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Problems experienced with the conquest of Roçades

While the capture of Pereira de Eça was planned, it had been envisioned that the South African forces stationed at Calueque-Ruacana could be used as a blocking force to stop refugees from Fort Roçades. Because Fort Roçades was, according to Military Intelligence, the MPLA-headquarters of the Cunene district, it was arranged that an armoured car squadron join Task Force Zulu as requested by Brigadier Schoeman.

For that purpose, a force comprising of a white company of 2 South African Infantry Battalion Group under Major Chris Prinsloo, three armoured car troops with a squadron headquarters under Major Antoon Slabbert, and a mortar group of four 81 mm mortars under Staff-Sergeant Gush, all from 2 South African Infantry Battalion Group, could be utilised. Apparently their Commanding Officer, Commandant du Toit, was under the impression that it was expected of him to capture Roçades with this force, and afterwards advance towards Sá de Bandeira. He was given no information about Task Force Zulu’s advance at all. Gathering information from Portuguese refugees, he thus established that the MPLA-headquarters was located at Roçades and Sá de Bandeira and provisionally started preparing plans for the capture of both. According to his information, the MPLA-force at Roçades comprised of between 100 and 200 men.

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