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Author: Piet Nortje
Cape Town, 2004
Softcover, 15x23 cm, 352 pages, many colour photos
32 Battalion is the gripping inside story of South Africa's most controversial fighting unit of the 1970s and 1980s. 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 Battalion 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.
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 continues to serve in the SANDF, a career now spanning 25 years.
Mercury (Gavin Crutchley)
"For anybody who has the remotest interest in South African history and the goings-on during the apartheid era, this book will provide a fascinating insight into the minds of the securocrats who shaped a lot of the goings on in Southern Africa from 1975 to 1989. For those who are interested in tales of military action there are some amazing feats documented in the book as well. These were all the more amazing for me because they are true."
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