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Weekly Timeline for "The Final Phase": Aug 1987 to Jul 1988 * [Only Registered Users can Comment on the Events of the Timeline]
January 1988
22Another Fapla convoy arrived in Cuito Cuanavale
On 22 January another logistics convoy, under 36 Brigade, arrived in Cuito Cuanavale. The main body of 21 Brigade was now reported deployed south of the Dala and west of the road.
January 1988
23A new convoy were on the way
Early on 23 January the Angolan Minister of Defence ordered the withdrawal of all forces and 'structures' from Cuito Cuanavale to be prepared, and bunkers to be constructed at Menongue. A new convoy with seventeen tanks and assorted supplies was, however, already on the way, confirming that this was merely contingency planning.
January 1988
24The convoy was spotted
The convoy was spotted between Luasinga and Catumbela on 24 January. It included 114 trucks, eight T-34/85s, six T-54s and three T-62s, two BM-21s, three BM-14s and two M-46s. This was the fourth convoy since 24 December. A Cuban tactical group was also reported to be accompanying the convoy.
January 1988
2521 Brigade reoccupied its old positions
8 Brigade had helped 21 Brigade to reorganise and had accompanied its first elements to establish the position at the Dala source. Once the old 21 Brigade positions had been reconnoitred and found clear of Unita - who had withdrawn eastward to be out of artillery range - 8 Brigade passed its heavy equipment over to 21 Brigade, which reoccupied its old positions. 8 Brigade then crossed back to the west bank to resume its escort work. 36 Brigade was being moved across the river to reinforce the brigades on the east bank.
January 1988
26MTU-20 mobile bridge placed over gap in Cuito bridge
During the night of 25 to 26 January, Fapla brought up an MTU-20 mobile bridge to place over the gap in the Cuito bridge. This meant that Fapla could again move heavy equipment across the river, while the ferry continued to move supplies across. Fapla troops and vehicles moved over the repaired Cuito bridge throughout the night of 25 to 26 January. There was also considerable vehicle movement between Tumpo and 21 Brigade. When the mist lifted at 07h30 on the morning of 26 January, Piet Koen reported that a large number of vehicles were moving slowly over the bridge, and that large numbers of vehicles had concentrated on both banks.
January 1988
27Attack on 59 Brigade postponed
The original D-Day for the attack on 59 Brigade was postponed on 27 January, to allow for the change-over of some men from the 1st Battalion Regiment Northern Transvaal, who had been called up to work with the brigade headquarters, and to bring up additional stocks of diesel fuel.
January 1988
28MiGs circled Mavinga air field
Two MiGs circled the Mavinga air field on 28 January, suggesting that air attacks on it or the BAA might be intended.
*Extracts taken with the author's permission from: “War In Angola - The Final South African Phase“, by Helmoed-Römer Heitman (See Bibliography) For the Background and the Run-up to Intervention, get the book!

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