Over the years, many have signed up for the South African Special Forces selection course but only a select few have ever passed. The gruelling course pushes recruits to their physical and mental limits. Those who make it through selection still have to complete a demanding year-long training cycle before they can join the ranks of this elite unit.
In A Breed Apart, former Special Forces operator Johan Raath offers a rare insider’s view on the training he and other young soldiers received in the mid-1980s. Drawing on the reminiscences of his fellow Recces, he describes the phases of selection and training, and offers valuable insights into what makes a successful operator.
The courses in the training cycle show the range and standard of Special Forces training, including weapons handling, bushcraft/survival, parachuting, demolitions and urban warfare, as well as seaborne and riverine operations. For Raath and his training cycle buddies, the cycle culminated in an operation in southern Angola where the young Recces saw action for the first time.
Much of what Raath underwent still forms part of present-day Special Forces training. Comprehensive and revealing, this book shows why these soldiers truly are a breed apart.
Johan Raath qualified as a SA Special Forces Operator in December 1986. He served in the SADF for seven years and left as a staff sergeant after which he founded a tactical training school in Durban. In the late 1990s he started working as a security contractor, military trainer and VIP protection specialist. Johan worked in various conflict zones globally and ended his career in Iraq in 2017 after working there for over a decade. His book about his experience in Iraq called Blood Money (2018) was a local bestseller.