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G-6 SP Gun Howitzer (Photo: Howard Ray Smith)
 
Development of the G-6 [Photo credit: Howard Ray Smith]

The G5 fulfilled most of South Africa's artillery requirements but, towed behind the SAMIL 100, it did not have the cross-country ability of the Ratel, the SA Army's infantry combat vehicle. With the G5, the projectile could be fired over a long distance and with great accuracy, but in the type of bush war fought by South Africa in Angola, mobility was essential. Therefore the need arose for a self-propelled version of the G5.

A choice had to be made as to whether wheels or tracks would be used. Wheels were opted for, due to strategic implications for the following reasons: Wheels were preferable for the long distances which were encountered by the SADF between bases, during operations and when travelling from South Africa to South West Africa. These distances had to be covered in the shortest possible time and a tracked vehicle would require tank transporters while a wheeled vehicle could simply fall in with a convoy. Wheels required less maintenance than did tracks and maintenance was less complicated. Wheeled vehicles also used less fuel, a most important factor when it was considered that operational distances could be 1 000 km.(30)

The SADF needed to provide fire support for its mechanised infantry units during raids which were carried out over long distances. This vehicle had to be able to keep up with the Ratel and Eland (armoured car) over long distances. The emphasis was therefore placed on the strategic side rather than on critical mobility. The ability to move at high speed over untarred roads and open, flat countryside without special transport equipment was therefore imperative.

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Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET

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