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The War In Angola Remembered - This Month, 30 Years Ago...
 
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This month, 24 Years Ago, In South-East Angola...

 

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LAST month, 29 Years Ago, In South-East Angola...

Friday, 1 July 1988: Quebec Battery relieved
Cassie van der Merwe set off westwards; Quebec Battery of 4 SAI was relieved by Sierra Battery of 10 Artillery Brigade on 1 July....

Saturday, 2 July 1988: SA activities at the Cuito front
One platoon each of C Company married up with each of the two Ratel-90 troops, and the third platoon took over the protection of the engineers and forward observers from A Company, 201 Battalion, on 2 July. The 32 Battalion anti-tank squadron itself was relieved by men of A Squadron 1 SSB, under the command of Captain Du Plessis. The two engineer troops meanwhile continued with their minelaying, having progressed to within two kilometres of the Tumpo source....

Saturday, 2 July 1988: Training sortie drew artillery fire
On a training sortie by the anti-tank squadron and its elements, the squadron moved across open ground and drew heavy artillery fire. One man was killed by fragments....

Sunday, 3 July 1988: AT Sqn redeployed
On 3 July the anti-tank squadron and its infantry element moved to the vicinity of the former 25 Brigade positions and deployed there....

Monday, 4 July 1988: A Coy 201 Bn moved to Mavinga
A Company of 201 Battalion moved back through the FAA to Mavinga on 4 July, to be relieved by Captain George Butler's A Company of 7 SAI....

Tuesday, 5 July 1988: AT Sqn carried on with training and patrols
The anti-tank squadron and its infantry element carried out training in mechanised co-operation drills, while at the same time patrolling to dominate the area east of the minefield....

Wednesday, 6 July 1988: Training doubling as deception
The training programme of the anti-tank squadron and its elements was designed to double as a deception programme, with suitably planned movement and timings....

Friday, 8 July 1988: Operational freedom severely restricted
The operational freedom of Combat Group 20 was severely restricted after 2 July. It was now deemed essential that no casualties should be incurred, that no South Africans should be taken prisoner, and that no recognisably South African equipment or material should fall into the hands of Fapla....

Saturday, 9 July 1988: A Coy of 7 SAI moved up to front
Captain George Butler's A Company of 7 SAI moved up to the front on 9 July. The men of 203 Battalion filled the gap caused by this slightly staggered change-over....

Sunday, 10 July 1988: 7 SAI Company deployed at Hube source
As the 7 SAI company had no knowledge of the area, Commandant Nel kept them at the Hube source to deploy only if necessary....

Monday, 11 July 1988: Refresher training and joint training
The 7 SAI company concentrated on refresher training and joint training with the anti-tank squadron between 10 and 23 July...

Tuesday, 12 July 1988: Kept at a state of readiness
Two platoons of the 7 SAI company were kept at six-hour readiness throughout the training period....

Wednesday, 13 July 1988: 7 SAI platoon joined AT Sqn
On 13 July one of the 7 SAI company's platoons joined the anti-tank squadron in place of the 203 Battalion troops....

Thursday, 14 July 1988: Protection elements detached
On 14 July, the 7 SAI company detached protection elements to the combat group headquarters, the landing zone, the echelon area and the water point....

Friday, 15 July 1988: Combat Group 20 began to scale down
Combat Group 20 now began to scale down, moving out all unneeded vehicles and equipment. The former BAA was checked to ensure that nothing was left behind there....

Saturday, 16 July 1988: Unita also scaled down their presence
Unita also scaled down their presence. Their 4th Regular Battalion remained deployed on the northern part of the Chambinga high ground. ...

Sunday, 17 July 1988: Unita detachments
Unita's 4th Regular Battalion detached elements to protect the South African observer north of the Cuanavale-Dala confluence and the engineer teams, and others to work with the anti-tank squadron if necessary....

Monday, 18 July 1988: More Unita detachments
A TT company of Unita was deployed on the southern part of the high ground, with elements detached to protect the observer on the Tumpo high ground and their own logistics point....

Tuesday, 19 July 1988: Cubans not involved in border incidents
The Cubans increased their MiG sorties along and over the border, and their ground forces moved about north of the Cunene, but they were careful not to provoke the South Africans too much. They kept well away from Calueque, where the South African force remained deployed until the end. Nor do they seem to have been involved in the border incidents of the next few months. It seemed likely that that these involved only Swapo elements....

Wednesday, 20 July 1988: Cuban force built up to almost 60 000
The Cuban force in Angola was built up to almost 60 000 men during the last months of the negotiations, but does not seem to have become involved in major operations. This reinforcement had been initiated at a time when it was not clear whether the South Africans intended to stop east of the Cuito or to drive Fapla back to Menongue. Once the reinforcement was in train, it was simply allowed to continue after the immediate need had passed, as a contingency measure and to reassure Luanda that Cuba was prepared to stand behind its ally....

Thursday, 21 July 1988: South African reaction
The South Africans were meanwhile worried that the Cubans might have plans to thrust into South West Africa to bring their campaign in Angola to a suitable finale. With that in mind, it was decided to establish a proper formation headquarters at Oshakati to control the conventional forces in Sector 10. 10 Division was established on 13 July for that purpose, under the command of the officer commanding Sector 10, Brigadier Chris Serfontein....

Friday, 22 July 1988: A small start for 10 SA Division
At first the only conventional forces available to the newly formed 10 SA Division were 61 Mech and 4 SAI, again commanded by Cassie Schoeman. They were deployed in the west and centre of Sector 10, 4 SAI astride the main Ondangwa to Ongiva road....

Saturday, 23 July 1988: Counter-insurgency operations
61 Mech and 4 SAI each had a tank squadron under command. While their main task was to be available to deal with any conventional threat, they kept themselves busy with counter-insurgency operations in their respective areas....

Sunday, 24 July 1988: Increased Swapo activity
The support from 61 Mech and 4 SAI was welcomed by the counter-insurgency units in Owambo, as Swapo activity had increased considerably since the Cuban advance to the border....

Monday, 25 July 1988: Swapo set up camps and command posts near the border
With the Cuban presence making external operations by the South African security forces less likely, Swapo had for the first time for many years been able to set up transit camps and forward command posts quite near the border, making forays into Owambo easier to organise and escape more likely....

Tuesday, 26 July 1988: Swapo attacked Oshikango
Swapo elements launched an attack on Alpha Tower at Oshikango on the 26th. 30 Swapo cadres fired at the tower with rifles, RPG-7s and 82 mm mortars for half an hour just after 21h00. Four SADF soldiers were wounded and six of the attackers were killed by the return fire....

Wednesday, 27 July 1988: 4 SAI and 101 Bn attacked Swapo
4 SAI carried out a quick night attack across the border with 101 Battalion on 27 July, hitting Swapo elements in response to their attack on Alpha Tower at Oshikango on the 26th....

Thursday, 28 July 1988: 10 SA Division built up
The 10 Division force was built up to include three mechanised battalion groups, a tank regiment, three armoured car squadrons and an artillery brigade. The last comprised two regimental headquarters, two G-5 batteries, two G-2 batteries, a 120 mm mortar battery, and a battery and a troop of rocket launchers. Supporting elements included seven troops of 20 mm anti-aircraft guns and two batteries of 35 mm anti-aircraft guns, three field troops (engineers) and the usual service elements. Brigadier Serfontein also had 32 Battalion and his Sector 10 forces available to him, although these were mainly counter-insurgency units. His G-2 battery was placed under command of the artillery brigade. His only other unit with some conventional capability was 10 Armoured Car Regiment, but that was equipped with Eland-90s, which were no longer suited to mechanised operations....

Friday, 29 July 1988: Three task forces formed
Brigadier Serfontein formed three task forces, two deployed on the border to handle counter-insurgency and screening operations and the third in the rear as his main conventional force. The two forward forces, Zulu and X-Ray, were based on 51 and 53 Battalions with some attachments to enable them to act as a conventional screening force. They took over from 61 Mech and 4 SAI. Most of the conventional forces of 10 Division were grouped into Task Force Yankee, which was effectively a strong mechanised brigade controlled by a brigade headquarters. Yankee was deployed around the former 52 Battalion base at Ogongo....

Saturday, 30 July 1988: No further clashes
The three South African task forces carried out counter-insurgency operations and engaged in conventional training exercises. The headquarters went through successive planning cycles to prepare for all likely contingencies. In the event, no further clashes occurred....

Sunday, 31 July 1988: 10 SA Division remained deployed
10 Division remained deployed until after the last South African forces were withdrawn from Angola on 1 September in accordance with the tripartite agreement between South Africa, Cuba and Angola....

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Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET

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