South African Mechanised Company vs Angolan Mechanised Company, The Border War, 1988

A fictitious action from the war on the border of Namibia in the late 1980s. This is meeting engagement with one side being smaller than the other but arriving on the table earlier. All models are 1/300, the Angolans by Heroics & Ros and the South Africans from Scotia.

The South African Force (Morale - Regular, Training - Trained)

Company HQ - 2 x Ratel each carrying 2 Rifle Groups, one of which is the Commander

1st Platoon - 4 x Ratel each carrying 2 x Rifle Groups

2nd Platoon - 4 x Ratel each carrying 2 x Rifle Groups

3rd Platoon - 4 x Ratal each carrying 2 x Rifle Groups

Attached Anti-Tank Platoon - 2 x Ratel 90, 2 x Ratel ZT3

Artillery Support - 1 x Ratel carrying an Artillery Observation Officer observing for a brigade battery of 4 G5 155mm guns

The Angolan Force (Morale - Conscript, Training - Raw)

Company HQ - 1 x BTR60PB Sarath carrying 2 Rifle Groups, one of which is the Commander

1st Platoon - 3 x BTR60PB each carrying 2 x Rifle Groups

2nd Platoon - 3 x BTR60PB each carrying 2 x Rifle Groups

3rd Platoon - 3 x BTR60PB each carrying 2 x Rifle Groups

Tank Platoon - 3 x T62A

Artillery - 1 x jeep carrying an Artillery Observation Officer observing for a divisional battery of 6 x BM21 MRL

Here is a view of the table from the south - the South African entry edge - before any troops had entered. There were seven areas of brush, counting as open woods, with the rest of the table being good going. The objective for each side was to seize the 2 areas of brush nearer the enemy baseline.

  • The table from the South African side
  • The Angolans entered first sending 2 platoons towards cover in the centre and to the left flank.

    Angolan armoured personnel carriers head for some brush

    The Angolan tanks advanced in the centre and gave themselves a good field of fire.

    Angolan tanks advance in the open looking for targets

    The South Africans entered with most of their force to the west. One Ratel in the 1st platoon on the left was hit by HMG fire that caused it to halt and made casualties of one rifle group.

    The South Africans entered the table with most of their force on their left

    One South African platoon advanced towards an area of brush in the centre and deployed infantry out of the Ratels to force the Angolans to fight for it.

    South African infantry and armored vehicles seize an area of brush

    An Angolan platoon grabbed an area of brush opposite the South Africans as the T62s moved westwards to engage the South Africans. The opposing infantry fired at each other from positions of cover.

    Angolan infantry deploy into some brush as their tanks manouevre behind them

    In the west race for some brush was won by the Angolans who fired at the South Africans as they advanced to contest the position.

  • The Angolans grab a position in the brush that the South Africans quickly advance to contest
  • A major firefight ensued with the South Africans gaining the upper hand through superior training, numbers and firepower.

    The two sides fight over some brush

    The South Afican 1st platoon, originally tasked with a thrust along the left side, was sent eastwards to take the Angolan position in the flank.

    South African Ratels advance to join in the firefight in the brush.

    The unengaged Angolan platoon attempted to flank the Soith African platoon in the central firefight but is spotted by the South African anti-tank platoon that was deployed far back to combat such a move. ZT3 Swift ATGMs and 90mm guns made quick work of the BTR60PBs and the infantry who managed to escape from the stricken vehicles declined to take further part in the action.

    Angolan armoured personnel carriers are destroyed by Ratels

    The Angolan AOO spotted the South African anti-tank platoon but his request for support was declined. The South African AOO had observed the firefight in the centre and was more persuasive with his battery, and was able to call in the guns on target. The effect was devestating and finished off the Angolan platoon. With the other Angolan platoon's morale crumbling, only the tanks were intact and the end was nigh.

    South African artillery strikes with devestating effect


    A quick and decisive win to the SADF who lost only a rifle group from each infantry platoon. The south African units supported each other much better than those of the Angolans who fought a pair of isolated actions while the other units manoeuvred ineffectively. The Angolan tank platoon, a unit that worried the South Africans, moved around looking for targets without firing a shot.

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