Submarine Service

Last Monday, March 18, marked the 39th anniversary of the launch of SA’s first submarine, the then-SAS Maria van Riebeeck. It also marked the 40th birthday of the South African Navy’s submarine service. 

Navy chief, Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu, yesterday told a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Submarine Escape and Rescue Work Group meeting in Cape Town that his second-generation Heroine-class submarines “have already proved their worth” since commissioning in November 2005.

He noted they have been involved “in extensive international exercises during which they have proved, time and time again, the true value of the submarine in modern maritime warfare. 

“They have, furthermore, been busy with patrols in the huge Exclusive Economic Zone of South Africa, including the Exclusive Economic Zone surrounding the Prince Edward Island group, in the southern ocean.” Bravo Zulu to the SAN and submarine service.

Staying with anniversaries, British and Boer forces fought a hard three day battle for the possession of Johannesburg and its gold mines this week 109 years ago in what is now the city`s southern suburbs. The battle, fought from May 27 to May 30, deserves more recognition than it has so far received, involving as it did up to 5000 Boer fighters and two British divisions, under command of some of the best officers of the day. Those so inclined are urged to visit the battlefields. Although most are now urbanised there is still plenty to see. It is also easily accessible to anyone living in Gauteng or the vicinity thereof. There is a thorough description of events and the battlefields concerned in the defenceWeb Repository.

Fact files

Another note on the Repository… Do remember to browse there. We have added substantial amounts of archive material there in recent weeks, including hard-to-find articles and information, some dating back to 1998! More are about to follow on the organisation and future of the infantry section, platoon, company and battalion. The articles – at the time – generated a letter of thanks and appreciation from the Infantry School and then Directorate Infantry at Army Headquarters.       

We have also been adding fact files to the Land portal, this time on the Corps of the South African Army. These contain some general background on most corps as well as information on corps units and their location. We hope they will be useful to you.