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The capture of Benguela

Benguela is one of the oldest cities of Angola. Established in 1617 as São Filipe de Benguela, the city developed around the fort of the same name until it reached a population count on around 43,000 in 1970. It was the Benguela railway line that had increased the importance of the city. The city is located in the Bay of Benguela on the southern banks of the Cavaco River estuary with quite a bit of farmland.

The South African Defence Force’s Director of Operations, Major-General Viljoen, had ordered that no personnel of the Defence Force should form part of the capture of the city itself. This was most probably due to the widespread publicity the capture of Sá da Bandeira and Moçamedes by the South African caused. For this reason Commandant Linfordt did not move his force into the city itself but only allowed sections of his force to block access roads in the outskirts of the city. Then he moved his force southward in order to occupy the airport, southeast of the city.


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