This is a good time to pause and take stock at 'War for Slow Readers', for although this is an alternative timeline of the war in Angola 1975-89, 11th November 1975 is still Angolan Independence Day.
So, it's dawn on the 11th, what has happened and what is about to happen in our alternative history?
- The Portuguese administration is poised to slip away quietly aboard one of their navy's frigates after a brief, low key ceremony during which power will formally be handed over to a provisional government dominated by Dr Augustino Neto's Marxist MPLA.
- Over 3000 Cuban troops have disembarked in Luanda during the last week. Of these approximately 1000 are in action against South African and FNLA troops to the south east of Luanda.
- The FNLA's bid to take Luanda has failed and their cadre in the capital have been decimated. A joint FNLA-Zaire task force that tried to take Luanda was destroyed over a week ago by MPLA units and their Cuban special forces advisers. The mercenary leading the task force, Anglo-Irishman Carlo Shannon, was killed. There are guerrillas sympathetic to the FNLA operating in the countryside around Luanda, led by the enigmatic 'Commander Zero', although they appear to have gone to ground for the time being.
- Operation Savannah, the South African attempt to seize as much Angolan territory as possible for the FNLA and install a government friendly to Pretoria in Luanda, has stalled. The reality is, with Holden Roberto and the FNLA a busted flush, there is no political solution to Pretoria's problem. Angola is twice the size of Texas and almost five times the size of the United Kingdom. The population is estimated at 6.5 million. There are three SADF led Task Forces operating in Angola, and their total strength is that of a weak NATO division. It's simply not enough. The spearhead, Task Force Zulu, a brigade sized force operating fewer than 200 km from Luanda, has just been instructed to withdraw. They've started to pull back just as Cuban armoured forces are advancing in their direction.
- The rainy season has finally started, over a month later than usual.