South African Military History 

P.O. BOX 12926


Our speaker on 10 August 2017 was member Mr Greg Pullin, whose subject was Operation Barbarossa - the first phase of the invasion of Russia - from 22 June to 5 December 1941. The invasion of Soviet Russia by Nazi Germany on 22 June 1941 was the largest attack in history at that time and resulted in the Russo-German War which lasted to the end of the war in Europe in May 1945.

Mr Pullin introduced his talk by discussing briefly the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, also known as the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. This was a neutrality and mutual assistance pact signed by the two countries on 23 August 1939, one week before the German invasion of Poland. The Pact delineated the spheres of interest of the two powers. These were confirmed by the supplementary protocol of the German-Soviet Frontier Treaty amended after the invasion of Poland by both Germany and Russia and Poland's defeat.

A number of events which took place before June 1941 influenced Operation Barbarossa. The first of these was the Great Purge of the 1930's, during which a huge number of Russians were either exterminated by the NKVD or sent to Siberian Gulags. The victims included some 30 000 Red Army officers and most of the higher ranks. As a result, by 1939, the Red Army had a serious shortage of experienced senior and mid-level officers. These purges continued even after June 1941, lasting until February 1942. This lack of experienced commanders had a drastic effect on the Red Army's and Air Force's performance against the Germans after June 1941.

Prior to the invasion of Russia by the Germans in June 1941, which abruptly ended the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, Russia had fought a campaign against Japan on the Mongolian Border between May and September 1939, which ended in the defeat of Japanese forces at the Battle of Khalkhin Gol. Russia had also invaded Finland, fighting the Winter War against that country. Finland won the early battles but was overwhelmed by the Russian steamroller and had to concede some of its territory. Russia also invaded the Baltic States and parts of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina.

What were Hitler's reasons for invading Russia? Our speaker mentioned some of these which appeared in his book - Mein Kampf - the eradication of Bolshevism and Communism, the need for Lebensraum (living space) to accommodate Germans. He also wanted to seize the oil reserves of the Caucasus and the agricultural resources of European Russia. His objectives were the destruction of the Russian Armed Forces and gaining much-needed agricultural land to compensate for that lost as a result of the draconic Treaty of Versailles after World War One.

Originally codenamed Operation Otto, then Operation Fritz, the invasion of Russia was renamed Operation Barbarossa by Hitler in honour of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa (1152 - 1190) who sought to establish German predominance in Europe. German planning commenced and, on 18 December 1940, Hitler issued Führer Directive 21, Operation Barbarossa.

Russia had received warnings from largely British sources but also from their own sources that something was brewing in Germany. The GRU had a spy ring known as the Red Orchestra in Europe. This had been severely hit by the German counterintelligence forces but was still operating from Switzerland, sending details of German plans to Moscow. A Russian agent named Yan Chernyak actually sent a copy of the OKW plan to Russia. Stalin refused to believe any of the information received and was sure that Hitler would honour the non-aggression pact. When the invasion took place, he was so shocked that he retired to his country home for a week. (See footnotes - Ed.)

The Soviet General Staff had prepared a defensive plan which was completed by 15 May 1941. There are also sources which claim that the Russians had formed up their forces for a pre-emptive attack but this cannot be verified.

German planning was based on their intelligence reports which wrongly assumed that, if the Russian Army in the West was defeated, no further Russian reserves would be available from Siberia and the Far East. Directive 21 thus planned to defeat the Russian Army in the West, not the Soviet Union. Hitler and the Ober-Kommando des Heeres (the German Army General Staff) were convinced that the Russian Army would be defeated in two to three months and that, by October 1941, they would have conquered the whole of European Russia west of a line stretching from Murmansk to Astrakhan.

The plan saw three Army Groups, North, Centre and South, advancing on Leningrad (now St Petersburg), Moscow and Kiev respectively, in the order Leningrad first, then Kiev and lastly Moscow The plan stressed that, while Moscow was the most important objective, Army Group Centre should be diverted to help the other two Army Groups if they failed to seize their objectives. Directive 21 was rambling and vague, it failed to resolve the disputes opened by bad planning and was a plan to defeat the Red Army and not the Soviet Union as a whole.

Hitler wanted to destroy the Red Army near the border, west of the capital, rather than achieve specific terrain objectives and believed that Moscow was not of great importance.

Operation Barbarossa was originally planned to commence on 15 May 1941 but was postponed. It was launched on 22 June 1941, 38 days later. One of the reasons for this was the unusually severe winter in 1941/2 which kept rivers at full flood until late spring. Other reasons were the delays in distributing motor transport, fuel distribution problems and the difficulties experienced in establishing forward airfields for the Luftwaffe under a veil of secrecy. In addition Mussolini had invaded Greece and Hitler had to divert a large number of divisions to Yugoslavia and Greece to sort out the problems there. These included a number of mechanised divisions and all of these had to be transported to the Eastern Front to take part in Barbarossa. This took time and played a large role in the failure of the Germans to conquer Russia before the onset of winter.

Our speaker then compared the opposing forces at the start of the operation. The Axis forces had 3.8 million men, including Germans and contingents from Italy, Hungary, Romania, Finland, Croatia and the Slovak Republic. The Russians had ± 2.6 to 2.9 million men, but the Germans were outnumbered 3 to 1 in tanks, about 3 to 1 in aircraft and also in artillery.

The German attack was launched early in the morning of 22 June 1941 by three Army Groups on an 1,800 mile (2,900 km) front. The Russians were taken by surprise and caught completely unprepared.1 The German Army groups were commanded by the same generals who commanded the attack on France.

Army Group North was commanded by Colonel General Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb, attacking from East Prussia into the Baltic States toward Leningrad. He commanded two armies and a Panzer Group (20 divisions). In the centre, north of the Pripet Marshes, Colonel-General Fedor von Bock launched his attack north-east towards Smolensk and Moscow. He commanded two armies and two Panzer Groups (a total of 51 divisions). In the south, Colonel General Gerd von Rundstedt led Army Group South of three armies and a Panzer Group with a sizeable force of Romanians and Hungarians. He headed towards Kiev and then south-east towards the coasts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Each Group was supported by an Air Fleet. Note that a Panzer Group is, in fact, a small army made up of Panzer and motorised infantry divisions, using motor transport along their supply lines. The total German force was 152 divisions (of these 17 were Panzer and 13 were motorized divisions). The Finns joined in, not as an Axis partner, but as co-belligerents with the aim of recovering the territory lost in the Winter War. The Finns fielded 17 divisions. The German transport resources comprised 625,000 horses and 600,000 motor vehicles.

The Red Army comprised four Special Military Districts - Baltic, commanded by Gen Kuznetsov (three armies of 26 divisions - 6 armoured); Western, commanded by Pavlov (three armies of 36 divisions - 10 armoured); Kiev, commanded by Kirponos (four armies of 56 divisions -16 armoured); Odessa, commanded by Tyulenev (one army of 14 divisions - 2 armoured).

Initially the inhabitants in the occupied Russian territories, the Baltic States and the Ukraine welcomed the Germans, but heavy-handed administration and punitive measures by the Germans quickly put paid to that in the Russian territories. At that stage there was an increase of partisan activity, not only due to German excesses against the civil populations, but mainly due to well-organised clandestine warfare preparations by the Soviet state, well before the war started. In the Baltic States and the Ukraine, which had suffered terribly under the Bolshevist/Communist yoke, a large proportion of the populations co-operated actively with the Axis forces. In fact anti-Communist guerrillas in these states conducted a vigorous war of resistance against the Soviet occupiers until the late 1940s.

Despite the shock of the surprise German attack, the Russian soldiers in general resisted fiercely. The old fortress at Brest-Litovsk, defended by 9,000 men, held out for over a week against 20,000 Germans, surrendering only when they had run out of food, ammunition and water. By then Guderian's tanks were encircling Smolensk, 600 km to the east.

Our speaker then discussed each German Army Group's performance. Army Group Centre attacked both north and south of the Pripet Marshes. The southern attack was spearheaded by Guderian, who after a few days reached Minsk, where his forces joined those of Hoth's Panzer Group. The infantry divisions could not keep pace with the Panzers and the encirclement was incomplete although 300 000 prisoners were taken.

This often happened in Russia. The German Army was largely made up of marching infantry - only 30 of the 111 German divisions were mechanised, the others marched or, if lucky, travelled by train.

German Army motor transport lacked numbers, the motor industry could not keep up with the demand for trucks and a large part of the vehicle fleet was made up of trucks requisitioned in the occupied countries in Western Europe. This created insurmountable problems for the maintenance crews, expert as they were. The Germans made good use of railways but, in Western Europe, the standard gauge is 1,435 mm (4 foot 81/2 inches) compared to 1,676 mm (5 foot 6 inches) in Russia. Major reconstruction was needed before the railways could be used by the Germans. To worsen the problem, locomotives and rolling stock were either evacuated east by the Russians or destroyed in situ. The Russians had divisions of railway troops, and not battalions like the Germans, and were very skilled in their use. This applied throughout the entire Russo-German War.

The Russian armies were clumsily handled by their commanders and they frittered their superior numbers of tanks away in piecemeal fashion as had the French and British in 1940. But isolated Soviet troops fought with a stubbornness that the French had not shown. They would stubbornly hold road junctions, long after the Panzers had swept past, to keep the Germans from using them. The marching infantry then had to deploy to eliminate these pockets of resistance before they could catch up with the fast moving Panzers. These pockets were used as a base for partisans, who attacked German lines of communication, but these attacks often were unsuccessful.

Guderian crossed the Dnieper River on 10 July and captured Smolensk on 16 July, converging with Hoth's thrust from Vitebsk. Another 200,000 prisoners were taken but, as before, many Russians escaped the encirclement. The huge number of prisoners taken had to be fed and guarded, then moved to the rear. This placed another huge burden on the already overburdened German logistic units.

By mid-July, a series of rainstorms were turning the sandy Russian roads into quagmires, through which the wheeled vehicles of the German transport behind the tanks could only make very slow progress. Russia had very few tarred roads.

The retreating Russians had adopted a scorched earth policy. They burnt crops, destroyed bridges and evacuated whole factories in the face of the German advance. Entire steel and munitions plants in the western parts of Russia were dismantled and shipped by rail to the east, with their workers, where they were put back into production. As mentioned above, the railways were sabotaged and the locomotives and rolling stock were evacuated or destroyed.

Nevertheless, by mid-July, the Germans had advanced 640 km and were only some 300 km from Moscow. They could still make decisive gains before the onset of winter. But the whole of August was wasted in argument between Hitler and his generals, who wanted to advance on and take Moscow. Hitler wanted to move south-east through the Ukraine and the Donets Basin into the Caucasus, with a minor swing north-west against Leningrad, to converge with Leeb's troops. This fateful decision to reach for the Caucasus cost Hitler the Russian campaign, and ultimately, denied Germany victory in World War Two.

Army Group South broke through the very strong Russian defences in the Ukraine and, by the end of September, the Germans had reached to Black Sea mouths of the Bug and Dnieper Rivers, and there met with the Romanians.

Kleist was ordered to move his Panzers north, while Guderian took his Panzers south from Smolensk. They met behind Kiev and encircled and captured another 520,000 Russians. These huge encirclements were partly caused by inept Soviet commanders and partly by Stalin's insistence that his troops should stand and fight rather than retreat, regroup and later counter-attack. As winter approached, Army Group North was to stop its advance on the outskirts of Leningrad. The city was besieged for 900 days and some 800,000 people lost their lives.

But Army Group Centre was ordered to press on from the Dnieper toward the Don and the Caucasus. On 2 October this advance started and encircled and captured a further 600,000 Russians. The Vyazma battle petered out in late October.

The German troops were tired, they had lost much of their equipment and winter was nigh. The country became a morass as the weather got worse. Fresh Siberian Divisions appeared. The Germans had made no provision for winter clothing. Some German generals wanted to break off the offensive and dig in for the winter. Bock disagreed as did Hitler. On 2 December an offensive was launched and some German detachments reached the outer suburbs, but got no further. More Siberian divisions arrived and the attack petered out in the forests covering Moscow.

The weakened Germans could not overcome the well-equipped Siberians, trained to fight in these icy conditions, the worst for several decades. In October and November a wave of frostbite cases had decimated the German ranks and the icy weather paralyzed the German mechanized transport, tanks, artillery and aircraft. German casualties had risen to levels that were unheard of in the campaigns in France and the Balkans. By November, the Germans had suffered about 730,000 casualties.

In the South, Kleist had reached Rostov on Don, gateway to the Caucasus, but had run out of petrol for his tanks. His chief, Rundstedt, saw that the place was untenable and wanted to evacuate it. Hitler overruled him. A counterattack by the Russians recaptured the city on 28 November and Rundstedt was fired four days later.

As German pressure on Moscow slackened, the Russian commander on the Moscow front, Gen Zhukov, launched the first great Russian counter-offensive on 6 December 1941. This was directed against Bock's right in the Tula and Yelets sectors south of Moscow and against his centre in the Klin and Kalinin sectors. This was followed by a blow at the German left, in the Velikiye Luki sector. This offensive developed into a triple convergence towards Smolensk and was maintained through the winter of 1941/42. Fresh, well-trained and well-equipped troops were used, mainly Siberians well used to combat in extremely cold weather. The Russians had prepared for a winter offensive - vehicles, tanks, weapons and clothing were all designed for Arctic conditions.

Operation Barbarossa began to miscarry in August 1942 and its failure was patent when the Russian winter offensive started. The Russians had far greater losses than the Germans but the latter's inability to defeat the Soviets was a serious setback for the German military effort.

Germany's challenges during Operation Barbarossa included - * Lack of tarred roads and bridges over the many large rivers, especially those that could carry tanks
* Different railway gauges - railways were vital for the German supply efforts
* Extremely inadequate intelligence - they under-estimated Russian reserves totally
* They failed to realise what tough and resourceful soldiers the Russians were
* Early heavy rains (in July) which turned the sandy roads into swamps
* An early and severe winter
* Very long supply lines and totally inadequate motor transport
* Increasing resistance from the conquered population and partisan activity
* Hitler thought that Operation Barbarossa, the biggest and most ambitious campaign of WW2, could be won in 3 months with a fast, powerful Blitzkrieg-type strike - how wrong he was.

From the Russian side, Stalin did not expect to be attacked by Germany2 but had, especially after the defeat in Finland, been building up his forces to stave off a potential invasion. Their weapons and equipment were designed for the extreme variation in the Russian climate. When the war started, Stalin was not afraid to trade Russian lives or massive losses of territory for victory. The Red Army was far larger than Hitler's intelligence thought it was and it was entirely rebuilt during 1941. He thought that the Russian forces, including reserves, totalled 4.2 million men. In reality, the Germans faced 5 million men in over 300 divisions. By the end of 1941, this force had risen by a further 1,25 million men in a further 290 divisions - some of these would have been re-constructed divisions that had been decimated in earlier battles. This expansion continued until 1945. Women were allowed to serve on the front lines, as partisans, anti-aircraft gunners, tank crewmen and fighter pilots, among other activities.

Discipline was greatly increased and deserters and those who surrendered could expect to face a firing squad. Generals and other senior officers who failed were shot after a cursory court martial.

Despite their heavy losses, the Russians kept launching counter attack after counter attack in spite of German victories and this unyielding approach eventually forced the Germans to retreat and regroup. The Russian Army refused to stagnate or stop during the operation and went as far as to reevaluate all of their military procedures, strategy and tactics in the midst of the conflict. An example of this is the re-organisation of their armoured and motorised units after their disastrous performance early in the campaign.

Russian tanks were largely inferior to German tanks at first. This was changed when tank production switched to the production of T-34 and KV-1 tanks only - these were superior to the German tanks. The same applied to artillery and anti-tank equipment. In addition the factories evacuated from the west were very soon working full tilt beyond the Urals. Production soared as the whole country was turned into a vast work force producing arms and ammunition on a huge scale.

Stalin also loosened the political ties that controlled the Red Army, freeing his commanders to get on and win the war. Competent officers who had been locked up in the Gulags were released to rejoin the Army. Rokossovsky was one of these. Stalin changed his propaganda - no longer was the war to save Communism. It was a war to save the Rodina - the fatherland. This brought the Orthodox Church and everyone who opposed him into line, supporting the war effort. He realised that Russia needed to change its alliances, so he joined forces with Britain and the USA in the struggle against Hitler. This resulted in a flow of aircraft, vehicles and other military supplies. Some 750,000 vehicles were sent to Russia, eventually enabling the Red Army to motorise much of its huge army later in the war.

Mr Pullin implied that enough evidence3 in the form of official documents have surfaced after the fall of the Soviet Union to confirm that Stalin's political, diplomatic and military build-up to attack Germany in the summer of 1941 had been fact and not the case of conjecture and hypotheses as orthodox historians are trying to make out. Further revision of whether or not this is a fact is unclear - and unfortunately severely constrained - as the Russian Archives, previously accessible, are now closed to independent researchers, once again a question of political expediency.

Much comment was made after the talk and it is hoped that Mr Pullin can be prevailed upon to give us further talks on this subject in the future. The Chairman thanked Mr Pullin for his particularly interesting and well-illustrated power point presentation and presented him with the customary gift.


1 For decades the official version of the 1941-1945 German-Soviet conflict, supported by establishment historians in both Russia and the West, has been something like this: "Hitler launched a surprise 'Blitzkrieg' attack against the woefully unprepared Soviet Union, fooling its leader, the unsuspecting and trusting Stalin. The German Führer was driven by lust for "living space" and natural resources in the primitive East, and by his long-simmering determination to smash "Jewish Communism" once and for all. In this treacherous attack, which was an important part of Hitler's mad drive for "world conquest", the "Nazi" or "fascist" aggressors initially overwhelmed all resistance with their preponderance of modern tanks and aircraft."

This view, which was affirmed by the Allied judges at the post-war Nuremberg Tribunal, is still widely accepted in both Russia and the United States. In Russia today, most of the general public (and not merely those who are nostalgic for the old Soviet regime), accepts this "politically correct" line. For one thing, it "explains" the Soviet Union's enormous World War II losses in men and material. - Ed.

2 That is still the "official" version of events, but recently diligent research by bold researchers/ historians who were not afraid of endangering their careers, of being ostracized and their reputations smeared, utilised the brief window of opportunity of a decade in which the Russian State Archives were open to researchers and historians to dig up some of the secrets of the most monstrous regime world history had ever known. Although a lot of the solid proof that Stalin planned to attack a prostrate Western Europe after the fighting between the British and French on the one hand, and the Axis forces on the other, had exhausted these belligerents, enough fragmentary evidence from the said archives, diplomatic sources and Stalin's Secret Archive had been forthcoming to confirm that the opposite in fact, could very well be true: Stalin planned to attack Germany in 1941 and the German attack on June 22, 1941, was not a pre-emptive strike, but timed fortuitously to forestall a Soviet "Blitzkrieg" by a mere month, if not a few weeks, and the "Sovietization" of Europe.

These revelations led to a serious clash between orthodox and open-minded historians about what is "truth", i.e. what is real history and what is politically-expedient. The vanguard of this "openness" was Russian historians in their willingness to come to grips with this very emotion-laden chapter of history. They show much greater forthrightness and open-mindedness in confronting taboos of 20th century history than do their counterparts in Western Europe and the United States. The latter categories, especially in Orwellian Germany, were unwilling to confront this red herring as it was seen as "decriminalising Hitler" and therefore career suicide. In the English-speaking west the mainstream of historians simply ignored the new - albeit fragmentary - evidence, so as not to upset the applecart and in keeping with vested interests. Only a bare few western historians - mainly English and German-speaking - were willing to tackle this thorny issue.

It is interesting to note that in both the natural sciences research is encouraged to broaden knowledge and if the new "wisdom" overturns the conventional "wisdom" after proper evaluation and analysis it supersedes that known hitherto, but it is a long, slow and torturous process - but it happens. However, when it comes to history (as a social science), the truth is often a "will-o-the-wisp", a nebulous and elusive entity, difficult to get to grip with - especially if the documentary evidence is difficult to find or verify. Oral history in a sense compensates for it, but has been proven to fallible and in many cases to be unreliable if not corroborated by documents, etc. The "Donation" of the Roman Emperor, Constantine, in the 4th Century AD is a classic example of a historical fake viewed as true history for centuries. There is only one noteworthy exception in the study of history and that is the political and military history of the Twentieth Century, where legal curtailments, political, cultural and moral taboos limit the access to archives and the expression of free speech as it could "threaten democracy" and endanger the shaky foundations on which the existing ruling western establishment - and its vested interests - are built. Thus it is only historical "revisionism" as compared to all the social- and natural scientific disciplines that are viewed as a "heresy" and not as progress. - Ed.

3 Fragmentary pieces of evidence to prove this contention, have come to light, but due to a lack of space only a mere few would be quoted:

  1. Admiral N. G. Kuznetsov, who in 1941 was the Soviet Navy minister and a member of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party, stated in his post-war memoirs, "For me there is one thing beyond all argument -- J. V. Stalin not only did not exclude the possibility of war with Hitler's Germany, on the contrary, he considered such a war ... inevitable ... J. V. Stalin made preparations for war ... wide and varied preparations -- beginning on dates ... which he himself had selected. Hitler upset his calculations."
  2. On the 46th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe, the influential Moscow daily Pravda (May 8, 1991) told readers: "Unrealistic [Soviet] plans of an offensive nature were drawn up before the war as a result of an overestimation of our own capabilities and an underestimation of the enemy's. In accordance with these plans we began deploying our forces on the western frontier. But the enemy beat us to it."
  3. On August 25, 1939, the Swiss periodical Revue de droit international published the text of a speech Stalin delivered on August 19 to a closed session of the Political Bureau in Moscow. He was quoted as follows:
  4. "It must be our objective that Germany wage war long enough to exhaust England and France so much that they cannot defeat Germany alone.... Should Germany win, it will itself be so weakened that it won't be able to wage war against us for 10 years.... It's paramount for us that this war continues as long as possible, until both sides are worn out." In November, Stalin responded in Pravda that the Swiss article was a "heap of lies." (The Russian researcher T. S. Bushuyevoy discovered Stalin's original text in the former Soviet archives in 1994; it conformed to the Swiss version.).
  5. The captive Gen. Andrei Vlasov's remarks on the subject in 1942 were summarised by a German intelligence officer: "The Soviets had been forming up since the beginning of the year, which, due to the bad Soviet railroad lines, went rather slowly. Hitler judged the situation perfectly and ploughed right into the Soviets while they were deploying. This is how Vlasov explains the Germans' enormous initial success." - Ed.



Special Battlefield Tour - The Battle of Blaauwberg, 1806

In an agreement with the Friends of Blaauwberg Conservation Area, City of Cape Town, Biodiversity Management - the custodians of Blaauwberg Nature Reserve - and the Currie family (owners of the Blaauwberg Farm) a special motorised tour of the Battlefield and surrounds has been arranged. The City of Cape Town and Cape Tourism are keen to promote Military Heritage tourism to Cape Town and this battlefield is regarded as a site for future tourism development. After 4 years of archaeological work under the auspices of UCT the battle is now better understood and a must to see.

It is with pleasure that the South African Military History Society Cape Town Branch offers to take you on a private tour of the battlefield. This is a special tour arranged for senior citizens and we would like to emphasise that should you not be able to afford the entrance fee, or feel that the short walking distances required (not more than 100m) may be too long, that special arrangements can be made to accommodate you.


: Saturday 30th September 2017 / Time : 9h30 / Cost: R 30 per person / Transport: Own
The tour starts at 10h00 sharp at Melkbosstrand beach in the parking lot to the right of the NSRI Sea Rescue station. You will be required to fill in entrance and other indemnity forms to the various areas.

We will view the site where the English landed their troops over 6/7 January 1806. The positions of the various ships involved will be shown to you as well as the position where 36 soldiers and some 14 sailors were drowned. You will find out how the 71st Scottish Regiment drove off the Batavian forces defending the beach. You will be shown the area occupied by the British on the night 7/8 January 1806 as well as the site of CP Brand's home and the route followed by the British to the battlefield. There are public toilets here. From there we will move on the site of Jan Mostert's farm, the present day Blaauwberg, arriving there about 11h10. There you will be shown the point where the British forces split into 2 Brigades and follow in the path of the Scottish Regiments. Subject to certain restrictions we may go to the site from where David Baird commanded the battle.

We will then move on to Blaauwberg Conservation Area arriving there at 12 noon and will have a 1/2 hour break for lunch. Mobile toilets will be available at this point. After lunch, we will proceed to the point where the British forces lined up prior to the battle. Here you will see the position taken up by the Batavian forces. You will see the route followed by the 24th Grenadiers to take Kleinberg. You will see the line of Scottish attack, as well as the position occupied by Lt Pelligrine and the Batavian line 1km ahead of you. We will show you artefacts recovered from the battlefield. At 14h00 we will move to Blaauwberg hill where you can view the entire battlefield as well as a magnificent view of Table Mountain. We will depart at around 15h00.

If you are interested in being part of this memorable experience, please reply by the 11th September 2017 (numbers are limited) with your name, mobile contact number as well as the area you reside in. Please indicate if you can provide transport for others or require transport. We will try to co-ordinate to ensure the minimum numbers of cars are used.
Please indicate if you are fully mobile or require assistance. We will contact you to discuss how we best can accommodate you.

Please ensure you bring something to drink and eat. Please wear warm and comfortable clothes.


Ian van Oordt
E-mail -
Committee Member tasked with Marketing - SA Military History Society
Tel: 021 531 6612 or Cell: 076 315 7713


DATE: 11 OCTOBER 2017 / TIME: 19H00 FOR 20H00

TEL: 082-493-6048 / EMAIL:

COST: R200,00 per person




Our speaker for September is fellow-member Capt. John Lamont, on the subject of Principles of Submarine Weapons Launching. Most people, when reading books on submarine warfare, give little thought on the technicalities of launching torpedoes and missiles underwater from a submarine. It is, however, a serious oversight, as the principles applying to launching torpedoes underwater - and for that matter, missiles - are vastly different from launching projectiles and missiles in the air or on land. Capt. Lamont will take us through the intricate process of explaining the principles pertaining to the technical procedures and the laws of physics guiding the launching of projectiles or missiles in a fluid environment without compromising the operational integrity of the launching platform - the submarine. As with his previous lecture this will be an inter-active discussion with the audience welcome to interject or pose questions at any stage of the proceedings.


Our July speaker will give us an overview of what happened during the recent Airshow Season in the UK. He visited the UK in July and attended the "Flying Legends" Airshow at Duxford and the "Royal International Air Tattoo" at Fairford, as well as paying visits to the aviation museums at Hendon and Duxford. Even if members are not interested in aviation per se, the outstanding quality of Mr Pullin's photography is enough to ensure not missing his presentation. At least six of our branch members, who were privy to this extravaganza prior to this overview, could attest to that.

BOB BUSER: Treasurer/Asst. Scribe
Phone: 021-689-1639 (Home)

Phone: 021-592-1279 (Office)

South African Military History Society /