Having captured Moçamedes (Namibe), Colonel van Heerden sent Battle Group Alpha back to Benguela on 28 October 1975 in order to block a possible attack from the north. The next day, at Sá da Bandeira, the battle group was reinforced with a troop of Eland 90 armoured cars under the command of Lieutenant Nel van Rensburg. From there, they moved to Hoque, where they spent the night.
Expecting that the enemy would still be unaware of Battle Group Alpha’s advance, Commandant Linford sent a combat team forward to Cacula the next morning. But the combat team ran into well-prepared enemy positions south of the town. Later it was discovered that the enemy had prepared open fields of fire for anti-tank weapons and had dug well-prepared trenches manned by around fifty FAPLA-soldiers. 82mm and 75mm recoilless guns as well as 82mm mortars had also been deployed. This all indicated military-proficiency not previously displayed by the MPLA-forces without external help. Fortunately, the terrain had not been chosen well.
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