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Operation Daisy: Rationale

Operation Daisy 




October, 1981 — Southern Angola

SWAPO had suffered heavy losses during Operation Carnation and Operation Protea which were executed in the western and southern theatres of Southern Angola. Because of this, the situation was as follows:

· The North-Eastern Front (NEF) was cut off from the rest of the SWAPO forces.

· The Northern Front (NF) Headquarters had dispersed and the guerrillas had fled in the direction of the command post.

· The morale of SWAPO was low due to the disruption and an acute shortage of food supplies.

· A battalion SWAPO guerrillas had arrived at the command post in order to lay ambushes towards the south as protection.

FAPLA forces had withdrawn towards the north to join units further north. They were busy with reconnaissance tasks in order to reoccupy towns in Southern Angola.

The on-going process of intelligence-gathering after Protea indicated to the South Africans that SWAPO had moved their command post to a position in thick bush northeast of Techamutete. Despite their heavy losses, SWAPO was planning another large-scale infiltration during the rainy season, early in 1982.

In order to disrupt these plans the SADF decided to seek and destroy the enemy headquarters by means of a ground force assault supported by the air force.

The target area was code-named Daisy, and the  operation called OPERATION DAISY. Located extremely deep inside Angola, up to 150 kilometres, the area of operations had to be supported by the Air Force and the decision was made to provide adequate fighter back-up for the ground forces due to the proximity of two major Angolan airfields at Lubango and Menongue. The target area was well within the MiG striking range.

South African intelligence had shown enemy disposition in the area of influence as follows:

· SWAPO targets in the Daisy Area:

· Target A1, with a protection element numbering around 1,000.

· Target A2, which was the Military Command Post with a strength of around 400+.

· Target A3, “B” Battalion with 400+ men.

· Target B, which made up the mobile command cadre of about 50 men.

· Target C, a forward post of unknown strength.

· Target D in the Chilombo area, which was a forward post with about 10 vehicles.

· More SWAPO groups of unknown strength were located further south.

· FAPLA forces in the area:

· A brigade plus (with tanks) at Caiundo.

· A brigade with MiG-17s at Menongue.

· 2 battalions at Techiesso.

· 1 brigade at Cuchi.

· 1 battalion at Cuvango.

· A Cuban regiment at Dongo with 8 122mm BM-21s.

· The 67 Brigade headquarters with its third battalion at Techamutete.

· The second and fourth battalions of 67 Brigade at Cassinga.

SWA Command was tasked by the Chief of the Army on 22 October 1981 in Operational Instruction 14/81:

“The Commanding General of South-West Africa Command must, in collaboration with Western Air Command and South-West African Medical Command, launch an operation against the Military Command Post and other SWAPO targets in the Daisy area in order to achieve the following aims:

· Destruction of the Command Post.

· Cause the maximum number of enemy casualties.

· Capture the maximum number of enemy equipment and documents.

· Capture of surrogate forces.

· Denying enemy access to FAPLA and SWAPO logistical routes from the north.“


For this task the following South African forces were assembled under command of the Commanding Officer of Sector 10, Brigadier R. Badenhorst:

· 61 Mechanised Battalion Group

· 1 company of 32 Battalion

· 201 Battalion

· 2 parachute companies of 1 Parachute Battalion

· 3 parachute companies of 3 Parachute Battalion

The following SAAF assets were allocated to the operation:

· For Army support:

· 15 x Impalas

· 9 x Pumas

· 2 x Super Frelons

· 10 x Alouettes

· For air transport, trooping, re-supply and casualty evacuation:

· 4 x DC-3 Dakotas

· 6 x C-130/160s

· 1 x DC-4

· For Telstar, navigation and reconnaissance support:

· 9 x Bosboks

· For Photo-reconnaissance:

· 2 x Mirage III RZs

· For air superiority:

· 20 x Mirage F1s from both 1 and 3 Squadrons

· For enemy airfield attack (if required):

· 3 x Buccaneers

Training of the ground forces commenced on 19 October 1981 and continued until 25 October.

The overall battle design of the SADF comprised of 8 phases:

· Phase 1. Training and preparations at Omuthyia from D-15 until D-6.

· Phase 2. (D-5 to D-4) Movement from Omuthiya to the Assembly Areas.

· Phase 3. (D-3 to D-1) Movement from Omuani, across the Cut Line to HAA 1 and then to HAA 2 near Ionde.

· Phase 4. (D-Day) Movement by attacking force from HAA 2 to their Forming-Up Places (FUP) and the subsequent attack on objective Daisy.

· Phase 5. (D+1 to D+4) Exploitation to Bambi area and mopping-up of objective.

· Phase 6. (D+5 to end)  High-density area operations in area close to objective.

· Phase 7. Withdrawal

· Phase 8. Administration, reflection and demobilisation

D-day was to be Wednesday, 4 November 1981, with H-hour at 08h30.


Photos of Operation Daisy

Photos with kind permission from “61 Mechanised Battalion Group Veterans Association”,

These photos are only available to Registered Users.


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