Tchipa Angola After the Cubans had helped the MPLA gain power in they considered it necessary to stay in the country until conditions stabilized. Its security strategy was shaped by the doctrines of pre-emptive interventionism and counter-revolutionary warfare. Whenever it was threatened, South Africa intervened on its behalf. Major-General Ryabchenko would command the Angolan forces in the battle. The Soviets dismissed the advice of the Cubans, as in the campaigns before, who warned that the operation would create another opportunity for a South African intervention.

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Picture: acig. It led to the movement of powerful Cuban armed force, into the west, towards the Namibian border. The battle of Cuito Cuanavale is, however, a contentious issue, widely discussed and debated by ordinary people, participants and historians.

The stakes were high for both sides and the battle involved the biggest conventional operations of South African forces since World War II. Roots of the conflict The battle lines were drawn along ideological conviction. The Angolan government received support from the Soviet Union, Cuba and other liberation movements from the African continent.

Because of international interference Angola became a battleground of the cold war. A scene from the battle. Cuito could have been overrun then and there by the SADF, changing the strategic situation overnight. But, for whatever reason, the SADF failed to seize the initiative. This allowed an initial contingent of Cuban troops to rush to the town from Menongue, kilometers to the north-west and help organize the defences.

It is from this point in the battle that opinions and interpretations of events differ. How the battle is seen, depends on how the intention of the South African regime is perceived. Following the battles at the Lomba River in November , battles on 13 January and 14 and 15 February followed. It is argued that the actions of the SADF prior to the 23 March are clear evidence of their determination to break-through to the town.

The SADF forces attacked Cuito with the massive mm G-5 guns and staged attack after attack led by the crack 61st mechanized battalion, 32 Buffalo battalion, and later 4th SA Infantry group. On the 23rd March the battle reached a halt. In the words of 32 Batttalion commander, Colonel Jan Breytenbach. The SADF forces: school of thought on the intentions and the outcomes of the battle The second school of thought maintains that the SADF had only limited objectives, namely, to halt the enemy at Cuito, to prevent its airstrip from being used, and then to retreat.

Further action would have undermined negotiations between Cuba, Angola and South Africa, which began in London early in and continued in May in Brazzaville, Congo, and Cairo, Egypt. By this time, the South African government had already recognised the political change in Russia and the ending of the cold war.

Jannie Geldenhuys, Chief of the SADF, stated that the most important battle in the campaign was when the Cubans were defeated at the Lomba River and Cuito Cuanavale was simply part of a mopping up operation after this battle. This view is also supported by Gen. Magnus Malan, South African minister of defence at the time. This was successfully accomplished.

James and others.

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Battle of Cuito Cuanavale



Cuito Cuanavale – Uma batalha decisiva na libertação da África Austral


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