African Wars reenactment and impressions

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    PedroPato
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    African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by PedroPato on Tue Jun 02, 2015 4:14 pm

    Greetings,

    In this topic I will post my African wars reenactment pictures and impressions. I reenact African themes, mostly the Ultramar War (Portuguese Colonial War, 1961-1974) since at least 2008 and I have been collecting items from that era since the 80's when my uncles gave me some kit used by them in Cabinda and Eastern Angola.

    I'm also interested in Rhodesian and South African reenactment and I'm trying to make some impressions depicting forces from the Bush War and the Border War also.

    Please feel free to comment and discuss!

    So here is the first impression of the topic, enjoy!

    *******************************************************************************

    Portuguese Paratroopers - Early 70's

    The Portuguese Paratroopers were a relatively new force when the Ultramar War started in 1961 and were one of the first units dispatched to the fights area. The first combat jump was in April 1961 in Angola but more and more times the Paratroopers were used as assault troops.

    The uniforms were a variant of the ones used by the French paratroopers in Algeria and the pattern was deveoped from the French lizard. The webbing was mostly American M-1945 surplus items from the Korean War and also some American M-1956 items, these patterns were also copied in Portugal to make up demand.

    In the early 70's the steel helmets were rarely used and many paratrooper units got the FMP G3 rifle instead of the Armalite AR10 rifle and the paratroopers instead of jumping from airplanes were carried by helicopter most of the times.

    In these heliborne operations the troops did not stayed much time in the bush and usually no rucksaks or haversacks were carried but a bigger complement of magazines than the regular Army units (13 magazines instead of 5) and more grenades (6 instead of 2). Also the issuing of grenades and heavy weapons had a higher ratio than in regular units.

    Kit list:
    - Portuguese Paratroopers lizard combat uniform (Portuguese Air Force Model)
    - Portuguese Paratroopers combat boots (Portuguese Air Force Model)
    - M-1945 suspenders (US made)
    - M-1945 canteen (Portuguese made)
    - M-1945 BAR belt (Portuguese made)
    - M-1945 grenade pouch (Portuguese made)
    - FMP G3 battle rifle






    PedroPato
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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by PedroPato on Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:47 am

    Portuguese Marine - Early 60's

    The Portuguese Marines were a force with a long tradition dating back to the sixteen century. In the late 50's the marines sent quadres to the United Kingdom to make the Royal Marines Commando course.

    These quadres were the basis for the new special marines course that began in the early 60's. The special marines were sent in detachments to Africa for counter insurgency missions during the Ultramar War, specially to operate near rivers and lakes.

    The camouflage uniforms were similar in cut and style to the paratroopers variant but the colors were different from the Army and Air Force, being more dark and greenish. The special marines were issued with very dark blue berets exclusive of their status and also camouflage combat caps.

    The webbing equipment used in the early 60's were the British Pattern 58, the canteens were not issued and the poncho roll was seldom used (or even distributed). More often than not the marines only used the belt and ammo pouches while operating from their zebro boats. The canteens used ranged from civilian bottles to old Portuguese patterns.

    The weapons used by the marines were the G3 battle rifle, the MG42 machine gun and the 89 mm Super Bazooka.

    Kit list:
    - Portuguese marines lizard combat uniform (Portuguese Navy model)
    - Portuguese marines landing boots
    - British Pattern 58 harness, combat belt, kidney pouches and ammo pouches (British made)
    - Pattern 1903 canteen and Minchin water bottle (World War One stocks)
    - FMP G3 battle rifle








    Camonut314
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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by Camonut314 on Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:58 pm

    Really, really nice impression. I love those "quick release" marine boots. And I love the waffle - magazine on your G3, did you make that yourself? I take it that is an airsoft, right? I am almost done with the same impression, just really waiting on a period beret, and then I will accumulate the Webb gear.

    PedroPato
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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by PedroPato on Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:57 pm

    I got the magazine from the Red Wolf partner in Portugal, it was made by King Arms.

    PedroPato
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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by PedroPato on Thu Jun 11, 2015 12:33 pm

    Portuguese marine - Early 70's (1)

    The Portuguese Marines were a force with a long tradition dating back to the sixteen century. In the late 50's the marines sent quadres to the United Kingdom to make the Royal Marines Commando course.

    These quadres were the basis for the new special marines course that began in the early 60's. The special marines were sent in detachments to Africa for counter insurgency missions during the Ultramar War, specially to operate near rivers and lakes.

    From the late 60's to early 70's the Special Marines Detachments (DFE's, "Destacamentos de Fuzileiros Especiais) became present in all fronts, from the rivers of Guinea-Bissau, to the rivers and east of Angola, to even Niassa lake in Mozambique.

    The camouflage uniforms were similar in cut and style to the paratroopers variant but the colors were different from the Army and Air Force, being more dark and greenish. The special marines were issued with very dark blue berets exclusive of their status and also camouflage combat caps.

    The weebing equipment used from the late 60's was the Portuguese ECN ("Equipamento de Combate Naval", naval fighting equipment) developed from the British Patter 58 used earlier by the marines. The harness was simplified, the big ammo pouches were replaced by double magazine pouches, the kidney pouches had different closures and the fabric used was root-proof and more robust.

    More often than not the marines only used the belt and ammo pouches while operating from their zebro boats. The canteens used ranged from civilian bottles to old Portuguese patterns.

    The weapons used by the marines were the G3 battle rifle, the MG42 machine gun and the 89 mm Super Bazooka.

    Kit list:
    - Portuguese marines lizard combat uniform (Portuguese Navy model)
    - Portuguese marines landing boots
    - Portuguese ECN webbing set
    - Pattern 1903 canteen and Minchin water bottle (World War One stocks)
    - FMP G3 battle rifle








    tlundberg1
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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by tlundberg1 on Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:17 pm

    Great series of postings! I like seeing the full recreation of the uniform with associated equipment, as well as your information explaining the history behind them. Look forward to seeing more!
    Thom

    PedroPato
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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by PedroPato on Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:43 am

    I'm still working on more impressions to depict various units and eras of the conflict that run from 1961 until 1974/75. I will try to provide more information in the future.

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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by PedroPato on Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:54 pm

    When the Ultramar War started in 1961 the Portuguese Army had to rely heavily in bad trails and roads to support its operations. Most of the transportation was by truck and these convoys were attacked and ambushed a lot of times.

    Later as the war progressed the ambushes were complemented by mining the roads. Since the helicopter available were engaged in troop combat deployment and extraction operations the logistic support to the many barracks and outposts was by truck. These convoys needed to be well escorted by troops and sappers needed to clear the roads because of the many mines being laid.

    For escort duties some soldiers still used steel helmets, the webbing was used in a different way than for bush operations because of the need to be ridding trucks for long periods and having to jump to the sides of the roads in a instant.

    Usually magazine pouches were used at the front (as opposed to the bush practice of using it at the back), the haversack was used at the side to allow the back of the soldier to be in the seat. Since the soldiers were in the vehicles most of the time only one canteen was carried and the amount of gear carried was small. Canvas boots were more used than the leather ones mainly for comfort reasons.

    The weapons used by the soldiers were mainly the G3 battle rifle. The vehicles were armed with a wide range of support weapons with many older weapons being used like the Madsen LMG, Breda MMG and Dreyse MG12 LMG.

    Kit list:
    - Portuguese Army m/964 combat uniform
    - Portuguese Army canvas boots
    - Portuguese Army M64 webbing consisting of magazine pouches (late model), canteen (late model), combat belt (late model), haversack and harness
    - Portuguese Army M/940-63 steel helmet
    - FMP G3 battle rifle






    PedroPato
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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by PedroPato on Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:41 am

    Here I have the equipment for the last impression depicted above. The webbing has the later variant magazine pouches (press stud version) and also late variant canteen (covered lid and carabiner fixing to the belt).




    PedroPato
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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by PedroPato on Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:34 am

    Portuguese hunter on short patrol - Late 60's (1)

    From 1963 on the infantry changed training and the units mobilized for the war started to be named hunter companies and adopted the brown beret to denote their light infantry and counter-insurgency training.

    These companies were more and more used in a scheme of quadricule were a unit was tasked with defense an patrol of an area and also other missions like escort duties, support of civil authority and aid to the population.

    The patrols were short ones for the most time and the hunter groups were lightly armed for most of the missions, the equipment carried was also light and items such as leather boots, rucksacks, large packs and other heavier kit was usually kept in base.

    This impression depicts a typical lightly armed and lightly equipped hunter, the webbing only consists of a belt kit with just two magazine pouches and a canteen, the weapon carried is the FMP G3. The magazine pouches are carried at the back as regular practice for dismounted troops since the first reaction to a hot contact was to fall on the mask (fall to the front and aim from the prone position). The uniform used is the m/964 model but the combat jacket was kept at base camp and replaced by a shirt that was more light and cooler.

    The native hunter companies and militias were also equipped in this lighter matter most of the times.

    Kit list:
    - Portuguese Army m/964 combat cap
    - Portuguese Army m/964 combat shirt
    - Portuguese Army m/964 combat trousers
    - Portuguese Army canvas boots
    - Portuguese Army M64 webbing consisting of magazine pouches (early model), canteen (early model) and combat belt (early model)
    - Portuguese Army M64 trousers belt
    - FMP G3 battle rifle






    Camonut314
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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by Camonut314 on Mon Jul 06, 2015 1:13 pm

    Keep it up!

    PedroPato
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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by PedroPato on Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:13 pm

    Here is the uniform and equipment used in the "Portuguese hunter on short patrol - Late 60's (1)" impression. I used the earlier pattern M64 combat belt, ammo pouches and canteen.




    PedroPato
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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by PedroPato on Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:42 pm

    Portuguese hunter on long patrol - Late 60's (1)

    For bigger operations usually better trained units were employed, these operations were above quadricule level (local company garrison).

    Usually there were more officers and seargents with special operations course (rangers) in these companies and has time progressed better trained units like paratrooper companies (since 1961), special marine detachments (since 1961), comando companies (since 1963) and other troops like the GE's, GEP's and Flechas.

    In spite of the increase in special forces and special operations in these longer and bigger operations the bulk of the troops employed continued to be the hunter companies.

    For these operations more heavy equipment was employed like better air cover like jet fighters being ready for support round the clock, helicopters for rapid team deployment or rescue, heavy and medium artillery and military engineering means.

    The individual soldiers also carried more gear and were better armed with a bigger allotment of grenades and ammo. The ammount of water carried was also bigger, inside canteens and also in the packs (usually bottles ready for canteen refill).

    This impression depicts a hunter with the prescribed loadout for a longer patrol, it carries a full webbing set (without the haversack) with a supplementary strap canteen and grenade pouch. At the back a M64 large pack is carried along with the m/961 lizard rain poncho that could be used as an individual tent or buttoned to make a bigger tent. The magazine pouches are carried in the kidneys since the patrol was on foot.

    The uniform used is the m/964 lizard combat uniform and the combat jacket is used instead of the shirt because it offered better protection to the arms because it was reinforced at the shoulders and elbows, a net is carried around the neck that could be used to camouflage the soldier.

    The weapon carried is the FMP G3 but two grenades are also carried, the normal magazine dotation was 5 magazines but more ammunition is carried in the large pack.

    Kit list:
    - Portuguese Army m/964 combat cap
    - Portuguese Army m/964 combat jacket
    - Portuguese Army m/964 combat trousers
    - Portuguese Army m/964 lizard combat net
    - Portuguese Army m/961 rain poncho
    - Portuguese Army canvas boots
    - Portuguese Army M64 webbing consisting of magazine pouches (early model), canteen (early model), straps canteen, grenade pouch, large pack and combat belt (early model)
    - Portuguese Army M64 trousers belt
    - FMP G3 battle rifle








    PedroPato
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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by PedroPato on Sat Aug 01, 2015 10:46 pm

    White MPLA volunteer - 1976 (1)

    Between 1974 and 1976 as the Ultramar War was ending the Angolan Civil War was just starting. The Carnation

    Revolution in mainland Portugal had promised a quick ending to the war and the start of decolonization process. In the mid of the chaos and both civil and military unrest the military situation in Angola changed from a virtual win for the Portuguese forces to a chaotic situation with the armed forces partially disarmed or in the barracks. Officers being demoted or promoted according to political affiliation, black troops being persecuted and murdered by the guerrillas and a general scenario of arming the factions and getting new allies for the ensuing power struggle for the control of Angola.

    Many Portuguese born in Angola were cought in the middle, others were politicaly engaged in one of the many factions. Some former soldiers also tried their luck as mercenaries or simply deserted for ideologycal reasons.

    This impression depicts a white "volunteer" in the MPLA guerrillas, many left leaning soldiers deserted the Army and joined the comunist backed MPLA, other white colonist simply joined the guerrillas on fear of persecution and deserted their new comrades at the first opportunity.

    Many former Portuguese quadres only abandoned the FAPLA forces in the late 70's because of the purges of white and mestiço quadres in the MPLA power structure.

    This impression depicts a former Portuguese soldier that joined the MPLA ranks, he still uses mostly Portuguese Army leftovers and east bloc weaponry. He is lightly armed and equiped as were most MPLA combatants during the strugle for the control of Luanda and the first months after independance.

    The clothes used are former Portuguese Army issued, a portuguese dress shirt is used alongside combat trousers and combat cap. The boots are Portuguese Army canvas boots. The webbing equipment is scarce, only a canteen, combat belt and haversack of the M64 model. The haversack was used for gear and magazine carrying.

    The weapon carried is an Hungarian made AMD65 assault rifle, not a very common weapon but also received as emergency aid to equip the newly raised MPLA units alonside a great variety of eastern bloc weapons.

    An African made bush knife ("facão") is also carried to serve as an weapon and tool.

    The hair is overgrown since it was the general look of the troops from 1974 onward. Some even used it longer with full beard.

    Kit list:
    - Portuguese Army m/964 combat cap
    - Portuguese Army m/964 dress shirt
    - Portuguese Army m/964 combat trousers
    - Portuguese Army canvas boots
    - Portuguese Army M64 webbing consisting of canteen (early model), combat belt (later model) and haversack
    - Portuguese Army M64 trousers belt
    - AMD65 assault rifle
    - African made bush knife








    zvez
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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by zvez on Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:42 pm

    These are great recreations!

    The AMD was very sought after as a souvenir during the Rhodesian war.

    PedroPato
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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by PedroPato on Fri Aug 07, 2015 8:23 am

    Thanks Zvez!

    Here are the items used for the long patrol impression:




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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by PedroPato on Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:49 pm

    White FNLA comando - 1976 (1)

    Between 1974 and 1976 as the Ultramar War was ending the Angolan Civil War was just starting. The Carnation

    Revolution in mainland Portugal had promised a quick ending to the war and the start of decolonization process. In the mid of the chaos and both civil and military unrest the military situation in Angola changed from a virtual win for the Portuguese forces to a chaotic situation with the armed forces partially disarmed or in the barracks. Officers being demoted or promoted according to political affiliation, black troops being persecuted and murdered by the guerrillas and a general scenario of arming the factions and getting new allies for the ensuing power struggle for the control of Angola.

    Many Portuguese born in Angola were caught in the middle, others were politically engaged in one of the many factions. Some former soldiers also tried their luck as mercenaries or simply deserted for ideologycal reasons.

    FNLA recruited many Portuguese ex-soldiers and deserters alongside other mercenary groups in its attempt to take over the power in Angola during de-colonization and after independence. FNLA was anti-communist and had some Zairian,CIA and South African support.

    FNLA recruited and organized a force of comandos to use as the crack unit of their forces, the elements were former Portuguese Army comandos wich were battle hardened veterans.

    This impression depicts a white FNLA comando. These forces mainly comprised of former Portuguese comandos that were recruited by the FNLA to be used in their offensive to take Luanda from the MPLA.

    These forces used mainly ex-Portuguese Army uniforms and equipment. The equipment depicted comprises a FMP G3 battle rifle, a belt kit of combat belt, magazine pouches and canteen.

    The clothes used are former Portuguese Army issued, a portuguese dress shirt is used alongside work trouses. The boots are Portuguese Army canvas boots. The headcover is a red beret adopted by the FNLA comandos.

    The hair is overgrown since it was the general look of the troops from 1974 onward. Some even used it longer with full beard.

    Kit list:
    - red beret
    - Portuguese Army m/964 dress shirt
    - Portuguese Army m/964 work trousers
    - Portuguese Army canvas boots
    - Portuguese Army M64 webbing consisting of canteen (early model), combat belt (later model) and two double magazine pouches
    - Portuguese Army M64 trousers belt
    - FMP G3 battle rifle












    zvez
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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by zvez on Wed Aug 19, 2015 5:10 am

    One of my favorite subjects. The FNLA was run by Holden Roberto, who spent most of his life in Zaire, as I recall he was married to Mobutu's sister. FNLA was the one that the CIA picked to back thru Zaire but was never as powerful as UNITA led by Savimbi. They also had South African troops seconded to FNLA.

    FNLA was the group that recruited Col Callan (this part of the Angola civil war is covered quite well from first person perspective in FIREPOWER by Dempster and Tomkins). Callan was an ex. Cypriot Brit. Para who had some initial success against cuban forces, but was a pretty crazy guy and later executed a bunch of his own men.

    http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Power-Chris-Dempster/dp/0552108073/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1_twi_pap_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1439971904&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=firepower+by+chris+dempster

    Great impression!

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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by PedroPato on Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:14 pm

    Thanks for the information Zvez, FNLA was poorly led in a political way so the advantage that it initially had in equipment, shock troops, financial support and allies was eroded by bad judgement and tactical failures that led to its ultimate defeat.

    PedroPato
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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by PedroPato on Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:18 pm

    Here are the items I used for my FNLA comando impression:




    zvez
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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by zvez on Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:50 pm

    Pedro. on one of my trips to South Africa in the early 80s, had the good fortune of meeting Willy Ward. He had a long career in SADF. (I actually traded him for a pair of his cloth hunter group wings and sterling silver hunter group mess dress wings). He had loads of momentos including his ID badge and other suppporting documents when he was working with FNLA during the war. He also had some original Biafran stuff but wouldn't part with any of that stuff.

    Keep up the good work. Is the G-3 real or airsoft? Always had a soft spot for the G-3 after the FAL!

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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by PedroPato on Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:55 pm

    The G3 is an airsoft replica but I modified it to Portuguese FMP G3 standards, still need to make the markings to finish the project.

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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by zvez on Tue Aug 25, 2015 7:01 pm

    I just love these air soft guns they look so real. Pedro, you've got a magnficent collection! Curious, did the portuguese ever camouflage paint their weapons like the rhodesians and south africans did?

    PedroPato wrote:The G3 is an airsoft replica but I modified it to Portuguese FMP G3 standards, still need to make the markings to finish the project.

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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by PedroPato on Fri Aug 28, 2015 11:23 am

    In the old manuals it was prescribed to use burned cork and mud to treat the shiny parts in the field but painting the guns was not allowed.

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    Re: African Wars reenactment and impressions

    Post by PedroPato on Fri Feb 05, 2016 8:22 am

    Portuguese hunter on operation - 1964 (1)

    By 1964 a lot of changes were already implemented or being enforced. Most of these changes were meant to allow the troops to be better suited for counter-insurgency warfare and to be better adapted to the African conditions.

    In terms of training all units started to receive light infantry training, the infantry became all hunter companies with the emphasis in counter-insurgency. In terms of equipment new uniforms were issued and camouflage became the norm for combat operations, new webbing was also developed to allow more modularity and adaptation to the usage of automatic weapons.

    This impression depicts a hunter in 1964 when new equipment was started to be issued but some of the older one was still in use. At this date some units still used the steel helmet for jungle and bush operations.

    The uniform used is the m/964 lizard combat uniform that started to be issued in 1964, this type of uniform had reinforced sections (elbows, shoulders and the trousers back and knees).

    The webbing carried is still the old M/943-44 that was a version of the British Pattern 37 used since 1943 by the Portuguese Army. The canteen carried is an older Pattern 03 canteen of British origin received by Portugal during the First World War, many older canteen types were still in use like the M/911, British P08, British P37 and M/943-44.

    The weapon carried is the FMP G3 battle rifle that became the standard rifle of the Portuguese Army.

    Kit list:
    - Portuguese Army m/964 combat cap
    - Portuguese Army m/964 combat jacket
    - Portuguese Army m/964 combat trousers
    - Portuguese Army m/964 lizard combat net
    - Portuguese Army M/940-63 steel helmet
    - Portuguese Army canvas boots
    - Portuguese Army M/943-44 webbing consisting of magazine pouches, cross straps, combat belt and haversack
    - Pattern 1903 canteen
    - FMP G3 battle rifle








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