Soviet Mobutu Uniform from Africa

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    nkomo
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    Soviet Mobutu Uniform from Africa

    Post by nkomo on Mon May 18, 2009 9:08 pm

    This uniform was a major mystery for many years. I bought this uniform off of a dealer in the US who specialized in South African and Rhodesian militaria. The uniform was lying on his table mixed in with his other South African items. I asked him about the origins of the uniform and he said it came back from South Africa and he thought it might be of Soviet origin. I bought it, as the price was relatively cheap, but was never able to find out any information about it until a Soviet dealer identified the uniform as being a Spetsnaz Mobutu uniform. How in the world it made it's way to Africa is anyone's guess.

    The uniform is completely void of any markings that would identify it to any specefic country. It does have some numbers stamped on the inside of the pants and jacket, but they are VERY faint. The uniform is in good condition, but is used. This specimen also came with a matching cap.
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    Re: Soviet Mobutu Uniform from Africa

    Post by zvez on Mon May 18, 2009 9:47 pm

    Actually,
    that's not really the truth behind this uniform. I bought a couple of these many years ago ca. 1985 or so. It's a very lightweight cotton od type fabric. and is actually a soviet paratroop combat uniform as used in afghanistan. Actually not long after I acquired the uniform Nat. Geographic ran an episode where they spent time with soviet troops in various parts of afghanistan. One scene I especially recall was when they were travelling in a btr 80 buttoned up with motor rifle troops when the road thru a muj ambush. But I digress. They spent a considerable amount of time with a paratroop team going out on a heli assault and the troops were wearing this uniform. They were identified as spetsnaz but my guess is just standard paras. The pants on your uniform should have a snap closure pocket on the side of one thigh, this is where a combat knife was carried( you can see it in the left side of the pants photo just barely. Also believe the crotch and armpits had mesh vents. The pockets are unique in that the inside portion folds over to keep the contents from flying out. This is very similar in construction to the helicopter aircrew uniforms which were in woodland camo.

    Of note, I noticed probably in the last couple years redstar militaria(?) in UK was remaking this uniform as well as the mountain troops uniform (another incredible uniform of the afghan war and seldom encountered). I can't recall what if any markings my two uniforms of this type had.

    Hope this sheds some light on them. I've seen pics of this uniform in use in some or other afghan war book. Pretty scarce tho.

    Chris

    nkomo wrote:This uniform was a major mystery for many years. I bought this uniform off of a dealer in the US who specialized in South African and Rhodesian militaria. The uniform was lying on his table mixed in with his other South African items. I asked him about the origins of the uniform and he said it came back from South Africa and he thought it might be of Soviet origin. I bought it, as the price was relatively cheap, but was never able to find out any information about it until a Soviet dealer identified the uniform as being a Spetsnaz Mobutu uniform. How in the world it made it's way to Africa is anyone's guess.

    The uniform is completely void of any markings that would identify it to any specefic country. It does have some numbers stamped on the inside of the pants and jacket, but they are VERY faint. The uniform is in good condition, but is used. This specimen also came with a matching cap.
    Arch



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    Re: Soviet Mobutu Uniform from Africa

    Post by nkomo on Mon May 18, 2009 9:51 pm

    Somewhere...I have a Soldier of Fortune magazine and it shows some Spetsanz soldiers in Afghanistan wearing this exact uniform. I'm not saying it wasn't used by the VDV...just saying the Spetsanz used it as well. Whatever the case...I'd love to know how this uniform made it's way to Africa.
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    Re: Soviet Mobutu Uniform from Africa

    Post by Guest on Mon May 18, 2009 10:23 pm

    Mabutu (aka Mobutu - I presume) is actually the Russian nickname for the Soviet 1981 TTsKO tricolor series of camouflage uniforms. Dennis Desmond notes this in his book, and I have seen at least one other reference to this nickname in a book on African military conflicts. I have always presumed it referred just to the camouflage uniforms, but the nickname may also include the khaki combat uniforms as well. There is significant evidence that Soviet advisors and security forces were operating in various parts of Africa during the 1980s, particularly in places like Angola and Mozambique. Russian uniforms ended up in the hands of Rhodesian, SW African, South African and other insurgent groups, so my guess is a uniform like this was either donated as "war aid" or was simply left by advisors. The lightweight uniform was probably a lot more comfortable in the hot African sun than the Russian BDU-style uniform.

    I actually have a very nice one-piece aviator's coverall (made either in Russia or the Ukraine) that was captured by SA Special Forces in Angola.

    Eric
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    Re: Soviet Mobutu Uniform from Africa

    Post by nkomo on Mon May 18, 2009 11:19 pm

    Thanks for the great info Eric and Chris!!!!

    I found the pictures I was referring to in my above post. These pics come out of the Soldier of Fortune magazine June 1992. The owner of the photos is Jim Shortt....who also wrote the article entitled "Spetsnaz from "Cravan Hunters" to Elite Police Force".

    This first picture was taken in 1985 in the Paktia Province of Afghanistan. It is interesting to note the hodge-podge of uniforms and weapons. If you notice the red circled areas, you will see the pockets of the Mabutu uniform I posted above. These soldiers are a Soviet Spetsaz Group.


    The second picture is of a member of the Spetsanz Group holding a Makarov pistol on several Afghani Mujh fighters. Notice the pocket circled in red.


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    Re: Soviet Mobutu Uniform from Africa

    Post by fanxiaojun on Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:15 pm

    In china we(who collect the soviet military device) called this mobutu and we called this mobutu type "later period" because there is another type of this mobutu ,surely it was uesed by soviet spetsnaz in Afgan.I got a type "early period" from Russia now The far east.But in fact ,the "later period" like the nkomo's is harder to find than the "early period".The boss who sells my this mobutu did not know this coat,they only call it VDV Uniform.
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    Re: Soviet Mobutu Uniform from Africa

    Post by RetroRedRio on Sat Oct 30, 2010 11:51 pm

    The name Mobutu was named after the former dictator of Zaire (name of Congo at the time), Mobutu Sese Seko. The Soviets did send some military & technical aid during the Congo conflict but didn't stay for long mainly kuz of Mobutu. Originally the Mobutu made clothing was made for the Africans but they kept it for themselves for the most part. Lastly all the khaki & fiberglass made uniforms (70-E90's) are know as Afghanka's.
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    Re: Soviet Mobutu Uniform from Africa

    Post by Sgt P. on Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:26 pm

    Arch & Chris,
    I purchased this same Mabutu set thru a Russian soldier when I was in the flea market in Ismolviski Park. Same soldier sold me his Afghanistan issue uniform,his airborne beret, his AK74 bayonet, his high leather boots. He told me that he traded for the Mabutu uniform as it was in better shape than his A-stan camo set. I know many of the items that were sold in the Park were from veterans coming back to Moscow. Bruce
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    Mobuta

    Post by Peacekeeper-UA on Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:50 am

    Hi.

    As I can see, this is Mobuta (earlier version of Butan camouflage uniform). Worn by different Spetsnaz units, VDV abd rarely by the Soviet military advisors.

    This particular uniform could come to South Africa from Angola (from Soviet advisors and mentors who were providing assitance to the Angola Government in their fight against UNITA and South African SOF).

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    Re: Soviet Mobutu Uniform from Africa

    Post by joni firpo on Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:50 am


    A képet a Képfeltöltés.hu tárolja. http://www.kepfeltoltes.hu

    Mabuta shirt found in a local military shop (in Budapest) a few months ago. Sadly there were no trousers to the shirt :-(

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    Re: Soviet Mobutu Uniform from Africa

    Post by zvez on Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:59 pm

    Been giving some thought to this. Tho I'm not sure if we've ever actually established this uniform as being used in Africa, we do of course know it was used extensively in Afghanistan.

    I was thinking perhaps the nickname is "maputo" which was the capital of Mocambique after independence. And was headquarters of the soviet advisory team there.

    Just a thought.

    Chris
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    Re: Soviet Mobutu Uniform from Africa

    Post by nkomo on Sun Dec 25, 2011 7:42 pm

    zvez wrote:Been giving some thought to this. Tho I'm not sure if we've ever actually established this uniform as being used in Africa, we do of course know it was used extensively in Afghanistan.

    I was thinking perhaps the nickname is "maputo" which was the capital of Mocambique after independence. And was headquarters of the soviet advisory team there.

    Just a thought.

    Chris
    Chris,
    It certainly makes sense to me and makes a lot more sense than the Mobuto story.


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