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- Volume 40, Issue 3, 2012
Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies - Volume 40, Issue 3, 2012
Volume 40, Issue 3, 2012
Between history, amnesia and selective memory : the South African armed forces, a century's perspective : from the editorsSource: Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies 40, pp 1 –12 (2012)More Less
2012 has a double significance for this year sees the centenary of the founding of the African National Congress (8 January) and of the creation of the Union Defence Forces (1 July), two organisations that have for much of the twentieth century shared a contested history. Yet, in a remarkable bouleversement, South Africa has come through this difficult past and, over the past two decades, a new South African society has been recreated following an interesting period of adjustment following the end of the Cold War and the growth of democracy in the developing world. These changes have necessarily affected her armed forces and the roles defined for them. Some commentators, particularly in the years immediately following 1994, asserted that military power had lost all of its vaunted, Cold-War importance in a new postmodern environment. Others still, recognising future challenges, argued that South Africa, beset with far-reaching socio-economic crises, could no longer afford the burden of military forces. Most scholars agree now that these perspectives were short-sighted and that, while the risk of major conflict has receded, the events of 9/11, and its consequences, demonstrate that the continental and international landscapes are less certain, less stable and less predictable, than that for which many had hoped. Clearly, South African interests are intertwined inextricably in regional and global affairs and if she is to protect these interests and ensure her security, she must maintain credible military force capable of meeting an array of contingencies. It was with this in mind that the strategic arms deal, since the subject of much debate, was passed by parliament: the promise of a full technological transformation, to accompany the human transformation, offered.
Accolades and albatrosses : the South African National Defence Force's centenary and the commemoration of milestones in South African military historyAuthor Deon VisserSource: Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies 40, pp 13 –39 (2012)More Less
Peoples, societies, institutions and other entities frequently record their histories in terms of successive epochs, and commemorate those histories according to perceived milestones or turning points in their development. Since much of human history has been dominated by strife and warfare, national and international milestones are frequently embedded in notions of a military past. Milestones in military history may be divided into three broad categories, namely those representing significant strides in the evolution of warfare, those associated with bravery, heroic sacrifice and great loss, and those of decisive political importance. Defence forces in general, and individual military units in particular, are extremely conscious of their past and often commemorate milestones through customs, traditions, and splendid parades and ceremonial displays. This year (2012), the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) celebrates its centenary against the complex background of South Africa's long history of internal strife interspaced with participation in foreign conflicts. This article reflects on the commemoration of South Africa's military history within the context of the divergent historical heritages of the SANDF and its predecessors. It commences with a brief background on memory, identity and the commemoration of history and military history. Thereafter it outlines the commemoration of a few of the foremost milestones in South African military history associated with the evolution of warfare, with bravery, heroic sacrifice and great loss, and with political change within its historical and current context.
Author Deon FourieSource: Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies 40, pp 40 –70 (2012)More Less
Briefly, between 1912 and 1966 there was an independent Secretary for Defence, described in the Acts and the Permanent Force Regulations as the "Permanent Head of the Department". Not only was this not true in practice after the establishment in 1918 of the office of Chief of the General Staff (later at various times General Officer Commanding the UDF, Commandant-General and Chief of the SADF) but the meaning of the characterisation was never clearly defined. A minefield of prerogatives and consequent overlapping developed between the two office holders and their staffs. Those attempts at solution all ignored the fundamental constitutional principles behind the establishment of the Secretariat as well as the principles of organizational theory, ambiguity about authority, mministerial failures, the personalities involved and ill-considered appointments and also the failure to exploit the benefits of a Secretariat. After years of conflict, worsened by the demands of the Second World War and recommendations by several committees of enquiries and the Public Service Commission, the Secretariat was taken into the SADF, in a civilian capacity under the Comptroller. Between 1966 and 1968 it was absorbed into the various Staff Sections at DHQ. The results were perhaps a mixed blessing. In some areas it was very successful. But many of the defects remained.
All splendid, but horrible : the politics of South Africa's second "little bit" and the war on the Western Front, 1915-1918Author Ian Van der WaagSource: Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies 40, pp 71 –108 (2012)More Less
South Africa's decision to enter the First World War was not easy. After a difficult interplay between Whitehall and Tuinhuis, the Botha government agreed to secure limited strategic objectives in neighbouring German South West Africa. An armed insurrection had to be suppressed first. When both these objects were achieved, and following a further British appeal, South African troops moved further afield. This move, representing South Africa's second 'little bit', was a dangerous step for the Botha government. The despatch of troops to France was controversial. Yet, by the end of 1915, South African expeditionary forces were en route to Europe and East Africa. This paper investigates the political crisis in South Africa and the difficult decision to send troops out of Africa, their deployment in an environment entirely foreign to the South African way of war, and the impact of the Western Front on the drawing of 'lessons' by post-war Union authorities.
Author Andries M. FokkensSource: Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies 40, pp 109 –146 (2012)More Less
In 1915, the Union of South Africa was requested to administrate South West Africa (SWA) (today Namibia) on behalf of the British Crown and approved the South West Africa Mandate. The policies of the Union strongly influenced the administration of SWA, and the administration met with indigenous opposition discontent with the maltreatment. An attitude of master and servant was prevalent in the mandated territory and the maltreatment of the indigenous people in the mandated territory, racial prejudice, double standards in executing branding laws, enforced indentured labour, dog and hut tax were some of the grievances that the Bondelswarts, the Rehoboth Basters and the Ukuambi had against the SWA Administration. The Administration perceived these actions as internal unrest and subdued it using police and military resources.
Suppressing unrest through force was part of the military policing tradition prevalent in Southern Africa and abroad during the colonial era. The tactical deployment of ground forces in conjunction with aircraft was an innovation that transformed future operations in SWA between the suppression of the Bondelswarts and the actions against Chief Ipumbu.
This article discusses the utilisation of the Union Defence Force (UDF) and South West Africa Forces against indigenous people of South West Africa between the two world wars focusing on three incidents over the period 1922 to 1932. Tactical deployments of ground forces and the application of air power in support of ground forces to suppress internal unrest are explained and discussed. These discussions provide the military historian with salient facts on physical conditions encountered, the tactics employed and the role of a new weapon system, aircraft, yet to be fully understood in its role as a force multiplier.
Guiding the seafarers : the South African Hydrographic Office and the contribution of the three ProteasAuthor Thean PotgieterSource: Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies 40, pp 147 –176 (2012)More Less
As seafarers require a comprehensive record that provides information on coastlines, the seabed and sea conditions, cartography dates back to antiquity. During the early modern period, states and merchant companies employed cartographers to collect and report important nautical information. The Dutch East India Company (VOC), for example, created valuable nautical charts and provided detailed sailing instructions on the South African coast. Open exchange of such information is a twentieth-century phenomenon dating back to the creation of the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) in 1921. The SA Navy was created in 1922. One of its first ships was the survey ship HMSAS Protea, which was laid up in 1933. During the two decades following the Second World War, hydrographic survey work was done by three converted former Royal Navy vessels (SAS Protea, SAS Natal and SAS Haerlem). South Africa became a member of the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) in 1951 and the SA Navy established its own Hydrographic Office in April 1955. The SA Navy's Hydrographic vessels were always outdated or redundant ships, but in 1972 the SA Navy commissioned its first purpose-built hydrographic survey ship (the current SAS Protea).
From El Wak to Sidi Rezegh : the Union Defence Force's first experience of battle in East and North Africa, 1940-1941Author Gustav BentzSource: Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies 40, pp 177 –199 (2012)More Less
South Africa entered the Second World War on the side of Great Britain in September 1939 and, in spite of extensive changes and an increased budget, the Union Defence Force (UDF) found itself in a state of war on 7 September 1939 with a Permanent Force of only 5 400 men with limited training and antiquated equipment. While Hitler's armies conquered Western Europe the Springboks prepared to go North and in spite of trepidations about the might of Mussolini's East African Empire the First South African Infantry Division set sail for East Africa in mid-July 1940. In five short months, Mussolini's East African Empire had been torn to shreds. Victorious in every major engagement, the South Africans embarked for Egypt in June 1941. Here they encountered similar logistical problems as were prevalent before they embarked for East Africa. With two divisions in the field and a third in training, UDF planners had a trying time marshalling enough motorised transport to enable the Springboks to keep pace with the increased mobility that was a hallmark of desert warfare. Expecting to build on their success over the Italians the South Africans confidently went into battle, but by November 1941, the 5th South African Infantry Brigade was annihilated and the victors of East Africa badly mauled. Fighting low-moraled Italian armies in the bush and mountains of Abyssinia was quite easy; beating the Germans in the desert would be a different story altogether.
Changing attitudes among South African prisoners of war towards their Italian captors during World War II, 1942-1943Author Karen HornSource: Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies 40, pp 200 –221 (2012)More Less
The Battle of Sidi Rezegh in November 1941 and the fall of Tobruk in June 1942 were disastrous for South Africa. At Sidi Rezegh, the entire 5th South African Infantry Brigade was lost and at Tobruk the following year more than 10 000 South Africans were captured by German forces. As if the shock of becoming prisoners of war (POWs) was not bad enough, most South Africans were horrified when the Germans promptly handed them over to the Italians, who were to deal with the logistics for the thousands of POWs, first housing them in temporary camps in North Africa, and then transporting them to Italy. Once on the European continent, the South African POWs found themselves in better-organised prison camps, although most POW accommodation was a far cry from what the Geneva Convention required. Some were fortunate to be assigned to labour detachments, where they were in a better position to take control of their circumstances with regard to living conditions and food and even gaining a degree of freedom of movement. During each of the stages of their captivity under the Italians, the South African POWs displayed changing attitudes towards their captors. For the most part, the Italian forces in North Africa were viewed with disrespect and sometimes with cynical amusement. The antagonism towards Italians quickly changed to intense hatred when POWs suffered severe deprivations in the cargo holds of the boats that transported them to Italy. Once in Italy, however, the POWs came into contact with Italian camp guards who, in many cases, displayed a remarkable lack of interest in the prisoners and in the war. The changing attitudes of South African POWs towards their Italian captors reflect to an extent their changing circumstances as captives; however, their behaviour towards their captors also reveal how the POWs adapted to and accepted their POW identity. Ultimately, the POWs contact with the enemy captors changed the way they viewed their part in the war, and this article looks at examples of the shifting mind-sets until the Armistice in 1943 once again changed the state of affairs for the POWs.
The South African Air Force, 1920-2012 : a review of its history and an indication of its cultural heritageAuthor Andre WesselsSource: Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies 40, pp 222 –249 (2012)More Less
Although a South African Aviation Corps existed for a few months in 1915, and although several South Africans saw action in World War I as members of Britain's Royal Flying Corps, the history of the South African Air Force (SAAF) - the world's second oldest air force - strictly speaking only dates back to 1 February 1920. In this article, a review is provided of the history of the SAAF, with specific reference to its operational deployments in the 1920s; the difficult years of the great depression and its aftermath and impact on the SAAF; the very important role played by the SAAF in the course of World War II (for example in patrolling South Africa's coastal waters, and in taking part in the campaigns in East Africa and Abyssinia, as well as in North Africa, Madagascar, Italy, over the Mediterranean and in the Balkans); the post-war rationalisation; its small but important role in the Korean War; the acquisition of a large number of modern aircraft and helicopters from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s; the impact that sanctions had on the SAAF; the SAAF's role in Northern Namibia and in Angola during the war years, 1966-1989, and the SAAF in post-apartheid South Africa. Throughout the article, historiographical matters are mentioned by means of references - either in the text or in footnotes - to the most important available sources.
The first South African armoured battle in Italy during the Second World War : the Battle of Celleno - 10 June 1944Author Evert KleynhansSource: Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies 40, pp 250 –279 (2012)More Less
The formation of 6 South African Armoured Division (6 SA Armd Div), during February 1943, afforded the Union Defence Force (UDF) the chance to expand its military capabilities to that of armoured warfare. An armoured division further offered South Africa the opportunity to equip the UDF with modern fighting equipment and to master the art of combined warfare. Actual deployment in Italy differed vastly from the training which the division received in North Africa, for Italy was arguably, largely "untankable". The Division's first battle occurred at Celleno, on 10 June 1944, where it was able to "prove" itself by securing its first victory. As far as secondary sources are concerned, the Battle of Celleno is only superficially covered. Primary sources are however abundant, thus adding to the rich history which is available on the Division. This article analyses the Battle of Celleno, fought by 11 SA Armoured Brigade, in the context of the notion of "first battles". Emphasis will be placed on the training received prior to deployment, the Battle of Celleno, the lessons that were learned by the division at Celleno, and the way these influenced future operations in Italy. The Division's combined-arms approach is also evaluated, with specific emphasis on changing patterns of leadership, command, and employment of the Division after Celleno.
A case of arrested development : the historiography relating to South Africa's participation in the Second World WarAuthor David KatzSource: Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies 40, pp 280 –317 (2012)More Less
The quantity and quality of military historical work on the participation of South Africa in the Second World War, with few exceptions, namely that of a few significant academic contributions over the last decade, lags appreciably compared to the plethora of titles offered on all aspects of the war in the buoyant international market. This article investigates and evaluates more important South African primary and secondary sources pertaining to the Union Defence Force's participation in the Second World War, highlighting available sources and limitations in published material. Possible opportunities for further research are identified where there are areas of historiographical hiatus. Reasons are offered for what amounts to a rather threadbare South African historiography, especially when compared to the prolific historiographical output of other belligerents. The article offers a brief survey of primary sources, identifying some of the archives that have received scant attention. Then follows an analysis of secondary sources broken down into official, semi-official and general history that examines their methodological integrity and completeness with a view to identifying what historical contributions may still be made in the light of what has been produced.
Author Leopold ScholtzSource: Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies 40, pp 318 –353 (2012)More Less
A quarter of a century after the end of the Border War, the SANDF's institutional memory of the conflict is slowly fading. And yet there are several lessons emanating from the war, which are relevant to the Defence Force. This article attempts to map out some of these lessons. These lessons are as follows. (1) The need for combined arms units such as 61 Mechanised Battalion Group and 4 SAI, being a mix of mechanised infantry, armoured cars, tanks, artillery and support troops on battalion level. (2) The importance of logistic support, something that was not always sufficient during Operations Moduler, Hooper and Packer in 1987-1988. (3) Reserve force units must be adequately retrained when utilised in operations. (4) During the war, there was a gap in the Army's anti-aircraft capability. This gap has not been rectified since. (5) In order to be able to command the air above a battlefield, an aerial refuelling capability for the SAAF is essential. (6) The Army needs a proper air assault and maritime amphibious capability. (7) When deciding to engage in a warlike operation, avoid the incremental commitment, which characterised both Operation Savannah in 1975 and Moduler in 1988. (8) While the field units fight on the battlefield, do not micromanage things from above. As long as the units keep within the political and operational parameters set by the politicians and generals, let the field commanders exercise their own initiative. (9) Make a renewed study of the Army's mobile warfare doctrine of the seventies and eighties, as developed by officers such as Major General Roland de Vries. (10) Lastly, see to it that officers are not just trained, but intellectually educated about war as well.
Author Rodney WarwickSource: Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies 40, pp 354 –397 (2012)More Less
SADF conventional warfare capacity exhibited a decline during the 1950s, followed by belated efforts at rearmament and consolidation during the 1960s. However, Operation Savannah, the SADF's intervention in the Angolan civil war during 1975-1976, as the force's first involvement in a conventional-type war since 1945, exposed SADF weaknesses, but also strengths. Authorised amidst debilitating secrecy by a miscalculating South African government, Savannah demonstrated significant South African military equipment inadequacies, particularly in terms of artillery, armour and the need for an infantry combat vehicle. Savannah also gave hints of SADF strength residing in the resourcefulness of its personnel and their aptitude for mobile warfare. But rapid and effective Cuban military intervention also showed that SADF conventional warfare reaction and capacity needed urgent attention. This article attempts to address some of these themes while following the course of this "first battle" by the SADF after thirty years of relative peace.
Source: Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies 40, pp 398 –428 (2012)More Less
The South African Defence Force (SADF) made effective use of the horse mounted soldier in the Namibian Independence War or 'Border War', 1966 to 1989, in Namibia (South West African) and Angola, in a conflict usually depicted as a series of high profile mechanised infantry operations. Nevertheless, the legacy of the horse-mounted infantryman of the South African War era commando was evident in this unit, which proved competent in the counter-insurgency patrol in the Area of Operations, and subsequently domestic deployment during civilian struggle during the State of Emergency. This article offers an exploration of the Potchefstroom Equestrian Centre's contribution to horse and rider training and the military use of horses in counterinsurgency and urban peace enforcement operations in the period c.1974-1985.
Author Calvin ManganyiSource: Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies 40, pp 429 –471 (2012)More Less
The disbandment of the Marine Branch of the South African Navy (SAN) in 1990 following the end of the Border War, culminated in the loss of a marine capability geared to operate in an amphibious theatre. Budget cuts and the need to acquire new warships necessitated the disbandment of the marines. Following the country's reacceptance into the international community in 1994, the newly formed South African National Defence Force (SANDF) found itself within a very short space of time involved in peace missions in the troubled Great Lakes region and elsewhere. The SAN, as part of the SANDF, was also drawn into peace missions. Members of the Protection Force and the Operational Diving Teams (ODTs) participated in peace missions and other exercises that demanded the marine capability. With the realisation that South Africa has been, and still is, involved in peace missions, the Chief of the SAN (C Navy) decided to resurrect such capability through the creation of the Maritime Reaction Squadron (MRS) in 2006. The MRS, however, does not mirror the defunct marines because it incorporates other elements such as divers who were absent in the first two marines. Even though it faces challenges, the MRS has conducted, and continues to conduct, various exercises and operations in support of South Africa's foreign policy efforts.
Considerations on defence thinking in post-1994 South Africa with special reference to post-conflict reconstruction and developmentAuthor Theo NeethlingSource: Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies 40, pp 472 –500 (2012)More Less
This article revisits some of the main arguments presented (in the South African context) since the late 1990s in relation to the regional security demands placed on the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) on the one hand, and the configuration of the force design imposed on the SANDF on the other. These issues are of great relevance to the South African Department of Defence's recent (2012) official pronouncements and related defence thinking on the current and future external role of the South African military, specifically with regard to post-conflict reconstruction and development. The aim of the article is to examine the dynamics of recent years - philosophical and practical - that gave rise to the policy "move" or "shift" from defence in a democracy (1998) to defence, security and development (2012). In addition, the article aims to analyse and discuss the new comprehensive guidelines for defence force design in the Draft Defence Review 2012 and reflects on some of the most important policy implications for the SANDF in this regard - specifically given the demands placed on the SANDF in the field of post-conflict reconstruction and development. The author contends that the Department of Defence has now gained a clearer idea or perspective of what the future role(s) of the South African military should be through the assessment of its function, principles and goals expounded in the Draft Defence Review 2012.