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Re: Jap paras & SA (South Africans)

Hi All

One of South Africa's (S.A.)main efforts during the early part of World War II was in Italian East Africa(ie - Abyssinia). This was during 1939 -1940. I hope Strelets is producing these figures as to date nobody has produced them yet. The SHQ figures in metal are wearing the correct sun helmets(the South African "Polo Pattern"-totally different to the British sun helmet") but are depicted in shorts for the desert campaign. In the East African campaign they had a distinct South African "look"about them as they wore the S.A. bush jacket, long trousers, World War I webbing and the distinct S.A. gaiters which where higher than the British army gaiters. They also wore brown boots not the black boots used by the British and other commonwealth countries. Weaponary carried was British Lee Enfield .303(not the number 1 mk 4 - but the earlier weapon), Bren guns, 1907 pattern sword bayonets and the support companies had Vickers medium machine guns and 3" mortars. The infantry had 2" infantry mortars.

In the later part of World War II, after the North African campaign was concluded the 6th South African Armoured Division was deployed to Italy around mid 1944 until the end of the war. They wore mainly British style battle dress made in South Africa so ordinary British infantry can be used for them.The only distinctive South African item was the brown boots as opposed to the black boots used by the British and other commonwelth divisions in Italy.

It should be noted that all South African soldiers, sailors and airmen were volunteers as like World War I there was no conscription. On their shoulder straps of their uniform an orange/red strip of cloth was proudly worn to signify that they were volunteers from South Africa. The only blot on the South Africa's war effort was the terrorist tactics of the "ossewaar brandwag"(literally translated as ox wagon fire watch) an extremist afrikaner nazi orientated bunch of thugs and gutter louts. They used to go around in gangs beating up any South African or allied servicemen they could find on their own or in small groups. Typical gutter louts and bullies. However the South African and allied servicemen took to going anywhere in large groups and many a ossewar brandwag street thug and bully felt the end of heavy hob nailed military boot when caught. After 1948 the ossewar brandwag gutter louts, bullies and terrorists took political power and apartheid was the result. Then 1994 came and the ANC took power. The French have a dictum which states "the more things change, the more they stay the same". Truly did Alon Paton write "Cry the Beloved Country". Relevent for when it was written and for post 1994.