(A Merc :2000 Timeline)
The Cabinda War is listed in the Merc:2000 documents as starting in the year 2000. This timeline adds more detail I created as background for a scenario. The Cabinda War, launched by Zaire when it seized Angola's Cabinda oil-rich enclave north of the Congo River, had limited goals. Zaire made a naked grab for ownership of the oil-producing region. Zaire launched its attack at the outset of rainy season, hoping to solidify its hold on the region and to begin receiving income from oil production before Angola could rally its forces and bring them to bear.
Note: This was written well before the recent Civil War in Zaire, and does not consider Zaire's recent name change.
If you want to fight tactically clean wars, fight in the desert. Equatorial Africa provides several problems facing soldiers that complicate the picture:
Heavy rains : the main period of heavy rains in Angola and Zaire starts in January and peaks in April. There is another period of heavy rain in Zaire (near Kinshasa) peaking in November-December. During these periods, several main roads become impassable - and that was before maintenance went downhill in the late 90s. This means that vehicles, troops, and supplies are extremely difficult to move in bulk. Heat : during the dry middle of the year, the average high temperature is 25-30°C (80-90°F) and quite humid. This affects how easily characters get tired, the amount of water they require, and increases the amount of maintenance required by equipment (vehicles, electronics, and weapons).
The following timeline notes several important dates during the first six months of the Cabinda War.
Under the guise of shifting units around the country, Zaire doubles
its forces in Bas-Zaire province on the Atlantic coast.
Mercenary units under contract to Zaire seize oil production assets in Cabinda by air assault and spearhead a two-pronged Zairi assault down both main roads to the port city of Cabinda. Zaire bombs Soyo airfield, closing it for the next 48 hours.
Zairi forces complete the capture of Cabinda in the face of increasing rains. A handful of Angolans escape by sea or by fleeing north to Pointe-Noire in Congo. Angolan reactions are limited to flying a few air support missions, and ineffective attacks on Zairi border stations - which had been prepared in advance for Angolan counter-attack.
Due to the speed of the attack, the Cabinda oil production and tanker handling facilities are captured almost intact. Major celebrations held in Kinshasa.
A Japanese-owned Liberian-flagged tanker arrives at Cabinda for its first load of Zairi oil. Zaire offers major discounts to induce business. Angola declares any oil sold from Cabinda to be Angolan products.
Rains at there heaviest in south central Africa. Zaire prepares for a counter-stroke by ordering additional weaponry on credit against future oil revenues.
Angola begins staging minor (platoon and company-sized) border raids while beginning to gather forces and supplies for a summer campaign.
Angolan forces, after a delay of several weeks more than planned, launches its counter-offensive. However, the attacks along the Congo River, where Zaire thought the main attack would come, are only strong enough to fix the strong Zairi forces there in place. The major Angolan assault is launched east into Shaba Province, one arm along the Dilolo-Kolwezi-Lubumbashi axis, the other along the Luiza-Mwene Ditu-Kabinda axis.
Dilolo captured after a fierce three-day battle. Southern axis force rests up before resuming attack. After a two-day trek across open, trackless country, another Angolan column attacks Luiza.
A mercenary commando unit working for Angola is captured before it could destroy the Cabinda tanker-loading facility. Angolan units capture Mwene Ditu, cutting one of the major roads south.
Southern axis force seizes Kasaji.
Angolan forces seize Mbuji Mayi.
Angolan forces reach Kolwezi and engage major Zairi forces to seize it. Another major Zairi force pushes Angolans out of Mbuji Mayi. A flanking march by Angolan forces along the banks of the Congo River gains ground towards Kinshasa, the Zairi capital.
Zairi reinforcements meant for Shaba province are used to stop the advance against Kinshasa.
Much weakened Angolan forces resume their advance past Kolwezi down the main road toward Lubumbashi against the advice of mercenary advisors.
... the end is still to come.