To help the reader I have listed the most commonly used acronyms, together with names and descriptions that may be unfamiliar.
Alouette III: French built light helicopter used by the SAAF since 1962. Used mainly in search-and-rescue, reconnaissance roles, providing top-cover for the Pumas during troop deployments and extractions and close air-support with Koevoet and army units.
BM-21 (122 mm Multiple Rocket Launcher) (Also known as the Katyusha) The 122 mm 40-tube BM-21 multiple rocket launcher was for many years the major and best-known weapon of its type. It is simple and robust and fires an effective 78 kg rocket out to 20 500 m. In Russian service it is mounted on the Ural-75 truck, an exceptionally tough vehicle with good off-road mobility. This is also the most common export version and the one in service with FAPLA. In this form it weighs 11,5 tons and the truck has a road speed of 75 km/h and a road range of 600 km. The BM-21 served as the "role model" for the South African 127 mm system, after one was captured intact in Angola in 1976.
Bosbok: The Aeritalia/Aermacchi AM-3C Bosbok was the standard SAAF spotter and visual reconnaissance aircraft. It is a high-wing two-seater powered by a 340 hp piston engine that gives it a maximum speed of 278 km/h at 2 440 m. It has a service ceiling of 8 400 m and a range of 1 037 km. It can take off in 85 m and land in 66 m. Four underwing hardpoints are used to carry pods of smoke rockets to mark targets for strike aircraft.
Buffel: The Buffel is the standard mine-protected armoured personnel carrier of the infantry units. Its V-shaped hull is designed to deflect the blast and debris of an exploding landmine. The infantry compartment has ten seats, all fitted with full harness to keep the men from being thrown out by a blast. The buffel weighs 6,14 tons and is powered by a 93,25 KW diesel engine. It has a road speed of 96 km/h and a range of 1 000 km.
C-130 B Hercules: The Hercules was one of two types of medium transport aircraft in service with the SAAF during the Border War. As in most Air Forces that operate it, the Hercules is one of the most popular aircraft in service and has proved extremely valuable since its introduction into service in 1963. The C-130 B of the SAAF has a maximum take-off weight of 77,5 tons and is powered by four 4 050 hp turbo-props, which give it a maximum speed of just over 600 km/h. It has a range of 3 539 km with its maximum payload of 22,5 tons, or 7 803 km with maximum fuel. It can carry 90 troops or 64 paratroops.
Casevac: Slang for "casualty evacuation". Usually a wounded soldier on the battlefield awaiting removal. Casevacs were most commonly done by helicopters, usually by Pumas with Alouettes as top-cover.
Casspir: The Casspir is a mine-protected armoured personnel carrier that was originally developed for the counter-insurgency units of the police. It was later adopted by the SWA Territory Force and also by some elements of the SA Army. It weighs 10.88 tons and is powered by a 124 kW turbo-charged diesel engine that gives it a road speed of 98 km/h. It has a range of 770 km. The Casspir is normally armed with a single 7,62 mm machine-gun or two 7,62 mm weapons. Later Casspirs mounted 20 mm cannon. There is a firing port opposite each seat. The armour is proof against small-arms fire, and the V-shaped hull protects it from landmine blasts. Doors in the rear of the hull allow easy access. The Casspir is highly regarded for its outstanding cross-country mobility and for its reliability.
Cuca Shop: A small shop selling a limited selection of canned goods, beer, etc. The name derives from the days before the Angolan civil war started in 1975, when every such establishment stocked bottles of a dark, potent Cuca beer produced by the brewery at Sa Da Bandeira presently Lubango in Angola. The beer is no more but the name lives on.
Cutline: The actual border dividing line. A strip cleared of bush that separates SWA/Namibia from Angola.
Eland-90: The original French designed Panhard AML-90 was developed as a fire-support vehicle for light reconnaissance units. The Eland-90 is the South African built version incorporating many changes and improvements designed to optimise it for local requirements. It is armed with one 90 mm low-recoil gun in a two man turret. It weighs 5.5 tons and has a road speed of 90 km/h with a range of 600 km.
FAPLA: Forces Armadas Popular de Angola, or the People's Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola, the military wing of the Marxist-Leninist MPLA which seized government power by force, with Cuban, Soviet and East German military support, following Angola's independence from Portugal in November 1975.
HEAT: High explosive anti-tank shell, used by both FAPLA and the South African Army. A typical shell has a core of super-hard metal, such as tungsten, which penetrates tank armour on impact.
Editor's note:Cobus reports: HEAT is High Explosive Anti Tank, the shell is in fact a hollow or shaped -charge A/T projectile. The Eland or Ratel would not be able to fire a solid shot A/T round as the gun on them was a low pressure gun, and the only solid shot rounds in service then and now would only be APCR Armour Piercing Composite Shot, APDS Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot, APFSDS Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Shot but in all of these cases these rounds are fired by MBT's.
Impala Mk II:The Aermacchi/Atlas MB 326KC Impala Mk II is the single seat development of the MB 326M two seat trainer aircraft. Designed and originally built in Italy, the SAAF took delivery of the first MB326KC in April 1974. Atlas went on to produce a large number of both variants. The MB 326K has two 30 mm DEFA cannon in the lower front fuselage. This version has six underwing attachment points to which up to 1 814 kg of ordinance may be carried.
Koevoet: Afrikaans for `crowbar'. When the unit was first formed it was nick-named Koevoet to signify prying loose the SWAPO insurgents from the thick bush. The official name of the unit was South West African Police Counterinsurgency. (SWAPOLCOIN).
M-5 120 mm Mortar: The 120 mm M-5 mortar is the standard large calibre mortar equipment of the artillery regiment. It weighs 350 kg and fires a powerful HE bomb. It has a maximum range of 6 250 m with ordinary bombs and a greater range of up to 10 000 m with rocket-assisted bombs.
Mahangu: The Ovambo staple crop of grain sorghum.
MiG-23: The MiG-23 was the main air superiority and ground-attack aircraft of the Angolan Air Force. It is a large aircraft (11 tons empty) fast and has a powerful radar. It has a 12 555 tons thrust engine that gives it a maximum speed of 2 500 km/h at altitude and 1 468 km/h at sea level. It has a combat range with a 23 mm cannon and normally carries two AA-7 and four AA-8 air-to-air missiles and can also carry various air-to-ground weapons.
MIRAGE F1AZ: The F-1AZ is a specialised ground-attack aircraft with improved navigation and weapons systems. It is otherwise technically very similar to the F-1CZ and, like it, has been upgraded since 1975. Its primary air-to-ground weapons are 120 kg and 250 kg bombs, both pre-fragmented and medium capacity. Between four and eight bombs are carried, depending on the mission and whether or not tanks must be carried. Other weapons include unguided rockets and AS-3- air-to-surface missiles. The F-1AZ normally carries two Matra R-550 Magic infra-red homing air-to-air missiles for self-defence.
MPLA: The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, the Marxist-Leninist movement which, with Cuban, Soviet and East German collusion, came out on top and established a government which declared a one-party state.
MRL - 127 mm: This artillery system was developed in response to experience of Soviet BM-21 MRL encountered in Angola during Operation Savannah. A captured BM-21 served as a basic pattern during the development phase. The basic vehicle is the Unimog; the system weighs 6,44 tons with the 24-tube rocket pack loaded. The rockets have a 60 kg fragmentation warhead with 8 500 steel balls cast into a cylinder surrounding the explosive charge, effective over 1 500 square metres. They are fired singly, in partial ripples or full ripples at the rate of one a second. It takes less than ten minutes to reload a full pack.
OVAMBOLAND: That area of SWA/Namibia which has traditionally been the home of the Ovambo people which was part of Sector 10, together with the Kaokoveld.
PB: Plaaslike Bevolking - Afrikaans for local population.
PLAN: People's Liberation Army of Namibia. It was the official armed wing of SWAPO.
PUMA: The Puma was the main transport helicopter of the SAAF having been superseded by the Atlas Oryx. The Puma was used for trooping, assault, supply, casavac and surge-and-rescue missions. It was an extremely capable aircraft and was very popular with its crews and the Army. Most cross border operations were supported by Pumas. The Puma has a maximum take-off weight of 7,4 tons and is powered by two 1 575 hp turboshaft engines, which give it a maximum speed of 294 km/h at sea level. It has a range of just over 500 kilometres, which can be extended with auxiliary fuel tanks. It can carry 3,3 tons of cargo or sixteen troops.
R-4: The SADF's standard assault rifle. The Armscor built R-4 is a 5.56 mm automatic rifle based on the Israeli Galil, itself based on the AK47.
R-5: Short-barrelled version of the R-4.
RATEL-60: Ratel adapted so that a 60mm mortar replaces the 20mm canon as the main weapon.
ROMEO MIKE: Reaksiemag - Afrikaans for Reaction Force; used to designate 101 Bn's teams using Casspirs in Ovamboland.
RPG-7: Shoulder-held Soviet anti-tank rocket launcher supplied to FAPLA, SWAPO a.o. Captured in great numbers by the SADF.
RPG-75: Telescoping one shot rocket launcher. Developed from the RPG-7. The first one seen outside the East-bloc was in Ovamboland.
RV: Map reference point.
SAAF: South African Air Force.
SADF: South African Defence Force, comprising Army, Navy and Air Force. Medical Services is the fourth component of the SADF. (Presently SANDF South African National Defence Force)
Shona: A low area in the flat terrain of northern Namibia that fills with water during the rainy season.
SWAPO: South West African People's Organisation, the Ovambo-dominated liberation movement which fought a prolonged guerrilla war against South Africa and became the first elected government of independent Namibia in 1990.
SWAPOL: South West African Police.
SWAPOLCOIN: South West African Police Counter-insurgency, the official name for `Ops K' or `Koevoet'.
SWATF: South West Africa Territory Force.
TB: Tydelike Basis - Afrikaans for temporary base.
Windhoek: Capital of SWA/Namibia and overall Army and Police HQs.
Yati: Cleared strip of border between SWA/Namibia and Angola. Also referred to as `cutline'.
Published: 1 July 2000.
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