NEW FOR 2014!!
Iron Fist from the Sea - South Africa’s Seaborne Raiders: 1978-1988
Douw Steyn and Arnè Söderlund
This seminal work documents the clandestine seaborne operations undertaken by South Africa’s 4 Reconnaissance Commando Regiment. It breathtakingly reveals the versatility and effectiveness of this elite unit which worked with a range of other South African and Rhodesian forces, including the Rhodesian SAS, to engage in a range of raiding and war fighting activities. These operations saw the clandestine reconnaissance of harbours, the sinking of enemy shipping and the destruction of shore installations in Angola and Mozambique. Just some of the tasks undertaken by this extraordinary maritime capability which totalled no more than 45 operators, both black and white!
With unparalleled access to previously secret material, the authors, both of whom worked to develop 4 Recce’s operating capabilities, trace the origins of the Regiment back to the 1970’s when the South African’s determined the need for a maritime force projection capability. They relate how maritime doctrine was developed within South Africa’s wider Special Forces capability and how joint operational approaches were configured with the South African Navy. This saw the development of a range of swimmer, reconnaissance, diving and boat operator training courses, along with the design of specialist raiding craft and amphibious assault platforms, which were originated to operate from the Navy’s existing shipping and submarines. All of which demonstrated the immense potential of this newly emergent force and the resourcefulness of its individual operators. Required to successfully complete a gruelling selection process, the operators of 4 Recce were relentlessly tested to prove their physical and mental mettle, not to mention their leadership skills and initiative.
Steyn and Söderlund’s chronological analysis of the operations undertaken by 4 Recce and the South African Navy is stunning to behold. They impartially detail the secret and specialised actions which saw both success and failure. From Cabinda on the West Coast to Tanzania on the East, 4 Recce, and whose existence and capability was largely kept secret even within the South African Defence Force, conducted numerous clandestine raids. They attacked shipping and strategic targets such as oil facilities, transport infrastructure and even ANC offices. And sometimes the raids did go wrong, spectacularly so in one instance when two operators were killed and Captain Wynand Du Toit was captured. He was later paraded in front of the world’s media, much to the embarrassment of the South African government.
This is a fascinating work and one that will enthral anyone with an interest in Special Forces operations. Profusely illustrated with many previously unpublished photographs, it stands as a testament to the author’s endeavours as, respectively, the former Operations Commander of 4 Recce and; the former Commander Task Group of the SA Navy, as well as the incredible operators of 4 Recce.
Explosive and compulsive, Iron Fist from the Sea takes you right to the raging surf; to the adrenalin and fear that is seaborne raiding...
About the Authors
Lt Col Daniel Steyn, HC, SM, MMM, PSN
Daniel (Douw) Steyn joined the Army in 1974 after completing high school, and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers in 1975. His first operational deployment came later that year during Operation SAVANNAH, the South African incursion into Angola. His actions in clearing mines under fire during the fighting at ‘Bridge 14’ earned him the award of the Honoris Crux decoration for gallantry. He was later mentioned in dispatches for other actions during that operation.
Steyn then applied to join the Special Forces, qualifying as an operator in 1977 and served 15 years as a Special Forces operator, specializing in advanced demolitions and sabotage techniques. Joining 1 Reconnaisance Commando in Durban, he led the operational Bravo Group for the next four years. The unit’s most important operations during this period were Operation AMAZON, the attack on the oil facilities in Lobito, for which he was awarded the Medal for Military Merit, and Operation KERSLIG which targeted the oil refinery in Luanda, for which he was awarded the Southern Cross Medal. He was also instrumental in training the anti-communist resistance movements in Angola (UNITA) and Mozambique (RENAMO) in the use of explosives, mines and in sabotage operations.
In 1981 he was appointed as the operational commander of the Raiding Group of 4 Reconnaissance Commando, the seaborne Special Forces unit based in Langebaan in the Cape Province. There he qualifying as an attack diver and saboteur and lead a number of seaborne operations to destroy strategic military targets in Angola and Mozambique. After ten years in this demanding role, he was transferred to Special Forces HQ in Pretoria as the Research and Development Officer, assisting with the development of operational tactics and of specialised equipment research. In 1995 he was appointed as the Chief of Staff of 71 Brigade in Pretoria.
He retired from the Defence Force in 1996 as a Lieutenant Colonel, and joined a major South African security company as part of their senior management in Durban. Working in the private sector has given him more quality time to spend with his family.
Rear Admiral (JG) Arnè Söderlund, PS, SM, MMM*, SANR
Born and educated in Kimberley, South Africa, where he matriculated from Christian Brothers College, he joined the SA Navy in 1966 and has served both at sea and ashore with postings to a number of other countries during his 40 years service. In 1969 he was attached to the Argentine Navy for training aboard the Sail Training Vessel ARA Libertad and on his return serviced aboard mine sweepers as First Lieutenant and Type 12 frigates as Communications and later Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer.
In late 1975 after a period in command of the diving support and torpedo recovery vessel, SAS Fleur, he was appointed to the strike craft project in Israel where he commissioned the second strike craft P1562 (SAS P.W. Botha and later Shaka) as First Lieutenant and Operations Officer. In early 1980 he was appointed as the first Captain of SAS Oswald Pirow (later René Sethren). After serving as a DS at the Naval Staff College and later the SA Defence College as well as a four year appointment to Chief of Staff Intelligence, he was appointed Naval and Military Attaché (later Adviser) in London from 1994 to 1997. Promoted Commodore (later R Adm (JG)) in the post of standing CTG in the SAN in 1997, he took part in the transformation process, becoming Director Fleet Force Preparation on the formation of Fleet Command.
Married to Lyn for 43 years with three daughters and three granddaughters, he retired from full-time service in May 2006 and joined the SA Naval Reserves where he still serves. He has edited a number of naval and maritime publications including SA Navy News and was co-author of a definitive book on South Africa’s Navy. He currently runs the Naval Museum Submarine SAS Assegaai (ex Johanna van der Merwe).
Selous Scouts Unimog Commissioned for Rhodesia Modelling Book!!
Work on the 'Modelling the Rhodesian War' title is well underway with a number of build commissions in place. Steve Crump is busy working on a Hunter fighter jet as flown by pilot Rich Brand; Rob Marsh is tackling the Dakota whilst Marcus Nicholls will be working on a Selous Scouts Unimog. This is an all new kit especially commissioned off BaxMod - the leader in southern African military models as series editor Steve Crump explains; "It was when tackling the Revell Unimog kit that I realised that we had the framework wrong for a Selous Scouts Unimog. The Revell kit is of the later vehicle - we needed the early version that the Scouts customised as their own. There was no option but to go back to the beginning and commission a completely new kit".
Fresh from the success of his newly produced G6 self-propelled gun, BaxMod's Chris Baxter was more than happy to turn his skills to the Unimog. The resultant build by Tamiya's Marcus Nicholls kit will feature in the Rhodesian War book to be launched in 2015. To be published by GG Book and Helion & Company, this work will be the second in the series after Modelling Modern South African Armour. 'We've got a real team on these books and I'm delighted - modellers, profile artists, walkround photographers - all of which combines with the historical knowledge William Marshall brings to the party' said Steve. 'And that we are to commission new kits that plug a major gap in the market is especially welcome. The diorama and after-market possibilities for a Selous Scouts vehicle are boundless!'
FÜR VOLK AND FÜHRER. THE MEMOIR OF A VETERAN OF THE 1ST SS PANZER DIVISION LEIBSTANDARTE SS ADOLF HITLER
Like many Germans, Berlin schoolboy Erwin Bartmann fell under the spell of the Zeitgeist cultivated by the Nazis. Convinced he was growing up in the best country in the world, he dreamt of joining the Leibstandarte, Hitler's elite Waffen-SS unit. Tall, blond, blue-eyed, and just seventeen-years-old, Erwin fulfilled his dream on Mayday 1941, when he gave up his apprenticeship at the Glaser bakery in Memeler Strasse and walked into the Lichterfelde barracks in Berlin as a raw, volunteer recruit.
On arrival at the Eastern Front in late summer 1941, Erwin was assigned to a frontline communications squad attached to 4.Kompanie and soon discovered that survival was a matter of luck - or the protection of a guardian angel. Good fortune finally deserted Erwin on 11 July 1943 when shrapnel sizzled through his lung during the epic Battle of Kursk-Prokhorovka. Following a period of recovery, and promotion to Unterscharführer, Erwin took up a post as machine-gun instructor with the Ausbildung und Ersatz Bataillon, a training unit based close to the eastern section of the Berliner Ring Autobahn. When the Red Army launched its massive assault on the Seelow Heights, Erwin's unit, now incorporated into Regiment Falke, was deployed to the southern flank of the Berlin-Frankfurt Autobahn, close to the River Oder. The German defences soon crumbled and with the end of the Reich inevitable, Erwin was forced to choose between a struggle for personal survival and the fulfilment of his SS oath of 'loyalty unto death' .
From the war on the southern sector of the Eastern Front to a bomb-shattered Berlin populated largely by old men and demoralised lonely women, this candid eyewitness account offers a unique and sometimes surprising perspective on the life of a young Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler volunteer.
Available November 2013
COMING SOON TO Africa @ War :
THE FLECHAS. INSURGENT HUNTING IN EASTERN ANGOLA, 1965-1974
John P Cann
In 1961, Portugal found itself fighting a war to retain its colonial possessions and preserve the remnants of its empire. It was almost completely unprepared to do so, and this was particularly evident in its ability to project power and to control the vast colonial spaces in Africa. Following the uprisings of March of 1961 in the north of Angola, Portugal poured troops into the colony as fast as its creaking logistic system would allow; however, these new arrivals were not competent and did not possess the skills needed to fight a counterinsurgency. While counterinsurgency by its nature requires substantial numbers of light infantry, the force must be trained in the craft of fighting a ‘small war’ to be effective. The majority of the arriving troops had no such indoctrination and had been readied at an accelerated pace. Even their uniforms were hastily crafted and not ideally suited to fighting in the bush.
In reoccupying the north and addressing the enemy threat, Portugal quickly realized that its most effective forces were those with special qualifications and advanced training. Unfortunately, there were only very small numbers of such elite forces. The maturing experiences of Portuguese and their consequent adjustments to fight a counterinsurgency led to development of specialized, tailored units to close the gaps in skills and knowledge between the insurgents and their forces. The most remarkable such force was the flechas, indigenous Bushmen who lived in eastern Angola with the capacity to live and fight in its difficult terrain aptly named ‘Lands at the End of the Earth’. Founded in 1966, they were active until the end of the war in 1974, and were so successful in their methods that the flecha template was copied in the other theaters of Guiné and Mozambique and later in the South African Border War.
The flechas were a force unique to the conflicts of southern Africa. A flecha could smell the enemy and his weapons and read the bush in ways that no others could do. He would sleep with one ear to the ground and the other to the atmosphere and would be awakened by an enemy walking a mile away. He could conceal himself in a minimum of cover and find food and water in impossible places. In short, he was vastly superior to the enemy in the environment of eastern Angola, and at the height of the campaign there (1966–1974) this small force accounted for 60 per cent of all enemy kills. This book is the story of how they came to be formed and organized, their initial teething difficulties, and their unqualified successes.
U Boats @ War Sees Major New Collaboration!
As the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic celebrations draw to a close in Liverpool, it seems a fitting time to announce a major new collaboration between GG Books UK and Helion & Company; U Boats @ War. Authored by one of the world’s leading authorities on U Boats, Jak Mallmann-Showell, this series will explore U Boats as never before – boats, weapon systems, engineering, campaigns, U Boat insignia, crews and commanders. Drawing on new material held in private collections and little known museums, this series will prove to be the definitive work on the German U Boat war.
About the Series Author
Jak Mallmann Showell, son of a U-boat Diesel Mechanic who was killed in action, has produced more than forty books about naval activities during the Second World War. His research is based on original first-hand documents such as wartime logs, accounts written shortly after the events and on many personal interviews.
Born in Hamburg in 1944, Jak grew up amidst the ruins of the great firestorm. He came to London in 1954 and has lived in England ever since. Being bi-lingual has helped him in understanding documents produced by both sides of the war. He worked as teacher and educational science adviser for many years before turning to writing, researching and photography.
Jak is the English Language Representative for the German U-boat Museum (formerly U-Boot-Archiv) in Cuxhaven and has been awarded the Silver U-boat Badge by the German Submariners’ Association in Munich for furthering international relations and maintaining naval traditions.
EXCITING NEW TITLES FOR GG BOOKS!!!
There's much happening in the GG Books stable and, suffice to say, we're delighted with the support we're receiving! Building upon the success of our Chicken Street launch and in association with our partners, Helion and Company, we are about to release Justin Taylor's long awaited work, A Whisper in the Reeds. Telling of his time with 32 Battalion and of the infamous battle of Savate, this is a compelling read. One which will inform, intrigue and inspire. Do let us know if you want us to reserve you a copy!
Ed Bird's Special Branch War takes the reader into the heart of the Rhodesian conflict and down into the murky world of Special Branch dirty tricks. Ed's book is a fascinating account of a paramilitary police force at war. encompassing Operations Repulse and Tangent of the bitter conflict. A meticulous recorder, Bird maintained the Beitbridge SB incident log and it is this diary of terror, landmine strikes, assassinations and executions which will enthral, appal and enrage the reader.
Photojournalist Jim Hooper needs no introduction on these pages - abandoning a lucrative business, he developed a new career as a reportage photographer. With little thought for his safety he threw himself into some of Africa's most violent wars; riding contacts with Koevoet in South West Africa / Namibia, accompanying Executive Outcomes in Sierra Leone and trudging with UNITA through the depths of the Angolan bush. All this and more. In this reflective study, Hooper revisits his archives and presents to the viewer a set of images that will stun and captivate - that in their beauty, will perversely take you to the heart of Africa's darkest wars.
Beyond No Mean Soldier sees Peter McAleese reflect upon his incredible service career. From the Parachute Regiment through to the British SAS, Rhodesian SAS and the elite South African 44 Para Pathfinder Unit, McAleese demonstrated nothing but consummate professionalism. With new photographs, new commentary from Peter and with contributions from those that served with him, Beyond No Mean Soldier updates a classic work and represents for a modern audience. Be prepared to marvel - and to be inspired. Forget the myths you read on Arsse - this is Peter in his own words...
Tim Bax's Three Sips of Gin was an instant bestseller when it was first released. In this new edition, Tim has added an amazing array of photographs that show the secretive and legendary Selous Scouts at war. These images, added to Tim's enticing script, make for a first class read. Never mind the gin, crack a good malt and settle down into your favourite chair for a rollercoaster! It's a winner!
As well as conflicts gone, we also look at the conflicts of today and those of tomorrow. You think you've read all there is to know about Afghanistan? Then think again.... James Eastwood's account of his time with the Arnhem Lions battlegroup is a fast paced tab through forward air controlling; it's got fast air, artillery, mortars and more - all at his disposal as he tackles the Taliban with devastating results. Yet again and as always, its Britain's young men and women stepping up to the fore...
Do keep checking in for release dates on these books and others! Do keep abreast of our expanding title list as we look to bring you the best in quality military history!!
BaxMod Wheels Out The Big Guns!
South Africa’s BaxMod is delighted to announce the imminent release of its long awaited G6 model kit. Joining the existing range of quality resin and photo-etch models, this 1/35th scale kit will be of interest to military modellers across the globe! As Steve Crump explains, ‘I spent a number of hours with BaxMod’s founder, Chris Baxter, who took me through the intricacies of the kit’s development. This started with a run through on the G6’s origination and its impressive capabilities. Where to start?; a 155mm gun on a mine protected 6 x 6 suspension, able to move at over 50 mph whilst carrying a load of some 47 rounds, which it is able to hurtle almost 5 miles! The kit itself is a stunner and the master captures the unique characteristics of the G6 Rhino as never before. I was especially interested to see how Chris had worked up the master from drawings, photographs and other reference material. A real achievement I must say!’
BaxMod’s new release builds upon the success of its range to date which features iconic vehicles such as the Casspir MPV and the Ratel IFV. ‘BaxMod kits appeal to the discerning modeller and it is for this reason that we’ve included a number of BaxMod builds in the forthcoming GG Books work; ‘Modelling Modern South African Armour’ said Steve. ‘Published in partnership with Helion & Company, this book will be launched at the IPMS Telford show next year – and yes, it will include the G6! We’re also pleased that work has already begun on a companion volume ‘Modelling the South African Air Force’. Master modeller Marcus Nicholls of Tamiya has just agreed to build the Italeri Impala for this book’ commented Steve, ‘a real win for us!’
The BaxMod Rhino G6 will be stocked by 30 Degrees South UK when the kit becomes available - to register your interest email; firstname.lastname@example.org
Exciting Collaboration Sees New Titles For 2014/2015!
Pictured at the London Club of the Rifles where Christopher Brice's new book, ' The Thinking Man's Soldier: The Life & Career of General Sir Henry Brackenbury 1837-1914' was launched, are: Nick Jackson of Military History Tours, Duncan Rogers of Helion, Gavin Worrell of Military History Tours and Steve Crump of GG Books.
Discussions during the day had seen agreement on a number of collaborations that will be realised over the next 36 months. These range from an indepth analysis of Calais 1940 where the Kings Royal Rifle Corps valiantly fought the BEF's rearguard against overwhelming odds; a study of the architecture of death including the death camps of Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen; The gripping story of Mike Sinclair, Colditz's Red Fox and of course, as mentioned elsewhere on this website, the Colditz Commandos - the seven British Commandos captured in Norway, who were held in Colditz and then executed on Hitler's personal orders...
As Steve Crump explains; 'This is an incredibly exciting collaboration for GG Books working in close partnership with Helion and the accomplished historians of Military History Tours! Together, we will be uncovering material never seen before and, indeed, just today, we've seen artefacts from the defence of Calais, thanks to Richard Frost of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps Association, that just amaze and inspire and with the Colditz Commandos, Lord Ashdown has given advice and support. There's much work to be done, but you can be sure that the finished results will inform, stun and absorb readers as never before'.
Do hook in for the journey because, in partnership with Helion & Company and Military History Tours - GG Books will bring you, quite simply, the best in quality military history!
Ian Uys's Seminal Work - Enduring Valour - South Africa's Cross Of Honour
We're delighted to announce the reprint of this classic book in association with our partners Helion & Co. The Honoris Crux was South Africa's premier gallantry decoration awarded to members of the Defence Force between 1961 and 1991. More than 300 stories of courage and sacrifice are detailed. Pour that whiskey and settle down to a rollercoaster of courage, conviction and service above self..........
Enduring Valour - South Africa's Cross of Honour - Ian Uys - Summer 2013
TWO CLASSICS REVISED AND REVISITED - COMING SOON!
Al Venter's The Chopper Boys and Willem Steenkamp's South Africa's Border War are currently being updated for publishing later this year! Both these works have been out of print for some time now so we are delighted to see them coming back. Both works are classics and contain combat imagery of the South African Border War that has never been surpassed.
To register interest in obtaining copies of these definitive studies email email@example.com