Operation Firewood

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Operation Firewood
Part of the South African Border War
Location Angola
Operation Firewood is located in Angola
Techamutete
Techamutete
Operation Firewood (Angola)
Objective An attack on PLAN's on Northern Command base.
Date 31 October 1987

Operation Firewood was a secretive military operation in 1987 by the South African Defence Force (SADF) during the Angolan Civil War and South African Border War.

Background[edit]

The PLAN Northern Command base was 35 km north of the town of Techamutete, Angola at a place called Indungo.[1]:350 A SADF battle group was formed and consisted of elements of 1 Parachute Battalion, 5 Reconnaissance Regiment and 101 Battalion.[1]:252 This battle group would be a mechanised force and consisted of Ratels, Casspirs and Buffels.

Order of battle[edit]

South African and South West Africa Territorial Forces[edit]

  • 101 Battalion
  • elements - 1 Parachute Battalion
  • elements - 5 Reconnaissance Regiment
  • elements - 2 Reconnaissance Regiment

Battle[edit]

The attack occurred on 31 October 1987. The PLAN base, set in a densely wooded area, was attacked from the west by special forces ("recce's") and paratroopers ("parabats") of the SADF, while 101 Battalion covered the base from north, east and south, the direction PLAN forces were expected to flee.[1]:252[2]:37 The fighting was said to be intense lasting seven hours with PLAN putting up a fight against the SADF.[1]:252[2]:37 The base was not successfully taken by the SADF forces, who withdrew when PLAN reinforcements were understood to be on their way.[1]:252

Aftermath[edit]

The South African forces are said to have incurred 12 killed and 47 wounded,[1]:252 while other sources say it was as high as 19 killed and 64 wounded.[1]:489 On the SWAPO side, the casualties were said to be high too with at least 150 PLAN soldiers killed.[2] Honoris Crux medals were awarded to five 101 Battalion members for gallantry in action.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Scholtz, Leopold (2013). The SADF in the Border War 1966-1989. Cape Town: Tafelberg. ISBN 978-0-624-05410-8. 
  2. ^ a b c Heitman, Helmoed-R (1991). Modern African Wars (3): South-West Africa. Men-at-arms series. Osprey Publishing. p. 37. ISBN 9781855321229. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Scholtz, Leopold (2013). The SADF in the Border War 1966-1989. Cape Town: Tafelberg. ISBN 978-0-624-05410-8. 
  • Heitman, Helmoed-R (1991). Modern African Wars (3): South-West Africa. Men-at-arms series. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 9781855321229.