28 November 2006


Armaholic.com had the chance to interview the project team of "Bushwars".
The Bush Wars Mod is a mod depicting the South African - Angolan Bushwar 1966 - 1989. Visit the BushWars website for more info or check out the article we made for Armed Assault mod projects.

Armaholic.com is new in the OFP/Arma community, could you introduce your project team briefly?

At the moment we are basically a family doing something we love (although my wife thinks it's an addiction).
It's a project I promised to make a while ago as a tribute to the soldiers who died in this war especially 32 Battalion.

How big is the team working on this project?
Knowing you are recruiting, what would you consider to be the best number of people to actually work on this project?

At the moment we are only 2, me (ObmaR) and my nephew (DigiA). I do have 2 other staff members who help me out occasionally.
My aim is to have 8 dedicated members who will help with the map and the mission making as well as some aspects of this MOD.
We don't need to be a big team, just a dedicated one.

Can you give us a little background on your project, why did the mod team decide to make a mod covering the South African - Angolan Conflict (The Bushwar)?

The South African - Angolan Bushwar is little known outside South Africa, Angola, Cuba and Russia due to the secret nature of the war and South Africa's apartheid policies.
There has been a lot of misinformation about the war, as it was not a war against black people but against the Marxist onslaught into Africa.
South Africa was the last colonial yoke left in the Southern African region with a massive and well trained army. This halted the Communist onslaught into the region, but created a massive guerrilla warfare type conflict in what was known as the "Operational Area" or the "Border". This was the border region between Angola and South West Africa now called Namibia.
Although South Africa had a racial policy known as Apartheid this was not practiced in the Army, SADF (South African Defence Force). In fact and this is the irony of the South African Apartheid policies the total South African war casualties was 70% black soldiers.
The Unit that did most of the fighting was 90% black and only 10% white, This Unit was known as 32 Battalion you could say that the most elite unit in the South African Army was black.
This MOD is my dedication to this unit.

In terms of human loss, duration, and intensity the Bushwar was one of the biggest Cold War Era conflict, even greater than Vietnam.
I'm going to give you a couple of facts just to give the readers an idea of the intensity of this conflict;

  • The war lasted for 23 years (1966 - 1989)
  • The total war casualty for both sides including the civil war exceeds 5 million deaths.
  • The "Border Region" is known as the most mined area in the world. (It is estimated that 1,5 million AT and AP mines are buried in unmarked minefields in Angola. 1 person dies everyday because of mines, even today as I write this article.)
  • There was a massive amount of captured Russian weapons never before seen by the west. At the time it was suspected that the Russians were using the war to test new weapons.
  • 10 000 Russian troops did service in Angola (as military advisers????)
  • 350 000 Cubans did military service in Angola.
  • The South African Special Forces namely the Recces (Recognisance Commandos) and 32 Battalion had the worlds highest kill ratio in battle at the time, an astonishing 25:1
Our aim with this mod is to educate the younger generation and a tribute the members of 32 Battalion and the Recces and all soldiers on both sides who lost their lives in this war. It?s also a promise I made some mates that wanted to play more than USA vs. Russia scenarios.

We can already see some renders of units on the Bushwars site and I think they all show your teams dedication and sense of realism, but how about the missions in your mod, will it be a full campaign and will they reflect the Bushwar realistically or will you add more "game fun" features to it?

From my side and I hope to keep it the MOD teams viewpoint is to call this mod more a simulation of the war.
We are going to take historical operations and turn them into missions and campaigns. I want to keep it historically accurate as well as bring that African feel to the missions.
I think with ArmA and some good mission makers we can make it very realistic.
Remember this was very much a guerrilla war, lots of small units (Insurgents/Terrorists) trying to cross the border and de-stabilise the country, and COIN units (Counter Insurgency) trying to stop them. This gives us lots of scope for some really good missions.

Does the team have any real life experience within the army, and will you use that experience for anything related to this mod?

Yes, after university I was drafted into the army (It was compulsory for all South African Citizens. I'm Portuguese by birth but lived in South Africa from the age of 12). I attained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in the Signals Corps and did my service (1982-1984) at a base called Ondangwa close to the Angolan border.
I worked in the radar and radio facility as a translation officer (basically, listened to enemy conversations and translated them into English for the Military Intelligence).
DigiA wasn't even born then. Always asked me what it was like. Now he knows lots due to all the research for our models.

Will the missions included aim mainly for the SP, the MP or both aspects of the game?

My aim at the moment is for SP missions but I will include MP at a later stage as we develop the mod.
Also want to have a look at ArmA and being in South Africa looks like February is the date.

Will this mod include new gameplay features, things you maybe always wanted in OFP but couldn't, and hopefully can do with ArmA? If so, would you like to share some ideas with the public?

Yes there are two features that were distinct to the real life Bushwar that I could not duplicate in OFP.

The first is a tactic called tracking and anti-tracking.
This was a tactic where a smallteam, maybe 3 men attack a patrol then run and hide (cat and mouse) but make a figure 8 in an area approx 6 square kilometers. An ambush position is set and the tracking units walk into it.
Just that in OFP you could not hide behind trees, grass or any form of cover because the enemy would shoot you from a distance and you don't have the element of surprise you would have in real life.

The second is a Forward Air Command plane (The Bosbok) dropping smoke from an altitude to mark targets for an artillery barrage (G5 guns).
I tried in OFP but I could never use the smoke grenades as a marker. Hopefully ArmA with some new script will make this possible as I have the add-ons near completion.

You are planning on making your own island. Is there any update you can give us about it?
The tools aren't available yet, but maybe you can already share some features included in the planned map you think are worth mentioning?

Yes, we are planning an island of "Angola". You will see in the info pages of my site more or less the map we intend making.
I want to get the tools first as well as the game. From pics released on various sites I think I can use most of the textures in the ArmA island. We will however need to make buildings and other distinct African features as well as trees for the new map.
This is where I'm going to need a lot of help. I want to give the map a distinct African bush feel.
I have been speaking to Ebud the creator of Tonal Island from BAS MOD who has offered to help with the island.

Sahrani is said to be 400 square KM. What size of "Island" is your mod team aiming at?

We will scale down the "Angola" map to about 30% of actual size in-game; this will give it roughly 500 square KM.

  • 4. OPERATION PROTEA: 23/08/81 - 01/09/81
  • 5. OPERATION DAISY: 01/11/81 - 20/11/81
  • 6. OPERATION SUPER: 1982
  • 7. OPERATION ASKARI: 1983-84

The Bushwars mod features a lot of units, weapons and an island as well. Will you wait with the release until everything is finished or will you release this mod in parts? Patching it in the future to add more units and maybe add more missions to the campaign for example?

I'm going to release a mini-mod first with some units, weapons and vehicles and will include SP missions but not the "Angola" island.
The missions will be played on the Sahrani Island. Then as soon as the island is completed we will release the full mod.
After that we will let the mod evolve as I'm sure lots of add-on makers will improve on our models and re-release them, hopefully through us.
We will create patches from time to time to improve the mod as a mod is like the game.
It's an ongoing development.

Right now you update the public with renders of nearly finished models. As soon as the tools are available and you can start finishing them completely will you release video's/teasers to the public to advertise your mod project more?

Yes, we will definitely release videos/teasers through our hosts Armed-Assault.net as well as a mini-mod approximately 3 months after the release of ArmA in South Africa.
It also depends on when BIS release their tools to the public.
I will announce a definite release date on my site at a later stage.

Is there anything we didn't ask but you would like to share with the community?

I'm looking for some really talented people who could help out with the mod either as members or as freelancers.
Please check this page for more info about applying for a job at Bushwars mod.


Armaholic.com would like to thank you for giving us the chance to interview you.
We are looking forward to any new info about the mod you publish in the future and we will make sure to inform the public about your progress.

We will meet again for a follow up interview when you are close to releasing the first part of your mod, thanks!!

Some related links:
Bushwars link section
Bushwar information

All pictures used in this article have been copied from the BushWars website. This interview is part of the "Armaholic project guide" so all same credits and rules apply to this page aswell!

[1] [2] [3] [3a] [4] [5] [6] [6a] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

1. Armed Assault Projects guide
2. SAS mod
3. Bushwars
3a. Bushwars interview I
4. Germany 1985
5. Mec mods
6. Bundeswehr mod
6a. Bundeswehr interview I
7. Vegetation pack 1
8. Retro flashpoint mod
9. Warporn TCW objects
10. Finnish defence forces mod
11. Hellenic warfare mod interview