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The battle of Norton de Matos

On 4 October 1975 a reconnaissance plane of the MPLA reconnoitred the road between Norton de Matos and Luimbale. According to the UNITA soldiers this was a daily occurrence and major Holtzhausen was not unduly worried that his force had been detected where it was hidden in the bush.

At Massano de Amorim, 38 kilometres east of Norton de Matos, the local UNITA infantry under Major Lumumba, joined the combat group. Major Holtzhausen explained normal deployment movements and made sure that all UNITA commanders knew what he expected of them. Major Lumumba’s men looked rather haggard after having spent months in the field.

The advance was led by the Land Cruiser with the anti-aircraft gun, followed by the armoured cars. The command vehicle and the three missile vehicles followed and the Land Rover with the Browning machineguns brought up the rear. Dr. Savimbi did not accompany them any further. Gradually more UNITA infantry appeared out of the bush next to the road and joined the column.

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Keywords found in the Premium Content of this page: 4 October 1975; reconnaissance plane; MPLA; Norton de Matos; Luimbale; UNITA soldiers; Major Holtzhausen; Massano de Amorim; UNITA infantry; Major Lumumba; combat group; deployment movements; UNITA commanders; advance; Land Cruiser; anti-aircraft gun; armoured cars; command vehicle; missile vehicles; Land Rover; Browning machineguns; Dr. Savimbi; Sergeant K.D. Strauss; machinegun section; one serviceable armoured car ; bridge across the Caala River; reconnaissance plane; UNITA-crew; flares signals; heavy fire; allied advance; FAPLA positions; higher ground; western side of the river; southeast; northwest; artillery; machine guns; mortars; killing zone; front elements; small-calibre weapons; battle; first shot; South African Defence Force; direct hit; signaller; driver; shrapnel; Rockets; mortar bombs; large and small projectiles; hand grenades; completely demoralise; deployed in depth; advancing in a single line; vehicles; took flight; South Africans; mortarists; artillerists; posts; Jeep’s crew; radio; Lieutenant N. van Rensburg; Corporal F.J.S. Scheepers; enemy mortal position; Staff-Sergeant W.S.M. Brown; Staff-Sergeant J.L. Pattison; missile; flank; retire; thick bush; wired-guided missiles; surface of the road; drawing heavy enemy fire; Warrant-Officer G.I. Jacobs; P.J. van der B. Lambrechts; Warrant-Officer J.J. Lotheringen; Captain E.E. Havenga; battery problems; standby-battery; fall back; cover the withdrawal; high-explosive; anti-tank; radio communications; own initiative; flanking move; 150 men; long hair; Cubans; .50 inch Browning machine guns; heavy fire; Corporal N. Bezuidenhout; Trooper W.J. Swart; assembly area; consolidate; Russian armoured cars; neutralised; mortar position; anti-tank weapon; UNITA-forces; “big gun”; 106 mm recoilless gun; UNITA-reconnaissance team; 60 dead enemy soldiers; FAPLA units; cleared up the battlefield; damaged Jeep; No equipment; origin; recovered; South Africa forces; UNITA’s Land Rovers; killed; wounded; Commandant van der Waals, no doctor; wounded South African; Rundu; 7 October 1975


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