Every war has at least one - a unit so different, so daring, that it becomes the stuff of which legends are made and heroes are born. Among the South African forces fighting in Angola from 1975 to 1989, that unit was 32 Battalion. Founded in utmost secrecy from the vanquished remnants of a foreign rebel movement, undefeated in 12 years of front-line battle, feared by enemies that included both conventional Cuban armies and Namibian guerrilla fighters, the Buffalo Soldiers became the South African army's best combat unit since World War II, with no fewer than 13 members winning the highest decoration for bravery under fire. But when peace broke out in southern Africa, the victors of Savate became the victims of sophistry. Their fate and future determined by politicians who understood little and cared less about this truly unique fraternity, 32 Battalion ceased to exist in 1993, its short history and long list of battle honours known only to those whose enemies called them Os Terriveis - the Terrible Ones. Now, for the first time, the story of 32 Battalion can be told in full, with neither adornment nor apology, by one of its longest-serving members. The book draws from top secret documents, revealing information that has never been made public before. Also included are rare photographs that evoke the colourful, and often controversial, history of 32 Battalion, as well as detailed maps depicting specific operations and deployments.
av Piet Nortje
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