I have been reading this book & find i can't put it down. My late partner was in this unit & would rarely speak of his time there. It's a captivating read & gives an amazing account of what the men encounted. I'm left feeling very proud of him & the man he became. A must read.
the best book ive read about county insurgency an the RSAS role in the bush wars of thst time, great first hand accounts of the opperations that took place well behind the lines an politicle assassinations against the leaders of the gurila forces thay were up against. thay were the best an some of the ops described are pure who dares wins......
I must take issue straight away with AS Buntings review. The review was written in 2011, on a book written in 1984 about events that ended in 1980. It is always easy in hindsight to pick a book apart for lack of information. This book was written in 1984/85. It contains first hand accounts from those "on the ground". Yes, the true details of events were obscured, but remember that at the time of publication Apartied still existed. With everything taking place across that area of Africa, the SADF would not have wanted to advertise it's involvement. As I said, it is so easy to be wise sometime after the event. This book is a fantastic history and social commentary on the course of the bush war against Rhodesia. It gives an excellent account of various missions, changes of tactics. The process of selection is well documented and I came away from this book with a renewed respect for Rhodesian special forces and "C" Squadron Rhodesian SAS in particular. The story around some of the Regimental "characters" is both funny and with pathos in the right parts. The text is well supported by contemporary photographs. Some of these photographs also appear in the pictorial history, which is well worth buying if you can get a copy of that too. Reading the two side by side does give an excellent perspective on the bush war. Buy both if you can.
The author conducted a vast quantity of first-hand research to compile this work, contacting many former Rhodesian SAS operators through her husband's connections ( though never stated in the book, she is married to Pete Cole who features in many of the missions ).
As such it is very comprehensive in the scope of operations covered and benefits from unique photos and diagrams provided the operators.
However because is was written so soon after the event it suffers by not being able to tell the full story. For example, D Squadron is omitted from this book as at the time it would have been too sensitive to reveal it was staffed entirely by SADF Recce personnel. A fictional account of parachuting in for the Beira oil attack is invented to cover the involvement of the South African Navy.
Several names of operators and ComOps staff are elided, too, and awkward narrative diversions are taken to avoid embarrassing some individuals. Four names appear on the Roll of Honour without further details; they actually died in SADF service in Mozambique in 1981, but Ms Cole's book will not tell you that.
The author also skims over some operations as one-liners, which is particularly jarring when a dozen pages are dedicated to the precursor.
There is no information about the organisation of the SAS other than that gleaned from ranks mentioned and even the move to a new, custom-built barracks in Kabrit is only mentioned in passing.
Selection and training receives some coverage but in general this book is about the officers and NCOs and the troopers are seldom discussed unless, grimly, they are injured or killed.
At times the narrative veers over from respect to sycophancy but in general the author manages to provide a tight and readable narrative. It's just a shame that this book is not the definitive account.