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FRANCISCO DANIEL ROXO: Cruz de Guerra 1st class, Cruz de Guerra 2nd class, Medal of Distinguished Service, Honoris Crux Decoration, Pro Patria Medal, Southern African Medal.

There have been many men and women throughout history who have contributed one way or the other in the battle against evil, injustice or terrorism. Portugal produced perhaps one of the finest self-trained guerrilla fighters the world has ever seen but due to expediency or politics his contribution in Portugal’s African wars has been all but forgotten. History is made by ordinary people performing extraordinary deeds, only a few ever get the recognition deserved for their contributions, countless other don’t. This book should hopefully remedy this oversight.


Daniel Roxo was born in Mogadouro, Trás-os-Montes, on 1 February 1933. As a young man he immigrated to Niassa Province in 1951, where he settled as a professional hunter and safari guide. When the Mozambican War of Independence broke out in 1964 Roxo formed his African trackers, servants, and European acquaintances into a private militia, hunting FRELIMO combatants for government bounties.

Disillusioned by Portugal's promise to hand Mozambique to Samora Machel's incoming government, Roxo supported an abortive coup d'état by anti-FRELIMO forces in Lourenço Marques on September 7, 1974. He went into exile in South Africa the following November, joining the South African Defence Force. After completing Special Forces selection, Danny was seconded to Bravo Group (later 32 Battalion).

Roxo was awarded the Honoris Crux for bravery during Operation Savannah for an action during the Battle of Bridge 14 at 11.05°S 15.0822°E, an engagement during which he single-handedly killed eleven enemy soldiers.

Bridge 14 was situated on the Nhia River, en route from Cela to Quibala. South African mechanized contingents deploying to the south had routed a unit of the People's Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola (FAPLA) some time prior, and the retreating Angolans had demolished the existing structure. However, since Colonel Jan Breytenbach could not ascertain this from his forward positions, he ordered Roxo to conduct a more thorough reconnaissance.  Roxo arrived at the river with four Eland-90 armoured cars; his patrol came under heavy mortar fire from an opposite bank and two of the vehicles withdrew, leaving Roxo's platoon to retire on foot.  Having scouted the bridge alone and determined it was no longer intact, he inadvertently walked into an FAPLA ambush, but he managed to dispatch his attackers. Two escaped South African prisoners later claimed that aside from the Angolan casualties, four Cuban troops were reported killed in the encounter.

During a patrol near the Okavango river, his personnel carrier struck a landmine and overturned, killing one man and crushing Roxo beneath it. The rest of the vehicle's crew tried to lift it free, but it was too heavy. Col Jan Breytenbach wrote:

"Roxo, in keeping with his dauntless character, decided to make the best of things, lighting a cigarette and smoking it calmly until it was finished, then he died - still pinned beneath the Wolf. He had not complained once, nor uttered a single groan or moan, although the pain must have been excruciating."

Paperback, 271 pages. 

Customer Reviews

Based on 11 reviews
Andre Botha
The Phantom of the Forrest

Brave, brave, professional !!!
So sad that so few SA people know of his bravery

Luis Ribeiro

Excellent ! Quick delivery. Recommended International.

Tienus Lindeque

Good reading material

Ben Diedericks

Daniel Roxo: The Phantom of the Forest - Stephen Dunkley

Mark Highton
Daniel Roxo - The Phantom of the Forest

Excellent read, interesting bit of history, well written!


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