Operations Modular, Hooper and Packer


Sapper 1984


Published on Jan 11, 2009


In August 1987, four brigades of the Soviet-led FAPLA forces (the 47th, 59th, 16th and 21st brigades), departed from the Angolan city of Cuito Cuanavale with the aim of capturing the UNITA stronghold at Mavinga, which was the gateway to Jonas Savimbi's capital of Jamba.

The presence of an armoured formation in the form of FAPLA's 47th Brigade was a threat that the relatively lightly armed UNITA could not counter, so it requested assistance from the SADF. South African responded by sending a mechanized force, led by a veteran unit of Operation Askari - 61 Mechanized Battalion. This force left the South-West African town of Rundu, crossed the border and headed north-west to intercept the 47th Brigade.

The South African force, under the command of Colonel Deon Ferreira, was tasked with carrying out three operations:

Operation Modular - The aim of which was to halt and reverse the FAPLA advance on the UNITA strongholds of Mavinga and Jamba.
Operation Hooper - The aim of which was to inflict maximum casualties on the retreating FAPLA forces after they had been halted.
Operation Packer - The aim of which was to force the FAPLA forces to retreat to the west of the Cuito River.

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