PLATOON 3: A Mechanised Ratel soldier’s story


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By Tim Ramsden

“This is a story common to tens of thousands; called up, broken down, trained and thrust into action.”

In 1984, as an eighteen-year-old school leaver, the author was conscripted into a chaotic world of strict order, intense discipline and subtle brain washing, moulding him into a proud well trained 1SAI Ratel soldier.

On the SWA/Namibian/Angolan border patrolling through the bush under heavy rainfall and extreme heat, the platoon formed unbreakable bonds of camaraderie.

The sheer fear of lying in nightly ambush positions and burying massacred dead in Angola, added to the insanities of the border war. While stemming the flow of refugees from war torn Mozambique, three soldiers from Platoon 3 were captured and held as POW’s in Maputo in the notorious former Portuguese prison, Machava.

Called up as a Citizen Force mechanised soldier in 1988, the author along with some of Platoon 3 joined an armoured battle group hurriedly formed to repel two Cuban armoured brigades threatening to invade SWA/Namibia east of Ruacana.


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