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Charlie Squadron – the iron fist of 61 Mechanised Battalion Group (61 Mech) – led the way on 3 October 1987 during the climactic battle between the South African Defence Force and the Angolan forces on the Lomba River in southern Angola. Ratels On The Lomba places the reader in the midst of the squadron of young conscripts who were taken off to the Border War to fight in this battle. 

Not only were they up against a vastly superior Angolan force in terms of numbers and weaponry, but they also had to deal with terrain so dense that their sight was severely impaired and their movement restricted. Also, even though SADF tactical doctrine clearly stated that tanks had to be countered by tanks, these conscripts had to take on the Angolan tanks in armoured cars with inferior low-velocity guns and thin armour, designed to keep out nothing more than small-arms fire. Yet, during the battle on the Lomba the 47 Brigade of the Angolan forces was nearly wiped out.

Scholtz’z blow-by-blow account of a David vs. Goliath battle takes the reader to the heart of the action. It is honestly told and vividly described, thanks to interviews with veterans and diary entries that help to recreate the drama of the battle. It is an intensely human story of how individuals react in the face of death and how the war never left them, even when they returned home.

Paperback, 240 pages. First published 25 July 2017.


Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
Margaret Lancaster

It is a Christmasgift for my nephew!

Hilton Ratcliffe
Gritty account of the battles along the Lomba

Leopold Scholtz is one of the best, if not the best, writers on the Bush War. Through the eyes and words of Charlie Sqdn, 61 Mech, he takes the reader right into the hell of battle in a way that few authors can. The destruction of FAPLA's 47 Brigade lock stock and barrel by a bunch of guys in Ratels is a tribute to everyone invloved, from Falcon Ferreira to the tiffies who stood on the open battlefield to extract broken vehicles, the gunners, the drivers, the medics, the pilots - everyone who played their part to give us victory. And victory it was! This is one of the top ten Bush War books on my shelf, and gave me a new insight and understanding of the last great campaign of the SADF, before the political plug was pulled. Thank you for an outstanding piece of history.

Joe Jeffery
Ratels on the Lomba

Thoroughly enjoyed the book, gave excellent insight at ground level and officer level where the actual decisions need to be taken. Tied in nicely with the book Battle on the Lomba.

neville bowden
well told story

well set out interesting with all the facts. great read

Leon Huisamen
Ratels on the Lomba

Excellent well written book by Dr Leopold Scholtz


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