Border War


The South African Border War, also known as the Namibian War of Independence, and also interwoven with the Angolan Bush War, was a largely asymmetric conflict that occurred in Namibia (then South West Africa), Angola and Zambia from 26 August 1966 to 21 March 1990. It was fought between the South African Defence Force (SADF) and the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), an armed wing of the South West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO). The South African Border War resulted in some of the largest battles on the African continent since World War II and was closely intertwined with the Angolan Civil War.

Following several decades of unsuccessful petitioning through the United Nations and the International Court of Justice for Namibian independence, SWAPO formed the PLAN in 1962 with material assistance from the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, and sympathetic African states such as Tanzania, Ghana, and Algeria. Fighting broke out between PLAN and the South African authorities in August 1966. Between 1975 and 1988 the SADF staged massive conventional raids into Angola to eliminate PLAN’s forward operating bases. Other offensives were also conducted in Zambia. Besides the operations in Angola the SADF deployed and manned bases all over the Namibia. In the 24 year period up to 1990 some 500 000 young South African men were conscripted to do National Service.

In this period the Special Forces operated its own bases in Namibia. 5 Recce Maintained a full time base in Ondangwa. From here continuous deployments against SWAPO took place. These include the “ Pseudo ops” type of operations.



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