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Iron fist from the Sea: Top Secret Seaborne Recce Operations (1978-1988)

Arne Söderlund & Douw Steyn

From Cabinda in Angola to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania 4 Reconnaissance Regiment conducted numerous clandestine seaborne raids during the Border War. They attacked strategic targets such as oil facilities, transport infrastructure and even Russian ships. All the while 4 Recce’s existence and capability was largely kept secret, even within the South African Defence Force.

With unparalleled access to previously top secret documents, 50 operations undertaken by 4 Recce, other Special Forces units and the South African Navy are described. The daunting Operation Kerslig (1981), in which an operator died in a raid on a Luanda oil refinery and others were injured, is retold in spine-tingling detail.

The book reveals the versatility and effectiveness of this elite unit and also tells of both the successes and failures of its actions. Sometimes missions go wrong, as in Operation Argon (1985) when Captain Wynand Du Toit was captured.

This fascinating work will enthrall anyone with an interest in Special Forces operations. Iron Fist from the Sea takes you right to the raging surf, to the adrenalin and fear that is seaborne raiding.


RAdm (JG) Arne Söderlund joined the Navy in 1966 and specialised as a Surface Warfare Officer. He served in strike craft from 1975 until 1984 and later in Military Intelligence during the closing stages of the war. He retired from the Navy in 2006 and is involved in the study and recording of naval/ military history. Lt Col Douw Steyn served 19 years as a Special Forces operator specializing in demolitions and sabotage techniques. He was awarded the HC for mine-clearing under fire during Operation Savannah. Appointed operational commander of 4.1 Commando in 1981, he led various raids on strategic mili- tary targets in Angola and Mozam- bique. He retired from the Army in 1996.

Category:  Military History
ISBN:  9781868427772
Publisher:  Jonathan Ball Publishers
On sale:  May 2018
Format:  Paperback
eBook ISBN  9781868427789  
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