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About The War In Angola
First Contact: 6 September 1987
First Contact: 6 September 1987
First Contact - Historical Account

The Artillery Strikes

The intention at this stage was still to keep the South African involvement inconspicious. This was both to avoid the political damage that it would cause, and to avoid damaging the 'image' of Unita as a military force. The result was that the artillery continued to bear the brunt of the fighting for the time being.

The rocket launchers and the G-5s engaged 47 and 21 Brigades respectively during the early mornings of 2 and 3 September. The fire on 47 Brigade was controlled bt Pierre Franken. Mark Brown, protected by Sergeant Fourie's 32 Battalion reconnaissance team, had infiltrated behind 21 Brigade, and angaged targets within its positions. The two other reconnaissance teams of 32 Battalion deployed on 4 September with artillery forward observation officers, to locate and monitor the movements of 47 and 16 Brigades. 59 and 21 Brigades had become somewhat static at this stage, Mark Brown keeping an eye on the later from north of its positions.

3 September also saw the first South African casualties when an SA-8 deployed with 21 Brigade shot down a SAAF Bosbok spotter aircraft that had ventured a little too far while trying to pin-point this Brigade's positions. The Brigade Artillery Fire Leader, Commandant Johan du Randt and the pilot, Lieutenant Glynn, were both killed; their bodies were recovered by Robbie Hartslief and Les Rudman, guided by Unita.

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