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Author(s): S. Monick

Journal: Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies
ISSN 2224-0020

Volume: 22;
Issue: 3;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: operational history of the South African Army | revolutionary developments within artillery | Angolan civil war | MPLA | SADF | Operation Savannah

CENTRAL THEMES IN THE HIS TOR Y OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN ARMY 1980-1990 THE 1980s: THE SADF ASSUMES A HIGH PROFILE AND AGGRESSIVE IMAGE The principal theme in this article is an analysis of the central shaping forces in the operational history of the South African Army during the period 1980- 1990.1 These forces are embodied in the revolutionary developments within artillery (exemplified by the G5 and G6) and the advent of mechanized infantry. These huge technological strides, unprecedented in the history of South Africa's armed forces, implied the most far reaching repercussions; specifically, in terms of a combination of vastly enhanced mobility and striking power, in which artillery and infantry served as an integrated strike force. The background, and indeed motivation, underlying such developments was an intense phase of military activity, initiated in 1975 (in the form of South Africa's - albeit limited – intervention in the Angolan civil war on behalf of the coalition opposed to the ruling MPLA, the role of the SADF being designated Operation Savannah), and began to gather full momentum in 1978.

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