Die Suid-Afrikaanse weermag en Transgrensoperasie Moduler, fase 1: die FAPLA-offensief teen UNITA, Augustus - Oktober 1987 [deel 1]
Oosthuizen, Gerhard J.J.
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• Summary: The objective of the South West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO) was to liberate South West Africa (Namibia) from South African rule. In 1962, SWAPO decided to combine the political struggle for the freedom of South West Africa with military actions against the South African forces. International events contributed to the struggle for South West Africa not being confined to SWAPO and the South African forces only. After a coup d’etat and the economic and moral burden which colonies entailed, Portugal withdrew from Angola and Mozambique in a rush in 1974. SWAPO, assisted by the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA), established military bases in the south of Angola to invade South West Africa more effectively. It was therefore only a matter of time before the South African forces encountered not only SWAPO, but also the MPLA and Cuban forces. South Africa, however, did not take an attitude of wait and see, but tried to retain the initiative through pre-emptive operations. This article focuses on the first phase of Operation Moduler (August-October 1987). It explores how the combined South African Forces came to the aid of a beleaguered UNITA, after a FAPLA offensive on the UNITA stronghold of Mavinga. Although the Battle of the Lomba River on 3 October 1987 ended in the crushing of 47 Brigade of FAPLA, the South African forces failed to take advantage of this situation. The reasons for this will also be analysed in the article.