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Operation Revenge, 1978

Operation Revenge In August 1978, SWAPO launched its grandly titled Operation Revenge in retaliation for the SADF’s Operation Reindeer three months earlier. While it was a feeble offensive launched from standoff positions in Zambia, it did finally claim ten SADF lives, albeit by fluke.

At 0115 on 23 August, an opening salvo of six 122mm Red Eye rockets launched from just north of the cutline in Zambia. They were aimed typically haphazardly at the SADF base in Katima Mulilo, East Caprivi. The first five caused little damage but the sixth was another story.

Accommodation was scarce at the Katima base, the Armoured Corps troops shared a barracks hut with some of the resident soldiers. When they heard the Red Eyes exploding, they ran half asleep for the barracks’ two doors. The sixth and final incoming rocket struck high in a large tree in the middle of the base and was knocked off course. It hit the barracks and exploded with devastating effect. Ten men were killed and another ten wounded.

It was a dark day for the South Africans...!

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