'Books for Africa' - Catalogue
All items listed here new (unless otherwise stated) and are from stock held in New Zealand and sold by Hugh Bomford. The proceeds of sales do not go to the Rhodesian Services Association Incorporated. However, Hugh Bomford substantially subsidises the operation of the Rhodesian Services Association's website as well as contributing on an annual basis to the fundraising auctions and raffles.
All prices below are in NZ$, most do not include postage.
Please read the following carefully
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DVDs & CDs
Msasa Enterprises are producers of fine quality historic audio-visual material from the Southern African region. Included in their archive is an extensive and growing collection of Rhodesiana films and sound recordings as well as the addition of new material from the Zulu Battlefields period. Msasa Enterprises has maintained the high standard and quality of its imagery since commencing production in 1997. Their archive material is stored on broadcast quality digital video tape and is sourced from original 16/35mm films that were graded and transferred via professional telecine. The DVDs are in PAL format and are zoned for worldwide distribution. Some titles are on NTSC and we can order on request. Msasa Enterprises guarantee the original source and quality of the products.
Please beware of 'low-grade imitations' that may be available from elsewhere.
Rhodesian Forces - One & Two Double DVD total play time 147 minutes Price $75
Contents 'Pamwe Chete' The story of what it took to be a Selous Scout, with introduction and commentary from Lt. Col.Ron Reid-Daly 'Mkushi/Westland Report' - the famous 'Green Leader' external raid into Zambia 'The Saints' - the Rhodesian Light Infantry 1974 'Chimoio Report' - the external operation into Mozambique 'Chaplain to the Forces' - the Rhodesian Corps of Chaplains with the Rev. Norman Wood 'The Who Dare' C Squadron, 22 SAS in Rhodesia 'Mapai Report' The external operation into Mozambique 'A Pride of Eagles' On Exercise Vanguard, with the Rhodesian Air Force 'Black Boots' - the BSAP Support Unit 'A War on Words' - a public awareness film about the dangers of 'loose talk'
The Final Chapter DVD 80 minutes play time Price $55
The Final Chapter is a powerful visual story of the human spirit that made up the Rhodesian Forces who can trace their origins back to the late 19th century when the early settlers entered Matabele occupied territory
The Flame Lily Collection Double DVD Total play time 141 minutes Price $75
A two disk digitally re-mastered package of original historic film 'gems' from the tumultuous period of Rhodesia in the 70s. This special edition DVD takes you from the establishment of early government in 1924, through the building of Kariba Dam in the early 60s, to an experience with the 'fuzz' and the women of the RWS, finally closing with a beautiful documentary on the diversity of nature with which Rhodesia was blessed. Along the way you will see many of the faces that helped to build the nation of Rhodesia.
"What a time it was - with so few friends to turn to..."
The Saints - The Rhodesian Light Infantry DVD 86 minutes play time Bonus features include Trooping the Colours and the Roll of Honour Price $55
The 1st Battalion Rhodesian Light Infantry was formed on the 1st February 1961. In its short existence, spanning only 19 years, this fully airborne commando unit carved a reputation as one of the world's foremost proponents of counter-insurgency warfare. This was achieved through their ruthless application of the devastating 'Fireforce' technique. This tactic of vertical envelopment of the enemy was repeatedly applied during their daring cross border pre-emptive strikes against the massing tide of ZANLA and ZIPRA terrorists based in Mozambique and Zambia.
Charles Melson (US Marine Corps) described the RLI as "The Killing Machine"
Viscount Down - the Survivor's Story approx. 45 minute DVD. Price $55
A powerful documentary of human courage and survival during events following the missile attack and shooting down of commercial passenger aircraft in Rhodesia in late 1978 and early 1979 as related by survivors and security forces. In modern jargon - this was Rhodesia's 9/11 but unlike the event in America there was no world condemnation - just a world wide deafening silence.
Rhodesian Forces - A Tribute in Sound (includes 25 minutes of the 'Green Leader' transmission and battle sounds) Compact Disc Price $45
This compilation of Regimental Marches and Songs as well as original battle sound effects was digitally re-mastered from original recordings. It is the result of lengthy searching, the goodwill of collectors and a pride in the legacy that the Rhodesian Forces left to the world. It is a tribute in sound to the men and women of all races who committed themselves to the cause of history, many of whom paid the supreme price in defence of their beliefs. It contains several ORIGINAL tracks only available on this CD.
'The Msasas are Turning' 'When the winter has gone, and time has moved on, the memory will never grow tired...' A nostalgic song from Clem Tholet 2.30
'Rhodesians Bold' A march originally composed by BSAP Bandmaster Charles Warren-Day in 1918 and dedicated to all the members of the Rhodesian Forces 1.16
'Kum-a-Kye' The Regimental March of the BSAP and a favourite played by the band on all occasions. The band was a popular part of the BSAP structure from the very earliest days of inception 1.40
RAR sing 'Sweet Banana' An original recording of the men of the Rhodesian African Rifles as they sing an impromptu rendition of their Regimental March at Shaw Barracks in Balla Balla 2.27
Rhodesian African Rifles on parade A musical montage of the various company songs as sung by the men whilst parading on the drill square at the barracks. Original recording 3.04
'Sweet Banana' Rhodesian Corps of Signals Band The Regimental March 'Sweet Banana' came about during WW 2 when RAR troops escorting Italian prisoners of war bought bananas from vendors in Durban 2.12
RAR Jazz Band A live original recording of a performance by the RAR 'Dixieland' Jazz Band in 1978 2.26
'The Happy Wanderer' This march was an arrangement by Roger Barsotti of a German folk song and was the march played at the passing out parades of the new troops having completed their initial training at Llewllyn Barracks near Bulawayo 2.54
Rhodesian Light Infantry on parade On the 17th October 1980, the men of the RLI assembled for the last time on the parade square at Cranborne Barracks to finally lay up their Regimental Colours 0.31
'The Rhodesian Light Infantry' Composed especially for the RLI by Major Frank Sutton, this slow march was renamed 'The Incredibles' after the comment from Prime Minister Ian Smith in reference to the calibre of the men of the Regiment at the time 1.58
'When The Saints Go Marching In' Soon after its birth, the RLI had a piper, L/Cpl McMartin who would pipe for the commando, and 'The Saints' was one of tunes he used to play for the troopies. This arrangement by Major Frank Sutton was later officially adopted as the Regimental March of the RLI 1.11
Fireforce A description of the Fireforce concept pioneered by the RLI in conjunction with the Rhodesian Air Force. The sounds heard are from historic recordings of live combat operations during the bush war. Narrated by Patrick McLaughlin 2.56
'Pamwe Chete' 'Huyai Mose' - the identity song of the Selous Scouts, and 'Basa Redu Re Selousi' - a song sung as the men march on to the parade square. These are all original recordings of the Selous Scouts and have never been previously available 2.29
Selous Scouts Roll Call On the 16th June 1978 the Selous Scouts held a special medal parade at the Andre Rabie Barracks 1.31
'Mhoroyi Mose' A Shona song of welcome sung with gusto by the Selous Scouts when receiving guests 2.25
Selous Scouts Honours and Awards The song 'Garayi Neni' sung behind this part of the medal parade was taken from a Shona hymn usually sung at funerals 0.58
'Selousi Shumba' This original Shona song was usually sung at sporting events to encourage your team.
The men changed the lyrics to suit their purpose 1.50
Selous Scouts 'March Off' Singing their favourite marching song 'Nhasi Pano Tsangana', the Regiment proudly leaves the parade square at Andre Rabie Barracks 1.44
Rhodesian Special Air Service The SAS was Rhodesia's elite Special Force Squadron and first saw the light of day when Rhodesians served with distinction during the Second World War as part of the British SAS in the desert and in Italy 1.04
'Marche des Parachutistes' The official march of the Belgian Parachutist Regiment composed by C. Leemans before the outbreak of the Second World War and later adopted by the Regiment 2.28
Rhodesian SAS disband A telegram from 22 SAS in Britain in December 1980, bidding farewell to their sister unit 0.26
Rhodesian Air Force Aircraft The airspace over New Sarum and Thornhill Air Force Bases comes alive with the sounds of the various historic aircraft of the RhAF 2.04
'Winged Assegais' A march written especially for the Rhodesian Air Force, the title for which was taken from the rondel markings on the aircraft 1.31
'Vudzijena' Rhodesian Corps of Signals Band A traditional African folk tune meaning 'White Hair' arranged here as a military slow march 4.26
Westland's Farm Operation Gatling Early on the 19th October 1978, following the shooting-down of the Air Rhodesia Viscount Hunyani, combined air and ground strikes were made on terrorist bases deep within Zambia. The famous 'Green Leader' speech to the Lusaka Control Tower was recorded from the cockpit of the leading Canberra. This is an original re-edit from the master 1/4" tape of the operation 25.07
'Abide With Me' The mounting of the evening guard and closing retreat ceremony provide a fitting closing to the Regimental day. An original arrangement to include pipes by Neil Thain, mastered at Memphis Studios, Johannesburg 2.45
Africa @ War Series
At any given time there were at least half a dozen conflicts taking place in Africa, from civil strife and brutal insurgencies to full-blown conventional wars. Yet apart from the grand campaigns and battles of colonial yesteryear - Omdurman, Isandlwana, Spoinkop et al - little is known outside the Dark Continent of the plethora of bushfire wars that occur with monotonous regularity.
30° South Publishers have combined resources with Helion & Company to produce a series of groundbreaking studies of Africa's post-1945 conflicts under the title of Africa @ War.
Each volume is 64 pages, richly illustrated with black and white and colour photographs as well as diagrams and maps, A4 size, softcover.
Africa @ War Volume 1
Operation Dingo - Rhodesian Raid on Chimoio and Tembue 1977 by JRT Wood $30
Fireforce ‘Writ Large’—Airborne Assault in Mozambique
Startling in its innovation and daringly suicidal, Operation Dingo was not only the Fireforce concept writ large but the prototype for all the major Rhodesian airborne attacks on the external bases of Rhodesian African nationalist insurgents in the neighbouring territories of Mozambique and Zambia until such operations ceased in late 1979. Fireforce as a military concept is a ‘vertical envelopment’ of the enemy (first practised by SAS paratroopers in Mozambique in 1973), with the 20mm cannon being the principle weapon of attack, mounted in an Alouette III K-Car (‘Killer car’), flown by the air force commander, with the army commander on board directing his ground troops deployed from G-Cars (Alouette III troop-carrying gunships and latterly Bell ‘Hueys’ in 1979) and parachuted from C-47 Dakotas. In support would be a propeller-driven ground-attack aircraft and on call would be Canberra bombers, Hawker Hunter and Vampire jets. On 23 November 1977, the Rhodesian Air Force and 184 SAS and RLI paratroopers attacked 10,000 ZANLA cadres based at ‘New Farm’, Chimoio, 90 kilometres inside Mozambique. Two days later, the same force attacked 4,000 guerrillas at Tembué, another ZANLA base, over 200 kilometres inside Mozambique, north of Tete on the Zambezi River. Estimates of ZANLA losses vary wildly; however, a figure exceeding 6,000 casualties is realistic. The Rhodesians suffered two dead, eight wounded and lost one aircraft. It would produce the biggest SAS-led external battle of the Rhodesian bush war.
Africa @ War Volume 2
France In Centralafrique - From Bokassa and Operation Barracuda to the Days of EUFOR by Peter Baxter $30
France in Centrafrique explores the early colonial and post-colonial history of French Equatorial Africa with a particular emphasis on the role of the Central African Republic in the Second World War and the Free French Movement. One of the key figures to emerge from this period, and a man who would shape the modern destiny of the Central African Republic, was Jean-Bédel Bokassa. Bokassa served alongside the Free French under General Charles de Gaulle and later in the metropolitan French military as an NCO in Indo-China. The narrative traces his ascent from these humble beginnings to his position as one of the region’s most notorious dictators, exploring both his excesses of violence and personal aggrandizement and the role played by France and the wide-reaching Foccart intelligence network in his rise and fall. Baxter examines the past and present relationship of France with her erstwhile African colonial possessions, giving substance to the cause and effect of the many French interventions and the play of various individual personalities, both French and African, and how this has affected the current complexion of the region and its ongoing relationship with France. The book traces the overt and covert French military actions in the region, the rise of internal violence and insecurity and the increasing involvement of the international community in the series of coups and counter-coups that characterized the 1990s and the new century. Featured are Operation Barracuda, Operations Almandin I, II and II, Operation Boali and the various regional, international and European regional interventions.
Africa @ War Volume 3
Battle For Cassinga - South Africa's Controversial Cross-Boarder Raid, Angola 1978 by Mike McWilliams $30
Battle for Cassinga is the first-hand account by a South African paratrooper who was involved in the 1978 assault on the Angolan headquarters of PLAN, SWAPO’s armed wing. The battle, although a resounding success, suffered setbacks which could have proved disastrous to the South Africans had they not maintained the initiative. The improvisations made by Colonel Jan Breytenbach ensured that a flawed jump and inadequate intelligence did not adversely affect the outcome. The unforeseen Soviet-supplied SWAPO antiaircraft guns used devastatingly in a ground role also threatened to derail the attack. A late appearance by a large Cuban/FAPLA (Angolan regulars) armoured column, from the nearby town of Techamutete, threatened to engulf the lightly armed paratrooper force still on the ground. A fierce rearguard action, together with the almost suicidal actions of the South African Air Force pilots, ultimately saved the day.
McWilliams examines why the South African government took the political risk in attacking ‘Fortress Cassinga’ in a cross-border operation that would clearly attract the ire of the world. He studies SWAPO claims that Cassinga was a refugee camp guarded by only a few PLAN soldiers, explaining why Sam Nujoma, the SWAPO leader, had no option but to perpetuate this falsehood. He looks dispassionately at all the players involved: SWAPO/PLAN and their commander Dimo Amaambo who fled the field of battle; the Cuban and FAPLA intervention; and the South African paratroopers, led by Breytenbach, who not only had to combat a determined enemy but also senior South African staff officers. Above all, it is a soldier’s tale which pays homage in equal parts to the bravery of the paratroopers and the determination of the PLAN fighters who stood to their guns until annihilated.
Africa @ War Volume 4
Selous Scouts - Rhodesian Counter-Insurgency Specialists by Peter Baxter $30
Formed in 1973 by legendary Lieutenant-Colonel Ron Reid-Daly at the behest of Rhodesian military supremo General Peter Walls, the Selous Scouts were to write their name into the annals of military history as one of the finest counter-insurgency units of all time, through their innovative pseudo-guerrilla tactics, brilliant reconnaissance operations into Zambia and Botswana and daring flying-column raids into Mozambique.
Feared and hated by the liberation movements ZIPRA and ZANLA, the Scouts wreaked untold havoc and destruction on their Soviet- and Chinese-backed enemies, accounting for 68% of guerrilla casualties within Rhodesia alone during the bitter bush war of the 1970s. Uniquely ahead of its time, the regiment—a brotherhood of men that traversed cultural and racial barriers; their Shona motto was ‘Pamwe Chete’ (together only)— was to produce the type of soldier that earned for the unit one Grand Cross of Valour, nine Silver Crosses and 22 Bronze Crosses of Rhodesia.
Africa @ War Volume 5
Zambezi Valley Insurgency - early Rhodesian Bush War Operations by JRT Wood $30
Across Africa in the post-1956 era, the aspirations of African nationalists to secure power were boosted and quickly realized by the British, French and Belgian hasty retreat from empire.
The Portuguese, Southern Rhodesian and South African governments, however, stood firm. Influenced by the Communist bloc, these nationalists adopted the ‘Armed Struggle’. In the case of Rhodesia, the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), led by Joshua Nkomo, took this step in 1962 after their effort to foment rebellion in Rhodesia’s urban areas in 1961–62 had been frustrated by police action and stiffened security legislation.
Rhodesia’s small, undermanned security forces, however, remained wary as Zambia and Tanganyika had given sanctuary to communist-supplied ZAPU and Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) guerrillas. The Rhodesians had foreseen that the north-eastern frontier with Mozambique would be the most vulnerable to incursions because the African population living along it offered an immediate target for succour and subversion.
The Rhodesians were fortunate, however, that ZAPU and ZANU chose to probe across the Zambezi River from Zambia into the harsh, sparsely populated bush of the Zambezi Valley. The consequence was that the Rhodesians conducted a number of successful operations in the period 1966–72.
This book describes and examines the first phase of the ‘bush war’ during which the Rhodesian forces honed their individual and joint skills, emerging as a formidable albeit lean fighting force.
Africa @ War Volume 6
Congo Unravelled by Andrew Hudson $30
“Clearly and comprehensively explains the intrigues of the Congo wars” – Colonel Mike Hoare "Post-independence events in the Republic of the Congo are a veritable Gordian knot."
The ambitions of Congolese political leaders, Cold War rivalry, Pan-Africanism, Belgium’s continued economic interests in the country’s mineral wealth, and the strategic perceptions of other southern African states all conspired to wrack Africa’s second largest country with uprisings, rebellions and military interventions for almost a decade. Congo Unravelled solves the intractable complexity of this violent period by dispassionately outlining the sequence of political and military events that took place in the troubled country.
The reader is systematically taken through the first military attempts to stabilize the country after independence and the two distinguishing military campaigns of the decade - the United Nations military operations (Opération des Nations Unies au Congo, or ONUC) to end the secession of the Katanga Province, and the Dragon Operations led by Belgian paratroopers, supported by the US Air Force, launched to end the insurgency in the east of the country - are chronicled in detail.
Finally, the mercenary revolt - an event that tainted the reputation of the modern mercenary in Africa - is described. Lesser known military events - Irish UN forces cut off from the outside world by Katangese gendarmes and mercenaries, and a combined military operation in which Belgian paratroopers were dropped from US Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft and supported by a mercenary ground force to achieve humanitarian ends - go far toward resolving the enigma surrounding post-independence Congo.
Africa @ War Volume 7
Mau Mau: Kenya Emergency 1957-60 by Peter Baxter $30
The Second World War forever altered the complexion of the British Empire. From Cyprus to Malaya, from Borneo to Suez, the dominoes began to fall within a decade of peace in Europe. Africa in the late 1940s and 1950s was energized by the grant of independence to India, and the emergence of a credible indigenous intellectual and political caste that was poised to inherit control from the waning European imperial powers. The British on the whole managed to disengage from Africa with a minimum of ill feeling and violence, conceding power in the Gold Coast, Nigeria and Sierra Leone under an orderly constitutional process, and engaging only in the suppression of civil disturbances in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia as the practicalities of a political handover were negotiated.
In Kenya, however, matters were different. A vociferous local settler lobby had accrued significant economic and political authority under a local legislature, coupled with the fact that much familial pressure could be brought to bear in Whitehall by British settlers of wealth and influence, most of whom were utterly irreconciled to the notion of any kind of political handover. Mau Mau was less than a liberation movement, but much more than a mere civil disturbance. Its historic importance is based primarily on the fact that the Mau Mau campaign was one of the first violent confrontations in sub-Saharan Africa to take place over the question of the self-determination of the masses. It also epitomized the quandary suffered by the white settler communities of Africa who had been promised utopia in an earlier century, only to be confronted in a post-war world by the completely unexpected reality of black political aspiration.
This book journeys through the birth of British East Africa as a settled territory of the Empire, and the inevitable politics of confrontation that emerged from the unequal distribution of resources and power. It covers the emergence and growth of Mau Mau, and the strategies applied by the British to confront and nullify what was in reality a tactically inexpert, but nonetheless powerfully symbolic black expression of political violence. That Mau Mau set the tone for Kenyan independence somewhat blurred the clean line of victory and defeat. The revolt was suppressed and peace restored, but events in the colony were nevertheless swept along by the greater movement of Africa toward independences, resulting in the eventual establishment of majority rule in Kenya in 1964.
Africa @ War Volume 8
SAAF's Border War by Peter Baxter $30
South African Mirages and Cuban MiG-21s dogfighting over Cuito Cuanavale, the largest tank battle on African soil since El Alamein; Puma troopships shot out of the skies by Strela missiles and RPG-7 rockets; Alouette III gunships hovering menacingly above Koevoet tracker-combat teams as they close in for the kill; Hercules and Transall transports disgorging their loads of Parabats over Cassinga; suicidal helicopter hot- extractions of Recce operators deep in enemy territory; and a lone Alouette pilot who disobeyed orders and under intense ground fire evacuated a critically wounded soldier … such is the story of the South African Air Force, the SAAF, over the 23-year period 1966–1989, the period of conflict that became known as the ‘Border War’. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, the SAAF was effectively South Africa’s first line of defence against Soviet expansionism in southern Africa. That the Soviets, through their surrogates—the Cuban military, Angola’s FAPLA and Namibia’s SWAPO—sought a communist regime in South Africa is indisputable, as too was the SAAF’s skill, quality, determination and capability to defeat the best Soviet air defences of the time. This account covers all the major operations that the SAAF was involved in, from Operation Blouwildebees, the opening salvo of the conflict at Omgulumbashe, South West Africa in 1966 to the final curtain, Operation Merlyn, the so-called April Fool’s Day ‘war’ of 1989 when the SAAF and Koevoet, almost alone, frustrated SWAPO’s last throw of the dice with its illegal invasion of South West Africa.
In this account, making reference to all the principal operations of the war, Baxter examines and brings to life the squadrons and aviators that fought in both counter-insurgency and conventional warfare roles. Besides an extensive selection of rare photographs, the book features a comprehensive section on camouflage and markings and 6 pages of colour aircraft profiles and insignia by noted SAAF authority William Marshall, making this title especially useful for modellers.
Africa @ War Volume 9
Somalia - US Intervention, 1992–1994 by Peter Baxter $30
The end of the Cold War introduced an altered global dynamic. The old bond of East/West patronage in Africa was broken, weakening the first crop of independent revolutionary leadership on the continent who no longer had the support of one or other of the superpowers. With collapse of the Soviet Union, all this changed. The question of global/strategic security devolved into regional peacekeeping and peace enforcement, characterized primarily by the Balkans War, but also many other minor regional squabbles across the developing world that erupted as old regimes fell and nations sought to build unity out of the ashes. In Africa the situation was exacerbated by an inherent tribalism and factionalism that had tended to be artificially suppressed by powerful, often military, dictatorships, generally unconcerned with the needs and requirements of an oppressed population.
No more striking example of this can be found than Somalia. One of the only effective armed resistance movements mounted against European colonisation in Africa took place in Somalia, which was suppressed only after enormous military expenditure. The crisis in Somalia that began to take shape with the ouster of military leader Mohammed Siad Barre during the early years of the 1990s forced both the United States and the United Nations to adapt their collective military policy toward the challenges of peacekeeping, and peace enforcement, in a human environment only dimly understood, extremely austere in terms of local infrastructure and with a warring clan leadership.
This book tells the story of the international intervention that took place in Somalia, the successes, failures and lessons learned. Many broad assumptions were made based on an unclear understanding of the dynamics of a regional conflict, coupled with the necessity for the first time in modern military history to balance political necessities with military. The crisis in Somalia set the tone for military intervention in a post- Cold War world, and although the same mistakes have been depressingly often repeated, the complexion of global military organization changed dramatically as a consequence of this episode.
Africa @ War Volume 11
Insurgent Hunting in Eastern Angola, 1965–1974 by John P Cann $30
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.
Africa @ War Volume 13
The Great Lakes Holocaust - First Congo War, 1996 - 1997 by Tom Cooper $30
Great Lakes Holocaust is the first in two volumes covering military operations in Zaire – as the Congo was named from 1971 until 1997 – and the Democratic Republic of Congo at the turn of the 21st century. This volume explores the events of the 1980s and 1990s in Rwanda and Uganda, which eventually spilled over the borders into Zaire, resulting in one of the worst tragedies ever to befall an African region. The narrative traces the ascent of crucial Rwandan, Congolese and Ugandan military and political figures, and their connections within influential business and political circles in and outside Africa. It examines the build-up of the Zairian military under the government of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in the 1960s and 1970s, and provides an in-depth study into reasons for its near-collapse in the early 1990s.
The military build-up of Rwanda and Uganda is discussed in detail as is their planning for operations inside Zaire, and the global logistic tail that provided the Rwandan military, particularly, but also most of its opponents, with a capability of not only waging war beyond their borders, but – in the case of Rwanda – of invading and practically conquering a country the size of Western Europe or the USA east of the Mississippi.
The book further traces the covert Rwandan military actions inside Zaire, initially run under the guise of an insurgency by one of Zaire’s ethnic minorities; how ever-deepening Rwandan operations inside Zaire were practically dictated by concentrations of Hutu refugees; and how the insurgency – led by Laurent-Désiré Kabila who was installed by key Rwandan and Ugandan military and political figures – developed into an organization that sought autonomy from the military and political dictates of Rwanda, in turn delivering a direct reason for the Second Congo War which was fought from 1998–2003.
Africa @ War Volume 14
The Great Lakes Conflagration - Second Congo War US Intervention, 1998 - 2003 by Tom Cooper $30
Great Lakes Conflagration is the second in two volumes covering military operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at the turn from the 21st century. This volume explores developments in the DRC that led to the outbreak of violence in August 1998, and systematically details the continued build-up and status of the Congolese, Rwandan and Ugandan armies, as well as the forces of Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and other African countries that were sucked into the conflict.
Recounted is the Rwandan attempt to topple the government of Laurent Kabila through an operation that saw a redeployment of some of best Rwandan units from Kigali and Goma to the western DRC, resulting in a series of fierce air–land clashes with Zimbabwean and Angolan forces and culminating in the Battle of Kinshasa.
Also described is the fighting along what became the ‘Eastern Front’ in the DRC, as Zimbabwean and allied troops attempted to stop Rwandan, Ugandan and rebel advances out of Kivu Province in the direction of the Congo River through 1998 and 1999.
These early phases of the war, or ‘The First African War’ as it has come to be known, were characterized by surprising outflanking and infiltration manoeuvres; foreign mercenaries; Zimbabwean Hawk and Lynx light strikers flying intensive combat operations from N’Djili airport, half of which was occupied by Rwandans, Ugandans and Congolese rebels; interdiction strikes guided by special forces deployed deep behind enemy lines; operations of helicopter gunships and transport aircraft under intense ground attack in support of troops cut off by advancing opponents; use of transport aircraft as makeshift bombers in bad weather and by night and clashes of armoured forces and many other elements of ‘high-technology’ warfare.
All the protagonists deployed their best military units, their best equipment and some of their best military commanders, yet despite their best efforts, and hampered by in-fighting, the conflict ultimately resulted in a stalemate which dragged on for a further three years while negotiations bogged down.
This book is illustrated with an extensive selection of exclusive photography, colour profiles and markings, making it of special interest to enthusiasts and professionals alike.
Biography, History & Heritage
African Tears - The Zimbabwe Land Invasions by Catherine Buckle $4.00 (s/b)
The story of the 7 months hardship of a white woman farmer and her family living under the constant scrutiny and intimidation of so called war veterans. She records that she and her family supported the introduction of black rule in Rhodesia during the war years. She now chronicles the effects that Mugabe's rule has had on Zimbabwe's rural community both black and white. It tells of the destruction of the country's economy, the collapse of tourism and ruination of agriculture.
Beloved African by Jill Baker $30.00 (h/b)
Love, politics and tragedy in Africa… Tells of the life of John Hammond, one of Rhodesia's earliest and foremost educators. He was a controversial but much loved figure and his daughter, Jill Baker, tells the touching story of his struggle to achieve his goals. Entwined through the story is the deep love between him and his wife Nancy.
Kinkaseki - One Day at a Time by Arthur Titherington $15.00 (s/b)
A true story of survival in the tradition of Tenko. The author was taken prisoner at the fall of Singapore and spent the rest of the war as a slave labourer in a mine adjacent to the Japanese POW camp at Kinkaseki in Formosa (now Taiwan). It is a chilling story of brutality and cruelty written 50 or so years after the event and about his journey to revisit the site of his imprisonment and the ghosts he tried to lay to rest.
Only copy 1 left Mzee Ali by Bror MacDonell $30.00 (s/b)
'Mzee' is the Swahili word for an 'old timer', a respected elder. Mzee Ali Kalikilima was born near the present-day town of Tabora in western Tanzania, probably in the 1870s (there is mention of 'The Doctor'-Dr David Livingstone) to black Muslim parents of noble birth.
This remarkable book was inspired by the campfire memoirs of Mzee Ali Kalikilima, the Tabora-born son of an arabized Nyamwezi slave trader. The first part tells of his safaris to the east of Lake Tanganyika, and of taking his slaves and ivory on to Dar es Salaam. The second tells of his adventures as a German askari with the Dar to Kigoma railway survey and construction projects. And the third tells of his experiences with von Lettow's siege of the Mombasa-Nairobi railway, his desperate retreat into Portuguese territory and his postarmistice surrender south of Kasama, Northern Rhodesia.
This book captures what one imagines life was like in German East Africa between the 1880s and 1918, but it is not a strict biography. Bror MacDonnell's (1921-98) notes on Mzee Ali were made in Tanganyika in the late forties, when he and this "old grey-haired gentleman" worked for the locust control department. He wrote out the original manuscript in Salisbury in the early sixties and dictated it to a typist a decade later. It was then rewritten in 2005 by a Johannesburg editor determined "to get inside the mind of Mzee Ali." MacDonnell's former typist recalls his text as being overly factual and colourless; this book is nothing of the sort.
Certain portions of the book - its vivid accounts of raging bush fires, voracious tsetse flies and of Dar's sights and smell - need not have originated with Mzee Ali. On the other hand, its eye-opening details of the slave trading business and the ordeal of von Lettow's retreat probably do. But who thought to liken Africans' emotional responses to their German overlords to those of the earlier slave traders? The comparison is apt, but such psychologizing is not typical of slave traders' memoirs. Did MacDonnell actually elicit these insights from Mzee Ali? Or did someone attribute them to him?
This is a fascinating tale. Readers will find it hard to put down and will enjoy trying to puzzle out each bits author.
Brian Siegel, Furman University
Notes from Hell by Valya Chervenyashka & Nikolay Yordanov $35 (s/b)
Valya Chervenyashka was a Bulgarian nurse who imprisoned in Libya in 1998 for eight years accused of conspiring to deliberately infect 400 children with HIV. Her story, covering a decade of torture, cruelty and absolute despair is an inspiration in survival.
So Far and No Further! Rhodesia's bid for independence during the retreat from the Empire 1959 - 1965 by Prof. J.R.T. Wood $40.00 (s/b)
Given the headlong rush of the Macmillan government in Britain in 1959 to be rid of its colonies, Rhodesia should have been the first African colony in line for independence. Rhodesia was self-governing, and possessed most powers, including the right of self-defence. Being in the condition of New Zealand before the grant of dominion status, it seemed logical that Rhodesia would become a dominion. However, many obstacles hindered this political progression.
So Far and No Further! chronicles the British attempts to force white-ruled Rhodesia to accept the inevitability of majority rule, and to deny her independence on any other basis. Majority rule was something that Rhodesia's whites understood was inevitable, but they also knew that, until democratic practices were well grounded, it would be disastrous.
The author has enjoyed sole access to the hitherto closed papers of Ian Smith to write this book.
The Baronet and The Savage King by David Hilton-Barber $25 (s/b)
136 pages 145 b/w illustrations
“Gold mined at Tati was identified with the dynasty of the Queen of Sheba and the ancient rulers of biblical Ophir. David’s book records how this notion, mentioned in Milton’s Paradise Lost, was discarded as being romantic fiction. But romance there is here a-plenty.” —John Gordon Davis, best-selling author of Hold My Hand I’m Dying.
The concession to mine gold at Tati was granted to a British baronet, Sir John Swinburne, by Lobengula, last king of the Matabele. Although called by colonial imperialists as a “savage king” and a “native despot”, Lobengula was “exceedingly well-made (in height about 6 ft 10 inches), corpulent, with a commanding presence and, when in a good temper, having a kind heart and a full appreciation of humour”.
The gold at Tati, which was discovered by the geologist Carl Mauch, was actually on the site of pre-historic diggings that had been mined there 400 years previously by the Makalanga people. Tati lay on the missionary road to the north, used by Livingstone and Moffat, and it was part of Cecil Rhodes’s dream of a continuous tract of British imperialism from Cape to Cairo. The annexation of Bechuanaland was a direct result of the conflicts between the tribes within the area and the threats from President Kruger and from Germany which had recently colonised Angra Pequena.
Gold from the early diggings here found its way to Great Zimbabwe and the famous golden rhinoceros from Mapungubwe was probably fashioned from gold mined at Tati. This forgotten corner of the sub-continent encapsulates a chapter of our history involving five countries, powerful men, much subterfuge, a botched invasion, a rebellion, land annexation, prospectors, hunters, traders and adventurers. It is a story begging to be told.
The If Man by Chris Ash $40 (s/b)
This is a rollicking biography of Dr Leander Starr Jameson - hero, rogue and rascal of Empire and the man who inspired Kipling to write his masterpiece, 'If'.
The famous poem by Rudyard Kipling is based on the life of Jameson, and the suffering he endured as a result of the doomed raid that he and his Rhodesian and Bechuanaland policemen carried out against Paul Kruger's Transvaal Republic in 1896. In this engaging biography - in the style of Wilbur Smith meets Louis l'Amour - Ash recounts the life of this colonial statesman known as 'Dr Jim' or simply 'The Doctor'. He was an enigmatic man: when he died The Times estimated that his astonishing personal sway over his followers was equalled only by that of Parnell, the Irish patriot.
During the fervour of the South African diamond rush Jameson established a small medical practice in Kimberley in 1878; it was here that he met and forged a lifelong friendship with Cecil John Rhodes. Jameson's thirst for adventure, coupled with Rhodes's dream of expanding the British Empire from the Cape to Cairo, led - under Royal Charter to the British South Africa Company - to the occupation of Mashonaland in 1890, with Jameson having laid the groundwork in his political dealings with Lobengula, King of the Matabele. And so began Jameson's rollercoaster adventure: from Administrator of Mashonaland, to the 'invasion' of Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique), the Matabele War and the infamous 'Jameson Raid' and his subsequent trial and incarceration in London.
Despite the raid, Jameson had a successful political life. He died on 26 November 1917 in London. His body was laid in a vault at Kensal Green cemetery where it remained until the end of the First World War. Ian Colvin wrote in 1923 that Jameson's body was then "... carried to Rhodesia and on 22 May 1920, laid in a grave cut in the granite on the top of the mountain which Rhodes had called 'The View of the World' (in the Matopos Hills near Bulawayo), close beside the grave of his friend."
The Kevin Woods Story - In the Shadow of Mugabe’s Gallows by Kevin Woods $50 (h/b) or $40 (s/b)
Kevin worked as a double agent for the South African apartheid government and Robert Mugabe’s Central Intelligence Organization in the 80s. He was incarcerated in the notorious Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison (Harare) for nearly 20 years, five of which were spent naked on death row. His release was pleaded to Mugabe by none other than Nelson Mandela in the 90s but this fell on deaf ears. Finally, in 2006 he received a presidential pardon. Kevin now lives in South Africa and has launched a well-received career in motivational speaking. This is his story.
The Many Houses of Exile by Richard Jurgens $3.00 (s/b)
This compelling autobiography takes a privileged young white man from studying philosophy at Wits University to joining the banned ANC movement. Exiled from South Africa he and his wife live in ANC camps in Zambia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. The insight into his experiences is both forthright and humorous as he explores the many "exiles" he faces.
Canvas under the Sky by Robin Binckes $30 (s/b)
“... enjoyable, convincing story wrapped in dramatic, well-researched history” — John Gordon Davis, bestselling author of Hold My Hand I’m Dying.
It is 1834. The Eastern Cape frontier is burning. Rauch Beukes, a young Boer of 17, returns to the family homestead to find it razed, the livestock gone and his mother and sisters slaughtered by the marauding Xhosa from across the Great Fish River. So begins a tale of violence and warfare and love and lust across racial divides, painted against the grand backdrop of the Boer migration north into the hinterland that became known as the Great Trek, the result of British duplicity and injustice.
The dramatis personae are Boer and Brit, Xhosa, Zulu, Matabele and Cape Malay slaves: from the Xhosa chief Hinsta, Colonel Harry Smith, the Zulu tyrant Dingaan, to the Boer trekkers Potgieter, Retief, Maritz, Trichardt and Cilliers. And in young Rauch’s life are three astonishing women: Ameila, the daughter of an English settler; Marietjie, the beautiful meisie from Graaff-Reinet; and Katrina September, the sensual ex-slave.
Fall of the Leaf by P.C. Feller $20 (s/b)
Fall of the Leaf is a sensitive and faithful representation of the lives of three white English-speaking men, from the war years to the present time. The epoch broadly covers sixty years of South African history; it encompasses the pre-apartheid years of English cultural dominance, the apartheid period under Afrikaner Nationalist rule and the succeeding years of democracy under the ANC government. The fulcrum and meeting point of the novel is a fifty-year school reunion.
If I Should Die by Tom Hampshire self puplished $20.00 (s/b)
This is a story based on the author's experiences in the Bush War in Rhodesia.. The story is set in a fictional African country called Nyanga (which could only be Rhodesia) It is a story of vengeance and endurance involving Sergeant Wilson and his stick of men; 'Chaka' the terrorist; and the beautiful Sally Ferguson. Action a-plenty on every page.
King's Gold by Glenn MacAskill published by Crest Publishing $30.00 (s/b)
Set against the backdrops of the genocidal massacre of the Matabele by Mugabe's North Korean trained 5th Brigade in the 1980's and the recent actions of Mugabe in the year 2000, the author, himself a veteran of the Bush War, takes you on a journey with characters based on real people and real events. Exciting and believable.
Land of the Long Grass by Marina Maxwell $20.00 (s/b)
A sweeping epic in the traditions of Robert Ruark and Wilbur Smith. It is based on the true story of Harrison Clark, who after fighting on the Frontier wars of the Eastern Cape and Basutoland in the mid 1800's fled to an area north of the Zambesi. He is elected as chief, to a tribe who have been decimated by Portuguese and Arab slave traders.
His influence is far reaching and incurs the ire of not only the slave traders but also Cecil Rhodes' BSA Company.
It is story of love, revenge, slavery, missionaries and witchcraft based on one of Africa's great characters who even after a century is remembered with love and respect by the natives of the area north of the Zambezi that he influenced. He was known as Chief Changa-Changa (the Clever One) and to this a number of Africans from the area bear the name "Harrison", a tribute to his standing amongst the people he watched over and afforded protection This is a very readable book which flows well and holds your interest on every page. The author captures the magic of Africa with extraordinary skill.
Shadow Tracker by Keith A Nelson $35.00 (s/b)
The author has written this story directly from his own experience as a soldier who has served with the former US Army Special Forces (Green Berets) and the Rhodesian Light Infantry Battalion. He also earned a degree in medicine at the University of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
The book tell the story of Kurt Christianson who is a natural military strategist and survivor. Independent, unorthodox, resilient and resolute, he displays skills which flout established procedures. His courage and insight whilst in Special Forces in Nam unwittingly unravel a traitorous alliance, making him a threat to his superiors and placing his life in mortal danger.
This threat, combined with his inability to adjust to civilian life, spurs him to leave his beloved and beautiful Maine coastline and embark on a path of revelation and serendipity. He crews a boat being delivered to the oil fields in West Africa, where he becomes embroiled in covert action and again demonstrates his innate and inspired tactical abilities.
A hunted man, his journey leads him to bitter combat in a brutal landscape, tragic loss and to fulfil a San prophecy whilst wrestling with his alter ego - Mad Medic - and his Viking ancestry. The merciless and barbaric slaughter of a little girl and her family by terrorists move him to astonishing, crucial and shocking acts which change the course of a ravaged and savaged country. Kurt is also driven to revenge, a deed which violates his code of ethics and irreversibly affects his destiny. Ultimately, Kurt faces the inescapable and irrefutable knowledge that heroes are human and therefore fallible and that glory, however hard-won and merited, is illusory and hollow.
Shadow Tracker, an adrenaline-charged adventure, engages the reader in events which remain unknown to most of the world and leave one breathless.
World War II, Police, Military, Air Force and African Bush Wars
19 With A Bullet - A South African paratrooper in Angola by Granger Korff $40 (s/b)
A fast-moving, very readable action-packed account of Granger Korff's two years of service during 1980/81 with 1 Parachute Battalion at the height of the South African war in South West Africa (Namibia) and Angola. Apart from the 'standard' counter-insurgency activities of Fireforce operations, ambushing and patrols, to contact and destroy SWAPO guerrillas, he was involved in several massive South African Defence Force (SADF) conventional cross-border operations, such as Protea, Daisy and Carnation, into Angola to take on FAPLA (Angolan MPLA troops) and their Cuban and Soviet allies.
Having grown up as an East Rand rebel street-fighter, Korff's military 'career' is marred with controversy. He is always in trouble-going AWOL on the eve of battle in order to get to the front; facing a court martial for beating up, and reducing to tears, a sergeant-major in front of the troops; fist-fighting with Drug Squad agents; arrested at gunpoint after the gruelling seven-week, 700km Recce selection endurance march are but some of the colourful anecdotes that lace this account of service in the SADF.
Granger Korff was born in 1960 grew up in the mining town of Benoni. In 1985 he travelled to the USA on a four-month boxing/vacation walkabout where he haunted the mean streets of Los Angeles, scrapping and boxing to survive. Ike Turner and Mickey Rourke were his drinking buddies and he almost became Jake LaMotta's ('The Raging Bull') son-in-law. Twenty-four years later, Granger still lives in LA, where he runs a small plumbing business.
Come Back to Portofino - Through Italy with the 6th South African Armoured Division by James Bourhill $40 (h/b)
Specs: Hardback, 544 pages, 234mm x 153mm 120 b/w photos, maps.
Using archival sources and private documents recently unearthed, Come Back to Portofino chronicles the journey taken by the volunteers in the 6th South African Armoured Division. From training camps in Egypt through to the idyllic summer of 1945 the ‘Div’ left its mark on towns and villages across Italy.
From Monte Cassino to the outskirts of Venice and Milan, the campaign lasted exactly twelve months. During the advance through Rome up to Florence, it was a case of constant movement and violent contact with the enemy. Experiences which left an enduring impression on returned soldiers included the periods of rest at Siena and Lucca as well as the four miserable winter months in the northern Apennines. Overall, the casualty rate was surprisingly low considering the ideal ambush country and mountain defences which had to be overcome. In the rifle companies however, the rate of attrition was high and replacements were few. Among the South Africans who are buried in Italy, there are those who died in vehicle accidents, from drowning and falling out of windows or from suicide. For the ordinary soldier the most important part of everyday life was contact with home or foraging for food and wine, and even enjoying the company of signorine when operations permitted. Nevertheless, it was not one long happy camping trip as was often portrayed in the press. The cast is made up of the famous regiments and ordinary South Africans who participated in these epic events.
This book has a significant Rhodesian connection as many Rhodesians served with the 6th South African Armoured Division.
Delta Scout - Ground Coverage Operator by Anthony Trethowan $40 (s/b)
The story of a British South Africa policeman (BSAP) in Rhodesia’s Bush War, a young man who signed up as a raw eighteen year old. Told with a sensitivity and pathos that is rare in military memoirs, it is a brutally honest, compelling account of innocence lost. After Uniform Branch, the author became a Ground Coverage operator (GC) before joining Special Branch (SB) towards the end of the war.
Echoes of an African War by Chas Lotter $75.00 (h/b)
A coffee table hard cover book of 197 pages of full size and mostly colour illustrations. In a war where cameras were forbidden amongst the soldiers, few personal records were made. However some of these pictures will bring back memories, stark and real. Chas, a soldier himself, has cemented these illustrations with his own style of poetry - raw and poignant. A "must buy" for any family that had connections with Rhodesia. Preserve history and let your children be able to say with pride - "my dad was there".
Four Ball One Tracer - Commanding Executive Outcomes in Angola and Sierra Leone by Roelf van Heerden as told to Andrew Hudson $40 (h/b)
320 pages 234 x 156mm 100 colour & b/w photos, maps
Unapologetic, unassuming and forthright, the combat exploits of Executive Outcomes (EO) in Angola and Sierra Leone are recounted for the first time by a battlefield commander who was physically on the ground during all their major combat operations. From fighting UNITA for the critical oil installations and diamond fields of Angola to the offensive against the RUF in Sierra Leone to capture the Kono diamond fields and the palace coup which ousted Captain Valentine Strasser, van Heerden was at the forefront. He tells of the tragedy of child soldiers, illegal diamond mining and the curse of government soldiers who turn on their own people; he tells of RUF atrocities, the harrowing attempt to rescue a downed EO pilot and the poignant efforts to recover the remains of EO soldiers killed in action. Coupled with van Heerden’s gripping exposé, hitherto unpublished photographs, order of battle charts and battle maps offer unprecedented access to the major actions as they took place on the ground during the heydays of EO.
From Addis to the Aosta Valley - A South Africa in the North Africa and Italian Campaigns 1940-1945 by Keith Ford $40.00 (s/b)
Based on the author’s diaries, From Addis to the Aosta Valley is the account of Keith Ford’s service in the Second World War from 1940–1945. As a gunner, he was deployed ‘up north’ to East Africa and experienced his first taste of action with the 1st South African Division during the invasion of Italian Somaliland; thereafter he was involved in the Abyssinian campaign and was with the victorious Allies when Addis Ababa was liberated.
Then came North Africa and the dark days of the Desert campaign as a Gun Position Officer’s Assistant on 25-pounders with the 1st South African Brigade: from Taieb el Essem, the defensive box south of Sidi Rezegh, to Bir el Gubi, Bardia, Tobruk and Gazala, and to the annihilation of his battery by German panzers at Agheila. Retrained as a Bofors anti-aircraft gunner, he was with the Eighth Army at El Alamein. On posting to Italy, his Light Anti-Aircraft Unit 1 became D Company Witwatersrand De la Rey Battalion and dug in on the 1944 Winter Line.
He saw action during the assault and capture of Caprara, the advance to the river Po and finally, St Bernard’s Pass in the Aosta valley.
This is the story of an ordinary soldier, but one who has a keen eye for detail for the countryside and people around him. He brings a sense of immediacy and pathos to his writing through his relationships with his comrades and the civilians he encounters, particularly with the Italian women for whom he retains a special place in his heart.
Kenya Coyboy - A police officer's account of the MauMau Emergency by Peter Hewitt $40 (s/b)
A stylish, first-hand account of Britain’s futile struggle to retain its stake in East Africa in the face of the relentless Mau Mau uprising. It is a book that is filled with revelations, many damning. Due to the recent unrest in Kenya, Peter Hewitt has brought the book full circle with an updated afterword on the current violent and political crisis.
Lost in Africa by Stu Taylor $30.00 (s/b)
Lost in Africa is a colloquialism from the Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI), meaning a state of bewilderment or cluelessness, which Stu Taylor uses to describe his disjointed life. The parallels are clear as Taylors life in many ways mirrors the white Diaspora of central-southern Africa, particularly from Zimbabwe, and the subsequent fallout they have endured after the demise of colonialism and rise of brutal tyranny.
Born in South Africa and raised in Southern Rhodesia to nomadic parents, Taylors early years were unsettled as he was shuffled from school to school during the 1950s. Describing himself as marginally above "really thick", he signed on in 1967 with the RLI and served with that crack airborne unit for thirteen years, always at the forefront of hostilities during the bitter Rhodesian bush war.
In 1980 he demobbed and slid into Civvy Street, at times an easy, and at times, a difficult transition, as he tried to find his place in the newly independent Zimbabwe. Again, in the late 1990s, he found himself on the front line - this time in the security business, desperately facing off against Mugabes war veterans in their notorious land-grab campaign of farm invasions.
Ultimately homeless, stateless and jobless, Taylor never gives up. This is his remarkable story.
Only copy 1 left Mad Dog Killers - The Story of a Congo Mercenary by Ivan Smith $30 (s/b)
During that long, hot summer of 1964, Ivan Smith, a mercenary volunteer in the Arme Nationale Congolais, came to witness and understand fear, the law of the jungle and the lust for killing that permeates Africa. A member of Mad Mike Hoares 5 Commando Group, he and his companions were nominally soldiers but there was little in the way of campaigns, tactics and discipline. Of conventional warfare there was none. Loyalty to country or unit did not exist and the fear of death was the only commander. Many more mercenaries died from an accidental discharge, in a drunken shoot-out or from a bullet in the back than were ever killed in action by Simba rebels. Nearly half a century later, Ivan Smith re-lives the nightmare that was the Congo.
Ivan Smith, author of Mad Dog Killers was born in Fort Victoria, Rhodesia. In 1964 he signed up for a six-month contract as a mercenary in the Congo. A lover of hunting and fishing, he has written for various outdoor magazines for over forty years.
Masodja by Alexandre Binda and Brig. David Heppenstall (Includes the award-winning BBC documentary DVD Frontline Rhodesia) $80.00
Formed in 1916 as The Rhodesia Native Regiment, its Shona and Ndebele troops were blooded with honour in the East African campaign, pitted against the wily General von Lettow-Vorbeck and his German askaris. Disbanded in
1919, the regiment was re-formed in 1940 during World War II as The Rhodesian African Rifles, seeing action in Egypt and Burma. In the 1950s, the regiment distinguished itself further during the Malayan Emergency.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the regiment was at the forefront of hostilities in the bloody Rhodesian ‘bush war’. In the specialist Fireforce role, heli- and para-borne, the soldiers of the RAR were to earn themselves a fearsome reputation as counter-insurgency fighters par excellence. Ironically, it was after Zimbabwean independence in 1980, that the RAR’s finest hour came, when, fighting for their erstwhile enemy, Robert Mugabe, the soldiers of the RAR defeated Joshua Nkomo’s invading ZIPRA armies at the battles of Entumbane in Bulawayo. The sadness and tragedy of it all was how the warriors of the RAR faded, almost unnoticed, into history … Ndichakutengera sweet banana.
The formation of the Rhodesia Native Regiment RNR operations in East Africa during WWI Armistice and the disbandment of the RNR The formation of the RAR The RAR in the Burma campaign The RAR in the Malayan Emergency The Nyasaland Emergency The RAR in the Rhodesian bush war
Spitfire - The Story and Restoration of PK350 by Nick Meikle $40 (s/b)
Pursuit of a dream …
Spitfire PK350 is the only late-mark Spitfire, an F Mk 22, to have ever been restored to full flying status. She had no restrictions on her airframe and with four fully serviceable 20mm cannons, she was as good as the day she came off the production line in July 1945 at the massive Castle Bromwich factory near Birmingham in England. She first flew as a restored aircraft on 29 March 1980 at the hands of one John McVicar ‘Jack’ Malloch. By then a legend in his adopted country Rhodesia, Malloch had, in 1977, been entrusted by the hierarchy of the Rhodesian Air Force to restore SR64, as she was then known.
In two and half years, Jack Malloch and his trusted engineers, with critical help from the Rhodesian and South African air forces, completely restored SR64 to flying condition. The fact that she was fitted with a propeller made by a German company added a sweet irony to a project that had to contend with sanctions imposed by Britain, the original country of manufacture, and highlighted the enterprising spirit of the team. This was possible because Malloch, with the backing of the Rhodesian government, had built up a successful charter airfreight company that assumed different guises, depending on where it was operating, to bypass sanctions. Malloch’s extensive network thus facilitated his ability to manage such a demanding a project in his quest to fulfil a dream: to restore and once again fly a Spitfire which he had flown in the RAF during the Second World War.
Some fascinating insights are revealed in this account. From the test pilot who first flew her as PK350 on 25 July 1945 to the true ownership and vision for SR64 as a restored aircraft, the reader is taken on a journey through the aircraft’s complete life, with the project’s lead engineer and most of the surviving pilots who flew her gracing the story with their memories. For two years PK350 delighted those fortunate enough to see her fly, mostly round Salisbury (Harare) airport. Then, on what was planned to be its last flight, Malloch’s Spitfire never returned to base.
Mercenaries by Al J Venter $38 (s/b)
Mercenaries have been a part of warfare for centuries, and though the names have changed, continue to play a part in global military conflicts. In today’s world these ‘soldiers for hire’ are an attractive alternative when Western governments are reluctant to put their militaries at risk for obscure causes that would otherwise be difficult to explain to their electorates. In this book, noted author and foreign correspondent Al J. Venter provides a fascinating look at modern mercenary actions in the Middle East and Africa. From brushfire wars in the Congo to outright genocides in Biafra, highly skilled mercenaries were called upon to fight for order, and also for a living. Whether facing fanatics in Somalia, staving off cannibals in Sierra Leone, or assisting a civil war in Angola, the mercs put their lives on the line for a cause.
Many mercenaries freelanced, but under talented freebooting leaders some groups became crack outfits. South Africa’s Executive Outcomes became a legend in its own time like a quasi military itself, as it dispatched fighters throughout the continent. Like an ad hoc Foreign Legion, fighters came from around the globe to participate in combat. In the US, the publisher of Soldier of Fortune magazine organized repeated expeditions, from Laos to Peru. In Afghanistan the renowned helicopter gunship pilot ‘Nellis’ has recently lent his skills after almost singlehandedly defeating gruesome insurgencies in Africa. In this book Venter, who was actively involved in the direction and production of segments of the TV series Mercenaries, provides both background to this unique class of warriors, and a fascinating look at their methods and actions.
Out of Action by Chris Cocks $40 (h/b)
Sequel top the best selling Fireforce - it is an intensely personal journey of the story of a young man, brutalized by war, who seeks escape and in the process causes immeasurable pain and suffering to himself and to those around him. (Originally published as Survival Course, this is a hard-cover, reworked version, with new photos, maps etc.)
Pathfinder Company 44 Parachute Brigade - 'The Philistines' by Graham Gillmore $40 (s/b)
160 pages, 200 colour, b/w photos, maps
Jan Breytenbach writes in the foreword: "On Ascension Day, 1978, a composite South African parachute battalion jumped onto the tactical HQ of SWAPO's PLAN army, based at Cassinga, 250 kilometres north of the Angolan border to destroy the facility, their logistics, and to wipe out a strong concentration of SWAPO guerrillas. The airborne assault, part of Operation Reindeer, was an unqualified success; the whole base was destroyed. 608 PLAN fighters were killed, with many more wounded which pushed the final SWAPO death toll to well over a thousand. We lost only four paratroopers killed in action plus a dozen or so wounded. According to airborne experts in Britain and Australia, this was the most audacious parachute assault since the Second World War; the mounting airfield was well over 1,000 nautical miles away. I was the commander of that airborne assault, which although successful above all expectations, also highlighted many shortcomings, some of which nearly led to a disastrous outcome."
44 Parachute Brigade was formed later that year, with the need for a specialist Pathfinder Company patently clear. Into the ranks came professional veterans from the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Rhodesia and elsewhere, from such Special Forces units as the SAS, Selous Scouts and the RLI. "This is their book, a collection of stories about the founding and deployment of a unit of 'Foreign Legionnaires', from different parts of the world who became welded together into a remarkable combat unit, unsurpassed by any other South African Defence Force unit in their positive and aggressive approach to battle. For me it was an honour to have faced incoming lead together with them."
Graham Gillmore enjoys country life in the natural beauty of East Anglia and the Fens but was born a Londoner in 1952. An innate fascination with history and all things military inevitably led him to joining the Grenadier Guards, and for six months the Guards Depot drilled into him soldiering skills of the highest standard. Graham left the British Army in 1977 to join the Rhodesian Light Infantry in their war to prevent communist guerrillas overthrowing the country. After two years as the signals rep to Support Commando, 1RLI, Graham was promoted to Signals Troop Sergeant, but with the fall of Rhodesia to the Marxists in 1980, he moved to South Africa to continue the anti-terrorist fight with the Pathfinder Company, 44 Parachute Brigade. He returned to England still on crutches after being wounded in Angola and joined the Territorial Army. After a career in VIP security Graham is now a leading member of the Victorian Military Society for whom he runs The Diehard Company, an internationally renowned re-enactment group. He advises and writes articles on the British Army on Home Service and on campaign during Queen Victoria's reign.
"Recce" - A Collector's Guide to the History of the South African Special Forces by P. Matthysen, M. Kalkwarf, M. Huxtable $100
Hardback, 320 pages, 297mm x 220mm with 2,500 colour images, maps.
The quintessential professional - prepared 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
- Honours and awards
- Memorabilia, memorials and museums
- 2,500 full-colour images; actual-size insignia (including fakes)
Paul Matthysen - Very early in life Paul developed a passion for all things military. He started collecting militaria in 1963, specialising 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.
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.
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.
Rhodesian Combined Forces Roll of Honour 1966-1981 by Adrian Haggett & Gerry van Tonder $60 (h/b)
The dreams for which young heroes died
How cheap they seem today -
Except to those who loved so much
And watched them march away
We live because they died, and yet
They live if we do not forget
The intention of this publication is to honour all who lost their lives in action, or while on active service, with the Rhodesian Security Forces during the period 1966–1981. This publication represents the single most comprehensive Rhodesian Combined Forces Roll of Honour covering the so-called Bush War. Many people have researched the casualties of the Rhodesian Bush War and it is highly unlikely that a single researcher will ever compile a definitive list of all those who perished. Dr J.R.T. Wood produced the first ‘most comprehensive’ Roll of Honour of the Rhodesian Combined Forces while many others, including Gerry van Tonder and Adrian Haggett, have used his roll as a base for expansion, correction and addition. It is, therefore, thanks to Dr Wood’s original work that the Roll of Honour has been improved to this point.
This book is not just a list of names and dates; it is eminently readable on account of the well-researched personal information on many of these Rhodesians who died serving their country. The way that this book has been compiled and produced is a credit to all concerned.
Only copy 1 left Shadows In The Sand by Sisingi Kamongo and Leon Bezuidenhout $40 (s/b)
This is the story of a Kavango tracker who served for six years with Koevoet (‘Crowbar’), the elite South African Police anti-terrorist unit, during the South West African–Angolan bush war of the ’80s. Most white team leaders lasted only two years; the black trackers walked the tracks for years. Sisingi Kamongo tells the story of the 50 or so firefights he was involved in; he survived five anti-personnel mine and POMZ explosions and an RPG rocket on his Casspir APC vehicle; he was wounded three times; he tells of the trackers looking for the shadows on the ground, facing ambush and AP mines at every turn; he tells of the art of tracking ... where dust can tell time.
Kamongo’s story is supported by two accounts from renowned Koevoet team leaders, Herman Grobler and Francois du Toit—a powerful collection of experiences from South Africa’s most successful counter-insurgency unit.
Standby - South African Air Force Search and Rescue by Brig.-Gen. Dick Lord $40 (s/b)
Unsung heroes-the selfless heroism of South Africa's airmen
In the air force no mission receives greater priority than the mission of mercy. When lives are at stake all resources available are dedicated to the task. Aircrew, ground crew, paramedics, doctors, mountaineers, navy divers, policemen and trained civilian volunteers are rapidly organized into a rescue team and dispatched with all haste to the disaster scene. This requires training, preparedness, dedication, determination and courage. Rescue missions are often flown in weather conditions that would normally ground all aircraft. Scenarios are as diverse as high-rise fires, mountain, flood and maritime rescues, to white-outs in the snows of Antarctica.
Originally published in 1999 as Fire, Flood and Ice, this updated edition includes yet more spectacular South African Air Force (SAAF) search and rescue missions, both military and civilian. Included is the remarkable rescue of all 581 people from the ill-fated liner Oceanos, for which the author was mentioned in dispatches for his role as commander of the rescue operation. Also new are heart-warming accounts of SAAF rescues during the devastating floods of 2000 in Mozambique, which captured the world's attention.
Last one!! Tale Gunner - The Lighter Side of South African Military Life by A.J. Brooks $20
Paperback, 320 pages, 198mm x 130mm with 30 cartoons and sketches.
Nothing quite beats that rawness of military humour. It's the same the world over. This hilarious collection of South African military anecdotes will - for the less sensitive reader - have you doubled up with mirth. Here's a taster …
"…If that is what it feels like to be blown to smithereens, then it's not too bad. The noise of the explosion was horrendous and I lay on my back and gazed at my shredded shirt. When will the pain start? I thought, or will I die before that? I think I'd prefer to die than have the agony. I wiped my stomach and expected see copious quantities of blood. There was none, so I sat up. Van was already sitting. He too studied his body for mortal wounds and found none. We looked at each other and grinned. It was so silly. But where was Samil Venter? We stood and began dusting ourselves off as a groan caught my attention. Then we saw him: Sergeant-Major Venter was stalking around clutching his one hand. His thumb had been blown clean off, but so too had his trousers and underpants. His shirt was shredded and bits of material that used to be his combat pants hung from his webbing belt. Then there were his bare, long sinewy legs and finally his boots. The tops of his socks were also gone. He looked up at me, his face full of anguish, his teeth AWOL. His mouth was once again a maw: "Brookth, jou poeth! Kom hier!" I went to him immediately. "Yes, sergeant-major," I stammered. "Ith my jewels nog daar? Ith my fokken jewels nog daar?" I lifted my hand and felt, probably the way a doctor does when he asks you to cough. His genitalia were burnt black as were his inner thighs, also his leg hairs, but his precious jewels were there, intact. I smiled up at him. "Hulle is a betjie gebrand, sa'majoor, maar hulle is nog daar," "Okay, then, get out of my sight, jou poeth," he said quietly. I was hurt. We have this … this moment … and he tells me to get lost!"
AJ Brooks matriculated, surprisingly, in 1978 and was called up in 1979 to 14th Field Regiment in Potchefstroom for his two years compulsory national service. He was transferred to the School of Artillery where he became an instructor as he felt he'd rather shout at people than be shouted at. It was here that his interest in guns and vintage artillery pieces was nurtured. He later served with 7th Medium Regiment for his first Citizen Force, or territorial, duties. In 1993 AJ was transferred to the Transvaal Horse Artillery where he was promoted to the rank of warrant officer and BSM of 9th Battery. Further tours of duty to the Army Battle School and Potchefstroom ensued before his resignation in 2003. AJ is married to Brenda and has two children. His first book, The Border, was published in 2007 and is being made into a major feature film.
The Battle for Mozambique - The Frelimo–Renamo Struggle, 1977 - 1992 by Stephen Emerson (s/b) $40
The sixteen-year-long war in Mozambique between the Frelimo government and Renamo rebels remains one of the most overlooked and misunderstood of the conflicts that raged across Africa during the height of the Cold War. While usually viewed as mere sideshow to more high-profile wars in Angola, Rhodesia and within apartheid South Africa itself, it nonetheless is noteworthy in its complexity, duration and destructiveness.
Before it was all over in 1992 at least one million Mozambicans would be dead, millions more homeless and the country lying in ruins. Ultimately Frelimo would get its victory not on the battlefield but rather at the polling booth in 1994.
Based on more than a decade of meticulous research, a review of thousands of pages of military records and documents, and dozens of in-depth interviews with political leaders, diplomats, generals, and soldiers and sailors, this book tells the story of the war from the perspective of those who fought it and lived it. It follows Renamo’s growth from its Rhodesian roots in 1977 as a weapon against Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwean nationalist guerrillas operating from Mozambique through South African patronage in the early 1980s to Renamo’s evolution as a self-sufficient nationalist insurgency. In tracing the ebb and flow of the conflict from the rugged mountains and savannah forests of central Mozambique across the hot, humid Zambezi River valley and down to the very outskirts of the Mozambican capital in the far south, it examines the operational strategy of Frelimo and Renamo commanders in the field, the battles they fought and the lives of their troops. In doing so it highlights personal struggles, each side’s successes and failures, and the missed opportunities to decisively turn the tide of war. Accordingly, this book provides the first real comprehensive military history of a war too long neglected and underappreciated in the chronicles of modern African history
The Cheetah - Commemorative issue. Soft cover 80 pages approx A4 size. $20
The Cheetah is the regimental association magazine for the Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI). It was last published in hard-copy format in 1980 at the disbandment of the RLI following the cessation of the bush war in the embryonic republic of Zimbabwe. Prior to this, the magazine, renowned for its witty and informed content, was a much sought-after and eagerly-awaited publication for civilians and servicemen alike, being sold commercially through the southern African book trade. (Today, original copies change hands for ridiculously high prices, being regarded as collectables.) With the revival of the RLI Regimental Association (RLIRA) in 2007, the magazine has been published on a quarterly basis since then, in electronic format, also being viewable on the RLIRA website www.therli.com To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the RLI on 1st February 1961, and 30 years after the disbandment of the regiment, the RLIRA has decided to bring out this hard-copy commemorative glossy edition that takes a nostalgic journey back in time, as well as highlighting the association's efforts of today in keeping the regimental esprit de corps alive.
The Saints - The Rhodesian Light Infantry by Alex Binda, compiled and edited by Chris Cocks Soft Cover - all illustrations are b/w $60
The history of the Rhodesian Light Infantry. This was the unit that brought the ‘Fireforce’ concept to the world’s attention—the devastatingly ruthless airborne envelopment and annihilation of a terrorist enemy. Dubbed “The Killing Machine” by Charles D. Melson, chief historian of the US Marine Corps, the RLI was a veritable ‘foreign legion’ with over 20 diverse nationalities serving in her ranks.
The RLI, a truly international airborne battalion, comprised of over 20 nationalities, fought the bitter Rhodesian 'Bush War’ for 15 years, against the overwhelming tide of communist-trained terrorists. Kill rates don’t win wars, but during its brief 19-year history, it is estimated that the RLI accounted for between 12,000 and 15,000 enemy terrorists, for the loss of 135 men. RLI soldiers were recipients of four Silver Crosses and 42 Bronze Crosses of Rhodesia. An RLI trooper holds the world record for operational parachute descents - a staggering 73 op jumps - most under 500 feet!
A glossy coffee-table, pictorial format with hundreds of colour photos, maps, rolls, honours and awards. It is not intended as a definitive history but, with more of a classic ‘scrapbook’ feel, the presentation attempts to capture the essence of this fine unit - what it was like to be a troopie, one of the ‘ouens’. We have accessed a host of unique, previously unpublished photos and illustrative material and many former RLI members have embraced the project, generously contributing photos, memorabilia and anecdotes. Ian Smith has written his tribute in the front and the foreword is by the last CO, Lieutenant-Colonel Charlie Aust.
The Search for Puma 164 – Operation Uric and the assault on Mapai by Neill Jackson and Rick van Malsen $40 (h/b)
Hardback, 400 pages 234mm x 153mm; 200 colour & b/w photos, sketches, maps.
The battle for Mapai … and the final closure. September 6, 1979 a lone Puma helicopter flies northward, leaving behind the desolation of the battle for Mapai, in Mozambique’s Gaza Province. Huddled in the cabin, two weary soldiers sit silently immersed in their own thoughts, contemplating their difficult duties ahead. WOII Graham Enslin, CSM, Support Commando, is struggling to come to terms with the death in action that morning of his younger brother Brian. The other, Lt Rick van Malsen BCR, 2IC, 1 Commando, works through the list of names in his hand, names of the sixteen men who died with Trooper Brian Enslin when a South African Air Force Puma was shot out of the sky during the assault on the Frelimo and ZANLA stronghold at Mapai. It will be his job to send out the official death notices and to advise the next of kin that the bodies of the three South African airmen and 14 Rhodesian soldiers were not recovered. Both men vow that night, each for reasons of his own, to one day return to the scene of the crash to pay proper tribute to the fallen men.
And so it was, almost 30 years later, that Rick van Malsen returns to the scene of that horrendous battle, to search for the crash site of the downed Puma, in an effort to achieve closure for the relatives of the dead. This is a story of courage and devotion to duty but, above all, it is a story of comradeship and loyalty undimmed by the passage of time, of a band of brothers bonded together in war, united still in peace.
Tumult in the Clouds by Dean Wingrin $40.00 (s/b)
The South African Air Force (SAAF), formed on 1 February 1920, is the second oldest air force in the Commonwealth. The air arm played a major role in securing victory for the Allies during the Second World War, in the 1948/49 Berlin Airlift, and in Korea in the 1950s. The SAAF assisted Rhodesia in the 1960s and ’70s, made a major contribution to the ‘Border’ or ‘Bush’ war in South West Africa and Angola, participated in the transition to a new democracy in South Africa and continuously supports South African peace missions in Africa. It has also assisted in countless relief and rescue missions in southern Africa throughout this entire period. However, the SAAF is not just about aircraft and ordnance; it is made up of people and it is in this compilation that these people, airmen and ground crew alike, find their voice. These are their stories, all told in the first person by the actual participants as unvarnished, unabbreviated and intensely immediate and personal recollections. Through their stories of heroism, duty, adventure and tragedy, the reader will follow the history of the SAAF from 1939 to the present day. To complement the stories, the final chapter includes a collection of squadron pub songs from the Second World War, Korea and the Border War.
The 1879 Zulu War - Through the Eyes of the Illustrated London News. Compiled by Ron Lock & Peter Quantrill $150.00 (h/b)
The fascination of the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 continues unabated. It was impassioned almost 40 years ago by the film Zulu, starring Stanley Baker and a yet-to-be-discovered Michael Caine. Zulu has been shown - and continues to be shown - on British television more than any other feature film. In the USA and elsewhere it has become a cult movie. Moreover, it created a near-avalanche of books, articles, lectures, documentaries and websites that has come close to being an industry. But the basis of all this activity was, in fact, generated 120 years ago by the weekly magazines of Victorian England such as the Illustrated London News.
Every Saturday morning, at the cost of sixpence, the Illustrated London News presented to its readers descriptions of events and bloody battles, brought alive by the magnificent illustrations drawn by the top war artists of the day.
Although copies of the original magazines are much sought after and have become collectors' items, the compilers have painstakingly acquired every issue pertaining to the conflict and, having extracted every report and illustration on the subject, have produced, with an index, and in chronological order, a unique record of the Anglo-Zulu War, albeit through the eyes of a colonial Victorian age.
Vlamgat - The story of the Mirage F1 in the South African Air Force by Brig.-Gen. Dick Lord $40 (s/b)
Vlamgat, literally meaning 'flaming hole' in Afrikaans, was the nickname the South African Air Force (SAAF) gave to the Mirage F1, its formidable frontline jet fighter during South Africa's long Border Wars in South West Africa (Namibia) and Angola from the late 1960s to the late 1980s.
Battling Soviet MiG-21s and -23s over African skies, the 'Vlammies' as the Mirage pilots were affectionately known, acquitted themselves with distinction and honour.
Vlamgat - The story of the Mirage F1 in the South African Air Force is a gripping account of these pilots and their deeds of bravery; their experiences are authentically related with accuracy, humour and pathos by the author, himself a Vlammie.
As Willem Hechter, former Chief of the SAAF, says: "Vlamgat deserves a place of pride in the long history of this, the second oldest air force in the world."
War Dog - Fighting Other People's Wars by Al J Venter $40.00 (h/b)
The modern mercenary in combat - with the horror of 9/11 behind us, a new strategic equation tends to dominate world issues. These days, when the natives of some wayward African backwater become restless, or a South American warlord fosters insurrection, the big powers are inclined to look the other way. Thus the possibility of the Pentagon dispatching anything to assist a government in trouble - like the amphibious assault ship USS Saipan that went to Liberia with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit in August 1990, or Britain sending HMS Ocean to Sierra Leone to quell insurrection - is unlikely. Similarly, the way things are Somalia won't get a sideways glance from any Western force. So another solution must be sought. Since it was the dogs of war that cleared the bramble patch in the old days, it will probably do so again.
By proposing to license private military companies in early 2002, Britain now follows the American lead of companies like the Vinnell Corporation or Washington's MPRI in giving tacit support to what is regarded, by many military specialists, as the most logical option. While the concept of hiring freelance military professionals has some powerful detractors, the actions of these freebooters in recent years have shown that they are both efficient and cost effective.
War Dog deals with mercenary activity in a score of wars: Angola, Sierra Leone, El Salvador, the DRC, Ethiopia, Lebanon and others. As one of a handful of correspondents who saw action with the South African 'guns for hire' group, Executive Outcomes, Al Venter reveals all about this organization as well as what has been going on in the Congo. While the major powers grapple with more serious international issues, dogs of war might very well be the answer for some of the brush-fire wars that continue to plague the developing world.
Weep for Africa - A Rhodesian Light Infantry Paratrooper’s Farewell to Innocence by Jeremy Hall $40 (s/b)
Jeremy Hall’s childhood in the white-ruled apartheid South Africa of the 1950s and ’60s was ostensibly idyllic: growing up in the farming areas of Natal, he had free rein to pander to his keen exploratory mind, yet niggling away was entrenched racism and interracial hatred.
Closeted in the hallowed halls of an English-speaking high school, the revelation of the real world that followed – a world of township unrest, Afrikaner politicians issuing dire warnings of the red and black hordes massing on the borders – exploded into Hall’s psyche with his national-service call-up into the South African Defence Force (SADF), where he encountered the institutionalized hatred of the Afrikaner hierarchy for the English-speaking recruits, the rowe, or ‘scabs’.
Disillusioned and unsettled, following his SADF conscription, Hall found himself in 1976 signing on for three years with 2 Commando The Rhodesian Light Infantry as the bush war in that country erupted from a simmering, low-key insurgency into full-blown war.
As a paratrooper with this crack airborne unit, he was to see continual combat on Fireforce operations and cross-border raids into Zambia and Mozambique, such as Operation Dingo, the 1977 Rhodesian attack on ZANLA’s Chimoio base.
West Of The Moon - Early Zululand and a game ranger at war in Rhodesia by Ron Selley $40 (s/b)
From colonial northern Zululand to guerrilla warfare in the Gona re Zhou of Rhodesia - this book covers a vast panorama of southern Africa. It is a sweeping canvas that evokes a bygone era of the 1940s' colonial Natal through to the cruel intensity of the 'Bush War' that ravaged Rhodesia in the 1970s. The book is in two distinct parts. Part 1 chronicles the author's earlier years of an idyllic childhood spent roaming and hunting among the empty, rolling hills of northern Zululand; of the inaccessible St Lucia waterway; the nostalgia of yellow fever trees; of building railway bridges into the wild interior; of colonial scallywags and native witchcraft; of sugar estates and poaching; of shipwrecks and the sweaty cantinas and backstreets of Lourenço Marques - a time that slipped away.
Part 2 recounts the author's move north across the Limpopo where his love of adventure, hunting and the bushveld lead him to Rhodesia. He becomes a game ranger, dealing with 'problem animals' in the farming areas and the escalating terrorist war in the Gona re Zhou National Park in the beleaguered south-eastern Lowveld of the country. Trying to care for an environment and the animals that depend upon it, while the people around commit barbaric acts in the name of political ideology, brutally awakens the author to the reality of the disintegration of an organized colonial subcontinent.
Ron Selley was born in 1947 and grew up in Zululand. He became fluent in Zulu, Afrikaans and French. In 1975, with his thirst for adventure and an overriding love of the bush, he moved to Rhodesia, where he joined the Department of National Parks & Wildlife as a game ranger, operating in the Lomagundi, the Zambezi Valley and the Gona re Zhou during the height of the Rhodesian Bush War. He returned to South Africa in 1979, hunted professionally for a period and joined KwaZulu Nature Conservation, in charge of the Kosi Lake system and Northern Beach areas. He now lives Lambert's Bay on the west coast of South Africa, running a variety of businesses-boat-charter, ship painting and cleaning services. He enjoys black-powder hunting, is an avid collector of World War II trucks and tanks, owns two Rolls Royces, which are in daily use, and is the station commander of National Sea Rescue Station 24A.
Winds of Destruction by PJH "PB" Petter-Bowyer $50 (s/b)
The autobiography of a Rhodesian combat pilot. 392 pages, 300 b/w photos, maps
Winds of Destruction is a unique account of one man’s service in the Rhodesian Air Force, spanning a period of twenty-three years from 1957 to 1980—through the politically turbulent years of Federation; the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (U.D.I.) by Ian Smith’s government in 1965 and thirteen years of relentless, uncompromising bush warfare against the never-ending tide of Robert Mugabe’s and Joshua Nkomo’s ZANLA and ZIPRA terrorists. In a gruelling conflict that permitted no quarter, the Rhodesian Air Force (Rh.A.F.) fast became one of the Rhodesian Defence Force’s most lethal and effective counter-insurgency organs. In pre- emptive bombing strikes against enemy camps in Mozambique, Zambia and as far afield as Tanzania; in its integral role as a troop-carrier and airborne strike force in ‘fireforce’ operations; in working closely with such specialist units as the Selous Scouts, the S.A.S., the R.L.I. and the R.A.R. the Rhodesian Air Force was never far from the action and in no small way responsible for the astonishing military successes against a vastly numerically superior army. This, all in spite of the international sanctions against Rhodesia, which ordinarily would have brought a nation’s armed forces to its knees. However, forced by circumstances, the Rh.A.F. was obliged to maximise usage of its aging fleet of fighter-bombers, transports and helicopters and to resort to innovative techniques in terms of tactics and weapons systems, many of which were later adopted by the South African Air Force in its own counter-insurgency operations in Angola and Namibia in the ’80s.
Bombardment of Ladysmith Anticipated - The diary of a Siege by Alan Chalmers $20.00 (s/b)
The fascinating story of the 100 day siege of Ladysmith told from the diary of a British Army orderly, George Maidment. It is a story of great courage and great stupidity, of the very personal observations of a local boy caught up in one of the most famous sieges in British Military history.
Fire in the Sky - The destruction of the Orange Free State 1899-1902 by Owen Coetzer $20.00 (s/b)
Over 27,000 Boer women and children died during the Anglo-Boer War. This is the account of those who died in the concentration camps of the Orange Free State in appalling conditions, of deprivation and starvation. It is the deeply moving but shockingly brutal story of a fierce, almost forgotten struggle for freedom.
Halt! Action Front! - With Colonel Long at Colenso by Darrell Hall $20.00 (h/b)
Darrell Hall tells of the Battle of Colenso, of the bloody battle that left scores of British dead on the field, of how it destroyed several military careers and left the British Army savouring the bitter taste of ignominious defeat. Yet, with defeat came heroic bravery and at Colenso 7 Victoria Crosses were awarded. It is also the story of General Louis Botha and his tenacious Boer commandos.
How We Kept the Flag Flying by Donald MacDonald $20.00 (h/b)
This is an exciting account of the siege of Ladysmith and is written with the journalist's eye for history in the making. The author witnessed the battles, the hand to hand combat, experienced the actual bombardment an travelled with raiding parties. It was first published a century ago but is still eminently readable and intensely human.
Mafeking - The story of a siege by Malcolm Flower-Smith and Edmond Yorke $20.00 (s/b)
The story of the struggle for Mafeking, of the Boer's determination to regain the town, of the British, under the leadership of Colonel Baden-Powel determination to hold the town.
International Rugby Encyclopaedia by Andrew de Klerk $25
544 pages 260mm x 215mm 200 colour & b/w photos Meticulously compiled, this book has been 18 years in the making. It is the complete international rugby encyclopaedia that presents every single recognized international ever played (since 1871 when Scotland took on England); is well illustrated and structured, featuring stories on the great players to have graced the game, the great matches to have captivated the crowds and the great stadiums to have hosted these internationals, as well as a plethora of rugby trivia.
There is currently no such book on the market and there hasn't been since Chris Rhys published Guinness Rugby - The Records in 1987.
Argentina, Australia, Canada, Cote d'Ivoire, England, Fiji, France, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Namibia, New Zealand, Portugal, Rhodesia, Romania, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Tonga, USA, Uruguay, Zimbabwe, Wales.
Rugby Stories from the Platteland by Graham Jooste $5.00 (s/b)
The heart and spirit of rugby described in Graham's book is still evident today, but the way the game was played-on a Saturday afternoon, on a dusty field, after a long day ploughing, is not. Somehow all this became overshadowed by the glamour of large clubs and competitions, fuelled by modern technology and communication.
In this book Graham tells the stories, some dating back 100 years, of those recently arrived for work in a strange town on the platteland who, to be accepted by the community, had to play rugby. From labourers and mechanics to clerks and farmers, these are their stories and each one is unique. From the Northern Cape and Luderitz, down the west coast, into the Eastern Cape and through the Free State and Mpumalanga, Graham has recorded stories, as told to him, that will have you in stitches.
Graham's style of writing is reminiscent of campfire (or perhaps braais and boerewors) storytelling, the humour lying in all the deviations and asides the story makes along the way.
Manzovo - Place of the Elephants by Gary Albyn and Craig Bone (h/b) $40.00
This is a hardcover book of 300mm x 220mm with 191 pages containing an exquisite 107 verse poem. The book is lavishly illustrated throughout and includes a 30 minute audio CD of the poem read by acclaimed South African actor John Whiteley.
Nestled like a rare jewel in the inhospitable but alluring Zambezi Valley, Mana Pools, provides the early setting for this episodic story. The story portrays the epic travels of a herd of elephants through Mana Pools, Kariba, Victoria Falls and ultimately southward to the Kruger National Park at a time in our past when elephants were able to range with relative ease across the timeless plains of Africa. Both subtle and compelling, the story weaves in the arcane rhythm that pounds like a tribal drum deep in Africas chest.
Gary Albyn was born in the old Rhodesia in 1960 and grew up in Umtali on the eastern border with Mozambique. The International Library of Poets has honoured some of Garys previous poems, one of which was recently featured in a published anthology, Forever Spoken.
Craig Bone was born in Salisbury, Rhodesia in 1955, where he grew up. He joined the Rhodesian Light Infantry in 1977. He was critically wounded in Frelimo mortar attack while on operations in Mozambique and it was only because of some desperate flying from the casualty-evacuation helicopter pilot that saved his life. While recuperating he started painting, initially military-themed works, and in a short time he was to be recognized as an artist of some repute. With his passion for wildlife, and the Zambezi Valley, he was to become an internationally acclaimed artist with his paintings being sold worldwide. A painting of his was recently auctioned on behalf of the Vietnam Veterans Association and fetched US$106,000 It now hangs in the Pentagon. www.craigbone.com
What on Earth Activity Series (in English or Afrikaans) by Jane Theron and Di Goodwin $3.00 per book (s/b)
A series of five books (only 2 illustrated above) aimed at the 10 - 13 year old covering birds; fish; reptiles and frogs; large mammals and small mammals. These books follow principles of the South African Department of Education's Outcomes Based Education policy and are available in English or Afrikaans. They are designed to make learning fun and play a roll in enhancing creativity, motor co-ordination, the identification of colours, shapes and textures as well as increasing general knowledge. If you want your kids to have a wider knowledge than they would ordinarily gain and at the same time instil "a bit of Africa" in them then these quality activity books are for you.
Please note that these reviews have been compiled by Hugh Bomford and are not necessarily the views expressed by the publishers and authors. Many of these books are now out of print and stock will not last for ever
so be quick.
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