Having taken part in the Border War from 1972 through 1982 with the citizen force, I found this an interesting read because it tied everything together for me I highly recommend this book, for anyone trying to understand the bush war in Namibia and Angola.
This is a fascinating book that covers the military career of General Jannie Geldenhuys, including his role in military operations against SWAPO, MAPLA and the Cubans during the Border War in Angola This book reveals how Castro tried to dress up political, economic and military failures in Angola as glorious triumphs He provides actual numbers and details of the myth of Cuito Cuanavales and how the Marxist forces were defeated there.
The author takes you through the dynamics and strategies that defeated the Communist forces trying to establish a totalitarian regime in Angola and Namibia The South Africans, with inferior forces, were able to achieve almost every military objective, producing some ingenious strategies and causing a high rate of casualties to a numerically superior enemy They didn t lose the military battles but lost the political one.
Cuito Cuanavales was the last part of a series of battles that started as the South Africans, like many times before, stopped and defeated the last big Cuban Fapla Russians offensive against UNITA main bases, obliterating the FAPLA s offensive of 1987.
The South Africans had the MAPLA and their Cubans advisers on the run They were picking them apart at will, but they stopped because of a series of events, like the UNITA false alarm about the possibility of incoming Cuban MIGs and the rotation of the South African troops after the end of their military service cycle, etc This gave the retreating MAPLA enough time to cross the river and dig in to fight for their lives, and stop the South Africans from annihilating them All the MAPLA Cubans did at Cuito was create an immense mine zone and defend it, to stop the South Africans from destroying the remaining troops.
When one looks back and counts the number of casualties the South Africans inflicted on them before they crossed the river, you can see that the MAPLA CUBANS suffered major casualties vs the light number of casualties suffered by the South Africans Then one can ask who won the battle when one side lost thousands of soldiers just before they dug in Cuito Cuanavales wasn t a typical clear cut defeat like the South Africans were used to inflicting on the FAPLA Cubans because they didn t finish them, but it wasn t a Cuban victory like Castro put it This gave Castro the opportunity to claim a victory that wasn t there via his propaganda machine and use it to leave Angola for good without being seen by those that weren t in the battle field as a defeated army.
For the Marxist Communist regimes, perceptions are important than facts and no matter what the Cuban propaganda says, the facts are that FLAPA Cubans suffered many humiliating losses at the hands of the numerically outnumbered South African army.
I highly recommend this book for those who are trying to understand what really occurred militarily in the Angola War.