Category: Portuguese Colonial War


Steven’s Special Group for the Portuguese Colonial War

Special Group – Close Up

The Special Groups (Grupos Especiais or GE) were African para-military formations raised in Angola and Mozambique during the Portuguese Colonial War. They had a distinctive black uniform with a colourful beret. The GE were so successful that, in Mozambique, the Portuguese recruited a battalion of Paratrooper Special Groups (Grupos Especiais Pára-quedistas or GEP) from the GE. I have one unit that, with yellow berets, can do double duty as a GE or GEP combat group.

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Flight Plan Africa – Portuguese Airpower in Counterinsurgency, 1961-1974

T-6G Harvard, Cufar, Guine

John Cann published “Flight Plan Africa” in 2015. If you are interested in Airpower in Counterinsurgency, particularly the Portuguese experiences in 1961-1974, then get this book. I’ve taken a few notes, mostly quotes of bits I found interesting. To liven it up a bit I’ve included photos from other sources.

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Steven’s Commandos for the Portuguese Colonial War

Portuguese Commando Combat Group 01 Close Up

I have blogged before about my figures for the Portuguese Colonial War but they were on on individual bases. Now I have rebased for Fogo Cruzado – my period specific variant of Crossfire. That means each base is a fire team. I had to expand the numbers considerably. This week features my commando combat group.

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The Flechas – Insurgent Hunting in Eastern Angola 1965-1974

The Flechas Cover

2013 was a great year for books in English on the Portuguese Colonial War. One of them was John P Cann’s book on the Flechas (Arrows), a specialist indigenous unit fighting for the Portuguese in Angola and later in Mozambique. The book is part of the AFRICA@WAR Series. What a find! I took a few notes.

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Helicopter Landing Zone Requirements and Crossfire

Standard Helicopter Landing Zone (Venter, 1994, p159)

I have found myself looking at the Portuguese Colonial War again recently. Last night I was reading “The Chopper Boys: Helicopter Warfare in Africa” by Al J Venter again and thought I’d share something on Helicopter Landing Zone Requirements and Procedures.

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2016 Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian

Megalomaniac surveying all those unfinished wargaming projects in 2016

It has been a year since my Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian so definitely time for the 2016 update. I figured that, by sharing what I’m working on (far too much) and where I was up to with it (not far enough), I’d feel bad enough about my lack of progress to limit my work in progress and get some projects finished. Well, it worked, but only partly. I still worked on seven projects this year and finished none.

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Paper Figures for the Portuguese Colonial War

Paper Caçadores Combat Group

I was delighted to discover that a whole series of paper soldiers for the Portuguese Colonial War have appeared on Junior General.

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15mm Shanty Town for the African Wars

15mm Shanty Town Sector

Another step forward in my Portuguese Colonial War project complements of ebay. I picked up a couple of “15mm Shanty Town” pieces.

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Van Der Waals: Portugual’s War in Angola 1961-1974

Van der Waals Portugals War in Angola

I grab English Language books on the Portuguese Colonial War any time I see them. Mostly they are second hand so imagine my surprise to find a book called “Portugal’s War in Angola 1961-1974” in Foyle’s, my favourite bookstore in the centre of London.

The author, W. S. Van der Waals, is interesting because he had personal experience of Angola during the Portuguese Colonial War. He is a South African combat officer who served as military liaison with the Portuguese authorities in Angola during the war. He also connected to Angola later, during the subsequent Angolan Civil War, when

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Steven’s Armour for the Portuguese Colonial War

Portuguese Panhard AML-60

Armour didn’t feature hugely in the Portuguese Colonial War. The Portuguese used armoured cars a lot for convoy escort duty. So I’ve got enough armoured vehicles for a single convoy.

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Steven’s Poorly Armed Mob for the Portuguese Colonial War

Poorly Armed Stand

The early part of the Portuguese Colonial War saw a wave of poorly armed UPA men cross the border into Angola and go on the rampage. Cantanas (otherwise known as patangas or machetes), spears and home made guns were used extensively. I like the idea of putting together such a “mob”.

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Challenges of Insurgent Warfare for Crossfire

Portuguese Convoy

My Portuguese Colonial War project has stalled. I’ve got the forces for both insurgents and Portuguese security forces. I’ve got palms for jungle. I should be ready to game but instead I’ve stalled.

My problem is figuring out how to wargame the the common Combat Missions in the Portuguese Colonial War when using Crossfire. Combat missions of a insurgency are different to conventional warfare such as World War II. So, as a step forward I thought I’d jot down my thoughts about these challenges. I’m not trying to solve those problems just articulate them clearly. These problems are probably

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Insurgents in No-mans Land – A Fogo Cruzado Campaign

This is a version of the No-mans land Mini-Campaign adapted to Fogo Cruzado, my variant of Crossfire for the Portuguese Colonial War of the 1960s and 1970s. It is based on my previous thinking for No-mans land – A Crossfire Campaign and the Way of War in Portuguese Africa.

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Portuguese Panhard AML-60 Armoured Car

The Portuguese used a variety of equipment, both foreign and local made, during the Portuguese Colonial War and n the mid-1960s the Portuguese acquired a batch of Panhard AML-60 Armoured Cars for their reconnaissance squadrons. These vehicles have a mortar as the main armament, an unusual weapon for an armoured car, so I thought I’d do some research on them.

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Spencer and Machado on Portuguese Paratroopers

The Portuguese paratroopers were amongst the first to see action during the Portuguese Colonial War in 1961 and were amongst the last to pull out in 1975 (Spencer & Machado, 1992). They achieved an impressive 20:1 kill ratio, i.e. 20 insurgents killed for the loss of one paratrooper. Although it was more like 3:1 for casualties in general.

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