Surface Forces: December 21, 2002


South Africa has named a new warship the SAS Islanawanda. This commemorates one of the few victories of an African over an European army. The 1879 battle saw the British outnumbered by more than ten to one by 20,000 Zulus armed mainly with spears. The British had rifles, but were taken by surprise by the better led Zulus. The SAS Islanawanda is one of four ships bought from Germany (where they were built). These Meko A-200 class ships displace 3,500 tons and carry anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles, as well as sonar, torpedoes and four 76mm guns. Crew size varies from 100 (minimum to run the ship) to 150 (for extended periods of operation.) It's long been a custom for ships to be named after military victories.


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