South Africans at War?

Discussion in 'South African' started by von Poop, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    We don't seem to hear that much here of the South African contribution to WW2. Snippets, and references to units present here and there, but comparatively little of real substance. It's even proving a little tricky Googling up decent stuff on them.

    Anyone care to share any decent links to sites or books covering South African WW2 activities?

    1 Squadron SAAF - Home
    South African Military History Society - Journal- The South African Irish Regiment: An Exemplar of the Military Traditions of the Irish in South Africa
    South Africa War Graves Project

  2. urqh

    urqh Senior Member

    I do zulu wars is that any use. Although surely there must be tons of stuff on ...Tobruk
  3. urqh

    urqh Senior Member youve got that one.
  4. Passchendaele_Baby

    Passchendaele_Baby Grandads Little Girl

    I'll ask Andy... she speaks all south-african like... She is cool. I'm sure she will be verrrrry interested =]
  5. Kieron Hill

    Kieron Hill Senior Member

    I had the same problem while
    trying to find some info, I seemed
    to find a source but it just reverted
    me to sites that were no longer
    running or reference to research
    material held at Uni's
  6. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

  7. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    wtid45 likes this.
  8. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Some articles from The South AfricanMilitary History Society

    South African Military History Society - Journal page

    MAJOR-GENERAL W H EVERED POOLE - South African Military History Society
    South African Military History Society - Journal - THE TRAGEDY AT KUFRA
    South African Military History Society - Journal - The war against enemy submarines, 1939-1945
    South African Military History Society - Journal- With the 5th South African Infantry Brigade at Sidi Rezegh
    South African Military History Society - Journal- South Africa and the War against Japan 1941-1945
    South African Military History Society - Journal- The 1st South African Light Tank Company
    PATROLLING OVER KENT - 28 NOVEMBER 1940 - South African Military History Society
    OPERATION PRIMROSE - South African Military History Society Journal
    THE SOUTH AFRICAN AIR FORCE IN THE MADAGASCAR CAMPAIGN, 1942 - South African Military History Society Journal
    'GENERAL PIENAAR, TELL YOUR SOUTH AFRICAN DIVISION ... ' - South African Military History Society Journal
    South African Military History Society - Journal - SOUTH AFRICAN PRISONERS OF WAR ON THE LONG MARCHES 1944-1945
    South African Military History Society - Journal - THE EAST AFRICAN AND ABYSSINIAN CAMPAIGNS, 1941<br> PREMIER MINE TO MASSAWA
    South African Military History Society - Journal - THE TURNING POINT<BR> 3rd July 1942: An eye-witness account [El Alamein]
    Flying High: The Story of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force 1939-1945 - South African Military History Society - Journal
    South African Military History Society - Journal- SA and Radar
    South African Military History Society - Journal - Operation Rose - MADAGASCAR 1942
  9. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    I just found this forum site with some information and lots of links from a South African member.

    South Africans in Special Forces during WW2 - Military Photos

    Nice site and some great links, also one of the books mentioned on the site is a book I have just ordered Prelude To The Monsoon, by Major Gideon Jacobs.
  10. KevinC

    KevinC Slightly wierd

    Thanks for all the links. It's a shame when one has to go either overseas or on the internet to learn more about our military history
  11. handtohand22

    handtohand22 Senior Member

    The following link takes you (Very Slowly) to the index page of The Relief of Tobruk. On the New Zealand Text Centre

    · South African Forces
    o 1 Div (Brink): and relief of Tobruk garrison, 14; training, 31; role of, 27, 40–1, 43, 48, 141; on approach march, 74–5, 80; Norrie's plan for, 107; to take over from 7 Armd Div, 143; new orders for, 197; and 13 Corps, 201; Germans believe destroyed, 205–6; 2 Bde in frontier operations, 510
    o 2 Div (de Villiers), 468, 510
    o 1 Bde (Pienaar): training, 41; masks El Gubi, 88; fails to reach 5 SA Bde, 107, 144, 157; in ‘Battle of Taieb el-Esem’, 197, 213, 264, 309–11; en route to NZ Div, 355, 368, 394, 402, 407–8, 414; tries to recapture Pt 175, 426–32, 444, 453, 457–9, 464, 472
    o 3 Bde (2 Div), 487, 510 – See also Vic Coln
    o 5 Bde (Armstrong): in sommernachtstraum, 21; training, 41; en route to S. Rezegh, 88–9, 95, 98, 103–4; repulsed at Pt 178, 106–7; 6 NZ Bde moves to help, 151–3, 163–5, 168–72; attacked by DAK, 156–8, 160–3, 165–8; wrongly retained on order of battle, 197, 201, 232–3; scene of last stand of, 242; mentioned, 480n
    o 4 Armd Car Regt (Newton-King) (7 Armd Div), 80n, 84, 89, 309–10, 408, 469
    o 3 Recce Bn (1 Div), 410
    o 2 A-Tk Regt (4 Ind Div), 312
    o 7 Fd Regt (1 Bde), 310
    o 1 Bn, DEOR (1 Bde) 429, 458
    o 2 Bn, Regt Botha (Mason) (5 Bde), 157, 163, 167–8, 242
    o 1 Bn, RNC (1 Bde), 429, 458
    o 1 Bn, SA Irish (Cochran) (5 Bde), 157, 162–3, 165, 168, 363
    o Transvaal Scottish
    § 1 Bn (1 Bde), 458
    § 2 Bn (6 Bde), 514
    § 3 Bn (Kirby) (5 Bde), 107–8, 157, 163, 167–8, 171
    o SA Air Force, 20
  12. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    ... and the 6th south african armoured division formed a mainstay of the allied army in Italy (there being only the 6th Uk and 6th south african armoured divisions left in the 8th army near the end of the war... although the 6th SA was more often then not associated with the US 5th army). I found the links at the bottom of the wiki page above are quite interesting.

    Its a little random but here's some good SA stories I came across recently:

    Victoria Cross winners Quentin Smythe and Edwin Swales

    Pathe News

    Taken from the above VC site.

    [ London Gazette, 11 September 1942 ]. Alem Hamza, Libya, 5 June 1942, Sergeant Quentin George Murray Smythe, Royal Natal Caribineers, South African Forces.
    For conspicuous gallantry in action in the Alem Hamza area on the 5th June 1942. During the attack on an enemy strong point in which his officer was severely wounded: Sergeant Smythe took command of the platoon although suffering from a shrapnel wound in the forehead. The strong point having been overrun, our troops came under enfilade fire from an enemy machine-gun nest.
    Realising the threat to his position, Sergeant Smythe himself stalked and destroyed the nest with hand grenades, capturing the crew. Though weak from loss of blood, he continued to lead the advance, and on encountering an anti-tank gun position again attacked it single-handed and captured the crew. He was directly responsible for killing several of the enemy, shooting some and bayoneting another as they withdrew.
    After consolidation he received orders for a withdrawal, which he successfully executed, defeating skilfully an enemy attempt at encirclement. Throughout the engagement Sergeant Smythe displayed remarkable disregard for danger, and his leadership and courage were an inspiration to his men.
  13. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    Blatantly blowing my own trumpet, I cover a lot about the Imperial Light Horse and Kimberley Regiment, of the 6th S.A. Armoured Division, in Italy in my forthcoming book A British Boy in Fascist Italy: Peter Ghiringhelli: Books I spent several months with the ILH-KR from about a fortnight before the end of WW2 to Christmas 1945 and travelled extensively with them.

    The official account of 6th Armoured Div is in Vol 5 South African Forces World War II 'Victory in Italy' by Neil Orpen, published by Purnell, Cape Town, 1975. SBN 360 00282 X.

    Orpen, served in Africa until the Tobruk disaster, hence before 6th SA Armoured Div was formed, but he didn't serve in Italy and although his account is well researched he gets certain minor details wrong in April 1945 of which I had personal experience.

    The other volumes in the South African Series (which I have not read) are:

    Vol. 1 East African and Abyssinian Campaigns by Neil Orpen.
    Vol. 2 A Gathering of Eagles by James Ambrose Brown, this is the first part of the history of the SA Air Force.
    Vol. 3 War in the Desert by Neil Orpen.
    Vol 4 Eagles Strike by James Ambrose Brown, this is the complete account of the fighting by the SA Air Force in North Africa.
  14. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    This is a ILH-KR Christmas card I have kept which was given to me for Christmas 1945, when it was used again.

    Attached Files:

  15. handtohand22

    handtohand22 Senior Member

    Another bit where the SA Forces get a mention.

    Oasis Group and Force ‘E’ On October 4th 1941, Lt Col Jenkins was in command of 3/2 Punjab Regiment and 6/13th FF Rifles at Jarabub Oasis. Lt Col Knight was in command of 1st Worcestershire’s, the Field Ambulance and the Workshops Company at Siwa Oasis. These two Groups were known as Oasis Group and were commanded by Brigadier Marriott. Oasis Group was part of 29 Brigade, under the direct command of General Cunningham and Eighth Army.
    The task of Oasis Group was to establish and then protect air fields from enemy airborne or ground attack.

    On October 15th Brigadier Denys W Reid DSO MC, arrived in the area and assumed command of 29 Brigade. Brigadier Marriot assumed command of 22 Guards Motor Brigade at Bagoush. (Brett-James, 1951)

    Brigadier Reid was given a secondary task of advancing 240 miles from Jarabub to the Italian held fort at Jalo. In order to achieve this task Reid pooled his resources from Oasis Force and created a Flying Column called Force ‘E’.

    Operation Crusader and Force ‘E’

    When Operation Crusader was launched on November 18th 1941, Battery HQ, Y and Z Troops were attached to Force ‘E’. This group was commanded by
    Brigadier Reid. The other units in this group were:
    · 2 South African Field Regiment
    · C Battery, 73 Anti-Tank Regiment
    · 3/2 Punjab Regiment
    · Sec 2: Field Company S & M
    · Detachment 21 Field Ambulance
    · 29 I.B.T. Company
    · 6 South African Armoured Car Regiment

    After Op Crusader and several other operations, including the Gazala Ridge, 6LAA Battery handed over the Gazala Ridge post to the South Africans. They then moved on to the railway AA defences.

    Railway Defence

    “After the Gazala Line we were relieved by the South African Division. They took over our 40mm Bofors guns and we took their 20mm Italian Bredas for the railway AA defences.” (Robin Martin, 2004)
    From their taskings on the Gazala Ridge, the Battery handed over to 6 LAA (South African) Battery on March 23rd. A sandstorm hindered the move for one day but on March 25th the Battery reached Sollum and prepared to train 5 LAA (South African) Battery on the Bofors. The following day the exchange of 5 Battery’s 20mm Bredas for 6 Battery’s Bofors commenced. The Battery moved back to Halfa Railhead in early April, taking over AA defence on the supply trains with the New Zealand Engineering Unit and providing AA defence of the engineers building the rail track.

    Attached Files:

  16. handtohand22

    handtohand22 Senior Member

    Op Crusader again with some sections of the book, 6th Battery Natal Field Artillery. I do not have the remainder of this book.(hint):unsure:

    Attached Files:

  17. handtohand22

    handtohand22 Senior Member

    Let's not forget the role that South African citizens played in helping the morale of all the Allied troops who called in at Capetown on their long route to Egypt. The Med was unsafe so all troops for Egypt had to go out to the Atlantic ocean and then round Capetown before getting to the Suez Canal.

    Many of these young men and the nurses accompanying them had never been out of their County never mind around the Horn of Africa. Many veterans still tell me how much they appreciated the hospitality of the South African citizens.

    "On October 4th 1940, the ship reached Capetown and stayed there for two days. The South African population were lined up on the jetty when the ship called in. Quite a lot of the Battery personnel were taken on a sightseeing tour of the Capetown area by South Africans who owned their own cars. A young couple from Cape Province, their mother owned a hotel there, wined and dined and transported Norman Irwin and Willie Norris for those two days. Mr Bruno arrived at the jetty in his Cadillac and picked up Andy McGowan and Norman Walker. He gave them a tour that included Capetown, Simonstown and Table Mountain".
  18. MyOldDad

    MyOldDad Senior Member

    A true South African / Scottish hero:






  19. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    South African Shermans Article:
    :: Sandstone Heritage Trust :: Classic Military Vehicles :: Shermans with SA Troops in WW2 :: January 2010

    (Little snippet for dbf on there too: "On 26 June, the BBC news recorded that the Guards Chapel had been destroyed by a flying bomb the previous day, Sunday, 25 June. Although 24 Guards Brigade Group had been under command for only a month, it was already fully integrated as part of 6 SA Armd Div and the South Africans shared in the sorrow of their British comrades, so much so that there was a spontaneous move to donate a day's pay from every man in the Division to help with the Chapel's reconstruction after the war. The GOC subsequently handed a cheque for £5 125 to Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander" )

    Some interesting ongoing vehicle restorations on the site as well:
    :: Sandstone Heritage Trust :: Classic Military Vehicles :: Home
  20. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Have a word with Opanapointer... He might have Vols 2,3 & 4 as well.

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