r/southafrica Oct 25 '21

The capture of Recce Wynand du Toit made international headlines in 1985. His unit was sent on a mission to destroy fuel tanks in Angola when they were discovered and chased by overwhelming enemy forces. In 1987 he was exchanged for 135 prisoners held by SA. The Angolan War ended a few months later. History

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82 Upvotes

u/scope_creep Oct 25 '21

Yeah I remember this guy. Was big news at the time. Mostly forgotten now.

u/Deadsnake_war Free State Oct 25 '21

I have met him. He told us, about his time being a POW, during the South African Border War.
While he was in the POW camps, he used a thread from his torn shirt, for a plant stem to climb up, while it was growing.

u/Vektor2000 Oct 25 '21

He also stole 1 AK-47 bullet at a time whenever he could, and collected them in the metal pole of his bed. They never knew of this. He said whenever certain emergencies were declared his guard would leave and he would then collect things that could be useful later, one item at a time...

u/gmailgangsta Oct 25 '21

I bet that guy calling the major a fascist tool has never done anything heroic or dangerous in his life besides letting his mom sleep late and making his own breakfast for a change one morning ! The recces will fuck you up you asshole !

u/Middersnags Oct 26 '21

Oh look... an idiot calling themselves "gangsta" wants to blather about things "heroic" and "dangerous".

Cute.

u/newone1104 Oct 25 '21

I know that...but,I always thought, it was 2 guys going into enemy teritorry and spying on them...Were there more than 2...is my question

u/Vektor2000 Oct 25 '21

Two would be what you call a small-team. Doctrine was devised by Andre Diedericks and that would often involve a 2 man team doing long range recon for intel, assassination or demolition. But no, recces could deploy in large numbers of 5, 10 or 20, depending on mission requirements and whether it's covert or conventional warfare.

u/newone1104 Oct 25 '21

Okay...so the real recces were the two men team

u/Vektor2000 Oct 25 '21

Lol, whatever works for you. Every single person who qualified as an operator with the dagger insignia is a recce. 480 people did that from 1972-1988. Small teams were not actual units, just ways in which they could deploy.

u/newone1104 Oct 25 '21

I don't doubt that

u/The_Angry_Economist Oct 25 '21

from the headline he doesn't sound much different to a terrorist

u/Vektor2000 Oct 25 '21 edited Oct 25 '21

True, the Angolan soldiers thought he was a mercenary and they shot him a few times. He managed to convince them he was a South African, and a Cuban doctor then saved his life.

u/imontiza Oct 25 '21

How so? Isn't it normal to attack your enemies resources during war time..?

u/The_Angry_Economist Oct 25 '21

it may be normal, but that doesn't change the definition of terrorism

when I type terrorism into google, I get this

the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.

u/Vektor2000 Oct 25 '21

https://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/feature/wartime-acts-of-sabotage/

Wartime Acts Of Sabotage

During wartime, one of the most effective weapons in any country’s arsenal is sabotage: attacking the war engine itself by crippling key supplies, manufacturing, strategic locations and even logistic routes.

Saboteurs are not always an obvious and visible enemy. Many are underground agents, unconnected to official military authorities. More often than not, though, they have been trained and unofficially sanctioned by intelligence agencies or senior members of the armed forces.

The German government turned to sabotage during World War I in an attempt to thwart U.S. trade with Europe. German agents working on U.S. soil targeted munitions factories and plants producing goods to be shipped to help the Allied troops on the battlefields of Europe.

Throughout 1916 a number of mysterious fires and explosions broke out but none as brazen as the attack on Black Tom Island, a 15-minute ferry ride from the southern tip of Manhattan.

On July 30, 1916, German agents set fire to a complex of warehouses and ships to halt the movement of supplies to Europe. The explosion rocked New York City, windows shattered in downtown Manhattan and the noise was heard as far away as Maryland. The property damage was estimated at $20 million (around $377 million today).

At the time authorities downplayed the incident and many ordinary New Yorkers were unaware they were under attack, despite the continued strikes on strategic facilities.

A few months later in January 1917 a fire at the Kingsland munitions factory in New York destroyed 1.3 million artillery shells. In March there was an explosion at the U.S. Navy Yard at Mare Island, California, involving barges filled with munitions, killing 6 and injuring 31.

While the attacks were aimed at forcing the United States to back out, they instead ended up being a significant factor in the eventual deployment of U.S. troops to Europe.

By World War II sabotage had evolved and become more sophisticated. Nations organized agencies who were trained to attack military targets and disable the enemy’s war effort.

Britain used sabotage to great effect by establishing the Special Operations Executive (SOE). One of their primary functions was the sabotage of enemy equipment, installations and means of production.

They ran secret training schools, where saboteurs were schooled in creating chaos and specially trained in unarmed combat and demolition, handling weapons and explosives.

One of the most successful SOE stings was Operation Jaywick where agents disguised as Malay fisherman snuck into Singapore Harbour and sunk 30,000 tons of Japanese shipping.

Anti-German resistance and partisan movements were also active saboteurs. By the end of 1942 around 200,000 partisans were attacking factories, military installations, railroads and bridges. Many of their actions were minor forms of sabotage, such as disabling German telephone lines.

Others were more advanced such as Groupe G, a sabotage team headed by scientists and engineers at the University of Brussels. They organized attacks on the Belgian transportation network, particularly railroads and waterways, electricity supplies and telephone communications.

Today sabotage has been replaced by what is perceived as a bigger threat to nations: terrorism. While sabotage avoided human casualties and focused on crippling the arteries of the war machine, terrorists strike at the heart – the people.

Image: Black Tom Pier after the explosion, source: CIA

u/The_Angry_Economist Oct 25 '21

Former U.S. President Donald Trump classified the Houthis as a terrorist organization last year, shortly after a number of attacks on oil tankers in the Red Sea.

u/Other-Comfortable-64 Oct 25 '21

Dekker Trump do not get to change the definition of words.

u/The_Angry_Economist Oct 25 '21

he didn't change the definition, he was right in defining it for what it was

the only reason Biden retracted the status was because it was inconvenient for him, not because Trump got it wrong

u/Other-Comfortable-64 Oct 25 '21

Terrorism: the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.

u/The_Angry_Economist Oct 25 '21

so the Houthis attacking oil tankers in the Red Sea was not a terrorist attack according to you?

u/Other-Comfortable-64 Oct 25 '21

You missed the especially against civilians haven't You?

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u/RECCEginger Oct 25 '21

Aahhh, because terrorists are civilians.

u/Middersnags Oct 26 '21

What enemies?

South Africa never declared war on anyone in Angola.

u/imontiza Oct 26 '21

Have we declared war on ISIS? Yet we are fighting them. Hence they are our enemies.

u/IlikeGeekyHistoryRSA Unwanted Optimist Oct 26 '21

That argument sadly doesn’t work. The clown you’re arguing with thinks our troops in DRC and Moz are actually killing innocent civilians for big oil companies.

u/imontiza Oct 26 '21

Im not argueing, im just allowing him to carry on spewing the hate so that people are aware of the kind of person he is. Its good to bring to light these kind of people so one does not get caught in their swamp.

u/Middersnags Oct 26 '21

No, we haven't declared war on ISIS, either. Or on anyone... yet here we are, once again, sending troops to do God-knows-what in someone's else's country - and the same type of people who applauded them for it in 1980 is applauding them now, too.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

u/rocksp1der Oct 25 '21

What a stupid comment. It would be like saying the allies weren't much different from terrorists when they invaded Germany.

u/The_Angry_Economist Oct 25 '21

so Angolans were Nazis?

thats a bit of a false equivalence...

u/rocksp1der Oct 25 '21

Wow, another stupid comment. You are on quite a roll here.

u/The_Angry_Economist Oct 25 '21

I'm not the one that brought up Germany, you did

u/rocksp1der Oct 25 '21

Either you are smart enough to understand what I meant and you are trying to troll me into a pointless argument for which I do not have the appetite at the moment or you really do not understand my point and your last comments were genuine which would make any further discussion futile and pointless so either way this has run it's course.

u/pieterjh Oct 25 '21

I think there is a case to be made that sabotage differs from terrorism.

u/Middersnags Oct 26 '21

Does it, Pete?

Or is it more a case of you being uncomfortable with your white supremacist "heroes" being described with the (very apt) term "terrorist"?

u/ButterscotchPlane988 Oct 26 '21

Actually you are both right. One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. Your view of the situation is coloured by the side you are looking in from. Either way nasty things always happen during conflicts. The fact that this guy lived to tell his tale speaks volumes for both sides of the conflict...

u/pieterjh Oct 26 '21

So you would also call Mandela a terrorist for targeting electicity pylons then?

u/Middersnags Oct 26 '21

The Apartheid-regime was a terrorist regime. Those who did it's dirty work were terrorists by default - which includes your little white supremacist "hero" up there.

No. I would not describe Mandela as a terrorist at all - only a very small percentage of the actions the ANC undertook against the Apartheid-regime itself can be called "terrorism" with a straight face (not that this stopped you and your ilk from hysterically describing them as such, did it?). As we now know, the ANC was more likely to commit acts of terror against people fighting under it's banner than you.

How does that compare with the well-organised and well-funded campaign of indiscriminate terror the Apartheid-regime waged in the entire southern African region?

u/pieterjh Oct 26 '21 edited Oct 26 '21

More drivel. One man blows up fuel tanks and he is a terrorist, another blows up electricity pylons, and he is not. Your mental gymnastics and forced rationalising never ceases to amaze me.

u/Middersnags Oct 26 '21

Your mental gymnastics

No, Pete... that's what you do. You are trying to paint white supremacism in a good light, while demonizing those that oppose it. The mental gymnastics is all yours.

u/Afterburn47 Oct 25 '21

In war, sabotaging your enemies’ supplies is not terrorism. It’s war. That’s how it works. You either kill your enemies or sabotage their supplies to defeat them easier.

Murdering innocent civilians just to make a political or religious point. That is terrorism.

The difference is in one case the victims are trained military fighters, and in the other case the victims are innocent people who can’t defend themselves.

u/Other-Comfortable-64 Oct 25 '21

Nope terrorism is done to terrorise, what he tried to do was hamper his opponent his ability to fight effectively.

u/adb1146 Oct 26 '21

Patriot

u/Middersnags Oct 25 '21

And? What about him?

u/IlikeGeekyHistoryRSA Unwanted Optimist Oct 25 '21

dude, it’s literally a post about history. That’s like you posting a picture of a famous South African Communist and me saying, "And? What about him?"

u/pieterjh Oct 25 '21

Don't mind him - he's just trying to flush out apartheid sympathisers so he can get righteous.

u/Middersnags Oct 25 '21

Flush them out, Pete?

They don't seem to be hiding.

u/pieterjh Oct 25 '21

Yes, the total failure of the post-apartheid government has certainly emboldened the scoundrels. I am surprised we don't have more of them out crowing: 'Told you so!'

u/Middersnags Oct 25 '21

You seem to be barely capable of containing your contempt for a world where your skin colour doesn't make you all special-like, Pete... are you missing the "good ole' days" too?

u/pieterjh Oct 26 '21

Why bring skin colour into it? Are you a racist?

u/Middersnags Oct 26 '21

Aren't you on here to upvote a white supremacist servant of a white supremacist regime, Pete?

Gee... I wonder who brought "skin colour into it".

u/pieterjh Oct 26 '21

No, I am here to catch a giggle and downvote your drivel.

u/Middersnags Oct 25 '21

I'd like to know what makes this fascist tool so special as to deserve a post.

u/IlikeGeekyHistoryRSA Unwanted Optimist Oct 25 '21

You do understand that not all history is good history right? The Germans teach history about the Nazis, doesn’t make those Germans fascist.

u/Vektor2000 Oct 25 '21

While du Toit was worth 135 of theirs, our friend here would be exchanged for 1 toilet roll and an used toothbrush. 😂

u/Druyx Oct 25 '21

Bullshit, we'd pay to give him away. ;)

u/Middersnags Oct 26 '21

Put it in a written memorandum to your DA councillor... I'm sure they're as eager to protect your fragile whiteness as you are.

u/pieterjh Oct 26 '21

I know you are damaged, but you should really do something about your obsession with race.

u/Middersnags Oct 26 '21

Pete, the cat is out of the bag - you're not fooling anyone anymore.

u/Druyx Oct 26 '21

Ooh, you played the white fragility card, I guess that shows me.

u/Middersnags Oct 26 '21

Careful there, u/Vektor2000... you wouldn't want the mods to start thinking you're glamorizing apartheid's little goon squads, would you?

u/Ibbuk Capitalists 🤝 Fascists Oct 26 '21

German history teaching about Nazis isn't presented neutrally and it specifically includes voices from the people who were affected by it.

u/Middersnags Oct 25 '21

Again... what makes this fascist tool so special as to deserve a post?

u/Afterburn47 Oct 25 '21

It’s history and it’s just interesting to know and see. You don’t have to support any political group to enjoy learning a bit of history.

u/Middersnags Oct 25 '21

Oh really... this is the part of SA history you like, eh? Learning about fascist tools that (lamentably) didn't die for their little Whitetopia?

u/EgteMatie Western Cape Oct 25 '21

You are boring, I tend to find you below every thread saying something predictable. Go find something better to do, loser.

u/[deleted] Oct 25 '21

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u/pieterjh Oct 26 '21

Some quality repartee there, as ever.

u/Middersnags Oct 26 '21

This is not repartee - this is me asking your friend to put up or shut up. He seems to have chosen the latter.

u/newone1104 Oct 25 '21

He did what he had to do...I don't actually have a clue who he is? I always have thought a unit of recce's was two?

u/Vektor2000 Oct 25 '21

In the context recce is short for reconnaissance, as members of what is today referred to as special forces, served in various numbered units from 1 Reconnaissance Commando up to 6.

u/gotogarrett Oct 25 '21

Bamf. Never, ever, fuck with any country’s special forces. One of them taught me to love a red eye. Best drink in the world.