The South African Border War - Mines, Mines did I say mines?

in #war3 years ago

PLAN or the armed wing could not compete with the SADF militarily so it resorted to mining warfare.

By -, Public Domain, Link

With thousands of kilometers of dirt roads and long quiet nights, it was impossible to clear the roadways of mines.

South Africa resorted to using Mine proof vehicles with V shaped hulls to deflect explosions from underneath.

The Buffel (or buffalo)was used by the military.

img source

Police favored the Caspir.

Public Domain, Link

Troops would also walk out upfront to look for tracks and signs of activity.

img source

The ocupants were strapped in and protected during the explosion, but we can't say the same for the vehicle.

img source

Anti tank mines like the one in the top picture would often leave huge craters.

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In this picture you can sees the seat belts for each occupant.

this one took a hit from something other than a mine.

img source

Below we see a follow up operation with "bushmen" trackers leading the way.

img source

PLAN's tactic was sometimes to lay anti-personnel mines parallel to their anti-tank mines to kill policemen or soldiers either engaging in preliminary mine detection or inspecting the scene of a previous blast.

Previous posts in this series can be found at the bottom of this post:

The South African Border War - 1976, The end of a chapter and the beginning of a new phase.


The use of land mines is hurrendious, armies can cope to some degrees however the local population can be devestated by the unexploded devices many years after.

Landmines are horrific devices that have killed and maimed thousands of people in Africa especially Angola. The sad part is that most of the victims are children and young productive people. I hope producers of these mines have heeded the ban and are not manufacturing them anymore. Meanwhile there are still some non-detonated ones lying in wait.

Yeah lets get rid of them!

Extraordinary photographs and intriguing history. I loved the amazing way they concoct the V molded structures, that is extremely cunning.

Well,, this is the type of mine you wouldn't wish to deal with unlike the mine that is very popular in the crypto world right now.

Great photos and interesting history. I liked how they come up with the V shaped hulls, thats very clever.

Yes you right

@gavvet - The very first picture of the exposed mine sent shivers down my spine. Have read a lot about lost limbs and lives in various minefields (notably Afghanistan) around the world. The Buffel is an interesting vehicle. Was this manufactured by DCD company by any chance?
I collaborated with DCD on a project couple of years ago. Remember having seen their military/police vehicle division and it had some interesting personnel carriers. Wonder if they did some of those Buffels or Caspirs.?

Thank you for this perspective on mines and vehicles. Helps enrich our knowledge on the dangers of mines and their historic use. Full upvoted.

Land mines, that's a horrible dream for peace makers! And also for soldiers as well. My country was at a huge terrorism war and we could eliminate that terra group few years ago! But we are still not rescued entire country by mines that used in that war times.
I heard something like, terra group was sent group of cattle to the battle field before they attack while we were at the war. By using that trick they could get two benefits!
#1. Attention goes for cattle
#2. Mines will blow while the group of cattle are going on it

basically, they are clearing the path! So by using that Buffel they did the same thing. And my country purchased those Buffels from South Africa during that war times as well! But as you said, anti tank miners can blow them too!

Great article and great writing! A lot of people don't know about those wars and how countries built on! So really appreciate your effort of sharing your knowledge with us!


@gavvet - oh my goodness, mines are too much dangerous. And very hard to track them. A lots of people die just after wars due to mines. Lovely article & feel like a historical lesson we could read about bloody wars. Therefore, I wish to ReSteem your post.

+W+ [UpVoted & ReSteemed]

I lived in cambodia for 7 years and it remains the 2nd most landmined country after afghanistan. I can tell you the fear you have to live with. 5 meters out of the main lane and there is every chance that you could be walking in a mine field.

Always the long term tragedy...

Maybe that could be a potential use of robots.

Could never be sure what you are walking
This has left many areas desolate
Fear associated with mines is even greater than that of gun
Guess is even difficult to clear a land full of mines easily
Thanks for learning post

Interesting part of our history. My dad fought as a 55mm anti aircraft gunner in the Border War. Greetings from South Africa. ;)

Whoever invented mines has done a great disservice to humanity.I see this as a form of reminder not to tow that path again.Great post

Oh that crater really means a very bad day for the vehicle that clicked the mine.
Militaries must develop to find a way to more effectively search and destroy these kinds of war instruments but maybe with that, it will make them more have a hard time finding them too as the mine makers will counter their efforts as well.

Awful part of the history. You use it for some years during war time and then it is buried for decades in the ground. To clean it is impossible. No money and resources.
We have still in our region a lot of WWII stuff in the ground, which is still dangerous and causing a lot of trouble. :-(

Thank you for this interesting post. I live here in Cambodia, a country which also have still a land mine problem.

Me too live in cambodia..i'm happy because see you here

That sounds great. In which town you live?

War creates arms races (I know, ridiculously obvious but bear with me) and no aspect of war does this more than the use of landmines/IEDs.

In Nigeria's Biafran War, the Biafrans (my people, actually) used proximity-detonated IEDs called ogbunigwe which translates either as "killer by metal" OR "killer en-masse". The Nigerian troops responded by using cows as mine-detectors/literal meatshields. The Biafrans responded with airborne versions.

As for the more recent American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, one could write a book about the measures and countermeasures taken by the IED makers and the US soldiers. Radio-detonated IEDs were defeated by radio emitters that would detonate them early. So they started using booby-trapped corpses so the Americans started destroying any corpses they found in the road and so on and so on.

To quote the late great Mac Tonnies "War is hell but if you keep at it long enough, it's heaven."

It was interesting for a person in India like me to know how Nigerian had to suffer because of mines. I knew about the mines in Cambodia and how much damage they did, even when the Khmer Rouge withdrew it sowed mines all over the place. I also knew about Afghanistan and Iraq, but hardly knew about Nigeria, great information. Mines should never be used, they end up killing innocent people.

what some people will do to other people. Why?

Very interesting post, and even more interesting is that you have pictures. I remember we were not allowed to take pictures while on duty in Angola, but then again I was a soldier serving in 7th SAI at the time. Fresh out of school. These pictures bring back to mind that in war no one wins. South Africa lost it's objectives and Angola is one of the most corrupt and }poor countries in Africa. Of course that doesn't apply to Dos Santos and Jao Lourenco. The people of Angola and South Africa are still poor and down trodden. Thank you for the post.

I have studied many areas in military history, but I have never looked into the South Africa border war. Your posts have been extremely well done and enlightening! Keep posting @gavvet!

@gavvet Good post.
First picture of mine. Makes vibrations to my bones.
I read a lot about missing limbs and living in various minefields (especially the Middle East) around the world. Buffel vehicles are interesting.

Thanks. It has helped enrich my knowledge of the dangers of mine and its use. Please Upvoted and Follow me

Thank you for posting @gavvet.

Appreciate this series on the South African Border War with its interesting photographs and commentary.


I hate war, war always gives profit for politicians and innocent people killed...

When a purpose is not understood, abuse is inevitable. Thanks @gavvet

Thanks for sharing with us. Well arranged and informative too.

@gavvet love your post..weapons of war, the history of south the article..

kindly see my post on blessing of southafrica...kindly give some time to read my post..hoping for your kind heart to see my post..

this is the messages of the lord to south africa and on your nation..hoping to please see my post..

God Bless south Africa and the nation of Africa..To God be the glory..let it be peace on the nation of south Africa..

Thanks for all. Please vote, participate and follow up if that does not bother you. Thank you again

amigo #resteemia at your service

mines are a sh!t, because it's hidden & can kill a person in a sec. nice work @gavvet

'UpVoted ReSteemed Commented'

Land Mines are the decorous thing .

Impressive machines, impressive what machines are capable to, impressive that those are created by human. With goal to destroy human.......
unfortunately money is involved, so seems business, where people live and die from...

How about in myanmar

Geez those mines do some devastating damage. Must have been a bear to clear all those mines.

do know about rohinga issue in Myanmar? @gavvet
images (4).jpg

this is much lives has been lost..many families suffer from the war..

mines mines

Great post @gavvet,Interesting history.

Interesting history

nice picture with good compliment.....

oh my goodness, mines are too much dangerous.

south africa , wow

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Nice post and lesson

What a great post you are. And really so inspiration for me FOLLOW me yes and Really my blessing thanks ...... really amazing post you


great post!!

Very insightful post. I look forward to reading more of your content in the future.

Don't want to know how many of those mines are still lying in the field.

Great stuff....looking forward to more great content form you @gavvet

may be.
be careful with such objects ..

Great post thank for sharing

nicee post & i love your picture!!!!!!!!!!!!😍😍😍😍😍😍👌👌👌👌👌

Omg Mines.
Nice post but dangerous situations.....................

Just to read the word war gets me upset and sad! Grrrr the world doesn't learn with past mistakes

Very sad sight.

Any chance for response?

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A very sensitive article.Peace is like a dream. Tragedy. thanks @gavvet
have a nice day.

War never ends, I am waiting gou to Mars... (

nice ride with a feeling that nothing is gonna happen #buffalo

Great Words to live by!!!!

after the war what was left is intellectual warfare and i don't see southafrica or any other african country winning because the colonial masters still control everything...

I think the use of a landmine is prohibited in jeneva convention treaty.

the war is getting more sophisticated, the suffering is getting bigger. Actually who wants to take advantage with the war in afrika ???
thanks @ gavvet.

I like your post. I want the war to end.​

very great, you are a great africa distributed in making articles,
let me follow you
I like it

Wow warning....

this is way back , great history lesson, we are glad the war ended, but some of the mines still remains and the human casualty is real, hoping the remaining mines will be cleared

Very Spectacular photos and informative history, thats very ingenious.

These mines usually cost lives of so many innocent civilians @gavvet! This is really awful man!

Thank you for the post.

Hi @gavvet this is a very good post indeed on the white armed forces using mine explosives to wage a war fare on against the SADF militians,the pictures do speak more of it since it is showing the V-shaped vechicles that were used to deflect the mines underneath,also the effort of the police to partake this war occasion and the walking of the soldiers while looking for signs of activities and also how huge anti tankers would live huge craters while some would get exploded by the same mines they would set beneath and at the end they decided to search for them while removing them from the beneath,lastly this was a good piece of history on the South African Border War 1976,The end of a chapter and the beginning of a new phase,thank you sir for your post and keep posting such good content stuff.

OMG! It's great post of the day & it's about our history of military ! Thanks @ gavvet

Good job
I like it ...plz vests send SBD ,steem n follow me @mudatnad
Thks u
Good luck today

Wow @gavvet following you I get a real education in the history of South Africa and much more. I'm now in Laos and they have a similar issue still to this day, with mines and un-exploded cluster bombs.....unfortunately left over by my country during the Vietnam war, which few people know engulfed much of Laos as well. Looking forward to your follow up to your Evolution of Adam Post.

Wishing you the best! -Dan

@alexandermills i agree with his comment.
@gavvet Thank you. For your great writing and for sharing

Someone put mine in order to kill someone else. But the person who laid the mines died first.

Nice post @gavvet ,nice to meet you !

I've just upvoted you & followed on Steemit , please be kind enough to follow me ( @braveheart22 ) as well.

Let's do big this community !

I'm daily available with articles and quality news .

Thank you !


War is the worst thing that can happen on the planet. Thank you for telling us. I never knew that this war existed.

this is one of those tragic consequences of war.. I remember as a kid that Princess Diana (UK) spent a lot of effort highlighting this situation.. Such a dangerous and risky one to solve!

It would be good to know what the latest is on this issue. Where can I read some more about it?

I bet there are still many of those around. Not just here but in other countries too. Left overs from wars, maybe in Vietnam, Korea, Africa.

We have to always remember our past to make the future bright. Very interesting topic.