The Battle of Savate: 32 Battalion's greatest operations

The Battle of Savate (Operation Tiro-Tiro) was 32 Battalion’s greatest victory since its formation in March 1976.
Nortje, Piet
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Title: The Battle of Savate
Subtitle: 32 Battalion's greatest operations
Author: Piet Nortje
Publisher: Penguin Random House South Africa
Imprint: Zebra Press
Cape Town, South Africa 2015
ISBN 9781770227798 / ISBN 978-1-77022-779-8
Softcover, 15 x 23 cm, 304 pages, numerous photographs


On 21 May 1980 the South African 32 Battalion attacked and routed, without air or artillery support, the FAPLA brigade at Savate, a small Angolan town in the Cuando Cubango Province 75 kilometres north of the border with South West Africa. Fifteen members of 32 Battalion were killed in the action of Operation Tiro-Tiro and many more wounded. It was the highest South African casualty rate in a single skirmish since the start of the Border War. Overall, however, Savate was a significant victory for 32 Battalion. According to reports, FAPLA suffered heavy casualties and the invaders captured a great many vehicles, weapons, ammunition and other equipment, as more than a thousand FAPLA cadres fled the base. Operation Tiro-Tiro, or the Battle of Savate, as it became known, was the first time the SADF had engaged FAPLA in battle since 1975. And, despite the record number of casualties, it was 32 Battalions biggest victory since its formation in March 1976. Even though the Border War came to an end in 1989 and 32 Battalion was disbanded in March 1993, to this day a remembrance service and parade are held annually on the Sunday closest to 21 May to commemorate the Battle of Savate, and to remember 32 Battalions victory and the price they paid.

Content: The Battle of Savate. 32 Battalion's greatest operations

War on the Border
Planning Operation Tiro-Tiro
The assault
Debrief and result
The founding father throws punches
Information vs disinformation
Savate Day
Let us remember
32 years later
Operation Tiro-Tiro nominal roll
rank-wearing members
Abbreviations and acronyms