n Journal for Contemporary History - Regiment Mooirivier, Potchefstroom : grensdienservarings van 'n Pantserburgermageenheid, 1975-1989




The South African Defence Force (SADF) and the South African Police (SAP) were involved in military conflict with the liberation movements for the full duration of the so-called Border War on the northern border of Namibia. The South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO) strove for the liberation of South-West Africa (SWA) from South African rule and decided during 1962 to combine the political freedom struggle with military actions. International events contributed to the fact that the struggle for SWA was not confined only to SWAPO and the South African forces. Because of a coup d'état and the economic and moral burden which colonies entailed, Portugal hurriedly withdrew from Angola and Mozambique in 1974. SWAPO, assisted by the MPLA, established military bases in the south of Angola in order to invade SWA more effectively. It was only a matter of time before the South African forces would encounter not only SWAPO, but also the MPLA and Cuban forces. South Africa, however, did not follow an attitude of wait-and-see, but wanted to retain the initiative mainly by means of so-called preemptive operations. Between 6 and 27 January 1976 no fewer than 35 South African citizen force units were called up to take part in Operation Savannah, the first of many cross-border operations to come. The general aim of these operations was to effectively curtail the infiltration of SWAPO from the south of Angola into SWA. In this article the border duties of the citizen force armour unit Regiment Mooirivier will be discussed: Operation Savannah, Ovamboland 1977, Ovamboland 1980, Operation Askari and Operarion Packer.


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