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

Front Cover
Zebra Press, 2004 - History - 315 pages
2 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.

What people are saying - Write a review

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.  

Other editions - View all

About the author (2004)

Piet Nortje joined the SADF Permanent Force in 1978 and rose rapidly through the ranks in 32 Battalion. In 1985 he was appointed as the unit's Regimental Sergeant Major, 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 major in the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces. He is the author of 32 Battalion, The Terrible Ones and The Battle of Savate.

Bibliographic information