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The quintessential professional-prepared to die for his country, but not trained to ... this is the elite 'Recce' soldier This book has been some 15 years in the making and can claim, with some justification, to be the definitive publication on the 'Recces', unlikely to be topped for many, many years. The South African Special Forces have invariably been portrayed as a sinister force, used in covert operations locally and abroad but this is pure political expediency and media propaganda. The unit's operators are shy, humble soldiers, whose primary role is intelligence-gathering, although they will take offensive action, ruthlessly, if necessary. Highly trained professionals in a class of their own, these elite troops have garnered for themselves an international reputation par excellence. Included in this unique book are:

  • Foreword by the late Major-General F. W. Loots

  • A comprehensive history of the Reconnaissance Regiments and auxiliary units

  • Selection and training processes and techniques

  • Insignia, kit and equipment

  • Honours and awards

  • Memorabilia, memorials and museums

  • 2,500 full-colour images; actual-size insignia (including fakes)

HARDBACK: 320 PAGES. First published October 2013. Reprint April 2016.




  • Paul Matthysen

Very early in life Paul developed a passion for all things military. He started collecting militaria in 1963, specialising in World War II German militaria, for which he has won several awards at displays. While in the employ of a well-known numismatist, he was consulted on uniforms and insignia by film companies and advertising agencies. Paul ended his military career in 1977 as an infantry platoon sergeant serving in 102 Counter-Insurgency Battalion on the border, for which he was awarded the Pro Patria Medal. Paul has been researching South African Special Forces since 1991. Paul tragically passed away in 2013.

  • Matthew Kalkwarf

A qualified instructor NCO at the Army Gymnasium, Matthew later served with 2 South West African Specialist Unit. He retained his interest in the military after completing his service. His extensive sales experience has equipped him well to assist in this project, where interpersonal skills are vital for research and interviews; his technical intelligence has also proved invaluable during this process. Matthew lives in Johannesburg and manages his own company.

  • Michael Huxtable

With a keen interest in the military, Mike served two years' national service in the South African Defence Force Intelligence School during 1988/89. In 2003, he joined the SANDF Reserve Force, serving as Intelligence Officer and Adjutant at the Light Horse Regiment, being the first member of the SANDF Reserve to graduate from the SANDF Military Academy (Faculty of Military Science of Stellenbosch University) in 2007, with a B.Mil degree in Security and Africa Studies. His dream to publish books on South African military insignia came to fruition after meeting Paul Matthysen. Mike lives and works in Johannesburg.

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
R. Roessling

A must for collectors!

Chris Ouwerkerk

Excellent reference book. Just for information I have a signed copy of Recce - signed by Col Jan Breytenbach whom I know.

Dries Kruger

Recce: A Collector's Guide To The History Of The South African Special Forces - Paul Matthysen, Matthew Kalkwarf & Michael Huxtable

Martin van der Merwe
Disapointing List of units and badges.

I lost a friend in the Recces and was looking for accounts of the actions, which was to a large extent, missing. Could this information still be sensitive?

Pieter stefanus Swart

Recce: A Collector's Guide To The History Of The South African Special Forces - Paul Matthysen, Matthew Kalkwarf & Michael Huxtable


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