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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]
February 1988
28Tank attack to be launched
A final co-ordinating conference was held on 28 February, with General Demosthenes again present. It had been decided to launch a tank attack during the night of 29 February to 1 March.
February 1988
28The Second Attack on Tumpo
The South Africans were not really ready for the attack. Eleven of their tanks, four Ratel-90s, five G-5s and one of the rocket launchers were still unserviceable, awaiting spare parts. Colonel McLoughlin decided to go ahead with the attack despite that; the weather was favourable, and he still had seventeen tanks and twelve G-5s to fight with. He did, however, shift the H-hour for the move to the assembly area forward to 15h00.
March 1988
1Second Attack on Tumpo
The purpose of this attack remained the same as for the previous attack: to destroy the Fapla force east of the Cuito or to drive it across the river. As soon as the bridgehead was taken, the bridge was to be destroyed. For a historical account of this encounter, see the Historical Accounts section.
March 1988
2The South Africans digest their failure
The South Africans spent the next day after the attack, 2 March, digesting their failure to make any headway. The units spent their time looking after their equipment, and the artillery changed its observers, some of whom had been deployed for a long time. As before, the recovery teams had spent the night recovering damaged vehicles that had been left behind during the day.
March 1988
3SA artillery re-deployed
It was decided to withdraw Quebec Battery to the Brigade Administrative Area on 3 March. Romeo and Sierra Batteries and the rocket launcher troop would continue to put pressure on Fapla. The rocket launcher troop was to re-deploy during the day to a position west of the Chambinga source.
March 1988
4Recovery of damaged vehicles
A recovery team of 61 Mech moved to the old 21 Brigade positions on 4 March to recover the mine roller left there several days earlier, and to recover or destroy other damaged vehicles still in the area. The Olifant taken along to help with the recovery set off a mine during the move, which caused some delay but no casualties
March 1988
5Fapla patrols while 61 Mech demobs
A deep-reconnaissance patrol was sent out by Fapla on 5 March to locate the South African forces east of the Cuito. 4 SAI had begun demobilising on 4 March, and 61 Mech began their demobilising on 5 March, the day on which the first reliefs arrived. The first to be deployed was the new 120mm mortar battery.
*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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