Captain Pieter Van der Horst's radio crackled:
'Enemy now within 3 kilometres of your position, mixed tanks and APCs, infantry dismounted'
Van der Horst looked at his radio operator, his eyebrows raised...there wasn't supposed to be any enemy armour in the area...
'Alpha One, this is Sierra Six, hostiles at location 485674, prepare for contact, shoot on my command, over'
'Roger Sierra Six, over'
Elements of the South African 62 Mechanised Battalion, supported by tanks from the School of Armour, are about to engage the the Angolan 11th Mechanised Brigade some 15 km inside Angola. The SADF forces crossed the border late last night, launching Operation Crossbow, the second major 'external' of the border war to date. Their objective was to disrupt SWAPO actvity in the border region, now they have encountered Angolan regular forces.
Our alternative timeline of the war in Angola is about to re-start. The guerilla war between SWAPO and the SADF and their South West African Territorial Force allies has been gradually escalating. The South Africans launched their first major incursion into Angola last year with an airborne assault on SWAPO at Cassinga. This was a military success but the political consequences have not been as favourable to South Africa - western public opinion is even more negative towards the Apartheid regime and Cuba and the Soviet Union have increased their support to the Angolan government.
Alerted by SWAPO forces on the border, Cuban and East German pilots flew reconnaissance missions at first light and have detected the SADF columns. Angolan forces and their Cuban advisors have moved swiftly to meet the incursion.
In other words, a game of AK 47 is scheduled for tomorrow evening...