32 Battalion: The Inside Story of South Africa's Elite Fighting Unit

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Zebra, Jan 1, 2006 - History - 315 pages
5 Reviews
Originally formed in order to lend support to the FNLA and UNITA in the Angolan war, 32 Battalion quickly gained the reputation of being an unconventional, secretive, yet highly effective group. Written by a man who was intimately involved with the unit and served as its Regimental Sergeant Major for two years, the book aims to explode the myths surrounding the legendary 32 and set the record straight. It records how and why 32 Battalion was formed, explores its unique identity forged by the men who fought in it, details the many operations in which they participated, and concludes with its eventual disbandment at the dawn of a new South Africa.
What they did, and how they did it, would earn this controversial group official recognition as the best fighting unit in the South African Army since World War II. This book's unembellished, factual reporting will fill a big gap in the highly popular military genre.
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LouieD - LibraryThing

The South African Border War & the South African Defence Force in general is little heard of in the U.S., never mind one of the most renowned units during this conflict. "32 Bn." , written by a former ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This book is very valuable because it is based on original documents such as Operational Orders and signals sent to and from 31 Battalion. It is thus a historic record of events, rather than a typical macho soldiers view of a given conflict. The book is easy to read at a number of levels. As a simple narrative about a military unit, the author takes the reader into that intimate space that is a soldier's on combat duty. At another level, given the foundation of facts, the book becomes a complete record, including dates, places and key events, all significant for a serious scholar. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in elite military units or in the Angolan and South African theatre of military conflict. I have cited heavily from this book in much of my own work.  

Contents

Construction of Huhnerleiter shelters
45
Operations west of the Cuito River with deployments
103
SWAPO ambush of Corporal le Rouxs platoon June 1977
117
Operation Loodvoet
141
Operation Sceptic
154
Operation Carnation
167
Area map showing lona Cambeno Valley and Marienfluss
182
Operation Askari Note the number of rivers in the area
195
FAPLAs push southwards in the 3rd and 6th military regions
215
WE MARCH WITHOUT FEAR
221
FIGHTING TILL THE END
255
WE CAME WE GO
273
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About the author (2006)

PIET NORTJE's military career began in 1978, when he joined the former SADF Permanent Force. His involvement with 32 Battalion started in the same year, where he rose rapidly through the ranks. In 1984 he was appointed Regimental Sergeant Major of 32 Battalion, the youngest RSM ever in the SADF. Although his involvement with 32 Battalion came to an end in 1988, he continued to serve in the SANDF until his resignation in 2005. He is now a captain in the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.

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