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The first ever Special Forces for the SADF started with a small group of eleven men under the command of Commandant Jan Breytenbach all handpicked by him in 1970. They commenced their training in Oudtshoorn and all 11 men did specialised courses in something they were not qualified for in as yet. e.g. divers, demolition, parachute jumping. etc. The group was divided into two and also did courses in France in that year. Their first deployment took place into Angola. With the influx of more members, the group was changed to a Special Forces Unit in 1972 known as 1 Reconnaissance Commando.

It was decided that the unit was to be moved and in December 1974 the unit relocated to the Bluff in Durban. The unit grew in numbers as more and more men qualified as Special Forces Operators. The decision was made to form three subunits: Airborne (Commandant Swart), Seaborne (Commandant Kinghorn) and Pseudo operators (Commandant Verster).

The Seaborne group moved to Langebaan (4 Reconnaissance Commando) the Pseudo group to Dukuduku in Zululand (5 Reconnaissance Commando). A headquarter element was stationed in Pretoria, under command of General Loots. In 1982 they moved into their own Headquarter buildings just outside of Thaba Tshwane.

In 1975 a Citizen Force unit 2 Reconnaissance Commando, under the command of Commandant Sybie van der Spuy, was formed to accommodate all members that had left the Permanent Forces units as citizen forces members. With the independence of Zimbabwe, members of the Selous Scouts and Rhodesian SAS were given a choice to join the SADF. The members that took this opportunity were transferred into two units: The Scouts as 3 Reconnaissance Commando in Phalaborwa and Rhodesian SAS as 6 Reconnaissance Commando in Durban. A year later these units amalgamated into the Permanent Force Units: 3 Reconnaissance Commando became part of 5 Reconnaissance Regiment and 6 Reconnaissance Commando became part of 1 Reconnaissance Regiment when the Commandos became Regiments in 1981. The volume of operations increased and more and more support personnel were transferred into Special Forces to support the operators in their task.

The author served in Special Forces as a signaller for 5 Reconnaissance Regiment and then Special Forces Headquarter for a number of years. He did his parachute course with other support personnel at the age of 35. His responsibilities included the training of operators in communications – radio and Morse code, the control of operational communications networks, plus all cryptography work.

This book on South African Special Forces depicts the Pictorial History from the beginning up to 1994. It is the 4th edition, and the 1st pictorial version of the history of the South African Special Forces, Operators and Operations. There are more than 2000 pictures of 420 full color A4 pages bound in a hardcover showing pictures of events never before captured in one print.


Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
Gordon Emmott

Enjoyable, easy reading

Great boo

Lived the details pictures

We Fear Naught But God: The Pictorial Edition of the South African Special Forces - Paul J Els

Paul signed my copy personally. I found the book to be a treasure trove of information and photographs. This book is specially for those who have an interest in Special Forces and the aspects that surround these exceptional soldiers. The photographs of equipment / military items / clothing and miscellaneous items are especially important to the collector of these as it reduces the chances of fakes and forgeries. The book provides perspective and allows a non- special forces person at least a very small keyhole glimpse of the lives of these folks.
A real neat addition to my SA military library - thanks Paul.

Hendrik Nel
A valuable addition

Paul Els is no newcomer to writing well-researched works on the old SADF. This work, with hundreds of photographs on the subject is no different. A valuable addition to any armchair historian's library.


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