The quintessential professionalprepared to die for his country, but not trained to … this is the elite ‘Recce’ soldier
This book has been some 15 years in the making and can claim, with some justification, to be the definitive publication on the ‘Recces’, unlikely to be topped for many, many years. The South African Special Forces have invariably been portrayed as a sinister force, used in covert operations locally and abroad but this is pure political expediency and media propaganda. The unit’s operators are shy, humble soldiers, whose primary role is intelligence-gathering, although they will take offensive action, ruthlessly, if necessary. Highly trained professionals in a class of their own, these elite troops have garnered for themselves an international reputation par excellence. Included in this unique book are:
• Foreword by the late Major-General F. W. Loots
• A comprehensive history of the Reconnaissance Regiments and auxiliary units
• Selection and training processes and techniques
• Insignia, kit & equipment
• Honors & awards
• Memorabilia, memorials & museums
• 2,500 full-color images; actual-size insignia (including fakes)
|Publisher:||30 Degrees South Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||8.60(w) x 12.10(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Paul Matthysen. Very early in life Paul developed a passion for all things military. He started collecting militaria in 1963, specializing in World War II German militaria, for which he has won several awards at displays. While in the employ of a well-known numismatist, he was consulted on uniforms and insignia by film companies and advertising agencies. Paul ended his military career in 1977 as an infantry platoon sergeant serving in 102 Counter-Insurgency Battalion on the border, for which he was awarded the Pro Patria Medal. Paul has been researching South African Special Forces since 1991. This current work on South African Special Forces will form part of a series dealing with the badges and insignia of South African military units. Paul lives in Johannesburg.
Matthew Kalkwarf. A qualified instructor NCO at the Army Gymnasium, Matthew later served with 2 South West African Specialist Unit. He retained his interest in the military after completing his service. His extensive sales experience has equipped him well to assist in this project, where interpersonal skills are vital for research and interviews; his technical intelligence has also proved invaluable during this process. Matthew lives in Johannesburg and manages his own company.
Michael Huxtable. With a keen interest in the military, Mike served two years’ national service in the South African Defence Force Intelligence School during 1988/89. In 2003, he joined the SANDF Reserve Force, serving as Intelligence Officer and Adjutant at the Light Horse Regiment, being the first member of the SANDF Reserve to graduate from the SANDF Military Academy (Faculty of Military Science of Stellenbosch University) in 2007, with a B.Mil degree in Security and Africa Studies. His dream to publish books on South African military insignia came to fruition after meeting Paul Matthysen. Mike lives and works in Johannesburg.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Although the South African Recces never captured the popular imagination in the same manner as the SAS, the Green Berets or even the Selous Scouts, they were a formidable band of soldiers and their entry requirements were among the highest in the world. The `Recces¿ were the Reconnaissance Regiments of the South African Defence Force and date back to 1972 when partly in response to increasing isolation on the one hand and communist encroachment ¿ especially in neighboring states ¿ on the other, the Directorate of Military Intelligence established 1 Reconnaissance Commando at Oudtshoorn. The Recces built up a reputation for extreme courage and stamina and, in 1980, with the formation of Zimbabwe, 3 and 6 Reconnaissance Commandos were activated for former members of the Rhodesian Selous Scouts and the SAS who joined the SADF. In 1993, under the new political dispensation, the Recces were disbanded and the units renamed the 45 Parachute Brigade and, a couple of years after that when MK, APLA and the Homelands Defence Forces were incorporated into the new SANDF, the 45 Paras became the Special Forces Brigade. It was never easy to get into the Recces and in the heyday of apartheid they were feared as vicious psychopaths ¿ yet although trained to kill when necessary, the Recces were not primarily a fighting force. First and foremost they were intelligence gatherers: their purpose was to perform covet operations, to get in and out undetected ¿ and to do this successfully they had to be among the best of the best.This book is short on stories of courage and derring-do: the humanizing personal element is almost entirely absent. What it does contain though are thousands of facts, pictures, diagrams and tables ¿ a complete reference work to all things Recce.Recce uniforms, knives, equipment, buckles, crockery, caps, ties, and certificates ¿ even promotional items like limited edition bottles of wine, Zippo lighters, coasters and sugar spoons: they¿re all here. A glossary of terms and abbreviations is a godsend for those of us unversed in military nomenclature, but the omission of an index is hugely unfortunate and decreases the value of the book immensely. Close observation of the Roll of Honour at the back of the volume and of the pictures throughout reveal the surprising diversity of this `sinister¿ organ of the white male Afrikaner Calvinist Apartheid State. Long before the country became desegregated, the recces were a microcosm of unity with black and whites, men and women, Catholics and Protestant working and dying together, joined in the Reconnaissance Brigades to an extent they could never be in civilian life.