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Photo Album.

A trip to Angola.
The spoils of War. 61 Mechanised Brigade insignia 1 SAI Battalion insignia
My Second Tour.
Life on the Border. (coming soon!)
Army Battle School, Lohathla N.Cape. (coming soon!)
Training Camp, Bloemfontein OFS. (coming soon!)
Food and other weapons. (coming soon!)
Other armies, new stuff. (coming soon!)

Photo story - a trip to Angola. Some of the photos are mine, the rest I shamelessly lifted to give the reader some idea of the terrain, vegetation and roads, and what a terrorist base looks like. When the SADF attacked terrorist bases in 1978, their bases (called Moscow, Vietnam) had buildings and roads, and there were trenches around the perimeter. This resulted in such a massacre (over 1000 enemy were killed) that it was presented to the UN as a refugee camp that had been attacked. True there were many civilians in the base, but they were "wives" of soldiers, and their children. This caused the terrorists to build their bases underground, move regularly, and avoid detection from the air. Strict path discipline and limited daytime movement was enforced. Ops Smokeshell had embedded journalists to record and document the entire operation so that the accusation of murdering civilians could not be levelled at the invading force. (probably dissuaded SADF troops from getting up to any nonsense too) This worked as even though there were women killed in Smokeshell, they were in uniform and photographed where they fell. The order to move/bury the bodies was not given until the journalists had completed their job.
Riding up the cutline towards Angola. The "border", a flimsy fence, sometimes not even that.
140 mm (5.5 inch) artillery guns set up. Above, Buccaneers bomb and Mirages patrol looking out for Migs We are getting close to our "Stelpunt" (the setup point) 5.5.s have been punishing Smokeshell for hours.
Somewhere in the dust and smoke is the enemy. This picture was taken by rifleman 1 thru the drivers window. Bunker entrance
Officers mess, cammoed under the tree Bunker entrance exposed
In the middle of a mealie (corn) field, a 23mm AA gun shot holes in our Ratels. Ride over the trenches with speed, or drive around them.
Recoiless gun emplacement, before clearing camo. Recoiless gun emplacement, after clearing camo.
23mm AA gun emplacement, note gunners leg. Collection point, usable weapons loaded on trucks, u/s - destroy.
After 50 armoured vehicles ride in the same path, you have a new road! This ratel is well cammoed from aircraft.
No water, no food - no problem. No letters from home - big problem! The SADF flew the mail in to us. More trench and bunker systems. After battle, not much vegetation is left.
The town of Cuomato made a nice base, also had an airstrip! Golden rule, stay off established roads unless you knew they had been swept.
Crossing Oom Willie se Witpad was always exciting. This road was raised above the flood plain, but unusable because of the landmines! Back in SWA, we could use the established (recently swept) roads.
2000+ bundubashing kilometers, 7 flat tyres, 2 showers and 3 weeks on the road, 72A gets us home safely to 61 Mech Brigade, Omuthiya Aah, life is good again.

Photo story - The Spoils of War. Captured stuff. 100's of tons of Soviet weapons and equipment was captured. For 3 days after the battle, we loaded serviceable booty onto trucks for re-use (by 32 battalion and UNITA) and destroyed the rest. The base covered 65 square kilometers and consisted of bunkers and trench systems. As we headed back to SWA, the the anti-tank platoon was tasked with protecting the "Tiffies" (mechanics), and destroying or rendering unusable any captured vehicles that could not be repaired easily, or keep up with the convoy. Leaders. The SADF had learnt that to broadcast their side of the story before the enemy did. This resulted in press conferences and carefully prepared statements by the brass. Meanwhile, the fighting units had eaten, slept, bombed-up in Ondangwa and headed back into Angola to mop up any Smokeshell "refugees" who had escaped during the initial attack. Ten days later and at least another 1000 kilometers of sweeping the area west of the Smokeshell base, we headed home to "61" at Omuthiya. Losses. We had 2 Ratels shot out and 16 of our Brigade killed and 30+ wounded. Many more had been injured in accidents (broken arms, cuts)that are part of being around armored vehicles. The enemy base contained over 1000 personnel, body count was 200+ and many wounded that would die without medical attention. At the time it didn't feel like it was worth it, however this operation acchieved it's goals in terms of disrupting SWAPO and their insurgency capability.
Officers: Commanders of 61 Mechanised Brigade. Bravo company Anti-tank platoon drivers.
Press conference: SADF leaders of Army, Navy and Airforce. Tons of captured ammo and weapons.
Captured artillery guns. Captured small arms.
Burned out hull of Ratel 21, The tiffies cut it up and trucked it back to Omuthiya. Parts of 21 and 9G, note where RPG7 pierced armor-glass front window.
The official 61 Mech. Brigade monument. Apparently it is hidden in military base near Pretoria. Reconstructed Ratel, monument to our fallen in Operation Smokeshell.

Photo story - Second tour. Most of the photos are mine, after the first tour, we realized that it was possible to sneak our photos home and brought a cheap camera with us. The MPs missed Russian helmets (covered with SADF camo), AK bayonets (a prized item) and Chinese silk shirts. Don't ask me why, but most guys cut the sleeves off and wore them with jeans. I thought they looked kinda gay! Never underestimate a dumb troops ability to smuggle contraband! Unfortunately (maybe fortunately!), the second tour was not as exciting as the first. We patrolled the Kaokaveld, the vast desert-like region (just north west of the Etosha game reserve) that is dotted with salt-lakes. We had one drop-and-run trip, a helicopter was shot down near a MPLA base in Angola and 1 pilot had not been accounted for. We raced up the tarred road to Oshikati and waited for the order to cross into Angola to rescue the pilot. However, his capture-evasion training served him well and in 2 days he covered about 100kms and walked home! So we headed back to Omuthiya and resumed pouring concrete. Counting the days... Min dae! FEW DAYS!
61 Mech Brigade Paradeground. 72A crew: Piet L.(commander) Koos N.(gunner) and Anthony (driver).
90mm HE vs 7.62 X 51mm. Bravo company anti-tank drivers tent.
Crossing one of many salt pans. Typical Owambo kraal.
Lunch under a tree Guga shop, nice warm beer.
Fishing village in the middle of nowhere. Note the bicycle! Sometimes the salt pans weren't so dry and we got stuck.
This solved the mystery of how they get those heavy 40mm guns on top of those towers! Oshikati base. While visiting Ondangwa base, we went to check what the choppers had delivered from the guys walking patrols. 3 SWAPO comrades!
Found this VW beetle with seats still intact. Used it for target practice. Assault pioneers the next morning after our 40 days party!



61 Mech motto: "Mobilitate Vincere" - Destruction of the enemy through mobility.