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Thread: Border War / Grensoorlog

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    Border War / Grensoorlog

    I would like to see a thread dedicated to the only active conflict during the cold war. It was a silent war supported by America in secret as it was not pc to do so at the time. There were a few American and European merc's in this war as well. I would like to open with a video I like:

    SADF, Border War

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7jhj9HjImk&feature=related

    I would appreciate if some of the older manne would share a story or two of their experiences.

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    Good idea Mtroboer...

    Have any of you read Louis Bothma's Die Buffel Struikel? It is an excellent firsthand account of the actions of the old SADF's most active combat unit during the Border War known as 32 Battalion. Bothma himself was a commanding officer (Lieutenant) in one of their platoons and he not only tells of his own experiences but also those of his comrades in addition to telling the story of the battalion from inception to disbandment. He does this by interweaving bits and pieces of Apartheid era nostalgia, politics, pop culture and global historical events to set the stage for involved reading. This book had me in suspense with the detailed descriptions of combat engagements and had me rolling with laughter as he reminisces about his days in basic training at Tempe.

    I have had the privilege to meet Dr. Bothma in person, seeing as he was a Lecturer of mine at varsity (he holds a PhD in Economics). He is an excellent historical researcher and has also written a book about the plight of a Afrikaner family in the Orange Free State during the 2nd Anglo-Boer War called Punt van die swaard. He is a very humble guy in person and a true Volksgenoot. I would go as far to say that I consider him the David Irving of the Border War.

    I love this topic seeing as my father served as a Sergeant in the Artillery during the Border War and he loves sharing stories of his Diensplig. I always used to run around in his browns, webbing and staaldak as a kid, always keeping guard against communist 'Terries'...

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    My father did three tours to the border and one to Potuguese West Africa (Angola) him and the other SADF soilders are the true heroes and vetrens in this country NOT those "freedom fighters" that the ANC calls heroes

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    All the good South Africa did during apartheid seems to have been hushed here

    You guys should be very proud

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    Quote Originally Posted by Den groda View Post
    All the good South Africa did during apartheid seems to have been hushed here

    You guys should be very proud
    There was an Australian by the name of Blue Kelly who served with 32 Battalion. He was a real tough nut which all the other Buffalos (soldiers) were very careful of (he has fiery red hair and piercing blue eyes) and prior to this he also served in the the Rhodesian Light Infantry and in Vietnam (though I am not sure with which army and unit). There is one point in the book (which I mentioned previously in this thread) were Blue tells the author over open comms: "Hey boy, don't piss your pants!" , this was during the author's first combat engagement He also tried to train his negro troops to assault bunkers/pillboxes with hand grenades, but which ended up in one negro losing his arm *OUCH!*

    Den groda, you as an Australian can be proud of the Border War too...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtroboer View Post
    I would like to see a thread dedicated to the only active conflict during the cold war.
    Have you never heard of the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Invasion of Grenada, the Salvadoran Civil War, or the Nicaraguan War? In additional to countless other insurgencies that were in fact proxy wars between the US & the USSR.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Æmeric View Post
    Have you never heard of the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Invasion of Grenada, the Salvadoran Civil War, or the Nicaraguan War? In additional to countless other insurgencies that were in fact proxy wars between the US & the USSR.
    Any war in which America was directly involved, ie Korean, Vietnam, Grenada,Nicaraguan War are not proxy wars as one of the 2 parties is directly involved. For a proxy war to take place neither side must be activly fighting, they must be using third parties, in my opinion the Salvadoran Civil War would be a proxy war as well as i do not think there was direct US involvment, the Grensoorlog is one of the longest fought proxy wars but not the only one, the Greek civil war is another example

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    Quote Originally Posted by Afrikanermag View Post
    Any war in which America was directly involved, ie Korean, Vietnam, Grenada,Nicaraguan War are not proxy wars as one of the 2 parties is directly involved. For a proxy war to take place neither side must be activly fighting, they must be using third parties, in my opinion the Salvadoran Civil War would be a proxy war as well as i do not think there was direct US involvment, the Grensoorlog is one of the longest fought proxy wars but not the only one, the Greek civil war is another example
    I was referring to other wars then I mentioned as being proxy wars. But since you brought it up, some of those conflicts were proxy wars. They were in effect the US vs. USSR, such as Vietnam (US vs Viet Cong & North Vietnam backed by Moscow) or the Afghan-Soviet War of the 80s with the Soviets vs the Mujahideen with US support.

    My point was that there were in fact several active conflicts during the Cold War.

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    Both the Rhodesian Army and the SADF proved highly effective in fighting an insurgent guerilla enemy. They were highly battleworthy armies in conducting counter-revolutionary warfare and counter-insurgency operations. I'll bet there are some who, like me, wish they were still around: their expertise would not go astray elsewhere.
    Between the devil and the deep blue sea.

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    I have posted this video a few times, however I believe it must be in this thread too.

    The Cut (or more like "cleave") line is also given attention in Louis Bothma's book Die Buffel Struikel or Buffalo Battalion .


    Buffalo Battalion

    South Africa's 32 Battalion

    A tale of Sacrifice

    Authored By L.J.Bothma

    In this book we are not the heroes and the enemy the villains; but also not vice versa. After all was said and done, 32 Battalion was not a beaten force that capitulated to the enemy at the conclusion of a war. It was a unit that was disbanded by the supreme high commander of the country’s armed forces – the political head of state, F.W. de Klerk .

    After a visit to “the border” in 2001, I decided to write a book about the Border (or Bush) War, and specifically 32 Battalion XE "32 Battalion" , where I was a platoon commander in 1978. It had to be a book not just for a military audience but, moreover, especially for those people who had never seen or understood the Border War; for our parents, wives and children – for all who have respect for history and who want to hear the truth about that war.

    I did not know what people were going to say about this book, but this is how it was – those years when boys had to be men. It is the true story of white and black soldiers – South Africans, South-Westers (Namibians), Angolans, Australians, Britons, Rhodesians (Zimbabweans) and others – who, through a combination of circumstances, landed up in the same battalion where they had to fight secretly for South Africa in a “terrorist war” beyond the country’s borders. But rather than being the story of a cruel force of oppression, it is more a case study of how politicians can squander people in a war. It has been written for those who wish to see beyond race politics and economic growth, apartheid and democracy.

    The book deals with more than just shooting. It is about who we were, how we came to be together, what we learned from each other, and what happened in the bush; our fears and expectations, our tears and happiness, our camaraderie and loyalty towards one other – even years after the battalion had been disbanded and we scattered in all directions.

    We are not angry with our old enemies; they not with us. It is not necessary to lie about how brave we were, how cowardly they were; how many of them we shot dead, and how few of us fell. The war has left scars on both sides, also on the civilian population. That is why I dedicate the book to everyone.

    But the liars must not be seen to be the heroes and the honest ones the villains in the story of the Border War

    This is an honest story – a sincere search for the sense of the Border War.

    To preserve the storyline, I constructed the narrative around my own experiences and recollections. But I am only the narrator of the greater story; I myself only a minor link in a long human chain spanning many years.

    Incidents and characters had to be balanced. I had to approach the task scientifically, but that was very difficult. Recording military history is a slippery terrain. Most of the characters in the book are still alive. They can refute one. That is why I took great trouble to involve as many of them as possible in the research. Just to track them down was a tough proposition. After that I had to travel far and wide to record their recollections on tape, and to collect documents and photos. Many were hesitant about coming forward. After repeated calls and e-mails some of them still decided to stay on the sidelines. There are many reasons for this. Most of the ex-servicemen do not realise that they made history, they are too modest, they do not believe that what they did is important within the whole context of the war, they are afraid that even more labels will be strung about their necks, they feel bad about mistakes they made years ago, and, last but not least, some are still angry with one another.

    Because personal recollections – almost 30 years after the war – cannot be accepted blindly, I also had to consult the official documentation at the army’s Documentation Centre in Pretoria. I had to submit an application, the documents had to be declassified, and in the end I had to wait two years for them. On top of that I did not get everything I had requested and which had been promised me. Nevertheless the personnel of the Documentation Centre were very friendly and I was well received.

    Against this background it was sometimes very difficult – even impossible – to unearth the full truth. In some cases there are up to four versions of the same incident. Therefore I advise readers not to concentrate solely on the text but also to consult the endnotes and source references at the back of the book.

    To compare what had happened in the bush with what people had heard or read at home, I had to work my way through piles of newspapers. Fortunately my good friend, Jaap Steyn, put his collection of press cuttings at my disposal and gave me good advice and guidance throughout.

    Where I have made mistakes, they were unintentional. Where I point out the mistakes of other writers, it is not to criticise but to rectify.

    Writing a history is something that is never finished. Accordingly, this book has also been a process.

    The first edition of the Afrikaans version – Die Buffel Struikel: 'n storie van 32 Bataljon en sy mense – has had six reprints since it first appeared in November 2006. In the meantime I have been inundated with calls, e-mails and letters. Readers have generally applauded the book, but have wanted more. People with information and photos, which I otherwise would have traced with difficulty or possibly not at all, came forward. Some pointed out errors.

    Consequently I revised and made further additions to the text, including an extra section with photographs, and altered the dust jacket. The 2nd Revised Edition of Die Buffel Struikel appeared in September 2007. It has had five reprints.

    From sheer necessity I conducted some additional interviews and two further visits to the “border”. Following from those, the text and photos have been updated for the English version
    The photo's in the book is something to behold!
    Although the word "Commando" was wrongly used to describe all Boer soldiers, a commando was a unit formed from a particular district. None of the units was organized in regular companies, battalions or squadrons. The Boer commandos were individualists who were difficult to control, resented formal discipline or orders, and earned a British jibe that"every Boer was his own general".

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