WATCH | SANDF lights up night sky for Battle of Muizenberg
The glow of anti-aircraft cannons being fired lit up the faces of thousands of children perched on their parents' shoulders as the Battle of Muizenberg raged on Wednesday.
Where only a few days ago they splashed in the shallows of Sunrise Beach, a shell from an Olifant MkII tank struck a wave, sending a column of water 10m into the air.
On the beach where two days earlier dad had sat reading the Sunday Times under an umbrella, two Ratel 81 armoured personnel carriers lobbed illuminating mortars to expose the enemy positions.
Using artillery shells, rockets and machine guns, the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) fought off the invisible foe wading towards Cape Town from somewhere in the southern ocean.
What faith can we have in a military that can roll a Ratel APC in a motorway convey and get a bus stuck under a railway bridge in Muizenberg, all in preparation for a noisy "night shoot"? Apart from damage done by mega decibel levels, let's hope no shells or rockets go astray.— Terry Bell (@telbelsa) February 19, 2019
The violet afterburn from two Gripen fighters swooping low over the enemy was a clear sign that the outcome of the battle was going to be decisive. The beaches are safe, for now.
Although invisible to the grown-ups around them, the children would have imagined warships, landing craft and planes flown by bad guys trying to invade their precious beach.
The "night shoot" which preceded Armed Forces Day on Thursday might as well have been the main event.
Thousands of people parked their cars along Boyes Drive, the best place for a bird's eye view of False Bay.
And the SADF prove their competency 🤔 sinking ship (er Kwevoel) how much 💰💰💰 down the river there???— KTM Dirtbarbie (@sandidakar) February 19, 2019
"This afternoon ...... you think the G6 will pull that Kwevoel out ?? I wonder .....“ #SADF #Muizenberg #military #capetown #muizenbergmanouvreshttps://t.co/oMdXlP7Y63 pic.twitter.com/RjTfg5FPuv
Many more people came from nearby neighbourhoods in taxis, buses or on foot. After each thump of a shell being fired there was dead silence in the crowd.
Most people had never seen such a display, and may not even have known SA had this type of military capability.
The white UN peacekeeping livery adorning one of the state-of-the-art Rooivalk gunship helicopters was testimony to the SA military's role in Africa.
In fact, more Congolese civilians will have seen such a display of military hardware than South Africans.
Armed Forces Day 2019, Night Shoot at Muizenberg (Sunrise Beach), 19 February 2019.— SANDF Corporate Events (@SANDFCorpEvents) February 20, 2019
Photographs by Corporal Jonathan Mogano, Defence Corporate Communication, SA Soldier
Among the guests present at the demonstration were high-ranking military officers from other African countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, where SA maintains a strong peacekeeping force equipped with some of the country's latest home-grown hardware.
Even amid financial constraints, the SANDF remains one of the continent's most professional and efficient militaries.
Weapons used to discharge tons of ammunition into the sea included:
- 12.7mm Browning machine gun
- Denel 40mm Y3 automatic grenade launcher
- 120mm mortars
- Ratel Command armoured personnel carrier equipped with a Browning machine gun
- Ratel 20, equipped with a 20mm canon
- Ratel 81, equipped with a 81mm mortar
- Ratel 90, equipped with a 90mm anti-tank gun
- Olifant MK1A main battle tank
- Olifant MKII, the modernised version of the MK1A
- Rooikat armoured reconnaissance vehicle
- ZU23 Bosvark anti-aircraft system
- 35mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft system
- G5 stationary 155mm artillery
- G6 mobile 155mm artillery
- Valkiri multiple rocket launcher