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Searching for a South African Way of War (1913-2013)


Over the past century, South Africa’s military has established itself in several defining battles and operations. Preferring manoeuvre over attrition, and often punching above their weight, they have become known for their tenacity, dash, and ability to defy the odds. Their unique command style also sets them apart from other armies and has helped them excel in challenging circumstances


In 20 Battles, military historians Evert Kleynhans and David Brock Katz investigate how South Africa’s way of war evolved over a 100-year period. They track the evolution of the doctrine and structure of the South African defence forces, rediscovering historical continuity, if any, and the lessons learned in past battles and operations such as Otavifontein, Delville Wood, Southern Ethiopia, Tobruk, Chiusi, Savannah, Cassinga, Cuito Cuanavale and Boleas


The book also identifies a number of firsts for the defence force, such as the first ever deployment during the 1914 Industrial Strike; the varied deployments across different theatres during both world wars; the first large scale cross-border deployments during the Border War; the first deployment of the new South African National Defence Force after 1994; and, culminating with the recent, and now infamous, Battle of Bangui

DR EVERT KLEYNHANS is a senior lecturer in the Department of Military History at the Faculty of Military Science at Stellenbosch University (SU). He is the author of Hitler’s Spies: Secret Agents and the Intelligence War in South Africa (2021) and The Naval War in South African Waters, 1939-1945 (2022). He is also the editor of Scientia Militaria: South African Journal of Military Studies.

DR DAVID BROCK KATZ is an author and historian, as well as a part-time lecturer and research fellow in the Department of Military History at the Faculty of Military Science at SU. Katz is also an active member of the Andrew Mlangeni Regiment. He is the author of South Africans vs Rommel (2019) and General Jan Smuts and his First World War in Africa: 1914-19-17 (2022).

Category:  Military History
ISBN:  9781928248224
Publisher:  Jonathan Ball Publishers
On sale:  July 2023
Format:  Paperback
eBook ISBN  9781928248231
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