Detachment special forces RECCE (South Africa)

Each country has the right to be proud of its special units performing the most complex tasks of the military command.

Few people know about the squad RECCE (South Africa), which performed the most difficult tasks no worse than the well-known units of other countries, such as Alpha, Delta, SAS and Green Berets.


All members of the special purpose squad RECCE are experts of the highest class, able to work in any field conditions behind enemy lines.

Recall history South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War. At that time, there were mobile units of the Boers, who with their unexpected effective actions caused significant damage to the British army. These detachments never entered into open clashes with regular troops - they acted covertly, with lightning speed, and such tactics had the maximum success.

The experience of these sabotage detachments of the Boers was appreciated by the UK. And the evidence for this is that in the First World War, on the British side, there were detachments of Boers who had experience in sabotage work against the Germans.

For a long time, the skill of the Boers' combat units was unclaimed.

It lasted until the seventies of the last century. The seventies are a time of fundamental changes in the political and economic situation on the African continent.

One of these landmark events was the emergence of the independent states of Angola and Mozambique, with economic assistance and military support provided by the Soviet Union and the Cuban leadership. This was opposed by the government of South Africa and its allies.

In connection with the deterioration of the foreign policy situation, the leadership of South Africa decided to form a military unit whose task was to conduct sabotage and intelligence activities in the rear of the enemy. In May, 1975, on the basis of the existing Commando squad, created the first special squad. Two years later, another sabotage squad was formed specifically to carry out marine operations. In the squads were recruited well-trained warriors from elite military units of South Africa.

The difficult situation on the African continent at the end of the last century demanded that the leadership of South Africa increase the quantity and improve the quality of training of sabotage and reconnaissance detachments.



Over time, there was a multi-level practice of selecting soldiers for the RECCE troops: after a thorough medical examination, the applicants underwent a psychological test, then the recruits took part in a forced march for three days. Those who were able to pass these tests were still awaited by an exercise check, the ability to master cold and firearms. weapons and the most difficult test of survival in the desert, where the life of a soldier was at great risk when attacking poisonous spiders, snakes and wild animals.

Soldiers of special intelligence units were able to find extraordinary solutions in the most difficult situations.

All soldiers of the South African Special Forces unit during a mine war in Angola were trained in a mine-disruptive case. Their professional level was considered the highest in the world. They successfully used their skills during combat operations. For example, having discovered a secret object in the territory of Angola, they skillfully laid explosives, which were being blown up at the right moment. It was in this way that the secret headquarters of the militants in Zambia and Mozambique were destroyed. Reconnaissance and sabotage group RECCE made thousands of raids into the territory of the enemy, carried out many successful raids and sabotage on industrial facilities. They effectively performed their tasks in the jungle, and in savannah, in the mountains and deserts, acting autonomously for a long time.


In one of these raids, which lasted about two months, the South African Special Forces fighters carried out reconnaissance, carried out artillery strikes, sabotaged objects and against enemy troops. The high level of camouflage allowed the special forces to act not only close to the enemy, but also, disguised, to wield under the guise of an enemy unit.



It was as a result of the sabotage operation of the fighters of the RECCE squad that two Soviet vehicles were blown up in the port of Namib in 1986. Due to the non-receipt of weapons by government forces, which brought the ships, the attack on the position of insurgents in Angola was foiled.

But not always the South African Special Forces fighters managed to secretly leave after a sabotage operation. There was a case when in the 1985 year, the Angolan military discovered a group of saboteurs, whose task was to find bases for training militants. Militants began pursuing special forces. Then the commander of the reconnaissance group decided to divide the group: the main part of the fighters went to the pre-specified place of evacuation, and the commander with two commandos drove the fighters away from their comrades. The main group returned to the base safely, but two soldiers from the distracting group died, and the wounded commander was captured.

The militant base was subsequently destroyed by another sabotage group, and the commander exchanged captured enemy soldiers for 170.

Of course, the subversive detachments of South Africa suffered losses, but not one of the groups was once completely destroyed.

In order to disrupt the transportation of ore from Zaire to Angola, a group of saboteurs RECCE carried out an operation to undermine the railroad tracks. To carry out the evacuation, the detachment was divided into subgroups, and each unit independently reached the evacuation point. One of the subgroups was ambushed by a Cuban detachment, but the group, having lost one soldier, returned to the base.

It was the reciprocity of the RECCE fighters that helped the reconnaissance group, whose task was to undermine the bridge and to direct artillery shelling from the territory of Angola. After the successful installation of explosives, the group entered into battle with an accidentally stumbled Angolan detachment. To save their colleagues, another group of RECCE fighters fought their way to their comrades and helped them out of the encirclement.

Often, South African reconnaissance and sabotage fighters interacted with the Buffalo mercenary combat battalion. The task of saboteurs was to collect data on the object, the security system, clarify the layout of buildings and structures on the site. But the force operation itself to capture the object was carried out by the Buffalo battalion on the basis of the information received from the reconnaissance detachment.

Detachment special forces RECCE (South Africa)


Subversive operations fighters RECCE carried out not only in Angola. They conducted reconnaissance and raids on militant bases located in Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia and Zaire.

The professionalism of South African special forces allowed them to find non-standard solutions when performing combat operations, and their actions were distinguished by ingenuity and resourcefulness. For example, in order to lure the militants out of the base, one group of saboteurs imitated an attack and panic retreat into the depths of the jungle, while another group ambushed their pursuers.

It would be completely wrong to think that the RECCE fighters had only a weak opponent. Soviet military advisers worked in the Angolan army, Cuban military units and special forces of North Korea were part of the regular troops of Angola. And in the clashes, all sides had losses.

And although the main hostilities took place on the ground, the war at sea was active but hidden.

July night, 1984, in the raid of the Angolan port, an explosion of magnetic mines damaged the Angolan ship and two ships belonging to the GDR, which brought ammunition to Angola. The operation was conducted by fighters of the RECCE unit specializing in sea sabotage. Marine special forces had excellent equipment and technical equipment from the best manufacturers in the world.

It was the South African sea saboteurs who undermined the oil industry in the port of Lobito in 1980 year. On their account and the destruction of navigation buoys in the port of Mozambique. Only thanks to the skillful actions of the Soviet pilots the work of the port was not interrupted.
Most often, the sea saboteurs were delivered to the place of operation by a submarine, and then South African intelligence officers from the side of the boat corrected the actions of the sea fighters.

Failure ended one of the operations of the soldiers of the sea unit RECCE in an attempt to undermine an oil refinery in the province of Kabina. The saboteurs were ambushed by the Angolan troops. Part of the group was destroyed, and an open court was arranged over the commander of the saboteurs.

In one of the operations, the South African special forces fighters delivered a Japanese trawler to the port. Three groups of combat swimmers were faced with the task of undermining the Soviet and Cuban transports, the destruction of the railway bridge and the burning of the fuel base. The sabotage was successful - the explosions of objects occurred almost simultaneously. A group of Soviet combat swimmers arrived in Angola to help guard the ships and eliminate the consequences of sabotage.

Since then, the practice of guarding Soviet vessels in African ports by combat swimmers has been introduced.

According to the memoirs of one of the Soviet veterans, in the waters of one of the ports there was an amazing case: under water, the Soviet combat swimmers met with a group of sea saboteurs RECCE. The commander of the Soviet group, manipulating with a knife, showed that he offers to fight without weapons. The saboteurs accepted his offer, but after a fierce battle, the aliens quickly left the battlefield. It is safe to say that this was a unique case, because most often such meetings are not completed so well.

At the end of the 80s, the Soviet and Cuban military left the countries of Africa. Yes, and in South Africa there have been major changes - the white minority regime has fallen. Intelligence and sabotage units RECCE ceased to exist.
Author:
Valery Boval
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