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I saw active service in conventional, clandestine and covert units of the South African Defence Force. I was the founder of the Private Military Company (PMC) Executive Outcomes in 1989 and its chairman until I left in 1997. Until its closure in 1998, EO operated primarily in Africa helping African governments that had been abandoned by the West and were facing threats from insurgencies, terrorism and organised crime. EO also operated in South America and the Far East. I believe that only Africans (Black and White) can truly solve Africa’s problems. I was appointed Chairman of STTEP International in 2009 and also lecture at military colleges and universities in Africa on defence, intelligence and security issues. Prior to the STTEP International appointment, I served as an independent politico-military advisor to several African governments. I am a contributor to The Counter Terrorist magazine. All comments in line with the topics on this blog are welcome. As I consider this to be a serious look at military and security matters, foul language and political or religious debates will not be entertained on this blog.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

THE NEW GENERATION PUMA MPV/MRAP

Mine Protected Vehicles (MPVs) have progressed significantly since their first deployment during the Rhodesian bush war. Despite at that time being very primitive, they were nevertheless highly effective and saved countless lives.

It was the South Africans who took these developments further and developed vehicles such as the “Buffel” (Buffalo), Casspir, “Kwevoel” and so on. In simple terms, the vehicles were built with V-shaped hulls as it is known that an explosive shock wave travels the path of least resistance and the V-shaped hull allows the shockwave to disperse up the sides of the hull, thus deflecting the blast away from the hull. In turn, this minimises injury and even death.

I know how effective this technique of blast-deflection is as I survived in a Buffel that hit a British Mk7 anti-tank mine. That made my name the first entry into the war diary of 1 January, 1980. That was 29 years ago – and at that period, the Buffel had already seen active service for some time. The Casspir, along with the Buffel, were arguably the first Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles to enter the combat zone anywhere in the world. Ironically, old South African MPVs/MRAPs are still, today, making their mark in combat zones in Africa and the Middle East.

What I cannot understand – or even believe – is why the British army is still using Land Rovers as combat vehicles. Similarly, the US is using the Humvee. Whereas these vehicles may have a distinctive role to play, it is not something any soldier should be sent into a mine-threat zone or enemy strong-area in. The armour these vehicles have on their sides gives no protection to landmines and IEDs.

But the question that needs to be answered is “what constitutes an ‘ambush protected’ vehicle”? Is it protection against small arms fire or does that include protection against anti-tank weapons? If the latter, then we are a long way from finding a true “ambush protected” vehicle as even the M1 tank is not resistant to certain anti-tank missiles.

However, the typical MPV/MRAP is a very expensive vehicle. That is, until OTT Technologies came along…

With the Puma M26-15, OTT Armoured vehicles (a unit of OTT Technologies), has developed a cost-effective medium MPV/MRAP without compromising the safety of the crew. The M26-15 is a continuation of the Puma 4 x 2 MPV that has been successfully deployed in Iraq.



The Puma M26-15 recently passed its dynamic automotive tests with flying colours.

The main design parameter was to develop a lower cost and robust mine protected vehicle that can be deployed effectively and safely in the harsh environments of Africa and other developing regions whilst offering excellent protection against small arms fire. The M26-15 has a crew complement of 10 (driver and commander plus 8). The vehicle is robust and easy to maintain in the field making it an MPV/MRAP with a low life-cycle cost.

The 8 ton Puma M26-15 has a sustained road speed of 80 km/h, a gradient of 60% and a side slope capability of more than 25⁰. Wide windows ensure a exceptional situational awareness while 12 firing ports plus two roof hatches and a 360⁰ cupola with a pintle mount for a light machine gun ensures quick and furious retaliation from the crew in case of an ambush.

I am very fortunate to have been one of the very few who have to date seen this vehicle – and I am very impressed.



As with any new vehicle, the actual tactical deployment of the vehicle needs to be confirmed.

Something that bothers me is that modern-day soldiers believe they ought to drive into battle. This is the role of mechanised infantry as these soldiers need to dismount prior to or on top of the objective – if all anti-tank weapons have been silenced. If not, they debus before the objective and fight their way through it with the vehicle giving fire support.

MPVs and MRAPs do not constitute mechanised infantry. The deployment of these vehicles therefore calls for an in-depth look at how they should be deployed to give the protection they ought to give. Whereas they can carry weapon systems able to give very good suppressive and supporting fire, they still need to be deployed correctly.

OTT’s new generation Puma will give the infantry the protection they need – as long as the vehicle is not deployed as a mechanised infantry vehicle. If used correctly, it will give the soldier an advantage, allowing him to arrive close to the combat zone, fresh to fight and still allow for effective fire-and-manoeuvre.

I hope that governments will take a look at this vehicle as it gives an excellent level of protection to the soldiers they are keen to commit to battle. At least now their fighting men will stand a chance. If fitted with the Bloodhound Mk1 (see my previous post dd April 2009) they will be able to track each vehicle’s movements and position.

Anyone interested in more information can visit OTT at www.ott.co.za and see the full range of vehicles they manufacture.

41 comments:

TCO said...

Eeben,
Very interesting news about the new Puma. It's a shame that national politics and often blind patriotism gets in the way of military procurement decisions. (The Brits will always use the Rovers, the Americans will always choose the AMC, GM or Ford offerings, etc, etc.) It would be nice to see a truly blind procurement process that matches a detailed specification against ALL available offerings and let the best product win the contract.

Jake

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I am always sad to see the loss or maiming of soldiers when it could have been avoided, Jake. Whereas I support patriotic buying to some extent, I believe the armed forces should be given the very best equipment possible to do their jobs and afford them with protection.

I fully accept that Land Rover, Humvee and others have a place in the military but when it comes to landmines and IEDs, procurement needs to look at what is best for the soldiers not what is best for a commercial company’s profit margin.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

A quick stroll around the southern end of the US military's vehicle graveyard: Lake Habbaniya

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=e7a_1250200866

Tango said...

Hi Eeben,

Another great article which made me go to my photo albums going back as far as 1974.
I still have two original photo's of the "Spook " anti landmine vehicle which was used in 1974 during the Rodesian Bush war.

The sides are covered with canvass as well as the roof which had a triangular shape.Open for ventilation .

The "Ribbok" was a similar vehicle after the "spook " which was used in 1980 in SWA .

I went to the following website http://www.baragwanath.co.za where they talk about the Leopard which was used 1975/1979 and give the following statistics

"In the 67 incidents where Leopards are recorded to have detonated mines or had mines detonated under them, only 6 related fatalities are recorded. The success of the Leopard was such that the vehicle was acquired and used by many individuals, general business, mining concerns, farming estates and other large organisations such as the Post Office Mail and Telephone services, Electricity Supply Commission and some government departments such as Health, Public Works and Internal Affairs in their day to day activities."

Another photo of a vehicle used in SWA in 1978 was the "Hippo" designed just before the "Caspir"

9 of the 11 men survived the blast in the "Hippo" which detonated a double TM 46 landmine.
These vehicles sure made it easier and safer for one to do the job and give the protection they were designed for.
All the above vehicles above seem primitive comparing to the one you are talking about,but they did give the protection one needed.

I Agree - The best investment for any country to make is to ensure that their armed forces are equiped with the best possible equipment,being it the army or police force !

The Puma would sure be a great vehicle to have if i were a soldier today !

Regards
Tango

Alan said...

Eeben and friends:

I'm attemping to find a willing "Cash for Clunkers" dealer who can get me into one of these lovely SandKat units. Should be quite the item in downtown Atlanta traffic. (more on armored recce vehicles in this link as well)

Regards, Alan

http://defense-update.com/products/s/sandcat.htm

graycladunits said...

Dear Eeben:

Does your being the first entry into the war diary in 1980 mean that you were the first recorded casualty of the year in general or the first notable/distinguished soldier to be wounded? I am not familiar with term "war diary."

GCU

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the link, Robby. But what an absolute waste! I shudder to think what can still be recovered and used…

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It is amazing what we can still find in our old albums, Tango. Even more amazing are the feelings looking at those old vehicles still evokes. They were indeed lifesavers and the reason many of us are still around today.

I recall the “Spook” and also the “Spinnekop” which was a sapper mine locating vehicle. Although I never drove one myself, I still recall seeing it occasionally. All of those old vehicles were great in their day and as you know, the Casspir is still sought after by many armies.

Nowadays, I would prefer to go around in the new Puma. Somehow, it just seems so right for soldiers who need protection from the bottom and the sides. I believe that soldiers and policemen alike would benefit greatly from its protection, mobility and versatility. Maybe someone out there will listen…

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

A nice looking vehicle Alan but I am biased – I would prefer to stick with something I know. I accept that the Puma will turn heads and create some parking difficulties in a mall, but it will give me ALL the protection I need.

Maybe we could one day have a challenge – you in the SandKat and I in a Puma?

On a more serious note, the Puma would be my preferred vehicle of choice in a conflict such as those raging at the moment.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I was never a notable or distinguished soldier, GCU. Like many of my fellow soldiers, I did what I did as well as I could – and that made me pretty average.

All battalion commanders kept a diary of their battalion’s daily activities within the AO. This diary was known as the “war diary”. The war diaries were centralised at the Sector HQ (Brigade HQ) within a defined Operational Area and consolidated into the Sector War Diary.

I just happened to be in a vehicle that got several of us airborne before first light on 1 January 1980. This was due to a faulty mine detector that one of the sappers was using. He missed the mine – my vehicle didn’t.

Rgds,

Eeben

Gatvol said...

Eeben
In few words, I believe South Africa outdid themselves when it came to the design for the "Bush" vehicle. Also that you may find many countries are now copying the basic design in some fashion.
I can only speak about the states, but having been trained at one time as a Tank Platoon Leader, its all about the Money and the Defense Contractor. It was'nt until recently that they would even consider going outside the U.S. for major items.

Robbys post as to the graveyard sends me a message as a former Military person. A picture being worth a million words. I dont believe they realize the intelligence message that video sends. First of all combat loss is not new, we lost and left Gazillions of dollars worth in Vietnam. This seems no different. Its mainly due to attitude.
In the past those hulks would have been scavenged for any spares, even down to the lights etc. The rest for locals as scrap.
It appears the U.S. Military has not a clue about finances, they are under pressure to get moving and get jobs done irregardless of cost.
Look at us, one of the biggest expenditures are "contractors" so that we dont raise eyebrows at home. They are costing an incredible amount of taxpayer dollars, most of which is waste.
If any war epitomizes "profiteering" its the current situation. AND its by some of our biggest flag waving political contibutors.
Think Im drifting a bit, but I get passionate about seeing my dollars go down range without hitting the target.

matt said...

Very cool. I too have had an opportunity to drive and practically live in the Mamba, Puma, and Casspir vehicles, and I thought they were great. My favorite out of all of them was the older Mambas.

As for the new generation of Puma, I would be curious about some of the upgrades. The first generation Puma is what I am familiar with, and there were a couple of things I thought could have been upgraded.

The AC units needed to be more robust and Desert friendly. The Puma's we used constantly had issues with the AC units.

Power was another issue. I would have liked to have seen a more powerful engine so the thing could get up to speed faster, or take on hills a little better. The suspension was alright, but it would be cool to have a suspension system that would make a vehicle like this more suitable for places like Afghanistan.

The other big one that I would like to see is tires that can be changed out fast. It is incredibly slow to change the tires on these things, and a faster tire change out system would be awesome. Another idea with the tires is to outfit this thing with a set up where you could use HMMV tires. Or something like that, so that whatever country purchases the thing, the tires in their system could be used. Like a universal hub system or something. And with the clearance on this thing, it would be cool to be able to use different size tires and rims or whatever on the thing.

The seats are another one. Air ride seats with some kind of shock resistant capability would be awesome in these vehicles. Not just for the ride, but for the explosion that happens if the vehicle runs over a mine. The seats are also important for the health of the driver that has to sit for hours and usually getting their kidneys pounded from road bumps.

Finally, I wouldn't mind seeing a hatch system that could accompany the HMMV turrets that have come out. The reason I say that is because there are tons of variations of HMMV turrets out there, and they are all built on the same hatch set up. So it would be cool if the new Puma had a feature that the hatch plate could be removed, and replaced with a HMMV turret plate. That way, this vehicle could take advantage of all the hatch systems available out there.

Also, the placement of the AC unit of the first generation Puma was not that great, and the turret and floor plate step stool sucked. Believe me, I spent many an hour riding in that hatch, on some bad roads, and I was not to thrilled with the set up. You couldn't even move the turret to the six o'clock position of the vehicle because the AC unit was in the way.

On the plus side, I loved the big windows on the Mamba and for the most part, on the Puma and Casspir as well. Eeben is right about situational awareness with these things. The old school Mamba had the biggest windows, and those were my favorite. With the Mamba, I could clearly see all around me as a driver, and my crew could easily see all around too.

The ceilings of these vehicles need thick padding as well. Matter of fact, I would use thick, fire resistant padding all throughout the thing, so that if the vehicle crashes and people slam around, they will survive the crash. If the thing blows up in an IED, the crew should have time to escape before the thing turns into a fireball, if at all possible. So fire resistant systems inside would be nice.

Now here is a cool little deal for you Mamba fans. I found a company called Pexi that was taking Mambas and refurbishing them with Ford F 550 chassis and engines. That is an awesome move, because the Mamba was underpowered in my opinion. The company also upgraded all the goodies inside, to include the seat and AC unit.

Great post Eeben, and thanks for the heads up on the new Puma. I hope to see it out there.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Despite all and sundry being against us at that time, I agree that we had great vehicles, Gatvol.

One of the first things I thought of when I watched the link Robby had sent us was: “This is giving away too much information…”. Apart from that, the value lying rusting out there must be worth millions of dollars, enough to turn even the poorest scrap metal merchant into a millionaire.

I can understand your anger at the wastage.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Good comments, Matt and I shall send this on to OTT to respond fully to your queries.

In defence of Puma and several other similar types, the air-conditioner was something that was added almost as an afterthought as the SADF never had AC in these vehicles. I know that the engine has been upgraded as well as numerous other features but as I am not au fait with all of the upgrades and improvements, I think OTT will be best placed to comment.

What I do know is that when working/fighting in a semi-desert to desert environment, one major problem is dust. High-tech stuff and ACs do not take kindly to dust at all. Furthermore, the mechanicals of any system need to be as basic as possible for numerous reasons, one being on-the-road repair by the drivers.

As far as fitting the vehicles with HMMV tyres: This may be more complicated as each manufacturer has certain sized hubs, drive-trains and so forth to ensure the best performance of their engine. Changing tyres changes the dynamics of the vehicle. I agree the idea is good – the problem may lie with the implementation.

But, before I say the wrong things, I will ask OTT to comment on these points you raise.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

Our only up-armored vehicles consisted of a Bedford truck filled with sand bags :-)

borr1945 said...

Eeben,

It is a shame that Eric Prince and
Blackwater spent an estimated $25
million to create a vehicle eerily
similiar to the puma after the
sec of defense called for the development of a vehicle which would be more resistant to ieds back in 2003. Why America didn't
buy into the idea of the vehicle is beyond me. Like you have said,
it could have saved countless lives and injuries from happening
to the ones on ground.

regards,
ken

matt said...

Thanks Eeben. It would be awesome to hear from OTT about this vehicle. As for my experience with the Puma, I have driven it on convoy operations in Iraq, as well as use it as a patrol vehicle for site security. Most of the country I operated the thing in was the Western Anbar Province in Iraq, but I have also operated it in the south of Iraq. I was also an instructor for the thing, but that was very informal and nothing fancy. It was mostly teaching guys to drive a stick shift on the right side, as opposed to the left side. And definitely teaching guys how to drive it with passengers--you can hurt folks if you do it wrong. In essence, no one else on the site had driven and worked around the thing as much as me and my buddy, so we were the assigned instructors for it. We even developed a road kit that was specific for this vehicle. (the Pumas we had were missing the road kits because of equipment negligence over time and guys stealing crap)

If the guys at OTT would like to contact me personally, they can get me at headjundi@feraljundi.com, or they could do it here. I don't know if they are getting much feedback from contractors in Iraq that have actually used the vehicles, but if they want it, I will definitely give it.

matt said...

Oh, and with the scrap heap film that Robby posted, those are pretty common over there. Most of those vehicles are there because they ran over an IED and they are no longer repairable. But what that video does not say is that those vehicles are certainly being used to repair other vehicles. I should know because when I was at Al Asad Air Base, we used to go to the DRMO lot (junk yard) and get armor from old vehicles, to up armor our vehicles. The military was constantly using pieces off all of that stuff to repair vehicles out on the road to keep the war machine running.

So believe me, those vehicles are still being useful as providers of parts. But yeah, when the war is over, the Iraqi Army and Police will probably have at the HMMVs. The Abrams I doubt will be left there. I could be wrong, but those are still regarded as pretty sensitive equipment.

Also, the intent of the film, and I am just saying this because the music was kind of somber, was to remind the viewer that most of those vehicles had injured or dead in them do to IED attacks. And yeah, the waste of leaving all of that stuff seems shocking, but really, the Iraqis will need stuff to repair their vehicles, which happen to be HMMV's.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I remember them, Robby. Then we went one smarter and had Unimogs with sandbags…problem was that if you didn’t get killed in the blast, you got killed when the sandbags landed on top of you when you came down from the blast. We added water to the tyres and we had our first prototypes. But, it was the start of something we could all feel proud of in the end. Our MPVs saved hundreds of lives.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It is indeed a shame, Ken. But, at the end of the day, it was all about giving money to friends and not really about saving lives. Anyone with some desire to resolve the dilemma the soldiers are facing would have looked further afield to see what was available.

The new generation Puma is indeed something great.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

OTT have asked me to thank you for the feedback, Matt. They are speaking to as many people as they can to make sure that it gives troops what they want without compromising the integrity of the vehicle.

Clive Lewis, the boss of OTT has also asked to thank you for being willing to speak to them. He will contact you by email shortly.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Matt, here is the feedback I just received from OTT. Clive will be contacting you shortly to take discussions further.

Rgds,

Eeben

Hi Eeben

Sorry about the delay in replying to you (and Matt) but our comments as follows:

The original Puma was born out of a requirement for a Mamba 4x2 type vehicle, but the outdated mechanicals of the (2nd Hand) Mambas, as well as the relatively low protection levels, needed to be upgraded. Matt’s comments around the aircon efficiency and placement are valid and more care has been taken with the integration of the aircon on the new Puma M26. We have always tried to use commercially available units (to keep costs down and repair ability up), but these don’t always integrated seamlessly on these types of vehicles. Another possible reason for the relative inefficiency of the aircon was that the hatches (turret) are open most of the time, drawing a continuous supply of hot air in from the outside. We have not ruled out the specific development of a custom designed aircon for this (and other) vehicles to try and counter these issues.

Speaking of the turret, Matt’s suggestion of the hatch accommodating the HMMV type turrets is excellent and we would be very keen to get hold of a set of drawings that would enable us to design the hatch accordingly – any takers?

In so far as power goes, the new Puma M26 is still no road rocket, but the gear ratios are better suited to the large wheels better than that of the original Puma. The 4x4 drive also makes it far more versatile.

The ceiling padding is a good idea and a classic example of sensible inputs from guys who use these vehicles every day. As far as the seats go, as much as I have complete comprehension for the kidney shaking ride, the hard seats, together with the 4 point seat belts are specifically designed to inflict minimal damage to the occupant in the event of a mine blast. Commercial air suspension seats will actually cause more damage to the occupant in the event of a blast, although they will be more comfortable over the day to day bumps. There are specialised shock absorbing seats available that offer the best of both worlds, but these do have an influence on the vehicle price. If procurement departments can be convinced of this addition, they can be fitted.

Eeben has covered the issue of the wheels well enough, although I fully appreciate the frustration surrounding the time required to change these wheels

One should remember that the windows are the weakest point on the vehicle and once they are cracked in anyway, may offer only a fraction of their specified protection levels. For this reason, we keep the windows as small as possible (also easier and cheaper to replace), whilst trying to keep a good field of vision.

I would be interested to see more on the F550 conversion on the Mamba. In SA we have a limited source of suitable mechanicals from a purely commercial source and we have looked the F550 components several times, but the fact that the vehicle is not available here increases lead times and costs severely.

Thanks for the comments and we will publish any further changes to the new Puma M26 as they occur

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for that addition, Matt.

Rgds,

Eeben

xEMPIR3x said...

ITs been awhile since I have been here so I took the time to read all the entries that I have missed including one where you summarized peacekeeping and peacemaking and the role a PMC could take in this manner and it only took you a couple paragraphs to make it more than convincing. It took me months of research and a final paper of 16 pages to try and convince biased teachers on the real dilemma the U.N. has created.

I am planning on a career in the infantry once I finish my schooling so the history behind these vehicles is even more interesting. If it is appropriate I am going to post a link to a website where some military photo collectors have posted photos of the Rhodesian Bush War and you can see the many different types of anti insurgency vehicles as well as the men who manned them.

http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=134312

again if this is unwanted here Im sorry I posted it

xEMPIR3x said...

Eeben,

I forgot something in my first post but you say in our brief bio that you lectured/lecture at military colleges and universities. Are those strictly government run or do you do private military schools too? Also have any of those or will future ones be held in the United States?

Thanks

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Good to hear from you again xEMPIR3x. I am pleased the posting could have been of value to you. I am also pleased to hear that you wish to take a career in the military. I am sure your country needs good men and I wish you everything of the best. Being a soldier is not only a career, it is a state-of-mind.

Thanks for the link re the MPVs from way back when. I am sure others will also enjoy taking a look at these old beasts.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

They are usually government-run institutions, xEMPIR3x. I have not had the honour of lecturing at private military schools yet. I was (very briefly) considered for some form of lecturing post in the US but that fell through the map with a thump.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for your comments Matt. I have forwarded them directly to Clive who, I believe, will be in touch with you. Such comments are highly appreciated.

Rgds,

Eeben

eet kreef said...

Hi Eeben, I was one of the Buffel-era troops. They were uncomfortable. But they worked. All these vehicles though, have limits. A fellow sapper once drove his Buffels slap bang into a group of T55's in Angola. That good they were not, and he backed off. As you said, they need to be used for the right purpose. I'd hate to be doing patrols in a Landrover in Helmund Province. And people have to realize that even the Puma is not going to work against a 155mm shell buried in a wall next to you, and they won't work against an anti-tank gun.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

A very valid point, Eet Kreef. The Buffel was indeed uncomfortable – and ugly to boot but as you point out, it did the job and in the process, saved many lives. To the east of Pretoria, there is a Buffel graveyard that bears silent testimony to this.

I am increasingly alarmed at seeing how troops are expected to use vehicles in a role they were never intended for. The Puma, despite being a very good MPV/MRAP is not an IFV and will most certainly not stand up to an anti-tank gun or a 155mm IED. But then again, very few if any IFVs will stand up to such a threat.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

eet kreef ... where did you do basics and what year...mine was Bethlehem 1970 found this the other day while looking for a pic of a Bedford truck filled with sand bags :-) ...the link is a hoot

http://uk.geocities.com/sadfbook/sharetxt.html

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

eet kreef ... where did you do basics and what year...mine was Bethlehem 1970 found this the other day while looking for a pic of a Bedford truck filled with sand bags :-) ...the link is a hoot

http://uk.geocities.com/sadfbook/sharetxt.html

eet kreef said...

Robby - I was at Kroonstad and Bossiespruit for basics, JL's an CO's. Went to Bethlehem after that. My diensplig was mid 84 to mid 86. Thanks for the link - I have it bookmarked.

Tango said...

http://uk.geocities.com/sadfbook/sharetxt.html
Nice link.

Eeben i found a few of my own pictures of what we called "Big Daddy's"( Bedford truck filled with sandbags and a bench in the centre).One of our convoy's coming home in October 1975.( We withdraw from Rhodesia to the RSA.Politicians would know better as to why).

It is amazing how many good and funny story's one can find on the internet relating to your post.
As you said
"Even more amazing are the feelings looking at those old vehicles still evokes"
Pictures tell a lot!
Regards
Tango

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the link, Tango. I had a look at it when Robby sent it through and again now. It is amazing what was actually accomplished with very little and I believe it is testimony to the men who took part in that event in our history.

Looking at the photos the men took still gives a certain tug to the heart as we all went rheough the same albeit at different times.

Rgds,

Eeben

Tango said...

Hi Eeben,
Something on a lighter note.
The recent happenings at the Union Buildings made me think of the song below.(A soldier could never be paid enough if he does what is expected of him to to for his country !)

Old Soldiers Never Die
There is an old cookhouse, far far away
Where we get pork and beans, three times a day.
Beefsteak we never see, damn-all sugar for our tea
And we are gradually fading away.cho:
Old soldiers never die,Never die, never die,
Old soldiers never die
They just fade away.
Privates they love their beer, 'most every day.Corporals, they love their stripes, that's what they say.
Sergeants they love to drill.
Guess them bastards always will
So we drill and drill until we fade away.note:
This song achieved instant recognition when DouglasMacArthur quoted it in his farewell speech.@army @soldier @bitching.

Regards
Tango

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

You are so right, Tango. However, what we witnessed at the Union Buildings is both disgraceful and a shame. But, when an army can have a trade union and can decide what they will do and not do, when and where they will deploy or not deploy, who they will fight and who they won’t, we need to recognise that we are in dire trouble.

The current SANDF seems to be a place where those who have no respect for authority, no desire to serve their country and no intention of protecting the Constitution find succour. There is no discipline, no leadership and no desire to serve anyone but themselves.

Government would do well to abolish the SANDF’s trade union, get rid of the HUGE number of incompetents that are currently in command (and other) positions and revert back to a proud, disciplined and combat-ready armed force. Until that day, we will see more of what has happened.

There have even been whispers that next time round, the army will shoot back at the police. If that is not cause for concern, then I don’t know…But, as I always said, we now have the army the West wanted us to have.

Rgds,

Eeben

eet kreef said...

Your comment on Trade unions and the SANDF caught my eye. I recently read somewhere that the average age of a troep in the SANDF is 30 (as opposed to 18 in the British Army)!!! Changes are definitely needed

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I am deeply concerned at the state of affairs in the SANDF, Eet Kreef. I have to wonder “why” this is happening and “what” may lurk behind this rabble-like behaviour. One must also ask what will happen when this undisciplined mob are armed and let loose?

As regards age: you are quite correct. Age seems to play no role in the SANDF’s recruiting policy and the result is what we witness at the moment.

I have said it before and I shall say it again: Thank God I never served in the SANDF. They are a disgrace to the values of any armed force.

Rgds,

Eeben

Tango said...

Eeben,
We have had similar problems in the past (1990-1994)regarding unions and strike actions by members of the SAPS ,Correctional services as well as the SANDF.
Action was taken against them.
33 Policemen were fired and again 88 at a later stage were arrested for mutiny . 32 Soldiers (21 Battallion)from the Lens base were convicted for mutiny as well in 1993

Current legislation is in place to take similar action against the most recent incident at the Union Buildings.
Let's see how it is dealt with now in 2009.
Regards
Tango

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I think what we are witnessing right now is absolute mutiny within the armed forces, Tango.

I recall the problems of those years and the actions taken but the end result remained unchanged. Our security forces, police and armed forces, have tarnished their name through ill discipline, inadequate leadership, poor control, non-existent vetting and so forth. The situation will not improve in the short term and the government needs to take a long, hard look at the type of person it is attracting to these very important forces.

I don’t think that by firing a few the situation will improve.

Rgds,

Eeben