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Four Ball, One Tracer: Commanding Executive Outcomes in Angola and Sierra Leone [Hardcover]

Roelf van Heerden as told to Andrew Hudson
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 25.00
Price: 22.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

15 Jun 2012
Unapologetic, unassuming and forthright, the combat exploits of Executive Outcomes in Angola and Sierra Leone are recounted for the first time by a battlefield commander who was on the ground during all their major combat operations From fighting the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola for critical oil installations and diamond fields to the offensive against the Revolutionary United Front 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 pilot and the efforts to recover the remains of 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 Coupled with van Heerden's gripping exposé, hitherto unpublished photographs, order of battle charts and battle maps offer unprecedented access to the major actions as they took place on the ground during the heydays of Executive Outcomes.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Helion and Company (15 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907677763
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907677762
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 17.8 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 377,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

A unique and valuable account of the tactics and objectives of Africa's most famous - and infamous - mercenary army. Roelf van Heerden tells his story with clarity and precision, as he unfolds EO's defining campaigns. A must read for any serious student of the private military paradigm. --James Brabazon, author of My Friend the Mercenary

I was keen to lay my hands on Ruff s book and when I finally managed to get a copy, - its title is Four Ball One Tracer - I was enthralled. Roelf tells the story of EO from the day he signed up to join the company, the nightmare that was Soyo and until the end of the Sierra Leone campaign. Roelf discusses a lot of things the training, the tactics, the hardships and the laughs. He tells his story as he lived it straight and to the point. He also pays tribute to the many good men who served in EO and used their skills and knowledge to bring about positive change in war torn countries. I do not want to spoil anyones anticipation but I would recommend Roelf s book to anyone who is interested in a lot more detail about EO soperations. --Eeben Barlow, Founder, Executive Outcomes

At times harrowing, sometime humorous, this book provides a fascinating and eye-opening insight into the murky world of private military companies. --Warfare Magazine

About the Author

Andrew Hudson holds three post-graduate degrees, works internationally and enjoys travelling. He divides his time between earning an income, indulging his passion for collecting books on conflict in Africa and road running in weird and wonderful locations. Roelf van Heerden decided at a young age that the vastness and unpredictability of the wild African outdoors were far superior to the confines of an office. With his sights set firmly on the next high ground, the next mountain range and the next mirage, he set off on his life's adventure as a soldier.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting subject, but could need some editing 23 Jun 2013
By Johan L
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A book with obvius a lot of insight, but it could need some editing. If you use writter to tell your story, that writer should be able to make the book more easy to read. But as a whole a very intersseting book about a subject not often talked about. The "moral" aspect of being a "rent-a-soldier" is not touched much. Except to point out that the ordinary soldiers was more or less useless and unthrustworty.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Four ball,one tracer. 16 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book on a well trained well led private army ,one book that I could not could not put down!.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cyprus Mike 22 Aug 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Type-script too small for my liking! Difficult read and will NOT finish reading this. Too frustrating! 1st few chapters show promise, but too long winded.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Executive Outcomes in Action! 20 July 2012
By T.A.L. Dozer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Executive Outcomes in Action!

"Four Ball One Tracer: Commanding Executive Outcomes in Angola and Sierra Leone" by Roelf van Heerden as told to Andrew Hudson. This book covers operations by Executive Outcomes (EO) which was a private military company founded in South Africa in 1989. It later became part of the South African-based holding company Strategic Resource Corporation. EO provided military personnel, training and logistical support to officially recognized governments only. Where assistance was given to corporations in conflict areas, EO had the host government's approval to provide such assistance.

EO initially trained and later fought on behalf of the Angolan government against National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) after UNITA refused to accept the election results in 1992. In a short space of time, UNITA was defeated on the battlefield by EO and sued for peace.

In March 1995, the company contained an insurrection of guerrillas known as the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone, regained control of the diamond fields, and forced a negotiated peace. In both these instances they are credited with rescuing the legitimate government in both countries from destabilizing forces. Ultimately in the end both had mixed results.

The also illustrates how EO was notable in its ability to provide all aspects of a highly-trained modern army to the less professional government forces of Sierra Leone and Angola. For instance, in Sierra Leone, Executive Outcomes fielded not only professional fighting men, but armor and support aircraft such as two Mi-24 Hind and two Mi-8 Hip helicopters, the BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle and T-72 main battle tank. It also possessed medical evacuation capabilities for the wounded. Overall, the book is a very good insight to EO and conflict in Africa.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Four Ball, One Tracer: Commanding Executive Outcomes in Angola and Sierra Leone 18 Feb 2013
By Richard Young - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Honest, no nonsense, no frills, first hand account from one of the ground commanders.

Seldom do mercenary commanders have staff course military qualifications and this shows in Colonel van Heerden's battle conduct, prosecution of his allocated military tasks and the quality of prose of his book (with co-author).

Although a mercenary, van Heerden is actually a modern day private military contractor.

He and his men are professionals, do what they are trained to do and actually love their profession.

It is also impressive to see the ground commander in his armoured fighting vehicle at the head of his fighting column prosecuting the task himself.

It is noteworthy what a trained military professional with a few hundred good men can actually achieve in a relatively short time and with only a modicum of support from his hosts and clients.

Now Colonel van Heerden has taken to policing the oceans off East Africa and just recently achieved a very major success against Somali pirates with very few casualties.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Read 18 Jun 2013
By D. Porter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is an amazing tale of some of the exploits of one of the first private military contractor companies Executive Outcomes. What they were able to accomplish with a small determined group of soldiers is really remarkable. It is definitely a page-turner. This book is a great counterpoint from the ground perspective of the events that Eeben Barlow (former CEO of Executive Outcomes) describes in his book: Executive Outcome: Against All Odds
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Informative 8 Feb 2013
By John Knight - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A good reporting of the actions of Executive Outcomes in Angola and Sierra Leone. It is written in straight reporter style and a bit dry at times. For those not familier with Professional Military Corporations, it's probably not your cup of tea.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars s-l-o-o-o-o-w 18 Feb 2013
By billyb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
More behind-the-scenes info on executive level details than I really wanted. Personally, I like to learn more about the heroic men and women I'm rooting for
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