Operation Konyn

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Operation Konyn
Part of the South African Border War
Operation Konyn is located in Angola
Operation Konyn (Angola)
Objective Destruction of air-defence installations and depots at and around the towns of Cahama and Chibemba in Angola.
Date 21–23 August 1981

Operation Konyn (English: Operation Rabbit) was a military operation by the South African Defence Force during the South African Border War and Angolan Civil War. Operation Konyn was launched on 21 August 1981. The operation preceded Operation Protea with the objective of destroying targets at Cahama and Chibemba in Angola.[1]:169 The Angolans had built a series of radar and early warning stations at Cahama, Chibemba, Lubango and Menongue. Attacking the first two target towns would ensure that the People's Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola (FAPLA) would not interfere with the South African Air Force operations in support of South African Defence Force (SADF) ground troops taking part Operation Protea against People's Liberation Army of Namibia bases.[2]


Planning for the operation began on the 21 August 1981 while SADF ground combat units begun to form up in position for Operation Protea that was to begin on the early morning of 23 August.[1]:169 On the morning of the 23 August, SAAF combat aircraft consisting of two Canberra bombers, eight Mirage F-1's and two Buccaneers attacked facilities at Cahama.[1]:169 Minutes later a further two Canberra bombers, sixteen Mirage F-1's attacked the radar installations at Chibemba.[1]:169 The radar facilities were heavily defended by SA-7s.[1]:169

By the afternoon, five Canberra bombers returned to Cahama and bombed it again and later that evening the Buccaneer's returned and attacked a transport depot north east of this target town.[1]:171


On 26 August, during Operation Protea, the town of Cahama and Chibembe were again bombed by the SAAF.[1]:174 The following day FAPLA engineers arrived at the towns and begun to rebuild the radar installations and upgrade the defensive positions. At the same time a mechanised battalion of PLAN arrived at Cahama, under FAPLA command, to take up a defensive position.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Nortje, Piet (2004). 32 Battalion: The Inside Story of South Africa's Elite Fighting Unit. Zebra. ISBN 1868729141. 
  2. ^ Louw, Martin & Bouwer, Stefaan (1995). The South African Air Force at War. p. 174.

Further reading[edit]

  • Steenkamp, Willem (1989). South Africa's border war, 1966-1989. Gibraltar: Ashanti Pub. ISBN 0620139676. 
  • Nortje, Piet (2004). 32 Battalion : the inside story of South Africa's elite fighting unit. Cape Town: Zebra Press. ISBN 1868729141. 
  • Martin Louw; Stefaan Bouwer (1995). The South African Air Force at War. Melville: Chris van Rensburg. ISBN 0868460842.