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Looking For Some Book Sources On South African Armour & Doctrine


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#1 Gavin-Phillips

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 1425 PM

I've recently re-read Osprey's New Vanguard book covering South African armour of the Border War.  I have to say this is one of the most interesting Osprey titles I've read so far (and I've collected quite a few over the past 2-3 years).  Its a great read but obviously due to the constraints on the number of pages etc, I was hoping to find something a bit more in-depth.  I'm especially interested in the vehicles themselves (Ratel, Eland/Panhard, Buffalo and so on) and how they were used.  Details on the various campaigns, missions and how the vehicles were employed or any kind of detail on the typical organisation of the vehicles and their various units would also be nice.

 

I've had a look on Amazon but I'm not exactly thrilled when reading some of the reviews that people have left for the few books that seem to be available on the subject so far.

 

So if anyone has any suggestions covering some or all of the points of interest to me, I'd be very interested indeed.

 

Best regards

 

Gavin


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#2 Al

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 1733 PM

There's a Facebook page "Modern African Bushwars" that would probably be able to help you in your search.  If nothing else, they do post some good photos.


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#3 Gavin-Phillips

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 1119 AM

There's a Facebook page "Modern African Bushwars" that would probably be able to help you in your search.  If nothing else, they do post some good photos.

 

Thanks for that.  It looks an interesting page with quite an emphasis on model making as well.  Hopefully they have a few suggestions.  There are a few books showing up on a search on Amazon UK, however the ratings and general feedback seem to be quite negative for the most part.  


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#4 Ifor

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 1238 PM


I don't know if these will help, they are on my list, but I haven't read them yet.

The Battle of Cuito Cuanavale: Cold War Angolan Finale, 19871988 ([email protected])

Ratels on the Lomba: The Story of Charlie Squadron.

Ifor


The South African Defence Forces in the Border War 1966-1989
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#5 wilhelm

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 1239 PM

Gavin, I was an Infantry officer..both motorised and then mechanised. A friend of mine was killed after he took out a T-54 with the Ratel-20 main cannon. (!)
This was now 30 years ago...time flies...
I would usually in the past have been happy to answer these questions, but to be honest have tended to steer clear of tanknet for a few years...as has another poster or two who was in armour in the SADF. Both haven't posted here in years like myself.
The reasons are a certain poster or two who tends to use this forum as a platform to push a personal "fear" based thinly disguised xenophobic campaign against a certain country...thousands upon thousands of posts.
When challenged on this, the modding has been extremely lopsided... belying the term "moderator". That hardly was any incentive to stay.
You can see why posters have left.
It's a pity (as winessed by the relative paucity of posts in the raison-de-etre AFV subsection compared to others) as I have been tempted in the past to correct gross inaccuracies on some of the vehicles you mention, as well as rarer prototypes..but why bother when a certain high-poster-count "know-it-all" splurges innaccuracies over the topics in question, based on "what he heard" or "someone I spoke to" or "I read somewhere".....

That little rant off my chest...
I will recommend Helmoed Romer Heitmans The War in Angola: The Final Phase as worthwhile in many respects of the type of info you are looking for.
61 Mech (very involved in mechanised ops) has a website, and a facebook page if I recall correctly.
I might swing passed this site again for specific questions..but to be frank, it happens very rarely..for example, this must be my first log in quite a few years.
I'll try to remember to check in, but if I don't, those two suggestions above will be a start and contain some answers at least to some of the questions you have asked.

Edited by wilhelm, 16 May 2018 - 1301 PM.

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#6 wilhelm

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 1244 PM

Ifors recommendations are good.
His first suggestion is the same as mine.
The Ratel (the entire family of vehicles) and Buffel were extremely important vehicles in many ways.
The Casspir, whilst originally developed by the SAP for COIN, was a far superior vehicle to the Buffel...but was a slightly later development..so it stands to reason.
The history of their development is actually extremely interesting..there is a website out there that covers a lot of the vehicle developments...extremely worthwhile paging through.... .and Helmoed Romer Heitman has a recent book out covering some of it...albeit more as an overview, and not just n huge detail.

Edited by wilhelm, 16 May 2018 - 1255 PM.

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#7 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 1310 PM

As an aside Gavin, for a different perspective you might want to try 'Gunship Ace', written by a Rhodesian Helicopter pilot who also flew for the South African Defence Force in the border war. He later on became a mercenary (albeit  very nice one) and flew a Mil8 in the Former Yugoslavia, and a Mi24 over Sierra Leone.

https://www.amazon.c...rds=gunship ace

 

Nice to see you back Wilhelm. :)


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#8 Gavin-Phillips

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 1338 PM

Ifor

 

Thank you for the book suggestions.  The Ratels on the Lomba title had already caught my eye but I was not aware of the book covering the SADF during the Border War title.  Excellent suggestions, thank you.

 

Wilhelm

 

Thank you for your feedback and I'm sorry to read that you have had such a rough time.  Indeed I have noticed quite a few of the once vocal members becoming silent which really isn't a good sign although everyone has their reasons for doing so.  Still its a sad thing indeed.

 

As for taking out a T-54 with a 20mm armed and thinly armoured IFV...that must've taken a huge amount of courage and dedication.  I seriously take off my hat to anyone who would even attempt it.  I've added The War in Angola: South African Final Phase to my short list now. 

 

Thank you once again and I hope you log back in every so often.

 

Stuart

 

There are a couple of books that turned up during a search covering the South African air force, but none quite like that one you mention!  I'll add that to my list as well.  Thank you.


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#9 Dave Clark

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 1332 PM

A good general introduction to the South African armed forces, albeit now somewhat dated,was also produced by Heitman.

 

Heitman, Helmoed-Römer. South African War Machine. Galago Publishing, Bromley (GB), 1985. ISBN 0-946995-80-X

 

There are several copies available on Abebooks


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#10 exT70

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 0820 AM

Try Mobile Warfare for Africa - Roland De Vries, Camille Burger & Willem Steenkamp. Updated and new publication.

Genl De Vries also wrote the seminal work on the use of armour in the SADF Mobiele Oorlogvoering (unfortunately as far as I know never translated). He was closely involved in the development of the Ratel as well as the doctrine surrounding its use, as well as commander of 61Meg.

The War for Africa by Fred Bridgland is also a good read.
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#11 Jim Warford

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 2129 PM

Speaking of the fighting in Angola, there persists the legend (like the disproved story of Panthers being used by the French in Indochina), of Ukrainian-supplied T-64s being used in very small numbers in Angola. IMO, there's enough to the story to bring it up every once in awhile...
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#12 Gorka L. Martinez-Mezo

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 0508 AM

Ifors recommendations are good.
His first suggestion is the same as mine.
The Ratel (the entire family of vehicles) and Buffel were extremely important vehicles in many ways.
The Casspir, whilst originally developed by the SAP for COIN, was a far superior vehicle to the Buffel...but was a slightly later development..so it stands to reason.
The history of their development is actually extremely interesting..there is a website out there that covers a lot of the vehicle developments...extremely worthwhile paging through.... .and Helmoed Romer Heitman has a recent book out covering some of it...albeit more as an overview, and not just n huge detail.

 

Hi, Wilhelm!

 

Glad to see you posting again. Are you aware on any new publication on the Olifant series? It seems odd it apprars to still be covered in  a shroud of secret......


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#13 Gavin-Phillips

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 0738 AM

Hi, Wilhelm!

 

Glad to see you posting again. Are you aware on any new publication on the Olifant series? It seems odd it apprars to still be covered in  a shroud of secret......

 

 

It would be curious if there was much in the way of secrecy concerning such a tank (especially the older variants) unless there was some kind of special armour installed?  I do agree that there isn't much in the way of information concerning the Olifant tanks although just considering book sources on the South African military vehicles themselves, there isn't much in the way of information solely devoted to those either (Casspir, Buffel, Eland and so on).  Considering how specialised and customised most of the armoured vehicles seem to be, it is a little surprising that they have not had more coverage than is the case.

 

I've taken note of the book suggestions so far and the hunt for those has already begun.  However anything which is dealing with the Olifant and its various marks and variants would also be a very welcome addition.


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#14 Gorka L. Martinez-Mezo

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 1149 AM

It would be curious if there was much in the way of secrecy concerning such a tank (especially the older variants) unless there was some kind of special armour installed?  I do agree that there isn't much in the way of information concerning the Olifant tanks although just considering book sources on the South African military vehicles themselves, there isn't much in the way of information solely devoted to those either (Casspir, Buffel, Eland and so on).  Considering how specialised and customised most of the armoured vehicles seem to be, it is a little surprising that they have not had more coverage than is the case.

 

Not speaking of such exotic items as armor, just about the humble, V-12, air cooled 750hp diesel engine which replaced the original Meteor in the Olifant whose origin appears hard to track..... but sounds suspiciously close to a Israeli furnished AVDS-1790...... :P​ 


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#15 exT70

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 1916 PM

Olifant Mk1 and Mk1a had nothing specialised armour wise. Mostly standard IDF Cent upgrades. Incl Continental AVDS 1790 engine.
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#16 exT70

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 1919 PM

Speaking of the fighting in Angola, there persists the legend (like the disproved story of Panthers being used by the French in Indochina), of Ukrainian-supplied T-64s being used in very small numbers in Angola. IMO, there's enough to the story to bring it up every once in awhile...


If there were, the SADF/SAAC was not aware of it....
I very destinctly remember discussions around modern armour during vehicle recognition and Anti-SA lectures, and specifically when the T64 was brought up us wide eyed 19 year olds were told wed be totally screwed (not the words used) should they be brought into theatre.
There were however realistic concerns that T72s would be brought in, which is why the SADF bought at least 2 and tested them.

Edited by exT70, 17 June 2018 - 1934 PM.

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#17 exT70

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 1509 PM

Found old pic of Olifant enginge

Attached Files


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#18 Jim Warford

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 2315 PM

Speaking of the fighting in Angola, there persists the legend (like the disproved story of Panthers being used by the French in Indochina), of Ukrainian-supplied T-64s being used in very small numbers in Angola. IMO, there's enough to the story to bring it up every once in awhile...


If there were, the SADF/SAAC was not aware of it....
I very destinctly remember discussions around modern armour during vehicle recognition and Anti-SA lectures, and specifically when the T64 was brought up us wide eyed 19 year olds were told wed be totally screwed (not the words used) should they be brought into theatre.
There were however realistic concerns that T72s would be brought in, which is why the SADF bought at least 2 and tested them.


Maybe so...I don't have the sources in front of me at the moment, but it's interesting that these reports specifically mention T-64s...not something like "T-64s/T-72s" or even the more likely T-72. They also specifically call out Ukraine as the source. I'll see what I can dig-up...
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#19 exT70

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 1632 PM

Angola had T34s, T54/55 and T62's during the Border War.

Any new and shiny toys would have been operated by the Cubans, as by the latter stages of the war the Russians started to realize that the quality equipment being sent to Angola just ended up in SADF hands.  And then on to the IDF and US. 

To the best of my knowledge Cuba never operated T64's.

Angola was however shopping for newer toys in the mid-2000s and probably considered purchasing T64's at the time (there were rumours of 10 T64's being bought, but never confirmed).  They eventually purchased T72's.


Edited by exT70, 21 June 2018 - 1635 PM.

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#20 Jim Warford

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 2157 PM

Speaking of the fighting in Angola, there persists the legend (like the disproved story of Panthers being used by the French in Indochina), of Ukrainian-supplied T-64s being used in very small numbers in Angola. IMO, there's enough to the story to bring it up every once in awhile...


If there were, the SADF/SAAC was not aware of it....
I very destinctly remember discussions around modern armour during vehicle recognition and Anti-SA lectures, and specifically when the T64 was brought up us wide eyed 19 year olds were told wed be totally screwed (not the words used) should they be brought into theatre.
There were however realistic concerns that T72s would be brought in, which is why the SADF bought at least 2 and tested them.


Maybe so...I don't have the sources in front of me at the moment, but it's interesting that these reports specifically mention T-64s...not something like "T-64s/T-72s" or even the more likely T-72. They also specifically call out Ukraine as the source. I'll see what I can dig-up...


Here's one source...according to this report, the tanks came from Uzbekistan:

T-64s%20in%20Angola_Copy%20Image_1.jpg
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