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The South African Border War (1966-1989): a Case Study


Source: South African Border War, Wikimedia available on:


Hans Henrik Møller, Institute for Military Operations, Royal Danish Defence College.

This paper was presented to the US Joint Staff College during my participation in the Post Graduate Military Education, level II in 2011. The paper concluded an elective on Low Intensity Conflict: Insurgency and Counterinsurgency Warfare.


The South African Border War – or the Bush War - was a quite remarkable conflict that took place in the border region between South-West-Africa (Namibia), Angola and the Republic of South Africa between 1966 and 1989 which makes it one of the longest conflicts on the African continent. The conflict is not well known because the events took place during the Cold War where the involved actors de facto acted as proxies in the overall ideological struggle between East and West. The conflict covered most of the South African region. The seed to the conflict originated from the colonial past, where most African countries were colonized and governed by European nations and white minorities. Following the end of World War II, African states gradually gained independence from their former colonial rulers often through a violent liberation struggle aimed against the colonial authorities but also against rivaling tribes. The post-colonial states, which subsequently emerged from the struggle, were mostly characterized by dictatorships, instability, and poverty and often with a mainly Marxist political agenda. In contrast South Africa was not ruled by any colonial power and continued throughout – and initially with some success - their capitalist, nationalist government, and policy of apartheid headed by the white minority elite.

This paper does not intend to describe or explain the South African Border War as a whole, but will focus on the insurgency and counterinsurgency campaign that took place between the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) and South Africa in the border region between Namibia and Angola. Further the paper will discuss and compare the actual course of the campaign with some of the basic tenants of counterinsurgency strategies as defined by Dr. Paul Melschen1 in his article “Mapping Out a Counterinsurgency Campaign Plan”


The Republic of South Africa2

By the early 1960 the implementation of apartheid and repression of the black population in South Africa met growing internal and external criticism. The two political parties in opposition to the white minority government African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan African Congress (PAC) adopted a violent struggle against the apartheid regime. Following the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 the two parties were banned in South Africa, and were forced to establish themselves in neighboring countries (the so called Frontline States). A United Nations (UN) General Assembly resolution in 1962 called on member states to break diplomatic relations with South Africa and terminate trade relations. In the 1970s, widespread labor actions and unrest culminated with the Soweto riots in 1976. The UN adopted an embargo on arms sales to South Africa and the global opposition against the apartheid regime led to a growing isolation of the country, reducing foreign investments and trade, thereby crippling the South African economy significantly. In the late 1970s and early 1980s armed groups from the ANC and PAC began infiltrating South Africa from their front-line states sanctuaries, carrying out urban terror actions. The South African government responded by imposing a state of emergency and employed security forces in a series of interdiction operations in Angola and Zambia. This intensified the international pressure and almost brought South African economy to a collapse. In the late 1980s the president of South Africa F.W. de Klerk began a reformation process away from apartheid, finally leading to free elections and a change of regime that saw the ANC leader Nelson Mandela come to power as president in 1994.


South West Africa (Namibia) was a German Colony until it was occupied by South African troops during World War I. After the completion of the Treaty of Versailles, German South West Africa was declared a mandate of the League of Nations, and put under South African administration. In the late 1940s South Africa partially introduced Apartheid in Namibia preventing black Namibians political rights and restricted social and economic freedoms. Since the late 1940s the South West Africa issue often was subject for debates in the UN. Following the general trend of opposition against the colonial powers and apartheid, the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) was founded in 1960.3 SWAPO was dominated by the Owambo tribe – the largest tribe in Namibia - which inhabits Owamboland in northern Namibia as well as the southernmost Angola (See table 1.0).

SWAPO soon became the main political force in the region, and in 1966 SWAPO initiated an armed struggle to liberate Namibia, initially operating from bases in Zambia. After Angola gained independence in 1975, SWAPO moved their bases there. Over the years hostilities intensified particularly in Owamboland in the north. The General Assembly of UN terminated the mandate and decided Namibia to be placed under administration of the UN; however South Africa preserved their presence and control of the country. In 1973 UN recognized SWAPO as the official representative of the Namibian people. During the 1980s the South African campaign to suppress SWAPO accelerated with large scale attacks into Angola proper. In 1988 the South African effort collapsed and a UN supervised cease-fire led to the simultaneous withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola and of South African forces from Namibia. In the late 1980s, in the face of condemnations, sanctions, and political pressure from the international community South Africa accepted a UN supervised transition to Namibian independence.

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The Front Line States From 1960 through 1980 most of the African countries in the region fought for their own independence and were in fierce opposition to the South Africa regime. The so called ‘frontline states’ included Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe4. Of specific relevance to this paper are Angola and Zambia. These states neighbors Namibia to the North and East and provided sanctuaries for a number of liberation movements that have taken up armed struggle against the colonial rulers and the apartheid regime in South Africa.


Angola is a former Portuguese colony. In the early 1960s a number of movements were active in the struggle for an independent Angola. Most dominant were the Marxist inspired Popular de Libertaqao de Angola (MPLA) with its armed wing Forças Armadas Populares de Libertação de Angola (FAPLA) and the anti-communist Uniao Nacional para a Independencia (UNITA). In 1975 Angola gained independence and the following fight for power between MPLA and UNITA evolved into a civil war that continued until 2002. South Africa provided support to UNITA in an attempt to counter Communism in Southern Africa, while Cuba, backed by the Soviet Union, provided troops and arms in support of MPLA. After the Portuguese security forces left Angola in 1975, MPLA offered SWAPO sanctuary in Southern Angola in support of SWAPOs struggle for an independent Namibia. Between 1979 and 1988, the conflict between the UNITA and the MPLA/FAPLA continued, with both South Africa and Cuba providing support to the opposing sides. In the 1980s the South Africa Defense Force (SADF) launched numerous cross border attacks on SWAPOs bases in Angola which lead to direct confrontations between SADF and Cuban forces. As a part of an UN peace plan, both South Africa and Cuba withdrew their troops in 1988.5


Zambia is a former British colony known as Northern Rhodesia until 1964, when it made a peaceful transition to independence. Zambia had hostile white minority governments to its west, south and east, including the Portuguese-ruled Angola and Mozambique, apartheid states South Africa and Rhodesia, and South African-occupied South West Africa (Namibia). Zambia provided safe havens for a number of armed resistance movements in Southern Africa during the 1970s. The armed wing of the South African ANC, ZANU from Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), the MPLA and SWAPO military wing Peoples Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) where all operating from inside Zambia6. The SADF launched several attacks and raids into the southwestern part of Zambia in order to destroy PLAN, thereby preventing them from infiltrating into the northeastern part of Namibia – the Caprivi Strip. After 1975, when Angola gained independence, the main part of SWAPO and PLAN moved to Angola.

The belligerents

The South African Security Forces7

The South African Security Forces in Namibia were; the South African Police (SAP); the South African Defense Force (SADF); and the South West African Territorial Force (SWAFT). Initially, security operations in Namibia were conducted by South African police units with some counterinsurgency skills and supported by air assets from the South African Air Force. SAP had gained direct counterinsurgency experience from South African policemen that had fought in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). Rhodesia was to be the training-ground of many later counterinsurgency specialists, including the officers who set up the special counterinsurgency-force Koevoet (crowbar) in Namibia8. Koevoet was a police counterinsurgency unit formed in 1979. It consisted of white South African officers and black constables primarily recruited among the Owambo tribe and former PLAN warriors. The unit was unconventional but highly effective due to an intimate knowledge of the operating environment and the employment of effective counterinsurgency tactics and techniques known as “the mechanized tracking concept”. They combined a fast intelligence and decision cycle with rapid employment of small, mobile and armored unit’s with skillful trackers that would lead them to contact. Once contact was made the battle was fought mounted which gave Koevoet a vast superiority in protection, firepower, mobility and overview. Each unit was given complete freedom to pursue the enemy with no imposed limitations in time, space, or method. The high tempo of these operations made it very difficult for the opponent to effectively apply counter-tracking techniques. The result was a doctrine and a force that PLAN could not match, and their operations in Northern Namibia became virtually suicidal. By 1987 a PLAN soldier had no more than 36 hours in Owamboland before Koevoet were in pursuit9. From 1972 the internal unrest in Namibia as well as the pressure from the insurgents reached a level where the SAP was overwhelmed, and in 1974 the SADF took over responsibility for the border security in Northern Namibia even though they did not have much combat experience or counterinsurgency skills10. The total number of SADF forces in Northern Namibia at any given time was approximately 6 – 7000 covering 500 km. border and the whole of Owamboland. The SADF units were conventional infantry and mechanized army formations, consisting of national service men in their second year of service. They were rotated in from battalions in South Africa to serve three months tours of operational duty11. They were neither trained nor equipped for counterinsurgency operations. 12 Gradually SADF acknowledged this problem and an increasing number of black soldiers from Namibia and Angola were recruited to SADF battalions. Most of these units were transferred to the SWATF in 1980. Besides securing the border region the SADF from the late 1970s were employed in a series of external operations in to Angola aiming at destroying bases, and infrastructure belonging to SWAPO, FAPLA and Cuban forces. In 1980, the territorial force SWATF consisting of local recruited soldiers was established under control of the SADF to handle internal security in Namibia. SWATF soon developed into a very competent counterinsurgency force and by 1989 it provided for 70 - 80 % of the ground forces deployed against PLAN. Of special interest is the 101 battalion located in the Owambo region conducting rural counterinsurgency operations following the mechanized tracking concept developed by Koevoet.

South West Arica People’s Organization

During the 1960s a liberation movement with a mainly Marxist agenda (SWAPO) appeared in Namibia. In 1966 SWAPO established its fighting force the People's Liberation Army of Namibia or PLAN and an armed revolt began. At this time Angola was still a Portuguese colony, which meant that any supply lines to friendly black nations were too long for the Namibian rebels to get enough weapons and aid to wage a serious military campaign, and subsequently resorted to gathering support and small acts of terrorism and sabotage. In 1975, Angola became independent and with shorter supply lines SWAPO was able to initiate a serious guerrilla warfare campaign. With Angolan safe havens close to Namibia, SWAPO had around 18,000 men under arms by 1978 and could launch up to 800 men in raids into Namibia13. The insurgents focused on Owamboland as their main objective with 46 per cent of the Namibian population living there. Owamboland was also the area where SWAPO - their leaders being Owambos - would have the best chance of gaining support and trust of the local’s14.The quality of the PLAN fighters improved significantly from 1978 due to better training and equipment provided by the FAPLA/Cuban instructors and forces in Angola. However, the South African Security Forces offensive strategy in the late 1970s to the mid-1980s with attacks into Angola and retaliatory strikes into Zambia, forced PLAN away from the border region. This combined with high number of casualties, destruction of bases and lines of communication lead to a significantly reduced activity, and according to some sources, almost broke the back of PLAN15. By 1988, the number of PLAN troops had fallen to around 8700 of which no more than 800 were near the border to Namibia. In 1987 the war in Angola escalated. The Cuban troops got involved directly in the fighting, rushed reinforcements to the battle, and moved large formations close to the border for the first time during their involvement in Angola. The likelihood of a Cuban-South African confrontation suddenly increased. This turned the tide of the war once again for SWAPO as South African forces were reluctant to provoke the Cubans by crossing the border to destroy rebel bases. With safe havens near the border now available once again, SWAPO guerrillas were able to attack South African bases in Namibia and resume their guerrilla warfare operations.

South African Strategy

It is important to consider that the border war in Namibia was conducted during the cold war era. South Africa portrayed itself as an isolated Front line state facing the “total onslaught” of decolonization, communist expansion and the institutionalizing of black governments, in all of the neighboring countries. The geographical location of Namibia made it a perfect buffer zone to keep the communist influence away from South African home land. At the same time, Namibia possessed an enormous wealth of important minerals and therefore was of considerable economic importance to South Africa. This called for a South African forward defense strategy. In the early phases of the war, Namibia was merely treated as an integrated South African province where the laws of apartheid were applied, and the country was ruled from Pretoria through a white administration and law enforcement. In the 1970s, under pressure from a growing world opinion, economic sanctions and the rise of pre-colonial and anti-apartheid regimes in all the neighboring states, South Africa realized that they were losing the battle of narratives and that a transformation in Namibia towards independence was inevitable. The strategy was to ensure a controlled transformation to a state, which did not constitute a threat against South Africa. In hindsight the South African administration in Namibia failed to sufficiently synchronize their political, social, economic, and information lines, with their military approach. They did not understand the importance of winning the trust of the Namibian population, particularly the dominate Owambos, and failed to justify their course in a way that could legitimate a non-SWAPO regime after independence. They failed to win the battle of the narrative with the Owambo. The SADF tried hard to win the people’s allegiance, while police units like Koevoet and SWAFT units relied on fear and coercion. Since the population viewed the police and the army as part of the same security forces, the actions of Koevoet affected the attitude of the population towards the South African authorities as a whole. 16 This lack of ‘unity of effort’ across all the dimensions of the conflict, resulted in the loss of the hearts and minds of the Namibian population – especially the Owambos - and at the end of the day, brought SWAPO to power.

SWAPO Strategy

SWAPOs strategy and tactics were classical. Trained in many countries such as the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, Cuba, East Germany etc. the SWAPO leaders were inculcated with the strategy and tactics which had been applied by the communist Chinese against the Nationalists in the late 1940s, by the Vietnamese against the French in the 1950s, and the Americans in the 1960s and 1970s.17 The SWAPO strategy was to carry out the struggle simultaneously in the political, military and diplomatic fields. This involved three separate lines of operations:

 The first was the political or the home front, where the Namibian people themselves, having assumed the responsibility as their own liberators, are carrying on a militant resistance against colonial and illegal occupation. (Defining their narrative.)

 The second was on the international front. It represented international solidarity and co-operation. Its importance is consequential to the struggle internationally and anticipates the next stage of the struggle; this line was a vital link between the political and the military lines. (Reinforcing their narrative effectively via information domain.)

 On the basis of the all-round, concrete material assistance and political support rendered by its allies and friends, SWAPO was able to launch and sustain an armed struggle18. (Producing actions to confirm their narrative.)

SWAPO had initial some success on all lines of operations. However the growing success of the South African Security Forces counterinsurgency campaign gradually pushed SWAPO away from the “home front” reducing SWAPOs ability to effectively influence the Namibian population and organize the resistance against the South African occupation and administration. Furthermore the effect of the armed struggle was increasingly diminished by the success of the counterinsurgency forces. This meant that only one option was open for SWAPO; the diplomatic line. SWAPO managed to maneuver along this line with great skillfulness skillfully enjoying the full support of the international community. Their narrative became their most effective line of operation.

Comparison with some General Principles of Counterinsurgency

The size and purpose of this paper do not allow an in-depth analysis. Therefore this chapter will discuss only those principles that in general are considered critical to a successful counterinsurgency campaign, and compare them to the strategies and principles employed by South Africa during the course of the Border War. The main principles to be highlighted are as defined in Dr. P. Melchers paper “Mapping out a Counterinsurgency Plan”: Clearly defined policy and strategy; the population must be kept safe; counterinsurgency is manpower intensive; the insurgent infrastructure must be eliminated; counterinsurgency takes time; and the armed forces must eventually do the bulk of the fighting.19

Clearly defined policy

First of all it should be noted, that the SWAPO insurgency did not pose a direct threat towards the survival of South Africa as a nation or the South African political paradigm. This fact is clearly reflected in the overall political effort as well as the military commitment during the campaign. South Africa could afford to lose the war in Namibia without being destroyed totally, which made it easier in the end to hand over power on favorable terms.20 South African policy in Namibia served the fundamental objectives of security and white power. Until the early 1970s South Africa treated Namibia as a political and economic extension of itself and rejected international and domestic demands for reforms and independence. In the mid-1970s South Africa saw the “writing on the wall” and the transformation process towards an independent Namibia began. South Africa needed time to complete the process and to avoid a Marxist SWAPO take-over of power in Namibia. “And so, on a security strategic level, the war became an attempt to win enough time to create the conditions in which SWAPO would lose an election”. The SADF was the primary instrument for creating these conditions and to secure a stable environment in which a moderate and acceptable Namibian regime could be developed. In this way policy –as the most important foundation for winning a counterinsurgency campaign was weakened by an unsynchronized effort in the non-military dimensions of the war. The effort to merely establish acceptable conditions for an independent Namibia produced a disjointed policy.

The population must be kept safe

The security and the wellbeing of the population are vital for success. Until 1976 the South African security forces were primarily white South African conscripts rotating for short periods from South Africa through Namibia. They did not have any knowledge of the operating environment, nor did they have any counterinsurgency skills, and thus incapable of a population centric approach, resulting in rejection by the majority of the local population. The SADF committed a lot of resources in building schools, clinics, roads, and providing teachers, doctors etc. The results of this “winning hearts and minds” strategy were mixed. In those parts of Namibia were SWAPO influence and operations were limited the concept functioned fairly well. However in the SWAPO heartland – Owamboland – the local chiefs, clans and officials were firmly on SWAPOs side making cooperation difficult and ineffective. The police – and especially Koevoet and other special units – where widely known and feared for their brutal and harsh behavior, which gave the SADF an overall bad reputation, easily characterized by modern schools of military thought, as a direct result of an unsynchronized approach to kinetic/non-kinetic operations. Furthermore the vast size of the area of operations, the porous border to Angola and the dense presence of security forces made it difficult to control the area in a way that could convince the local population that they were safe from unrest, terror and violence. By not winning the hearts and minds of the Owambos – the dominant part of the Namibian population – SWAPO finally won the majority in the 1989 elections and subsequently came to power as the leading party in an independent Namibia. South Africa had lost the battle of ideas and subsequently the war.

Counterinsurgency is manpower intensive In the beginning of the border war South African security forces in the main area of operations (Owamboland) were fairly ineffective. This was due to the fact that SADF only employed forces from South Africa (white conscripts) and that those forces were primarily tasked to protect infrastructure and conduct force protection. This approach meant that the security forces were waiting for the insurgents to come to Namibia to do their actions before they reacted. From the late 1970s this strategy changed. The Security forces started to man units with black and white professionals, troops designated to defensive tasks were minimized, the area of operations patrolled aggressively, and counterinsurgency techniques introduced. “With these methods the number of combat contacts with insurgents doubled in 1979 compared to the previous year. Of those contacts 85 per cent were initiated by the security forces, illustrating their ability to dominate operational areas militarily”.21 Externally, the war was brought to the insurgents own back yard deep inside Angola by use of search and destroy raids directed against insurgent bases, training facilities, infrastructure, command and control nodes etc. In this way the South African Security Forces compensated for only having relatively few “boots on the ground” through the concentration of available forces and efforts at the right place, at the right time.

The insurgent infrastructure must be eliminated The military strategy of attacking PLAN insurgents inside their sanctuaries in Angola was introduced in the late 1970s and continued through the first part of the 1980s. The effect of the cross-border operations on PLAN capacities and freedom of movement was considerable, and reduced the organizations’ capability to operate in Northern Namibia to a manageable level for the increasingly effective counterinsurgency units – most predominant the Koevoet and SWAFTs 101 Battalion. On the political front, South Africa did not enjoy much success. As SWAPO was lead from outside Namibia, it was very difficult for South Africa to approach and influence the political leadership of SWAPO. SWAPO maneuvered with success in the diplomatic, political, and information domains making good use of the momentum inherent in the negative perception of apartheid and colonialism. In this way South Africa did not manage to neutralize the political infrastructure of SWAPO with same effectiveness as neutralized the military infrastructure of the PLAN.

Counterinsurgency takes time

The South African border war lasted for more than 23 years. Both parties in the conflict showed a remarkably patience and perseverance. However the clock was ticking against South Africa. Politically, the policy of apartheid was crumbling in the face of an overwhelmingly world opinion condemning South Africa, and gradually turning the Pretoria regime in to a pariah. As the colonial era was coming to an end for all the front-line states, this increased the pressure on South Africa with regards to the Namibian question. United Nations terminated the mandate and called for sanctions against South Africa and internal unrest and violence shattered the stability of the country. The costs of fighting a counterinsurgency campaign in Namibia both in manpower, as well as financially, were rapidly growing out of proportions. Furthermore the SADF got increasingly involved in conventional confrontations with FAPLA backed by the Cubans in Angola, and with an increasingly vulnerable economy, South Africa was close to reaching the breaking point.

The armed forces must eventually do the bulk of the fighting

In the early stages of the conflict South African police made up the security force in Namibia. Even though they had some counterinsurgency skills they were not organized and trained for prolonged combat operations in the bush. The SADF was consequently employed in 1974 to secure the border region of Northern Namibia. However they were neither trained nor equipped for counterinsurgency and did not manage to secure the region or to counter the insurgency. But in the late 1970s the concept of professional soldiers, with primarily black troops recruited from the local area, combined with focused training in counterinsurgency tactics and techniques, and the introduction of highly specialized counterinsurgency units began to have a positive effect. Combined with cross-border attacks on PLAN and SWAPO installations in Angola the South African security forces achieved success in keeping the PLAN insurgents at bay.


The history of Namibia's struggle for independence presents an excellent case study for those looking at insurgency and counterinsurgency. When visiting Hanoi in 1975 just after the Vietnam War, the American strategist Colonel Harry Summers told his North Vietnamese counterpart: “You know you never defeated us on the battlefield.” The other colonel thought for a moment, then answered: “That may be so, but it is also irrelevant.”22 This quotation describes in a short and precise way the whole essence of the outcome of the South African counterinsurgency campaign in Namibia. South African Security Forces gradually developed excellent counterinsurgency tactics and techniques and combined these with deep strikes against rebel infrastructure inside the front-line states thereby getting the upper hand. However the military success was not driven by a clearly defined policy and strategy, and the overall effectiveness was reduced by disjointed efforts in the non-military dimensions of the conflict, particularly where it concerned the Owambos. Confronted with a constantly growing global denouncement, internal instability, economic recession and the growing costs of the war South Africa failed in defining a war winning strategy, and instead merely defined the conditions that were just acceptable to a South African exit. Secondly, the essence of counterinsurgency is to win the hearts and minds of the population but even though SADF did their best to implement a civil-military doctrine, both the South African and the Namibian administrations failed to adopt a comprehensive strategy to synchronize efforts in all dimensions of the conflict, especially in Owamboland, which in the end, turned out to be the center of gravity.

Foot notes:

1Dr. Paul Melshen is a professor of Strategic Studies and Military History at the Joint Forces Staff College, National Defense University, Norfolk, Virginia, United States of America. The article “Mapping out a Counterinsurgency Campaign Plan: Critical Considerations in Counterinsurgency Campaigning” was presented as a paper at the Philippine Army Senior Leaders Conference, 17 March 2006.

2 Compiled from:  South Africa, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Africa.  Background Note; South Africa, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of African Affairs. Available from http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2898.htm.

3 Namibia description compiled from:  History of Namibia, History World. Available on http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ad32  Namibia 1966 – 1990, HistoryOfWar.org. Available on http://www.historyofwar.org/scripts/fluffy/fcp.pl?words=namibia+1966&d=/wars_namibia.html  Major Robert C. Owen, Counterrevolution in Namibia, Airpower Journal, winter 1987-1988.

4 Frontline States, South African History Online, available on http://www.sahistory.org.za/organisations/frontline-states

5 The Angolan-Namibian peace plan is accepted, South African History Online, available on http://www.sahistory.org.za/dated-event/angolan-namibian-peace-plan-accepted

6 Christian Rainer, History battle: Zambia's dubious role in Namibia's freedom fight, Afrol News available on http://afrol.com/features/36448

7 Major Robert C. Owen, Counterrevolution in Namibia,(Airpower Journal, winter 1987-1988).

8 Ros Reeve and Stephen Ellis, An Insider's Account of the South African Security Forces' Role in the Ivory Trade, (Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 1995)p. 1

9 Modern African Wars (3), South West Africa, edited by Martin Windrow, Men at Arms Series 242,(Osprey Publishing Ltd, London, 1991), p. 22.

10 Dr Leopold Scholtz, Extraordinary Professor, Department of History, Stellenbosch University, South Africa The Namibian Border War, An appraisal of the South African Strategy, (Scientia Militaria: South African Journal of Military Studies, Volume 34, 2006) p. 9

11 Edward George McGill Alexander, Master of Arts in the subject of history, The Cassinga Raid, (Unpublished MA thesis, University of South Africa, July 2003) p. 32.

12 To underline the problem a South African police commander wrote in his memoirs: “We took a boy who had just matriculated, gave him a gun, two to three months of basic training – and then threw him in the middle of a country that he did not know, people he did not understand and an enemy that he had never seen. No wonder he did not do very well.”39 Indeed, how could you expect city boys to track and find guerrillas who grew up in the area and knew every bush-craft trick in the book when they did not want to be found?”. Colonel Eugene De Kock, A Long Night’s Damage, (Contra Press, Johannesburg, 1998) p. 65..

13 Namibia 1966 – 1990, HistoryOfWar.org. Available on http://www.historyofwar.org/scripts/fluffy/fcp.pl?words=namibia+1966&d=/wars_namibia.html

14 Dr Leopold Scholtz, Extraordinary Professor, Department of History, Stellenbosch University, South Africa The Namibian Border War, An appraisal of the South African Strategy, (Scientia Militaria: South African Journal of Military Studies, Volume 34, 2006), p. 22.

15 “SWAPOs ability to strike at will into the Owambo area of Namibia now began to diminish rapidly. Plan combatants, previously based within a few kilometers of the Namibian border, were forced hundreds of kilometers back into the Angolan hinterland. The Plan headquarters and regional command points came under constant air and ground attack. Forward command posts from which guerrillas operated into Namibia became increasingly insecure if close to the border, with their lines of supply disrupted. This crucially affected their ability to conduct political work among the local population”. Dr Leopold Scholtz, Extraordinary Professor, Department of History, Stellenbosch University, South Africa The Namibian Border War, An appraisal of the South African Strategy, (Scientia Militaria: South African Journal of Military Studies, Volume 34, 2006), p. 38

16 Dr Leopold Scholtz, Extraordinary Professor, Department of History, Stellenbosch University, South Africa The Namibian Border War, An appraisal of the South African Strategy, (Scientia Militaria: South African Journal of Military Studies, Volume 34, 2006) p. 95

17 Edward George McGill Alexander, Master of Arts in the subject of history, The Cassinga Raid, (Unpublished MA thesis, University of South Africa, July 2003), p. 28

18 Namibia Patriotic War available at http://www.my-beautiful-namibia.com/namibia-patrioticwar.html

19 Dr. Paul Melshen, Mapping Out a Counterinsurgency Campaign Plan: Critical Considerations in Counterinsurgency Campaigning, (Small Wars and Insurgencies, VOL. 18, No. 4, December 2007), p. 668.

20 Dr Leopold Scholtz, Extraordinary Professor, Department of History, Stellenbosch University, South Africa The Namibian Border War, An appraisal of the South African Strategy, (Scientia Militaria: South African Journal of Military Studies, Volume 34, 2006), p. 20.

21 Dr Leopold Scholtz, Extraordinary Professor, Department of History, Stellenbosch University, South Africa The Namibian Border War, An appraisal of the South African Strategy, (Scientia Militaria: South African Journal of Military Studies, Volume 34, 2006), p. 36

22 Harry G. Summers, jr: On Strategy: The Vietnam War in Context (Pennsylvania, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, n.d. [1982]), p. 1.