During the height of the U.
March 12, Military history writing, scholarly and popular and in between, has mushroomed over the past several decades. But military events under the Southern Cross receive much less attention, because the vast majority of the developed countries are well north of the Equator. Reading South African accounts of the year long Border War between South Africa and the Angolan liberation movement UNITA on the one hand, and the Angolan government and army, supported by large Cuban forces on the other, is almost hypnotically compelling.
This is not only because for most of us north of the Equator it is so distant. The tactical and operational lessons from the Border War are mostly variations on usual military themes — solid and relevant training, doctrine, and attitudes — but African americans in vietnam war the most significant lessons of this conflict for the United States are far broader, and sobering, in nature.
South Africa came under steadily increasing foreign criticism and isolation beginning in the s due to its policy of apartheid, or racially discriminatory separatism.
Armed resistance by black Africans took two forms. One was isolated acts of terrorism in South Africa itself mounted by black liberation movements based in bordering countries, mostly under the direction of the African National Congress ANC and its military component, Umkhonto Wesizwe MK.
The latter would also have remained insignificant had not Portuguese colonial rule collapsed in Angola, directly north of SWA, in Interestingly, nothing similar developed on the other side of Africa. Mozambique, where Portuguese rule had also evaporated, had close economic ties with South Africa and was not willing to see those vanish for the sake of anti-apartheid military campaigns.
Cuba made an even more massive military investment. It ultimately dispatched an expeditionary force to Angola which reached a maximum strength of about 55, with a total of almostCuban military personnel serving in the country from through The Border War was not a directly existential conflict for South Africa, but the strategic imperatives driving it were existential indeed, due to the potential for threats to the territorial integrity of the country.
In retrospect, the South African national strategy was brilliant. Like all strategies, it evolved over time in a series of incremental decisions, but in retrospect South African military and political leaders had a deep sense of balance and control which stood them in good stead. There was also a paramilitary internal security force known as Koevoet, manned initially by white South Africans, but more and more with former SWAPO guerrillas.
But the South Africans did not rely on just these black units, highly trained and cohesive as they were. Extraordinarily effective mechanized infantry and light and medium-weight armored vehicles, supported by field artillery units whose G5 and G6 mm cannon were the most effective in the world at the time, repeatedly annihilated SWAPO units and destroyed SWAPO base camps.
The counterinsurgency campaign against SWAPO was as demanding as the more glamorous mechanized warfare in southern Angola; the South Africans repeatedly have written of the dedication and willingness to fight and die of SWAPO guerrillas. The use of black units thus kept white draftee casualties to a minimum, and hence helped dampen political controversy over the Border War.
Only one of the South African incursions into southern Angola involved as many as 4, troops, and the other large ones were about 3, maximum — one brigade at best.
These were all-white units, manned by two-year conscripts and junior officers doing their required National Service, as the draft was called in South Africa, with the NCOs and field-grade officers of the career force.
There were some reinforcements from reservists, but most were kept in just that status. The South African government did not want to raise the profile of the war among the governing white population by calling up large numbers of white reserve units, and as reserve units almost always do, they required considerable training before being committed to a theater of operations.
When SADF reserve units with insufficient training and reorientation from civilian to military attitudes were committed in larger conventional operations involving a high operational tempo and much firepower, near-disaster resulted on several occasions. Thus, until the late s, South African ground forces in Angola were under strict orders to avoid clashes with the Angolans and, even more so, with the Cubans.
However, as SADF operations in Angola became more and more successful, Castro and the Soviet Union became convinced that South Africa was not just fighting a strategic defensive although its forces on the ground were ferociously effective in the tactical offensivebut trying to topple the Angolan Marxist regime.
FAPLA forces suffered tactical defeat after defeat. Accounts from Soviet advisers describe their incredible frustration with the military disasters their advisees kept incurring.About.
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Welcome to the virtual library of materials published about African-American involvement in the Vietnam War. "Involvement" is defined as those who served and those who protested. Even before the Mayflower touched ground off Cape Cod, African Americans were living in British North America.
Although slavery itself was not foreign to West Africans, the brutal nature of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the nature of colonial slavery was without parallel in African history. Millions of people deemed savages by their new "masters" were uprooted from their ways of life and.
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during the Vietnam War. In the s and s, the United States’ long history of racial inequality and segregation culminated in the civil rights movement. The social and political turmoil crept through African Americans received the award in World War II, and only two in the Korean War.
For many years, the African American. David Coffey.
African Americans have served in every war waged by the United States. Throughout the nation's history, African American soldiers, sailors, and Marines have contributed conspicuously to America's military efforts.