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johansamin
Posts:649
Posted:1/4/2010 6:52:13 PM

Terry has sent me a link to his very interesting website, SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE - MERCENARY WARS 1945 - 2000 (http://www.mercenary-wars.net/) in which he has some very interesting information about mercenary involvement in Angola during 1975 and 1976.


See http://www.mercenary-wars.net/angola/index.html for Angola Conflict related information.


Please let us know if you can contribute any information in this regard.


Johan



terryasp
Posts:20
Posted:1/11/2010 3:13:25 AM
Hi Johan

I'm an Ex Royal Marine and saw my active service in Sarawak and North Borneo 1963/65.

Later I along with a couple of friends  were recruited by John Banks to go to Angola in early January 1976. However, and lucky for us we were tipped off that Banks was on the fiddle and we with drew at the last moment, which  turned out to be  a good decision for us, as we would have been with the last batch who left the UK and most were rounded up as they stepped over the border into Angola. Because of this close connection I've always kept up to date on the conflict, and as you can see on the web site I've saved a little information. Even still have some recruitment forms from Banks. Karl Penta writer of 'Have gun Will travel (paperback) and 'Mercenary Tale' (hardback) like me also dropped out. In 1981 I managed to get some questions asked in the British House of Commons about the prisoners then being held in Angola, sadly they were not released until 84.

I decided that I would start a web site to tell the world  some of my friends side of the story, however, its grown out of proportion as other friend's have now asked me to include other conflicts. Karl Penta went on to work in Suranim.  I had never ever thought of Angola 1986/89, but your website has given me the urge to also include that conflict.

As that is all new to me I'm looking for somebody who  could maybe write a brief article as to how, why, when, and what happened as a lead in to the conflict. Anything I post will be named, dated, and have a copyright logo under it to them. If they become a regular contributor I'll add their name to the team named on the main page bottom left hand side. At the mokment there are 5 of us.

Angola 1986/89 is a conflict I know nothing about??

I've managed to make contact with  Cuban who was in Angola, and have asked for his side of the story, but he is still worried about the Cuban Government not liking what he might write, but at least I'm in contact with him!!!

Thanks for your time

Regards

Terry Aspinall



johansamin
Posts:649
Posted:1/11/2010 3:40:22 AM
Mindblowing, these stories!....

There are actually a lot of stories to tell, and there are so many of us that were there that have been silent for 20 odd years and did not have the inclination to tell all... but that is rapidly changing and there are hordes of stories coming to the fore! Like the Ratel driver that's now claiming that his Ratel was taken out by an Olifant tank and not an enemy 23 mm!!! and he has posted photos to boot! Four youngsters died in that Ratel that 14 February 1988!

As a veteran of 61 Mech Bn I am also pushed for stories for their veteran site (www.61mech.org.za) - they are already complaining that the Russians have translated some of my stories into Russian and I dont even have it in my own tongue (Afrikaans) anywhere!

So I am going to be writing theses things down... first in English so I can post it on my site.... and so it will be translated into Russian, probably Cuban and Portuguese as well for all I know, and then finally in Afrikaans, (I hope - its up to me!).

An interesting thing..... my father-in-law (unfortunately he has passed away some time ago), had told me years ago that he was in the Congo with Mike Hoare... but I didnt take to much notice then as I didnt know about it.... such a pity! The stories I could have gleaned from him if he was part of 5 Commando! Where can I get more information on those campaigns? I am dying to know more!

The events leading up the '87/88 conflict is, of course, a very long story starting in the early '60s. But I will see what I can come up with without infringing anyones copyright.... I need to do so for my own site as well, although I am freely quoting from Helmoed Heitmans book (with his permission, of course!).

Unfortunately, I was never a mercenary, but I think we can nevertheless compliment each other here...

By the way, in 1981, during Operation Daisy, deep inside Angola, I briefly met a very darkly tanned Frenchman, aptly named Frenchy, I seem to recall - that was a Recce and just suddenly stood up in front of one of my guards, nearly causing him to faint. He told me that he was ex-Foreign Legion and that he joined the Recces for some action - Apparently the FL was somewhere in the Amazon, helping destroy the vegetation, which he found boring.

Regards

Johan


terryasp
Posts:20
Posted:1/13/2010 3:31:30 AM

Hi Johan

The other day I made contact with Hugh Bomford in New Zealand about mercenaries operating in Rhodesia, and at first I think I might of offended him as his reply was short and sharp, that all soldiers in Rhodesia were paid the same wage and that there were no mercenary's in the country.

I then told him that along with myself many out there had always believed that Rhodesia used mercenary's. However, if he allowed me to quote and post his response on a section I have already set up for Rhodesia, I would be more than pleased to then leave the subject alone. That must have done the trick because his next response was very positive, agreeing  that I was correct that many believed that Rhodesia did mistakenly use mercenaries. And he is now going to give me an article to post on the subject, which I'm looking forward to receiving.

This now leads me onto Angola 1986/89 and I'm wondering if I'm not making the very same mistake. After reading  a lot on your website I'm thinking that it was more a conventional war (maybe covert??) that a mercenary's were involved in the war. Was wondering what you thought on the subject, and if I'm correct maybe I should do the same as I intend with Rhodesia. What are your thoughts ??????

I'm not wanting to offend people, but get to the truth where ever possible.

Thanks for you time and help

Regards

Terry


johansamin
Posts:649
Posted:1/14/2010 3:46:43 AM
Terry, the fact is that sometimes you have to STIR to make WAVES.... otherwise everything just remains calm and there is no controversy. Sometimes shooting a blind shot into the bush just happens to hit a tank, which comes back at you with a vengeance (UNLESS youre shooting with a G-5!)...:-)

So while I am very much the pacifist, I do believe in sometimes causing a bit of trouble (while TRYING not to offend anyone, that is). However, controversy oiften becomes like an overcrowded dance floor - no matter where you put your foot down, you're stepping on someones toes!

I have already had some really bad comments thrown my way too, being called a fascist for serving in the SADF and having been accused of killing friends while bombarding Cuito Cuanavale.... so it sort of comes with the job. I also lost friends and comrades, but I don't see the sense in hating my erstwhile enemies for doing what THEY obviously also thought was the right thing to do! We all SHOULD, however, HATE all politicians! Lets at least agree on THAT! LOL

As to Angola, I think the war became very much a series of covert operations which simply turned fully conventional over time as stronger forces became involved, especially since the SADF got involved in 75/76. We were all initially trained for unconventional, counter-insurgency warfare (yes even us gunners), but we had learn to adapt fully conventional practices fast. Luckily the influence the old British Army had on the early formation of the SADF laid a very solid military (read conventional) foundation which was developed and honed into a finely tuned instrument of war completely adapted to our unconventional way of warfare.... And because of that foundation, it was easy to fall back on to conventional principles, turning the SADF into the flexibile weapon that it became, adapting to a multitude of situations and conditions.... Just think, how many modern armies still used horses, and motorcycles for that matter, in such an aggressive role other than just reconnaissance? In how many armies can subunits and even sub-subunits simply be attached to different formations without causing major command and control issues? Suddenly G Company of 32 Bn (a Light Inf Bn) finds itself under direct command of 61 Mech Bn Gp, a Mechanised formation.... as an example.....How easily were AT platoons and support platoons and mortar batteries simply cross-attached to various units... even between engaments... never mind campaigns!? I am not sure how any mercenary could ever adapt to such conditions where his commander of tomorrow may not be the commander of today... I can just imagine the rebellion and resistance this would invoke on a profesional mercenary,,,, but then again... I can't really talk... I was never one!

SO.... what mistake were you referring to...? LOL

Regards

Johan


terryasp
Posts:20
Posted:1/14/2010 3:48:58 AM
Hi Johan

My possible mistake is that I've always assumed that mercenaries were present in Southern Angola during the 1986/89 conflict with South Africa??

Where as at the minute I have no proof

Cheers

Terry


johansamin
Posts:649
Posted:1/14/2010 3:55:12 AM

So here is the question, then: Were there ANY mercenaries involved in the Angolan conflict after 1975/76?


I say, I would think so....! The Frenchman who joined the Recces that I met in 1981 MUST surely have been a mercenary?


And what about mercenaries on the Fapla side? It was not just the so called "Free World" that produced mercenaries!


This may be something the Russian veterans could comment on...


Regards
Johan



koosvandyke
Posts:7
Posted:1/18/2010 9:41:10 PM
"So here is the question, then: Were there ANY mercenaries involved in the Angolan conflict after 1975/76?"

Dear Johan

It seems to me, first of all, you have to define the term "mercenary". What is the CORRECT definition if this word (in sense of Grensoorlog)? Were 32Bn soldiers (at least prior to 1981 when Cpl Edwards deserted and told the world press about the unit) mercenaries? Who is the mercenary - one who fights for money or for the idea as well? If we look at Rhodesian Bushwar - most of the foreign personnel who served in RDF were not "mercs" - they serve on the same basis. The same - I believe - believe applies to most of the foreigners in SADF.

The Frenchman who joined the Recces that I met in 1981 MUST surely have been a mercenary? - Well, to my knowledge this oke had to sign a certain form of contract with SADF (at least for one year). And he had to serve on the same basis as other Recce operators.

There's a pretty good book by Peter Mcaleese "No Mean Soldier". Mcaleese was in Angola with "Colonel" Callan - but he was lucky enough to escape to Zaire in time. After that he served in Rhodesian SAS and after 1980 he was sergeant in "Pathfinders" (SADF Parabat recon company, disbanded in 1982). "Pathfinders" (they were spearhead unit in Op Protea in 1981) consisted mostly of foreigners - Rhodies, Englishmen, Newzealanders, Australians etc. (There was even Russian, SA Russian - Michael Lenskov). Were they mercs or not?

Regards
Koos

johansamin
Posts:649
Posted:1/21/2010 5:12:46 AM

Nice to hear from you again, Koos...
I suppose you are right. I would think maybe the right thing would be to refer to these type of guys as 'Volunteers', or more specifically, 'Foreign Volunteers', like we experienced in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. There were even Russian volunteers fighting on the Boer side, together with Irish, French, German and even Americans. I have a book on these Russian volunteers - written by Davidson, Apollon, and Filatova, Irina. The Russians and the Anglo-Boer War (1998) - see my website on the South African (Boer) War at www.saboerwar.com - another wargaming effort which I am slowly building up.
By the way... no DVD yet....?? I just learned that a package sent to me from the UK was returned to sender despite my numerous enquiries after its whereabouts! Thank you SA Post Office!! It maight be an idea to send me the reference if you have it, just in case.
I hope you have managed to view the footage of the Angola Battlefields Tour of 2009 in which Col Breytenbach was an expert guide....amazing to see him standing there next to the Cassinga sign post, 31 years later! See http://www.warinangola.com/Default.aspx?tabid=805 - your Afrikaans should be good enough to understand it! LOL
Regards
Johan



Cuca
Posts:60
Posted:1/21/2010 5:18:05 AM
Regarding definition of the term "mercenary"

A mercenary is a professional soldier hired by a foreign army, as opposed to a soldier enlisted in the armed forces of the sovereign state of which he is a citizen. He takes part in armed conflict on many different scales, and is "motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party" (Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Convention of August 1949).[1][2] A non-conscript professional member of a regular army is not considered to be a mercenary although he gets remuneration for his service.

As a result of the assumption that a mercenary is essentially motivated by money, the term "mercenary" usually carries negative connotations, though that can be a compliment in some contexts. There is a blur in the distinction between a "mercenary" and a "foreign volunteer", when the primary motive of a soldier in a foreign army is uncertain. For instance, the French Foreign Legion and the Gurkhas are not mercenaries under the laws of war, since although they may meet many of the requirements of Article 47 of the 1949 Additional Protocol I, they are exempt under clauses 47(a)(c)(d)(e)&(f); some journalists describe them as mercenaries regardless.[3][4]

For more details, please, see:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercenary


johansamin
Posts:649
Posted:1/21/2010 6:07:44 AM

Max and Koos, thank you for the feedback on the mercenaries. Does this mean that the Soviet advisors and other foreign participants like the East Germans, Romanians, Yugoslavs, etc. were \'Foreign Volunteers\' for the MPLA cause? And the Cubans, practically operating within their own formal unit structures?

Talking about unit structures, I have been labouring over the typical Fapla Brigade Organiations and TO&Es. Based on Western impressions and publications on the composition and equipment in a \"typical\" Soviet infantry brigade, as well as what I deducted from the books on the Bush War I studied in great detail, combined with the training I received those eons ago about \"Knowing Your Enemy\", I managed to come up with what I consider to be a reasonably accurate (or at least workable) structure for some of the Fapla brigades engaged in 1987/88. I would appreciate your members thoughts and feedback on these.
For my TO&E of 47 Brigade, see http://www.warinangola.com/Default.aspx?tabid=824
and for 59 Brigade, see http://www.warinangola.com/Default.aspx?tabid=825


I am really just throwing a couple of stones into the bush and hope I am not hitting a tank!

You may also be interested to see the typical SADF TO&Es for 32 Bn, 61 Mech Bn and 4 SAI, at http://www.warinangola.com/Default.aspx?tabid=667 
These are based on the theoretical strengths of the units and may not have been the actuals present during the fighting of 1987/88. I did use official sources and references that were used during some training I underwent as late at 1993.


Regards
Johan



Cuca
Posts:60
Posted:1/22/2010 3:07:19 PM
Hi Johan,

Getting back to our discussion, I do not think that the definition of a foreign volunteer can apply either to us, the Soviets, or the Germans or even the Cubans. And the primary reason for this is that we all were in Angola under agreements signed between the government of Angola and our respective governments – not under individual contracts (although I heard about such contracts made long after my time). We have never been part of any FAPLA structure. We only reported to the Defense Ministry of the USSR through our Chief Military Advisor or even bypassing him like in the case of some of our pilots. In other words, in Angola we continued being officers, warrant officers and soldiers of the Soviet Army invited by the Angolan government to provide help. We all stayed on the payroll of the Soviet Defense Ministry, and back home my family continued receiving the part of my salary which was in Soviet rubles.

Yes, there was some formal difference between “advisors” and “specialists” – that is why we normally distinguish between these two terms. Advisors got the main part of their salary in US dollars from the government of the USSR, while specialists got it from the government of Angola. Because of that, for example, advisors always flew to Angola by Aeroflot, while specialists sometimes used TAAG and flew via Paris which made many people really happy – as you may know, in the Soviet days international travelling, especially to “capitalist countries”, was not for everybody. LOL.

However, even this existed on paper only. In practice, neither advisors, nor specialists ever saw those dollars in cash. In my days they were converted into so called “Convertible Rubles” which, unlike regular Soviet rubles, could be used in the USSR in “Beriozka” (birch tree) stores where we could buy goods unavailable to other Soviet people, like foreign-made VCR’s, audio systems, clothes, etc. They could also be used to buy high-ticket items, such as cars and apartments, without having to wait in a queue for several years. You must have heard about the shortage of such things in the Soviet Union. Those convertible rubles were only given in cash to advisors or specialists returning to the USSR – on leave or for good – after the deduction of the amount spent in Angola (in the cashless mode) on food and some minor things.

Unfortunately, “Beriozka” stores were not too many and only existed in Moscow, Leningrad and some other major cities. Advisors from smaller cities and towns just could not spend their pay anywhere else.

Later in 1988 this system was changed – the financial dept of the Defense ministry started transferring our money to our accounts in the Soviet Vnesheconombank (Foreign Trade Bank) – after proper deductions, of course. And here real problems began. You could not cash your dollars – you could only get cash (no more than USD500 at a time) if you were going on a business trip abroad against your air ticket and international passport – and those were normally issued in the very last minute while to get cash from the bank you had to stand in the line to the teller for a couple of days (you can imagine how happy people from cities other than Moscow were about it). You could also perform cashless transactions in “Beriozka” stores – the procedure was as follows: let’s assume I want to buy a handkerchief! I go to a “Beriozka” store to choose one. I make my choice and wait in a queue to get an invoice for it. If I am lucky enough, I get it fast to return to the bank on the same day in order to wait in the bank’s queue to give the invoice to the teller who will debit my US dollar account and transfer the money to the store’s account. Then I will be given a receipt with which I will have to return to the store to get my handkerchief! That is how Perestroika started!

I do not think any sound-minded person inclined to become a mercenary or a foreign volunteer would agree to do so on such terms!

Regards,

MG

terryasp
Posts:20
Posted:1/25/2010 4:09:43 AM
Hi Guys
Been reading your comments with great interest, as to who was or who is a so called Mercenary.
From what I’m uncovering the trouble goes back to the governments of the day and to what they turned a blind eye to and to also what they got involved in officially.
I know the rules about the Gurkhas, which was put in place to help the United Kingdom keep using a good soldier with the full weight of the law behind them. But it was only last year that they were forced to finally allow the Gurkhas to have a British passport. They were no more a British subject than the Zulu’s. Some of these laws were and are past just as a smoke screens, the Americans never even signed the original document.
I know of British guys who went in groups to Vietnam, but try the freedom of information act in the UK, and they won’t release the papers and the same goes for the 1975/76 Angolan British mercenaries, their papers have now been held over for another 76 years.
However my real interest is of those who chose to fight for another country, remembering that in Angola 1975/76 the four originals did it for no pay, so they are not always paid.
Thanks for your time and interest
Terry Aspinall


terryasp
Posts:20
Posted:1/25/2010 4:22:20 AM
Hi Johan
Regarding your statment.....

By the way, in 1981, during Operation Daisy, deep inside Angola, I briefly met a very darkly tanned Frenchman, aptly named Frenchy, I seem to recall - that was a Recce and just suddenly stood up in front of one of my guards, nearly causing him to faint. He told me that he was ex-Foreign Legion and that he joined the Recces for some action - Apparently the FL was somewhere in the Amazon, helping destroy the vegetation, which he found boring.

I've just made contact with that guys best friend and he claims he was with "32 Battalion, Recon team" not 'recce'
Regards
Terry Aspinall

johansamin
Posts:649
Posted:1/25/2010 1:55:57 PM

Recce Wing? Recce?..... in my mind at that time, there were absolutely no difference! LOL


I seem to recall reading somewhere that the initial Recce Wing of 32 Bn started out with operators from the Recce regiments deployed with the Portuguease speaking ex-FNLA soldiers. I also read that the Recces saw Recce Wing as a training opportunity for newly deployed operators, especially between 1981 and 1983... so the dividing line might have been a bit fuzzy here. And vice-versa, some of the Bravo Group ex-FNLA soldiers (which became 32 Bn) went on to join the Recces full time... like Danny Roxo, Sierro, and Robbie Ribeiro.


"Frenchie" may then be the same person from Recce Wing that Fred Bridgland refers to in his book "The War For Africa", although he claims that Frenchie was an ex French Army marine commando. I bet I know who the friend you are referring to is....Mac De Trinidada?

Johan



terryasp
Posts:20
Posted:1/25/2010 2:11:22 PM
Hi Johan
No its not Mac De Trinidada
Not sure if he wishes me to say for the moment
Await a responce!!!!!
Not wanting to offend anyboy, as I'm the new guy on the block!!!!!!!
Cheers
Terry

johansamin
Posts:649
Posted:2/11/2010 4:13:01 AM

I acquired the rather unavailable book of Prof Spies's ANGOLA - OPERASIE SAVANNAH... its in Afrikaans, but because it was released by the SADF's Directorate of Public Relations, it contains lots of information from SADF archives... some VERY interesting stories in there! Like there were also French mercenearies present in Angola in 1975, some 20 of them under Bob Denard. They called themselves the "Hoods", after "Robin Hood". The first few "French hoods" arrived on 10 Jan 1976 at Kinshasha where they were trained for two days and then sent onwards to Solva Porto. The rest arrived on 27 Jan... It also mentions the 13 or so Portoguese mercanaries that were recruited by col Sanntos e Castro, but never arrived in Angola. The 150 Americans and British, which included George Cullen, and who was executed by the Angolans, are also just mentioned briefly...
All the best
Johan



johansamin
Posts:649
Posted:2/11/2010 4:16:16 AM
Guys, I am just waiting to obtain permission from the Russian site to republish the interview with Padro Marangoni, a Brazillian-born Portuguese mercenary at the Battle of Quifangodo, fighting alongside the FNLA in 1975

 

I asked Filipe, one of the wargamers from Portugal, to translate it for us in English and offerred the translation to the Russians, who eagerly accepted it. Max must just get the permission for me to replublish from Pedro as well as the Union, then I will place it here under the Mercenaries forum....


johansamin
Posts:649
Posted:2/11/2010 4:18:00 AM
Filipe, you are a Machine! Google Translate should offer you a job!

Pippo
Posts:33
Posted:2/11/2010 4:22:01 AM
Mmmm, I'll take that as a cumpliment ;O)

 

Somehow I suspect that this battle will be fought over here at our wargaming club...

 

Take care,

 

Filipe


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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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