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SHROUDED IN SECRECY due to the covert nature of their work, the legendary Recces have fascinated South Africans for years. Now one of these elite soldiers has written a tell-all book about the extraordinary missions he embarked on and the nail-biting action he experienced in the Border War.

Shortly after passing the infamously gruelling Special Forces selection course in the early 1980s, Koos Stadler joined the so-called Small Teams group at 5 Reconnaissance Regiment. This subunit was made up of two-man teams and was responsible for numerous secret and highly dangerous missions deep behind enemy lines. With only one team member, Stadler was sent to blow up railway lines and enemy fighter jets in the south of Angola. As he crawled in and out of enemy-infested territory, he stared death in the face many times.

A gripping, firsthand account that reveals the near superhuman physical and psychological powers these Special Forces operators have to display.

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· #1

The AMD-65 (in Hungarian: Automata M?dos?tott Deszant 1965) was the upgraded paratrooper version (with folding stock) of the Russian AKM assault rifle.

· #2

On 19 December the US Senate passed a bill, known as the Clark Amend­ment, to force the White House to terminate its support of both UNITA and the FNLA. The senators were clearly not eager to be trapped on the side of the apartheid regime. See Scholtz, L, The SADF and the Border War. Tafelberg Publishers: Cape Town, 2013.

· #3

Sector 10 covered Kaokoland and Ovamboland; Sector 20 covered Kavango and Western Caprivi; and Sector 70 covered Eastern Caprivi.

· #4

Later, when the Zambians closed the door on SWAPO and demanded that they evacuate their training bases in the west of the country, the reconnaissance teams started operating exclusively within Sector 10’s area of responsibility in Ovamboland.

· #5

Ultra-high frequency (UHF) was generally used for communications with jet fighters, while VHF was used with choppers and slower fixed wings.

· #6

FAPLA, or People’s Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola, originally the armed wing of the MPLA, was the Angolan regular army.

· #7

The Ratel, a six-wheeled infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), is still used by the SANDF.

· #8

The Buffel was a mine-protected infantry mobility vehicle (or troop carrier) that could carry a section of ten men.

· #9

EMLC, the Afrikaans acronym for “electrical, mechanical, agricultural and chemical engineering consultants” (Elektriese, Meganiese, Landbou­kundige en Chemiese ingenieurskonsultante), became highly controversial due to its link with the Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB) and allegations that it had manufactured different kinds of deadly devices to support the apartheid regime.

· #10

The PKM 7.62-mm general-purpose machine gun, developed in the Soviet Union in 1961, is still in wide use today.

· #11

Mine-protected infantry mobility vehicle originally developed by the CSIR.

· #12

Sawong was an acronym for “Suid-Afrikaanse Weermag Operasionele Navorsingsgebied”, or South African Defence Force Operational Research Area.

· #13

The Heckler & Koch MP5 9-mm submachine gun is widely used by special operations and specialised law-enforcement units worldwide.

· #14

The Syncal 30 HF radio, as well as the base station radios, were equipped with “hopping mode”, a function whereby the two (or more) radios would use the same code to synchronise and then run (“hop”) through different frequencies while communicating. This was applied as an electronic counter-countermeasure (ECCM) to disrupt enemy listening-in or direction-finding devices.

· #15

Food that was pre-cooked, vacuum-packed and then irradiated at Pelindaba to last for months.

· #16

FAA, or For?a A?rea Angolana, is the Angolan Air Force.

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