Operation Cabinda

Operation Cabinda

Operation Cabinda

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The Operation Argon (sometimes called Cabinda Operation) was a controversial and high-profile military operation carried out by the South African Special Forces during the South African Border War.

On May 13, 1985 a South African Navy strike craft carrying a Recce team as well as a back-up team left Saldanha Bay and travelled to a spot some way off the Angolan coast near its border with Zaire. The mission was to confirm the existence of ANC bases and SWAPO bases near Cabinda. The area contained oil storage installations run by the Angolans and Gulf Oil, and because of this, several large military bases were also in the vicinity. Speculative reports had mentioned U.S. veterans and ex-SAS guarding the installations.

The Recces landed on the coast at night on 20 May following an advance scouting party sent to gather intelligence on the beach where the party would land. Under ideal cloudy skies, the Recce team's trip had been slowed by the need to launch their boats further from shore than anticipated. The longer journey, as well as rough seas, threw off the precise timing of the mission. Near shore, Captain Du Toit noticed a small fishing vessel in the area of the landing zone and that the occupants were on shore around a fire. This forced the team to wait offshore until the boat left the area. They were now three hours behind schedule, and the danger of being detected grew.

Upon landing the boats were hidden and a rendezvous point set up. The men climbed a bluff and followed a...
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