24 pp b/w and colour illustrations
Softcover: 608 pages – 24 pages of colour & B/W photos
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This amazing book tells not only the story of South Africa’s special forces, it has also been described as the most important and frank history of South Africa itself during the apartheid years. It is also the most illuminating book on special forces published anywhere. Not only does Stiff deal with military operations but he also explains the political dynamics that prompted them. It is wide ranging and covers the first counter-insurgency operations in Namibia in 1966, a commando raid on Dare-es-Salaam, the Fox Street Siege, South Africa’s intervention into Angola in 1975 and subsequent pull-out, the rise of insurgency in Moçambique, South Africa’s reentry into Angola, strikes against SWAPO bases in Zambia, the training and assistance to UNITA, the fight against ZANLA and ZIPRA in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and how the Recces staffed Rhodesia’s ‘D’ Squadron SAS, the fall of Rhodesia, how the SAS and Selous Scouts were reformed as Recce units in South Africa, the selection and training of special forces, the raid against the ANC at Matola in Moçambique, South African assistance to RENAMO and Recce operations in Moçambique, Lesotho, Cabinda, Botswana and Zambia. It also deals in detail with the final days of apartheid South Africa and explains how close the country was to a right-wing coup d’etat.
It was a book that should not have been published. In 1986 Stiff was invited by the Chief SADF to write a history of the Recces, but two years later when it was discovered he had discovered far more about secret operations than intended, permission was withdrawn and he was threatened with prosecution under the Official Secrets Act. He had to wait until after the 1994 election before he could again pick up his pen.
Publisher: Galago (ZA) 2006