February 6, 2021

Operation Fenkil: The unthinkable achieved in 59 hours

By: Natnael Yebio W.
On February 8, 1990, EPLF forces began their offensive attack by cutting off the critical supply route from Massawa to Asmara garrison. The surprise attack stunned the Ethiopian military and by the following afternoon the EPLF forces were in the suburbs of Massawa. On the third day of the offensive, February 11, 1990, the Eritrean forces captured the Ethiopian naval base near the town. The only remaining portions of the city to rid of Ethiopian troops were the islands.To achieve this Eritrean forces used their nascent naval forces (mostly small gunboats) to attack from the sea during an artillery barrage. Using this artillery fire the Eritrean armor moved onto the causeways that connected the islands with the mainland. The first of these tanks was destroyed by the Ethiopian garrison that was eventually overcome by the EPLF.

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