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Subject The attack on 16 Brigade: 9 November 1987
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host
Posts:5583
Posted:5/22/2009 9:27:57 PM
A signals intercept on 5 November confirmed the South African feeling that Fapla intended an offensive on the western front. 16 Brigade was to operate to the east, dealing with Unita elements that they knew to be there, and advancing to the Cueio River. It was then to dominate the area between the Cueio and the Cunzumbia. They were unaware that the South Africans planned their own offensive, and they noticed the South African force in the east only on 9 November...

If you were involved in any way in this clash between South African ground forces and FAPLA's 16 Brigade on this day, please feel free to post your story and comments here.



steveh
Posts:3
Posted:1/10/2011 11:40:53 AM

Excellent site! I was gunner (4SAI) on 12 with Lt Bruwer and was a few metres behind 12B on 9th November when Cpl Duvenhage and Buddah were killed by a mortar (4 others wounded).
On 11th in the attack on Objective “B” we were in the line between 12A and 12C (replaced 12B who followed due to casualties sustained on 9th) when 12C was taken out by the 2nd T55 (Driver and Mitton killed*) and still get goose bumps when remembering my Browning rounds just bouncing off the tank directly ahead. Thank goodness one of our Oliphants pulled up next to us and took it out!
Regards
Steve



Glynn
Posts:2
Posted:1/11/2011 7:29:20 AM

Hi Johan


I have not really spoken about the war for the reasons you have mentioned and one or two others.


I was with School of Armour Bloemfontien and was a tank driver for both Modular and Hooper. My tank, I am lead to believe, was the first South African tank to get shot out in conventional warfare which happened sometime in October 1987. We happened to land up in the centre of the "shit" so to speak everytime we engaged the enemy. I cannot remember what the final count was at the end of Modular but we had shot out in excess of 7 tanks and numerous APC's, Eschelon vehicles and MRL's. My crew and I were given another tank once we had recovered our damaged one, which the Tiffies had converted into a half track as the front right bogeys had taken most of the impact of the Tank round that hit us. When I eventually got out the of our tank, after the target had been cleaned up, I saw that a 90 Rattle to right of us had not been as lucky and we had been and had taken the full
impact from the same tank that hit us  and was completly burnt out with the Crew commander, gunner and driver unable to escape.


Anyway I am now ready and interested to find out as much as I can about the war and will get involved in the discussions.


thank you


Glynn Crookes


 



johansamin
Posts:679
Posted:1/11/2011 7:34:44 AM

Hi, Glynn


Nice to hear from you.... AMAZING story!


Was this the battle of 9 November 1987 against 16 Brigade? That was the first tank vs tank action since WWII and it is documented that one of the Olifants was hit on the right idler wheel and "short-tracked" but recovered. The Ratel you mentioned seem to be that of Rfm A.M Theron, of which he was the gunner. He and his driver were killed when the Ratel (of B-Company) took a direct hit from a T-55. Rfm P.G Claasen was also killed by small arms fire after his section stepped out just before they were hit. You mention a Ratel-90 though....?

In case you haven't read it yet.... the historical account of the battle is at http://www.warinangola.com/Default.aspx?tabid=772

Regards

Johan



Glynn
Posts:2
Posted:1/11/2011 7:45:44 AM
I may be incorrect on which type of Ratel it was that was shot out. I will need to scratch around and see if I have any pictures, I did have some by are not sure where they
are now.

An interesting thing that was not noted in the Attack on 16 Brigade was that after we were hit and lost our idler arm and our comms went out, my crew commander Mark Alexander took some of the aluminum lining from the inside of a ratpack sachet and put it around the burnt out radio fuse and we were back in business. Also we landed up at the right end of the squadron and as we came through the thick bush it all opened up and we were immediately faced with an RPG(30 metres in front of us) and a small troop carrier(50 metres) of sorts. we immediately set about firing on what was in front of us. It was during this that a T-55(150 metres) that was dug in so that just the turret was above the ground, was at 2 O'clock of our position and well hidden in thick bush, hit us. As I am sure you can imagine that with the hatches closed the visibilty was limited and if it had not been that tank to our immediate left was traversing their cannon to that area and seen the flame from the T-55 cannon and immediately disabled it, I am sure that I would not be around today.

Kind regards

Glynn Crookes


richardwiles
Posts:46
Posted:1/17/2011 4:17:50 PM

Hi Guys. I have sent you a lot of photo's that I took while in Ops Modular. They are good quality and clear. I was with 4SAI and took part in the Nov 9 1987 attack plus the attacks that followed untill Dec 87.
Regards
Richard Wiles
Storm pioneers 4SAI(62Mech)


 



johansamin
Posts:679
Posted:1/18/2011 4:26:59 PM

Thanks, Richard! I have received them and loaded them all with your comments - AWESOME! I had to reduce some commentaries to make them fit.


Richard's collection of photos have been loaded as "From the collection of Richard Wiles" under the "Photos from Operation Moduler" Album under the Gellery.... see:


Gallery > Photos from Operation Moduler or http://www.warinangola.com/Default.aspx?tabid=999


Here is a sample of what you can expect:












 
  A Captured T55. UNITA were driving. They let us have a look and sit inside.  


 



steveh
Posts:3
Posted:1/19/2011 6:13:14 AM
Hi Richard. Darn good photos. I had a good laugh at the one regarding your gunner shooting 12B in the tail, as they would have been directly behind me in 12!

Cheers
Steve


steveh
Posts:3
Posted:1/24/2012 6:07:42 PM
“The noise was deafening as we moved forward past 12 Bravo and took their place in the advance formation. Bullets kept smacking and pinging off the armour and I was straining to see anything other than bush and trees in front of us, but kept traversing left and right, firing bursts into the bush., the strong smell of cordite in my nose. A constant stream of orders and information was coming over the headset interspersed with gunfire. We were told to fire into the treetops as FAPLA was apparently using them as observation posts to zone in their mortar fire on us.



I fired bursts into any trees that I saw ahead, but doubt whether there were any fuckers who were either brave or stupid enough to still be up any trees this close to us. Trees and bushes were being crushed and smashed as we surged forward. Tracers were kicking up dust and shredding trees and bushes ahead.



Bullets were thudding into the Ratel and zinging overhead as we drove through a trench. As the Ratel bucked up out of the trench I saw a vehicle dug in right ahead of me and opened fire, raking it and then the trench left and right of it. I swung back to the vehicle and noted that it was loaded with drums and raked it again with three long bursts from the Browning. Sand, dust and tracers kicked up all around the half-track and the trench that it was dug into and it burst into flame.”

Regards
SteveH


triochem
Posts:1
Posted:11/8/2013 12:59:22 PM
Hi Steve,

Yip I was driver of 12B. Will never forget that day. Still get goosebumps every time I read or speak about this. Tomorrow will be the 26th anniversary of this. R.I.P all our friends

Groenies
12B


ljord
Posts:13
Posted:2/17/2014 4:59:11 AM
I made a recording of the first tank contact in Angola on 9 Nov '87. I put a tape recorder next to the speaker box in the HQ Ratel and recorded 90 minutes of radio conversation during the battle. I gave the tape to one of my colleagues about two years later, to make a copy, and he promptly lost the tape. I have been searching for a copy ever since....to no avail....

ljord
Posts:13
Posted:2/17/2014 5:00:02 AM
I can remember the radio transmissions of the actual moment the first shots were fired, word for word....somehow I have never forgotten that moment and what was said...but the remaining 85 minutes are gone.

ljord
Posts:13
Posted:2/17/2014 5:00:41 AM
What follows are the actual radio messages from the first South African tanks to see action since WW2, on 9 Nov '87 when E-Sqn, School of Armour, was the tank squadron attached to 4 SAI/ Combat Group Charlie. The attack was on FAPLA's 16 Brigade, located just a few kilometers North West of the source of the Chambinga River, Cuando Cubango province,Angola. The combat group had crossed the start line at approximately 04h00. Moving slowly towards the objective, the tanks moved in 500m jumps. At 08h00 an enemy outpost was discovered approximately 4 kms from the main enemy force. E Sqn and A company swung left to deal with the outpost.

ljord
Posts:13
Posted:2/17/2014 5:01:17 AM
At 08h30 the following was said on the radio: "50, 53, ek neem infantry waar, ek vuur uit!" With that the first machine gun rounds fired in anger were launched at the dug in FAPLA infantry. Two minutes later 2Lt Hein Fourie said the following: "50, 52, kontak 200 links elf uur 'n T-55, ek vuur uit!" there were other messages and contact reports for the next three minutes, when the squadron commander, Major Andre Retief said the following: "52, 50, wat van daai T?" Hein replied "die bliksem is uitgeskiet!" Andre's reply was: "Bakgat! Merk daai dop". That 105mm cartridge case is now in the museum at the School of Armour, Bloemfontein.

ljord
Posts:13
Posted:2/17/2014 5:09:42 AM
That first T-55 taken out by 2Lt. Hein Fourie/ 52, on 9 Nov '87. I took this picture approximately five minutes after it was hit.




ljord
Posts:13
Posted:2/17/2014 5:12:10 AM
On the Olifant we have what we called the "Pistol Port", a small hatch on the side of the turret where the loader throws out the spent cases. When ever there was a gap in the fighting, the loaders threw them out. There is a bin on the inside, just below the breech, which can hold about eight cases. As for the heat...it is like a sauna in the Olifant!

The one thing that I will never forget as long as I live...the smell of a burning T-54/55...a combination of smells including burning rubber, a metallic smell and the stench of burning flesh.

More than a wiff of cordite...when you fired the 105...you breathed almost pure cordite. I tell you what...nothing cleans out the sinus passages better than cordite, the only problem is that when you sneeze, your snot is pitch black.


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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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