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OPERATION SAVANNAH, 1975-1976
 
OPERATION SAVANNAH, 1975-1976

Operation SavannahOperation Savannah is presented here in some detail, and covers chapters starting from the background to the operation, right to each and every battle discussed in detail, with maps for most of them, right up to the end and the withdrawal of South African forces from Angola in March 1976.

The above index gives an outline of the chapters and section already completed. MOST of the sections are only available to PREMIUM USERS at this time, unfortunately, at least until this Work In Progress is complete, planned to be complete somewhere by the middle of 2014. You are welcome to download the weekly issues of the Newsletters, which are available for download to all REGISTERED USERS and contains the sections in article format.

Please feel free to post any information you may have to the General Operations Posts at http://www.warinangola.com/Default.aspx?tabid=1273&Parameter=15

 
Medals awarded for actions during this operation
Medal NameRankDate of ActionUnitCorpsNotes
HONORIS CRUX GOLD (HCG)HONORIS CRUX GOLD (HCG)
De Wet, Christoffel Hendrik.2nd Lieutenant26-Dec-752 Field Engineer Regiment, SAECSA Engineers CorpsFirst recipient of the Honoris Crux Gold.
HONORIS CRUX GOLD (HCG)HONORIS CRUX GOLD (HCG)
Wessels, David Eric2nd Lieutenant28-Dec-752 Field Engineer Regiment, SAECSA Engineers Corps 
HONORIS CRUX SILVER (HCS)HONORIS CRUX SILVER (HCS)
Childs, Perry JamesLieutenant 27-Mar-76 17 Sqn SA Air Force  
HONORIS CRUX SILVER (HCS)HONORIS CRUX SILVER (HCS)
Piccione, Kevin BruceTrooper 26-Dec-75 1 Special Service Bn SA Armoured Corps  
HONORIS CRUX SILVER (HCS)HONORIS CRUX SILVER (HCS)
Rawlins, Vincent R.Corporal 03-Jan-76 3 SAI Bn SA Infantry Corps  
HONORIS CRUX SILVER (HCS)HONORIS CRUX SILVER (HCS)
Swanepoel, Pieter ArnoldusCorporal 11-Nov-75 2 SAI Bn SA Infantry Corps  
HONORIS CRUX SILVER (HCS)HONORIS CRUX SILVER (HCS)
Van Niekerk, Hermanus2nd Lieutenant 23-Nov-75 14 Field Regt SA Artillery  
HONORIS CRUX SILVER (HCS)HONORIS CRUX SILVER (HCS)
Wannenburg, Frederick Gerhardus2nd Lieutenant § 07-Dec-75 1 Reconnaissance Regiment SA Infantry Corps § - Killed in action.
HONORIS CRUX SILVER (HCS)HONORIS CRUX SILVER (HCS)
Ward, William James HaroldStaff-Sergeant 10-Mar-76 2 Reconnaissance Regiment SA Infantry Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Aucamp P.J2/Lt 11-Nov-75 11 Commando SA Infantry Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Blaauw J2/Lt 17-Dec-75 1 Parachute Battalion SA Infantry Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Burger J.JWO2 23-Nov-75 2 SA Infantry Battalion SA Infantry Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Burgers G.DL/Cpl 26-Aug-81 1 SA Infantry Battalion SA Infantry Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Conradie J.L (Kenaas)WO2 07-Dec-75 1 Reconnaissance Regiment SA Infantry Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Diedericks, AndréCpl 02-Dec-75 1 Reconnaissance Regiment SA Infantry Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Fountain T.S2/Lt 10-Dec-75 2 Field Regiment SA Engineers Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Holm J.WCapt § 23-Nov-75 Danie Theron Combat School SA Infantry Corps § - Killed in action.
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Holtzhausen L.JMajor 05-Oct-75 Infantry School SA Infantry Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Janse van Rensburg S.PTpr 24-Nov-75* 1 Special Service Battalion SA Armoured Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Jansen van Vuuren, L.M.2/Lt 12-Dec-75 1 Special Service Battalion SA Armoured Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Kussendrager J.LPte 25-Jan-76* Western Province Command SA Technical Services Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Lubbe P.SWO 11-Nov-75 2 Field Regiment SA Engineers Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Milbank C.CLt 12-Feb-76 16 Squadron SA Air Force  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Nicolaou A2/Lt 24-Nov-75 1 Special Service Battalion SA Armoured Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
O'Neill P.du.TF/Sgt 22-Dec-75 19 Squadron SA Air Force  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Paulo D (alias 'Danny Roxo')S/Sgt 27-Nov-75 1 Reconnaissance Regiment SA Infantry Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Potgieter J.HCapt 04-Jan-76 4 Field Regiment SA Artillery Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Prins M.J2/Lt 21-Dec-75 14 Field Regiment SA Artillery Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Rosenstrauch E.JCpl 25-Jan-76 Western Province Command SA Technical Services Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Steenkamp J.HS/Sgt 23-Nov-75 4 SA Infantry Battalion SA Infantry Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Steyn D2/Lt20-Dec-752 Field Engineer Regiment, SAECSA Engineers Corps 
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Van Wyk J.CLt 18-Oct-75 1 Reconnaissance Regiment SA Infantry Corps  
HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)
Venter P.M2/Lt 12-Jan-76 1 Special Service Battalion SA Armoured Corps  
 
Operation Roll of Honour (A Work In Progress - please send more details)
YearForce NumberNameDate of DeathUnitService
197572324213N Beechey N.R. , Cpl 1975/10/291 Special Service BattalionSouth African Army
197501217066PE Harmse D.B. , Col 1975/10/29South African Infantry; 1 Military AreaSouth African Army
197501488550PE Uys P.B. , Maj 1975/10/2917 Squadron SAAFSouth African Air Force
197501211440PE Visser N.J. , Maj 1975/10/291 Reconnaissance Commando; 5 Reconnaissance Regiment; Infantry SchoolSouth African Army
197571511018N Venter B. , Rfn 1975/11/1211 CommandoSouth African Army
197505477377PE Benson A.J. , WO2 1975/11/234 South African Infantry BattalionSouth African Army
197567728378PEHolm J.W. (HC), Capt1975/11/23Danie Theron Combat SchoolSouth African Army
197571259428BCLombard N., Tpr1975/11/231 Special Service BattalionSouth African Army
197505483722PESchoeman G.F., Capt1975/11/232 Special Service BattalionSouth African Army
197571475925BCTaljaard J.J., Cpl1975/11/232 Special Service BattalionSouth African Army
197572449325BC Vollgraaf G. , L/Cpl 1975/11/232 Special Service BattalionSouth African Army
197571463350BAObbes G.M.F., Tpr1975/11/242 South African Infantry Battalion Group; 2 Special Service BattalionSouth African Army
197501575109PETaljaard D.J., Capt1975/11/258 South African Infantry BattalionSouth African Army
197571225163PMThompson E.B., Lt1975/11/2511 Squadron SAAFSouth African Air Force
197570527999PEWilliamson K.A., Lt1975/11/2511 Squadron SAAFSouth African Air Force
197567437996PEWannenburg F.G. (HCS), Sgt1975/12/071 Reconnaissance CommandoSouth African Army
197572428725BCLotze T.S.J.Du T., Rfn1975/12/102 South African Infantry Battalion GroupSouth African Army
197572304769BAVon Schmettau U.K., Spr1975/12/102 Field Engineer RegimentSouth African Army
197572372642BAWillemse A.R., Spr1975/12/112 Field Engineers RegimentSouth African Army
197573253460BAMarais D.H.D., Rfn1975/12/122 South African Infantry Battalion GroupSouth African Army
197573560344BANeethling B.H., Gnr1975/12/174 Artillery RegimentSouth African Army
197572477714BAAnderson D., Tpr1975/12/171 Special Service BattalionSouth African Army
197573292054BAMuller G.M.F., Gnr1975/12/2314 Artillery RegimentSouth African Army
197572481856BATheunissen M.J., Gnr1975/12/2314 Artillery RegimentSouth African Army
197501196807PE Matthee H. , Maj 1975/12/30School of ArmourSouth African Army
197672416571BCBrandon D.Q., 2 Lt1976/01/035 South African Infantry BattalionSouth African Army
197665654006PEDe Wit C.D., Capt1976/01/0419 Squadron SAAFSouth African Air Force
197605547609PEImmelman F., Capt1976/01/0419 Squadron SAAFSouth African Air Force
197665749400PEKellett G.W., Sgt1976/01/0419 Squadron SAAFSouth African Air Force
197601169895PEPotgieter J.D. SM, Brig1976/01/04Orange Free State CommandSouth African Army
197673503294BASnyman P.W.M., Rfn1976/01/045 South African Infantry BattalionSouth African Army
197672285414BABodill T.D., Tpr1976/01/162 Special Service Battalion; Umvoti Mounted RiflesSouth African Army
197672436728BCMuller A., 2 Lt1976/01/18School of Armour; 2 Special Service BattalionSouth African Army
197672500846BTAschman J., Spr1976/02/0521 Field SquadronSouth African Army
197666355579BTCronje W.J., Tpr1976/02/05Regiment OranjerivierSouth African Army
197664272776BTBooysen T.W.A., Sgt1976/03/06Regiment Westelike ProvincieSouth African Army
 
Comments and Posts from Users
2671
Posted by

Lt Schoemies

on 5 February
 

Operation Savannah

Operation Savannah: From 1 July 1975 to 31 March 1976
3708
Posted by

James Gibson

on 27 August
 

RE: Operation Savannah

Reference my Comments made on the Photos of Bridge 14, by Kevin Bowden. Photos are placed on the Gallery Page - Photos of Operation Savannah (see http://www.warinangola.com/ Default.aspx?tabid=1237)

The Battle of Bridge 14 was and will always be one of the remarkable battles for me which took place during the Bush War. During early 1976, after our (SADF) withdraw from Angola. We made friends and Buddies with Troops who were involved in the Battle of Bridge 14. Some of the Battles that took place in Angola in 1975 were shared with us, some were sad, but there was one that was significantly from the other and that were; of two Bravery Troops Sergeant Danny Roxo and Corporal Diedies Diedrichs

What I’m about to write is true and this is also confirmed by a Book (The Silent War by Peter Stiff). This Book was given to me by a friend, and with the first opportunity I’ll have, I shall commence reading this interesting book.

Sergeant Danny Roxo

Bridge 14 on route to Quibala – An attack was planned across the Nhia River. The river ran below a hill code named “TOP HAT”. In support of 4 Armour Cars and a Platoon, Sergeant Danny Roxo was put in charge to check the Bridge. The Bridge had been blown; it was lying just beneath the River surface. Sergeant Danny Roxo went and checked the Bridge alone on return Sergeant Danny Roxo came under fire and returned fire, fighting his way back. He killed about 11 of the Enemy single handed.

THE AWARD OF THE HONORIS CRUX METAL WAS LATER APPROVED, BUT SADLY BY THE TIME OF THE AWARD, IT ONLY COULD BE AWARDED POSTHUMOUSLY


Corporal Diedies Diedrichs

Recce Corporal Diedies Diedrichs was ordered to establish a safe route for Infantry to move along the Western Flank of “TOP HAT” and to plot the Enemy position, covering the Bridge. At night they sneaked to the top of “TOP HAT” remained there to observe FAPLA and CUBAN Troops movements. He called for AIR BURST and watched as they exploded above the sunken Bridge. After the first round of shots from the TWENTY FIVE POUNDER CANNON’S. He then knew how to direct ARTILLERY fire on the Enemy. The FAPLA and CUBANS Troops were crossing the River (Chest deep), at the time, during the AIRBURST fire. The airburst fire caused shrapnel to be sprayed over the Enemy killing and wounding them. This action abandoned the attempt of the Enemy to cross the River.

THIS WAS THE CURTAIN RAISER FOR THE BATTLE FOR BRIDGE FOURTEEN FOUGHT ON 9 DECEMBER 1975
6828
Posted by

Neville Ambler

on 1 September
 

RE: Operation Savannah

No one has ever yet acknowledged the fact that SADF friendly forces, namely Bombardier Van Vuuren of Youngsfield shot down of an SAAF Puma with a 20 mil Anti Aircraft gun near Mussende killing Brig Roos(??), the 2 x chopper pilots & the W/O on board & wounding the Kommandant in the chest sending him to I Mil in Pretoria.
6829
Posted by

Lt Schoemies

on 1 September
 

RE: Operation Savannah

This is very interesting, Neville... Do You have a specific date? I will see what I can dig up!
6830
Posted by

Neville Ambler

on 1 September
 

RE: Operation Savannah

Ok, this happened about 37 years ago – 04/01/1976, & my memory isn’t what it used to be.

A plain green painted Puma helicopter like the SAAF used to have & I found out later SAAF Puma No. 122, came in flying low & slow on the 4th January 1976, somewhere near Mussende, Angola & it was painted green as opposed to what the General told us when the 3000 “volunteers” all formed up in the hanger at the Grootfontein Mil Base Airport in November 1975 –

That all vehicles would be painted camouflage with nothing that could identify them as been South African – the vehicles even had the registration plates removed

And aircraft would be painted camouflage with nothing that could identify them as been South African & the aircraft had their SAAF decals etc removed,

We would not wear the standard browns & bush hat anymore with boots, they would be green clothes – ex US Vietnam uniforms with takkies????.

Rat–Packs would have their labels removed & we had to make use of the colour code painted on the tin

And even the cigarettes would have to tax label removed. (And the beers & smokes we got for free – compliments of Uncle Sam or the Army or National Party). You were lucky as long as you weren’t a heavy smoker.

But the 2 x Beers or Cokes a day??? They still had “Made in South Africa” on them.

And the turkeys that my mother & sisters all donated R2-00 to by us a turkey for xmas day – the PF’s got the turkeys & we had the usual army food. Sorry, the turkeys all had the label “Made in South Africa” on them.



Anyway - the helicopter flew past, Brigadier Potgieter still stood up in the open door way of the helicopter, one hand holding on to the .50 cal or the 20 mil machine gun in the helicopter door way & still put his hand out to indicate we should stop doing whatever we were doing & not to shoot but Bombardier van Vuuren opened fire with the 20mil Ack Ack gun & hit the helicopter about 21 times (we counted the bullet holes afterwards in the body work of this helicopter) & the helicopter crashed in a heap of smoke, throwing the only survivor, Kommandant ??? out with a chest wound.

My friend Colin Bishop later nearly collided with this small plane & wounded Kommandant at Silva Porta airport when this plane was landing there & Colin was driving across the runway in his big 24/26 Mercedes Benz army truck. He, the Kommandant was subsequently still casavaced back in a small airplane on to Grootfontein & then on to I Mil in Pretoria for medical treatment.

The rest, Captain Immelman, the other Captain, De Wit I think, the Sergeant & the Brigadier Potgieter(sorry, I initially said it was Brig Roos) were killed.

Did the Kommandant survive?? Is the Kommandant still alive???

It would be interesting to know what the unknown Kommandant & Bombardier van Vuuren says in a follow up story. Have the two of them ever met afterwards????

3rd hand, I heard that van Vuuren thought this old man or the “oke” (the Brig) standing in the open door way holding on the machine gun, whatever caliber it was, was going to use that machine gun & that is why Bombardier van Vururen fired first.

I did see Bombardier van Vururen shortly after the helicopter hit the ground in a plume of smoke, he was running away from the scene in a state of panic having noticed his HUGE EXPENSIVE mistake, with glazed eyes
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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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