n Journal for Contemporary History - Veertig jaar se ondersteuning ter see. Gevegsteunskepe in die Suid-Afrikaanse Vloot, 1967-2007 (1) : SAS en SAS

Volume 32, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2422
  • E-ISSN: 2415-0509



Forty years ago, on 10 August 1967, the South African Navy (SAN) commissioned its first ever replenishment ship, SAS . Since then two other replenishment ships (in due course known as combat support ships) have served in the SAN, namely SAS (since 1987) and SAS (1993-2004). It is the purpose of this two-part study to supply a review of the history of the SAN's combat support ships in the years 1967-2007, indicating why it was deemed necessary to acquire a replenishment ship in 1967, and what role this type of ships has played in the SAN, with special reference to their diplomatic role (i.e. as so-called grey diplomats that were sent on flag-showing cruises to other countries), disaster relief role and other humanitarian functions. The 's career in the SAN (1967-93) to a large extent overlaps with the Namibian War of Independence (the so-called "Border War") of 1966-89, a conflict that in due course also spilled over into Angola, and where possible reference will be made to the role played by the (and ) with regard to that war. But while the then South African Defence Force was embroiled in a conflict "up north", the SAN was involved in many other spheres - and in that regard combat support ships played a major role.

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