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The airborne concept in the South African military, 1960-2000 : strategy versus tactics in small wars

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dc.contributor.advisor Cuthbertson, Gregor Alexander, Edward George McGill 2017-12-05T09:30:08Z 2017-12-05T09:30:08Z 2016
dc.identifier.citation Alexander, Edward George McGill (2016) The airborne concept in the South African military, 1960-2000 : strategy versus tactics in small wars, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <>
dc.description Text in English en
dc.description Restricted files have not been uploaded
dc.description.abstract The thesis commences by elaborating on the concept of vertical envelopment as a form of military manoeuvre and defining airborne operations as comprising parachute, helicopter and air-landed actions. It goes on to describe strategy and tactics as they apply to the discussion before briefly tracing the development internationally of vertical envelopment and the thinking of the South African military about airborne operations during the Second World War. Events leading up to the decision by the South African military to acquire helicopters and to train paratroopers in 1960 are examined and the early operational employment of helicopters is analysed. The establishment of 1 Parachute Battalion is discussed in the light of the absence of a clear understanding of how it should be employed. Moving on to the commencement of the conflict known as the Southern African Thirty Year War, the issue of strategic versus tactical application of an airborne capability during operations in Namibia, Angola and Rhodesia is defined. Strategic application is then illustrated by specific independent airborne strikes, and the requirement for an airborne brigade to plan and conduct such operations is highlighted. The establishment of 44 Parachute Brigade and the difficulties experienced in its development are reviewed before scrutinising the tactical use of airborne forces in support of other ground forces. The high point in organisation and capability of the airborne forces of the South African Defence Force at the time of the ending of the Thirty Year War is appraised and the unfulfilled potential of the capability is elucidated. Faced with change and uncertainty, the employment of the paratroopers in urban operations during the height of the civil unrest is examined. This is followed by probing the response of the paratrooper organisation to severe budget cuts, enforced reorganisation and relocation, the ending of conscription and integration into the new South African National Defence Force following the country’s first democratic elections in 1994. The thesis concludes with an evaluation of the airborne actions during the incursion by South Africa into Lesotho in 1998 and an assessment of the implications of the loss of a strategic airborne capability. en
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (1 volume, various pagings) : photos (some color)
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Airborne operations en
dc.subject Paratroopers en
dc.subject Thirty Year War en
dc.subject Border War en
dc.subject Bush War en
dc.subject Liberation struggle en
dc.subject South African Defence Force en
dc.subject SADF en
dc.subject South African National Defence Force en
dc.subject SANDF en
dc.subject 1 Parachute Battalion en
dc.subject 44 Parachute Brigade en
dc.subject Vertical envelopment en
dc.subject Helicopters en
dc.subject Strategy en
dc.subject Tactics en
dc.subject Insurgency en
dc.subject Counter-insurgency en
dc.subject Namibia en
dc.subject Angola en
dc.subject Lesotho en
dc.subject Rhodesia en
dc.subject Constand Viljoen en
dc.subject Jan Breytenbach en
dc.subject Manoeuvre en
dc.subject SWAPO en
dc.subject Cubans en
dc.subject MPLA en
dc.subject FAPLA en
dc.subject.ddc 358.40968
dc.subject.lcsh Aeronautics, Military -- South Africa -- History
dc.subject.lcsh Airmobile operations (Military science) -- History
dc.subject.lcsh South Africa. Army -- Airborne troops
dc.subject.lcsh South Africa. South African Air Force -- History
dc.subject.lcsh South Africa -- Armed Forces -- Parachute troops -- History
dc.title The airborne concept in the South African military, 1960-2000 : strategy versus tactics in small wars en
dc.type Thesis en
dc.description.department History en D. Litt. et Phil. (History)

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