and the military as separate and separable domains. In reading recently about the Angolan Civil War I came upon Chester Crocker’s quote that “[r]eading the Cubans is yet another art form. They are prepared for both war and peace.” I was gobsmacked that this should be considered unusual.
If I read Breytenbach correctly he didn't agree how deeply the political interventions went and he wasn't sure if the politicians grasped the effects of their choosen military means. Personally I do think that there will be never a "solution" for handling the interplay of both spheres "correctly".

He seems to agree of course on the supremacy of political realm, and behaved accordingly if they demanded thus. Of course when he had leeway and no direct orders, which happened quite often, he did what he thought best for the SA effort.

Last edited by Firn; 07-21-2011 at 06:58 PM.
Firn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2011   #45
Fuchs
Council Member
 
Fuchs's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,189
Default

Quote:
Jedenfalls gab es unter uns Obristen einige, die dafür plädierten, den Vormarsch auf dem Westufer des cuitos einfach fortzusetzen, um cuito cuanevale vom Westen her anzugreifen, d.h. in den Rücken des feindes zugelangen. Dadurch würde das vorgeschobene Logistikzentrum des Gegners und, vielleicht noch wichtiger, auch die einzige Brücke erobert werden.
Die südafrikanische Brigade wäre dann genau auf der Versorgungs-
und Rückzugslinie des Gegners platziert, und dieser wäre von seinem Nachschub abgeschnitten.
In English:Some among the colonels argued for continuing the advance on the west riverside of the cuitos, to attack cuito cuanevale. This would capture the forward logistical node and -probably more important- also the only bridge.
The South African brigade would then be cituated on the supply and withdrawal route of the opponent, and this one would be cut off from supply.

(Wow, their locations sound dirty!)

Quote:
Die Brigaden selbst waren ja schon allein durch das 32. Bataillon am Lomba aufgehalten worden. Doch sie konnten dauerhaft dort verharren, solange der Nachschub floss oder sie sich auf cuito cuanevale zurückziehen konnten.

Würden wir cuito cuanevale nehmen, wären sie auf der falschen flussseite ohne Nachschub gestrandet, würde bald kein fahrzeug mehr fahren können, und die Truppe, ohne dass wir einen Schuss abfeuerten, würde liegen bleiben.

Was nützt ein Panzer ohne Treibstoff? Er wird zur metallenen hülle, dessen Besatzung sich bei einem Ausbruch zu fuß einer Umgebung voller UNITAKämpfer aussetzen müsste, die ihnen mit Begeisterung, v.a. den
Kubanern, die Kehlen durchschneiden würden. So hätten fünf Brigaden restlos vernichtet werden können.
In EnglishThe brigades themselves are already stopped by the 32. Bn at the Lomba. But they could stay there permanently, as long as they received supply and were able to withdraw to cuito cuanevale.

If we would capture cuito cuanevale, they would be stranded on the wrong side of the river without supply, soon no vehicle would be able to drive any more, and the troops would - without us firing a single shot - be stuck.

Of what use is a tank without fuel? It becomes a metallic hull, whose crew would in a breakout exposed to an environment full of UNITA fighters who would with enthusiasm cut their throats (especially of Cubans). This way five brigades could have been annihilated entirely.


Quote:
ÖMZ: Was hinderte Sie daran, genau dies zu tun? Doch nicht etwa politische Intervention?
Breytenbach: Vernichtung der feindlichen Kräfte war leider nicht auf der Tagesordnung, v.a. nicht beim Außenminister. Die Brigaden sollte lediglich nach cuito cuanevale zurückgedrängt werden, der Ausgangsstellung ihrer Offensive. Man hielt es für politisch klug, der fAPLA die Demütigung zu ersparen, fast ihre ganze Armee durch eine einzige südafrikanische Brigade vernichtet zu sehen. hier kamen die „win win“-Parole und die diplomatische Schiene durch, die nun ins militärische Umfeld transplantiert werden musste, egal ob der militärische „Patient“ diese außergewöhnliche Behandlung annehmen wollte oder nicht.

Wie man so schön sagt: Der Rest ist Geschichte. Die Südafrikaner saßen mit dem handicap am Verhandlungstisch, dass die fAPLA-Kräfte durch unsere eigenen Politiker vor der endgültigen Niederlage gerettet wurden.
In English:ÖMZ: What did them keep from doing exactly this? Was it political intervention?
Breytenbach: Destruction of enemy forces was not on the agenda, especially not for the foreign secretary. The brigades were only to be pushed back to cuito cuanevale, the starting point of their offensive. They considered it politically wise to spare the FAPLA the humiliation of having almost their entire army being destroyed by a single South African brigade.

Here came the "win win" rallying cry and the diplomatic venue into effect, which now had to be transplanted into the military environment - no matter whether this military "patient" was willing to accept this unusual treatment or not.

The rest is history. The South Africans sat at the negotiating table with the handicap that the FAPLA forces had been rescued by our own politicians.End of English


(Yes, the guy really talks this weird!)

Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-21-2011 at 07:51 PM. Reason: Text in italics to show clearly the helpful translation
Fuchs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2011   #46
JMA
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Durban, South Africa
Posts: 3,902
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firn View Post
Moderator's Note: the cited interview is not available in English and appeared in an Austrian military periodical. Now if anyone wants to volunteer and supply an English translation SWC will be indebted to you.
A simple Google Translation gives the gist of what is being said.

Quote:
I always wondered why the SADF didn't try to cut off in earnest the enemy brigades which relied for practically all their needs on the very long and difficult support lines from western Angola. As this interview shows some of the SADF officers, among them Breytenbach wanted to do exactly that.

Basically he says that some SA politicians didn't want to humilate the enemy too heavily to enable a "win-win" diplomatic solution, crossing deeply into the military strategy and tactis of the campaign. So instead of annihilation they just wanted a push-back. (Breytenbach accepts the supremacy of politics, but that it should limit itself to the political strategy. Overall he sounds pretty Clausewitzian in many of his answers)

In the end this political choice backfired on the SA diplomacy, as the Cubans, FAPLA and SWAPO could claim victory, retain their military strenght and take over the country after sitting out the process in their secret bases which were of no interest to the UNO.

Of course I have no idea how feasible the destruction of the five brigades could have been and how things would have shaped up after a devastating outcome for FAPLA.
The aim was to send in a brigade (never numbering more than 3,000) to stop an Angolan division overrunning UNITA. This was achieved at the Lomba river where the Angolan (FAPLA) 47 Brigade was destroyed and their 59 and 21 Brigades badly mauled. The mission as given by the politicians had been achieved. (You probably need to read the then Chief of the Defence Force Gen Jannie Geldenhuys' book "At the Front" where he explains it simply.

Of course at colonel level (and below) there were those who saw only the military opportunity on offer to annihilate the Angolan division and to hell with any "limit of exploitation" and not what the politicians refer to as seeing "the big picture".

As to the propaganda potential of South Africa not pressing home an attack on Cuito Cuanavale to the Russians/Cubans/Angolans yes, it was always there and remember that in every operation before and after the "world" media happily repeated the line fed them that South Africa was the aggressor and the UN always demanded they withdraw their forces from Angola immediately.

So the fact is that the mission was accomplished in that the Angolan advance was halted with significant loses. That the "colonels" were not allowed to exploit the opportunity to annihilate what remained of the Angolan division does not constitute a defeat. Whether the soldiers like it or not the politicians make those decisions, right or wrong.

Note: a good lesson learned here was that in the absence of air superiority maximum use of artillery is required and was use to devastating effect.

Last edited by JMA; 07-21-2011 at 10:43 PM.
JMA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2011   #47
Fuchs
Council Member
 
Fuchs's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,189
Default

It would be interesting to learn how they believed to be able to supply the brigade behind the OPFOR better than OPFOR would be able to supply its spearhead?
This is the classic problem of encirclements.
Fuchs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2011   #48
JMA
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Durban, South Africa
Posts: 3,902
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
It would be interesting to learn how they believed to be able to supply the brigade behind the OPFOR better than OPFOR would be able to supply its spearhead?
This is the classic problem of encirclements.
Yes, and also a question of time.

South Africa was restricted to reasonably quick in-and-out forays into Angola where battle-groups or brigades were used (while smaller stuff was in there all of the time). It was necessary to get in, do the business and be out or on the way out by the time an international political row blew up.

There was no way that a South African force would be allowed (by the politicians) to sit astride the Angolan/Cuban supply route for any length of time as it would then be portrayed as an occupation rather than a raid.

Last edited by JMA; 07-21-2011 at 11:00 PM.
JMA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-22-2011   #49
JMA
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Durban, South Africa
Posts: 3,902
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
In English(Wow, their locations sound dirty!)

(Yes, the guy really talks this weird!)
Thanks for the translation, much appreciated.

BTW care to elaborate on your comments in brackets?
JMA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2011   #50
JMA
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Durban, South Africa
Posts: 3,902
Default New book released...

Shadows in the Sand



Quote:
This is the story of a Kavango tracker who served for six years with Koevoet
(‘Crowbar’), the elite South African Police anti-terrorist unit, during the South West
African–Angolan bush war of the ’80s. Most white team leaders lasted only two years;
the black trackers walked the tracks for years. Sisingi Kamongo tells the story of the
50 or so firefights he was involved in; he survived five anti-personnel mine and POMZ
explosions and an RPG rocket on his Casspir APC vehicle; he was wounded three
times; he tells of the trackers looking for the shadows on the ground, facing ambush
and AP mines at every turn; he tells of the art of tracking ... where dust can tell
time. Kamongo’s story is supported by two accounts from renowned Koevoet team
leaders, Herman Grobler and Francois du Toit—a powerful collection of experiences
from South Africa’s most successful counter-insurgency unit.
• The first-ever account of the bush war by a non-white member of the South
African security forces
• A unique, previously untold perspective of the bush war, by an on-the-ground
tracker
• A powerful, harrowing read; the tension is palpable
JMA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2011   #51
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 11,170
Default Shadows In The Sand

Cross-posted from the 'What are you reading' thread.

About to finish this excellent 300 pg. book, which is sub-titled 'A Koevoet Tracker's Story of an Insurgency War' by Sisingi Kamongo and Leon Bezuidenhout. Published by Thirty Degrees South 2011, main website in South Africa:http://www.30degreessouth.co.za/ and a UK website:http://www.30degreessouth.co.uk/

Website summary:
Quote:
This is the story of a Kavango tracker who served for six years with Koevoet ‘Crowbar’), the elite South African Police anti-terrorist unit, during the South West African–Angolan bush war of the ’80s. Most white team leaders lasted only two years; the black trackers walked the tracks for years. Sisingi Kamongo tells the story of the 50 or so firefights he was involved in; he survived five anti-personnel mine and POMZ explosions and an RPG rocket on his Casspir APC vehicle; he was wounded three times; he tells of the trackers looking for the shadows on the ground, facing ambush and AP mines at every turn; he tells of the art of tracking ... where dust can tell time.
A fascinating account, probably the only black African account from the South African side. The integration of basic police skills, tracking, fire-power and mobility was awesome, terrible for those on the receiving end - which the author often acknowledges.

The UN-sponsored period appears, the bloodiest time when SWAPO decided to send its troops across the border; the author glides over the politics, although he notes the impact on the ground with local information falling away.
__________________
davidbfpo

Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-14-2011 at 11:26 AM.
davidbfpo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2012   #52
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 11,170
Default Koevoet! Experiencing South Africa’s Deadly Bush War

Jim Hooper's book on Koevoet is a classic, embedded writer's account of this conflict in SW Africa now Namibia, which was written twenty years ago and is being launched in March 2012, in London. Attached is an image free flier and this a link to the publisher's website:http://30degreessouth.co.uk/
Attached Files
File Type: doc copydoc.doc (33.0 KB, 189 views)
__________________
davidbfpo
davidbfpo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2012   #53
Firn
Council Member
 
Firn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,281
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMA View Post
Yes, and also a question of time.

South Africa was restricted to reasonably quick in-and-out forays into Angola where battle-groups or brigades were used (while smaller stuff was in there all of the time). It was necessary to get in, do the business and be out or on the way out by the time an international political row blew up.

There was no way that a South African force would be allowed (by the politicians) to sit astride the Angolan/Cuban supply route for any length of time as it would then be portrayed as an occupation rather than a raid.
Perhaps he throught back to Operation Askari. Of course it is difficult to know which at which stage of the operation he advised to block the Angolan/Cuban supply line, possibly even before the enemy was stopped deep at the Lomba. This would of course expose the own supply lines to a very great degree.

Quote:
Manchmal gelang es uns jedoch, die Politiker zu tuschen. 1983 wurde Operation Askari initiiert, um zum wiederholten Mal die fAPLA aus der Kunene-Provinz zu drngen und die bestehenden SWAPO-Sttzpunkte zu zerstren. Ohne das Wissen der Polidas gesamte 32. Bataillon geschlossen auf chindit Art als Guerillaeinheit eingesetzt wurde.Die Operationen waren zwar eher komplementr zu den konventionellen Einstzen der mechanisierten Kampfgruppen der Grooperation Askari, stieen jedoch weit in die Kunene-Provinz vor, griffen dort Sttzpunkte an und zerstrten diese von Ongiva im Sden ber Evale und Mpupa bis ins nrdliche Cuvelei. Das 32. Bataillon infiltrierte ber Buschpfade teils mit Fahrzeugen, teils zu fu, tief in die stark bewaldeten Gebiete des Ostkunene, weit hinter den Linien von fAPLA. Es wurden SWAPO-Sttzpunkte lokalisiert, die sich geschtzt glaubten, und diese angegriffen.

Inzwischen stie eine mechanisierte sdafrikanische Brigade nordwrts, um in der grten und entscheidenden Schlacht eine FAPLA-Brigade in der Nhe von cuvelei zu schlagen. Nachdem die FAPLA-Brigade sich besiegt zurckgezogen hatte, trafen diese zermrbten Truppen berraschend auf das weit im hinterland operierende 32. Bataillon. Die Brigade wurde ausgelscht, wie auch eine weitere, die den Versuch unternahm, von Norden her als Rettung zur ersten zu stoen. Beide Brigaden verloren alle ihre Panzer und fast alle ihre Schtzenpanzer. fAPLA war geschlagen und aus der gesamten Kunene-Provinz vertrieben worden.

Das 32. Bataillon hat bei dieser Gelegenheit gleichzeitig die schlecht ausgersteten Kwanyamas unter den UNITA-Truppen bewaffnet, mit dem Ziel, eine freie Zone ohne das Wissen von Savimbi, dem Militrnachrichtendienst und der sdafrikanischen Regierung zu errichten. Doch dieses Geheimnis hielt nicht lange, und in Krze war unser Auenminister wieder unterwegs, um
alles Gewonnene zu verschenken. Dies bedeutete erneut den Abzug, auch fr das 32. Bataillon.
In the Operation Askari the whole 32. infiltrated partly on foot, partly on vehicles very deep into southern Angola isolating and attacking SWAPO bases and getting into the rear of FAPLAs bases further down south. A mechanized SADF brigade stroke in typical fashion from Namibia and defeated the FAPLA brigade. When the dispersed and worn down rest of the brigade retreated it was completely surprised and annihilated by the 32. battalion. A brigade streaming down to come to the rescue suffered the same fate, loosing all the MBTs and most of the APCs.

Quote:
Wir mussten mit Politikern zurechtkommen, die dachten, dass sie mehr von Krieg verstnden als professionelle Soldaten. Daher auch der Spruch, dass Krieg ein zu ernstes Geschft sei, als dass man es den Generlen berlsst. Diese arrogante Einstellung erreichte ihren Hhepunkt der Verachtung whrend der Kmpfe 1987/88 am Lomba. Dieser fluss war ein Ort, an dem entscheidende Kmpfe zu der Niederlage von vier greren FAPLA-/Kubaner-formationen fhrten, die von einer schwachen sdafrikanischen mechanisierten Brigade zerschlagen wurden.

Zuvor hatten fnf mechanisierte fAPLA-Brigaden den cuito stlich von Cuito Cuanevale ber die einzig verfgbare Brcke berquert, um nach Mavinga vorzustoen und ein flugfeld zu erobern, von wo aus Savimbi der Todessto gegeben werden sollte. Dieser war im abgelegenen Jamba verschanzt. Savimbi schrie, wie immer, Mord! Mord! und die sdafrikanische Armee wurde zum soundsovielten Mal durch den SSc umgehend zu dessen Rettung entsandt. Das 32. Bataillon - wer sonst? - setzte sich also am Lomba fest, um den Vormarsch des feindes zu stoppen. Weitere Einheiten wurden eingeschoben, m zusammengefasst eine schwache Brigade zu bilden. War dies jedoch der richtige Weg?

Die Sdafrikaner waren wieder verpflichtet, den Gegner zurckzudrngen. Dabei sollten diesem maximale Verluste beigefgt werden, doch nirgendwo bot das Terrain die Gelegen-heit, die feindbrigaden in die Enge zu drngen und endgltig zu vernichten. Den Gegner erfolgreich in eine Situation hin-einzumanvrieren, in der er mit minimalen eigenen Verlusten
vernichtet werden kann, ist immer die Kerneigenschaft eines fhigen Kommandeurs.

Einem Kommandeur jedoch eine Philosophie aufzudrngen, die man dann auch noch eine win win-Situation nennt, in der keine Seite gewinnt oder verliert, ist die Einfhrung einer Art Blasphemie in die edle Kunst der Kriegfhrung.

...

Jedenfalls gab es unter uns Obristen einige, die dafr pldierten, den Vormarsch auf dem Westufer des cuitos einfach fortzusetzen, um cuito cuanevale vom Westen her anzugreifen, d.h. in den Rcken des feindes zu gelangen. Dadurch wrde das vorgeschobene Logistikzentrum des Gegners und, vielleicht noch wichtiger, auch die einzige Brcke erobert werden.

Die sdafrikanische Brigade wre dann genau auf der Versorgungs- und Rckzugslinie des Gegners platziert, und dieser wre von seinem Nachschub abgeschnitten.

Die Brigaden selbst waren ja schon allein durch das 32. Bataillon am Lomba aufgehalten worden. Doch sie konnten dauerhaft dort verharren, solange der Nachschub floss oder sie sich auf cuito cuanevale zurckziehen konnten. Wrden wir cuito cuanevale nehmen, wren sie auf der falschen flussseite ohne Nachschub gestrandet, wrde bald kein fahrzeug mehr fahren knnen, und die Truppe, ohne dass wir einen Schuss abfeuerten, wrde liegen bleiben. Was ntzt ein Panzer ohne Treibstoff? Er wird zur metallenen hlle, dessen Besatzung sich bei einem Ausbruch zu fu einer Umgebung voller UNITA-Kmpfer aussetzen msste, die ihnen mit Begeisterung, v.a. den Kubanern, die Kehlen durchschneiden wrden. So htten fnf Brigaden restlos vernichtet werden knnen.
I tend to think that maybe they even thought about moving at soon against Cuito Cuanevale, possibly without stopping at the Lomba. In this case the whole supply system would have to be organized differently, I guess, not operating from the Eastern Caprivi towards Mavinga and the Lomba river but on interior lines, with the attack force striking from Rundu or Nkurunkuru northwards, keeping always on the western side of the Cuito.

The second option, after having stopped the attack at the Lomba, was to strike west roughly towards Cumuioio and turn northwards along the street on the western bank of the Cuito. In both occasions the SADF would have at least partly relied to have a cooperative enemy, showing little offensive initiative and spirit. As usual supplying the SADF brigade would have been difficult and it is hard to imagine that a single brigade, good as it might have would have been enough to defeat the heavy concentration of enemy forces even with the five brigades on the move towards Mavinga.

Quote:
Phase I: Defending UNITA (4 Aug - 5 Oct). By August 1987 the Angolans had concentrated five brigades around Lucusse and assigned them the mission of seizing the cities of Cangamba and Lumbala (see Map 2). Eight other brigades and two battalion-size tactical groups assembled near Cuito Cuanavale, the town situated at the end of the mproved road closest to Jamba. Cuito Cuanavale also contained an important air base from which Angolan fighters and bombers could range in a matter of minutes over the expected battlegrounds.
JMA already has the link to the source in one of his earlier posts...

Last edited by Firn; 01-13-2012 at 09:35 PM.
Firn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2012   #54
Firn
Council Member
 
Firn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,281
Default

Forged in Flames 1

See also part 2 and 3. In part 2 the follow-up after the clashes of the Lomba river is described, when parts of the 21 brigade tried to mantain contact in very difficult terrain with the retreating enemy. The potential result of insecure communications, lack of coding, and too much talk on the radio is shown. This happened also frequently in WWII, for example with radio-rich American forces.

Operation Packer

From the middle of Part 2 till the end of Part 3 mostly English, talking about the planning cycle for the staff. Shows a bit about how the attack on forces southeast of Cuito was perceived by the SADF.

The last domino

General overview of the Borderwar from the South African/South West (Namibia) perspective.

The Saints - the Rhodesian Light Infantry

A rather long and detailed documentary about RLI, posted due to the partial connection with later SADF tactics in Ovamboland.

The Cassinga raid

A very detailed Master thesis. The author has served in combat capacity in the SADF in most of the conflict and is a serving officer of the SANDF.

Last edited by Firn; 01-14-2012 at 11:50 AM.
Firn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2012   #55
Strickland
Council Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Stafford, VA
Posts: 262
Default Mandela - Terrorist or Insurgent

Please excuse my ignorance when it comes to the South African Insurgency...during recent debates with classmates, the question of Nelson Mandels role as arisen with some asserting that he was an insurgent, and other claiming he was more akin to a terrorist (Begin in the Stern Gang) than insurgent (Washington in the American Revolution). Which is more accurate?
Strickland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2012   #56
ganulv
Council Member
 
ganulv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Berkshire County, Mass.
Posts: 896
Default Is it even clear what Washington was?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Strickland View Post
[…] and other claiming he was more akin to a terrorist (Begin in the Stern Gang) than insurgent (Washington in the American Revolution).
‘Terrorist’ is such a subjective term IMHO it tells you a lot more about the person applying it than it does about the person it is applied to. There seems to be some semantic slippage around ‘insurgent,’ too. Your usage above suggests (to someone who went to elementary school in the United States, at least) that an insurgent is a revolutionary undertaking justified violence. Recent use of the term in relation to the adversaries of the United States in Iraq and the narco side of the drug–related violence in Mexico doesn’t really suggest that connotation, though.

If you have ever been to or ever go through central New York you’ll see a number of plaques and monuments singing the praises of the Sullivan–Clinton Expedition against the Iroquois. Contemporary Haudenosaunee, on the other hand, are not unlikely to relate to you that their ancestors gave Washington the sobriquet ‘Town Burner’ because of his role in ordering the punitive expedition (despite the existence of evidence that the name predates the Revolutionary War) and will often portray the expedition as tantamount to a crime against humanity. In my eyes both of these portrayals of the past are politicized oversimplifications.

So back to your question: Was/Is Mandela a terrorist or an insurgent? Yes. No. Maybe. False dichotomy. Both. All of the above. None of the above.
__________________
If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

Last edited by ganulv; 01-29-2012 at 03:46 PM. Reason: typo fix
ganulv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2012   #57
Strickland
Council Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Stafford, VA
Posts: 262
Default Mandela - Terrorist or Insurgent

For exactly the reasons you cite, I am attempting to use words with precision. For that reason, from a historical analysis of the South African Insurgency, did Mandela intentionally target or sanction the deliberate use of violence against civilians?
Strickland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2012   #58
ganulv
Council Member
 
ganulv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Berkshire County, Mass.
Posts: 896
Default Good luck with that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Strickland View Post
For exactly the reasons you cite, I am attempting to use words with precision.
Ummm, okay…

Quote:
Originally Posted by Strickland View Post
For that reason, from a historical analysis of the South African Insurgency, did Mandela intentionally target or sanction the deliberate use of violence against civilians?
Anyone who is in doubt as to whether the ANC conducted attacks sanctioned by Mr. Mandela in which civilians died can have their doubt removed within 30 seconds with the search function on Google. But good luck with answering the question of whether any of the attacks sanctioned by Mandela intentionally targeted civilians or deliberately used violence against civilians. Part of the difficulty with such as that is the fact that state sanctioned use of force is guided (or not) by a definition of proportionality formulated by state actors. Non-state actors may point out they are not able to avail themselves of all of the resources available to their state actor adversaries. In addition, there is the question of whether the principle of distinction makes any sense in an existential conflict. In the context of a true life–or–death struggle (and some would argue that some or all of the parties to the struggle of which Mr. Mandela was a part were hyperbolic in referring to it as an existential conflict, so there’s another issue to grapple with in coming to anything approaching a clean answer to your question) some would say that nobody standing by is innocent.
__________________
If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)
ganulv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2012   #59
JMA
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Durban, South Africa
Posts: 3,902
Default

Now that it is quiet around here I can slip in with my piece.

To discuss whether Nelson Mandela was or wasn't a terrorist is pointless. Here's why:

Quote:
If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way. – Bertrand Russell
JMA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2012   #60
JMA
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Durban, South Africa
Posts: 3,902
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMA View Post
A simple Google Translation gives the gist of what is being said.



The aim was to send in a brigade (never numbering more than 3,000) to stop an Angolan division overrunning UNITA. This was achieved at the Lomba river where the Angolan (FAPLA) 47 Brigade was destroyed and their 59 and 21 Brigades badly mauled. The mission as given by the politicians had been achieved. (You probably need to read the then Chief of the Defence Force Gen Jannie Geldenhuys' book "At the Front" where he explains it simply.

Of course at colonel level (and below) there were those who saw only the military opportunity on offer to annihilate the Angolan division and to hell with any "limit of exploitation" and not what the politicians refer to as seeing "the big picture".

As to the propaganda potential of South Africa not pressing home an attack on Cuito Cuanavale to the Russians/Cubans/Angolans yes, it was always there and remember that in every operation before and after the "world" media happily repeated the line fed them that South Africa was the aggressor and the UN always demanded they withdraw their forces from Angola immediately.

So the fact is that the mission was accomplished in that the Angolan advance was halted with significant loses. That the "colonels" were not allowed to exploit the opportunity to annihilate what remained of the Angolan division does not constitute a defeat. Whether the soldiers like it or not the politicians make those decisions, right or wrong.

Note: a good lesson learned here was that in the absence of air superiority maximum use of artillery is required and was use to devastating effect.
Further to the Cuito Cuanavale debate here is a view from opposition elements within Namibia - “THE DECISIVE BATTLE OF CUITO CUANAVALE” IS A HOAX

As they say it all comes out in the wash...
JMA is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
special forces

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 03:33 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9. ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Registered Users are solely responsible for their messages.
Operated by, and site design © 2005-2009, Small Wars Foundation