Time was of the essence and 61 Mech had to respond rapidly as dusk was approaching. I therefore immediately requested the Alouette gunships of Captain Neall Ellis to remain in the HAA for the night. (The Alouette and Puma helicopters returned to the safety of Ondangwa 300km to the south just before sunset for the nights). I also requested the Pumas to undertake one more sortie before they left for the safety of Ondangwa – that was to drop one of the platoons of 61 Mech near a possible ambush position close to the Techamutete-Cuvelai gravel road.
The platoon needed to deploy before darkness. The Puma helicopters then had to use some of the remaining daylight to return to Ondangwa. Both my requests were granted by Pieterse and the SAAF command team. The Pumas would be on call for me as soon as I reached the leaguer of 61 Mech.
I had one more appeal for the SAAF before I departed to 61 Mech’s position. I requested a sortie of Mirages to fly a combat air patrol over the Cuvelai-Techamutete road the next morning as soon as it was light. The Mirages would be ready to provide close air-support on request. Captain Neall Ellis could act as the on-board forward air controller.
Register to read more...