Refuting the view of South African veterans
The defeat of UNITA, supported by the South-African racist
The MPLA, using FAPLA, wanted to annihilate the forces of UNITA (FALA) pretending to reach (with operation "Saluting October) the Savimbi´s Headquarters, located in Jamba.
To achieve the goal, they should (primarily) force the Lomba River and capture the town of Mavinga.
The Cuban FAR did not participate in the operation, except for sporadic aerial reconnaissance of the military operation theater.
A brigade of the SADF, to prevent collapse, ventured more than 200 miles from the border of Namibia, to the river Lomba in order to support UNITA troops retreated in disarray.
The FAPLA were defeated in the attempt to force the Lomba River and compelled to withdraw to the east bank of the rivers Cuito and Cuanavale.
The "Battle" continued. The SADF-UNITA counteroffensive, intended (now) to annihilate the five Brigades FAPLA and take by assault the village of Cuito Cuanavale.
The execution of Major General Arnaldo Ochoa Sanchez, has nothing to do with the "Battle of Cuito".
Brigadier General Rafael del Pino has nothing to do in the "Battle". His arrival to the United States was on May 28, 1987, many months before the beginning of combat actions in the Operation "Saluting October" and long before the start of the defense of Cuito Cuanavale.
It is true that the regime of Fidel Castro, in late 1987, carried out efforts to reach an international agreement, in which, South African-commit to implement UN Resolution 435 on Namibia and stop supporting UNITA within Angolan territory.
The Soviets, who were FAPLA advisers felt that Operation "Saluting October”, would be the end of UNITA. They never considered an intervention of SADF. It was a mistake that cost countless angolan lives. They considered (the soviets) that was impossible, for Cubans, to win the war.
The regime of Fidel Castro knew that, in times of peace and without Soviet aid, would be totally impossible to win a defensive war. They knew also that nothing could justify the launching from Lubango to Ruacana, of a military offensive into the operating depth of Namibia´s territory.
That's why, in the peace talks in late 1987, Fidel Castro, sought an honorable withdrawal of his troops.
The SADF did not dare to declare victory at Lomba River, fearing an increase of Cuban troops before they could take Cuito Cuanavale. Little they cared about humiliating Cubans, who since 1975 had pushed them back thousands of miles to the Namibian border.
At that moment it was not known exactly how many SADF troops were deployed within the Angolan territory.
SADF veterans say the decisive days were the 2nd and the 3rd of October , 1987. What they do not say is that this is the combat at Lomba River and not the Battle for de defense of Cuito Cuanavale.
No one can argue that SADF had better training than FAPLA. Worse: FAPLA were already used to seeing as UNITA troops fled ahead the powerful Soviet war machine. FAPLA were demoralized when faced, at close range, a decimated troop by the moment they start forcing the river.
Not true what South African veterans pose.
FAPLA were not forced to retreat to the Lomba river . They were forced to retreat to Cuito Cuanavale, chased in their rout, by the troops of UNITA and the SADF.
It is imperative to say again that in the month of October, the aviation involved in combat actions was totally FAPLA. Even Cubans had no direct involvement in the "Battle".
It should be recognized that the capture of SAM-8 and other Soviet weapons by SADF is completely true. None of these weapons were in Cuban hands.
Cuito Cuanavale was the excuse, candidly provided by South Africans, for the creation (by Fidel Castro), of the South Western Flank of the South Front (FSOFS).
The FSOFS had nothing to do with the events of Cuito Cuanavale, but Fidel Castro has presented it as an all-inclusive. This flank was ment in the direction Lubango-Cahama Tchipa-Ruacana and aimed to break into the tactical depth (within the territory of Namibia) with the aim of annihilating the SADF bases in Groffontein, Ondawa and others.