47 Brigade; 13 and 16 September
In the west, the teams from 5 Recce had been deployed and had marked the positions of 47 Brigade for the air strike planned for 11 September. 47 Brigade had been brought to a standstill by Quebec and Papa (MRLs) Batteries' harassing fire, and had dug in four kilometres south of the confluence of the Lomba and the Cuzizi. The Recces pinpointed its positions during the night 9 to 10 September and marked them during the following night for the air strike planned for 03h 15. Permission for the air strike was, however, withdrawn at the last moment, because of the critical stage of the negotiations for the POW exchange involving Captain Du Toit, who had been captured in Cabinda in 1985. The artillery bombardment of .the positions - both G-5s and rockets - was carried out, but the attack by Unita was cancelled by them, in the absence of air strike.
Colonel Deon Ferreira and Commandant 'Bok' Smit now sat down to plan a mechanised attack on 47 Brigade by Combat Group Alpha, with Combat Group Charlie in reserve. Brigadier Johan Louw, the SWATF Chief of Staff, Operations, flew in to sit in on the planning sessions. During the night of 11 September, the Brigade headquarters received a report of a Fapla force deployed and dug in some six kilometres east of the main 47 Brigade position. At first it was thought that this might be the Tactical Group, or a part of 59 Brigade that had crossed the Lomba undetected near its confluence with the Cunzumbia. It was later decided that it was more likely to be a part of the main 47 Brigade force. Unita had estimated the force as two infantry battalions dug in with shallow trenches, and supported by three T-54s or -55s and some D-30 guns.
This was a potentially dangerous development, and Hartslief was ordered at 22h00 to take his Combat Group Bravo to carry out an armed reconnaissance the next day, and to intercept this force and drive it back before it could make contact with 59 Brigade. The nearest other Fapla force was the Tactical Group which, with an infantry battalion and six tanks, was deployed between the objective and the main body of 47 Brigade six kilometres to the west. Unita had undertaken to tie the Tactical Group while the attack went in, having a force deployed to the south-west of it. Another Unita battalion was deployed directly to the east of the objective.
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