The end of the Border War
The so‐called Border War effectively ended with the signing of the Geneva Protocol on 5 August 1988, followed by the withdrawal of the SADF from Southern Angola on 1 September of that year; but there were some who just didn’t believe that this was really the end.
The Cuban threat
On 27 June 1988 the Cuban air attack on Calueque in which 11 SADF personnel died, was effectively the last major action of the war; ironically at a time when political agreement to end hostilities had already been reached. That same evening at a discussion with Lt Genl Kat Liebenberg, the Chief of the SA Army, Brig Chris Serfontein, OC Sector 10, expressed concern that not only had he “heard this all before” but he was of the opinion that the peace initiative would not last. No doubt the continued presence and threat of the Cuban 50th Division in Southern Angola weighed heavily upon him and the only way to counter this was to have an effective deterrent in place.
The PF Bde and the force‐in‐being, concentrated on and trained for a conventional battle with the Cubans; according to a contingency plan (Operation Prone) designed to meet and beat that threat ‐ which in the event never materialised. Myburgh’s recollections on integrated training refer to the training of the PF brigade; the first and only time that the three mechanised battalion groups trained together in a somewhat unique organisation. The force‐in‐being and other elements withdrew from the Operational Area towards the end of 1988, leaving the PF brigade as the only conventional force at the disposal of Sector 10.
Please Log In if you would like to read or download this electronic book, written by Jacques Myburgh. This 68-page account of the background and events around Operation Merlyn (1988/89):