Episode 29 – Two parachute battalions begin training in earnest for Operation “Wedding” aka Reindeer but there’s a hitch


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By Desmond Latham. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
This is episode 29 and we’re covering the period up to the start of Operation Reindeer which was to take place in early May 1978. First the planning phases – of which there were many. By early that year intelligence had convincingly proven that there were a number of SWAPO bases that were critical to the organisation’s operations in southern Angola and these had to be attacked. As you heard last episode, the main base was at Cassinga 250 kilometers north of the cutline – the South West African border. There were signs that SWAPO was increasing its attacks on the farm areas around Ovamboland and the SADF was determined to stop these. SWAPO’s forward operational bases were filling up and heavy support weapons were being moved south. The commercial farming areas were likely to be subjected to a flood of incursions, particularly since these were also timed to coincide with the height of the rainy season. Meanwhile, a heavy blanket of secrecy enveloped the planning for the upcoming attack on southern Angola. One of the most important characters of the upcoming assault was 32 Battalion commander Colonel Jan Breytenbach. He had passed through Cassinga on the way north during Operation Savannah three years before and what’s more, was a paratrooper with experience in Biafra in Nigeria. He’d also launched One Reconnaisance commando, the Reccies, which were an SAS type organisation.

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