The soldiers of 32 Battalion were so feared by their enemies that they were called 'the terrible ones'. This comprehensive two-volume work covers in detail the unit's 117 documented military operations from 1976 to 1993. Nortje explains how the operations were planned and executed, what went wrong, what went right, and what the outcomes were. It also goes back to the early 1960s, covering events in Angola that would eventually result in the formation of 32 Battalion, and it ends in 2005, when the soldiers of the unit unknowingly betrayed themselves. This work builds a more complete picture than did Nortje's first book on 32 Battalion, published in 2003. It is based on over 10,000 pages of documents in the Department of Defence Documentation Centre, which have only recently been declassified. Because of his security clearance, Nortje had access to these documents before their declassification, and was able to use them to write this book. Complementing the documentary evidence are 233 personal recollections: interviews that Nortje conducted with 32 Battalion members, as well as Portuguese, SWAPO, Cuban and Russian soldiers. These give the perspective of the men on the ground, an element often missing from military history. The author writes from personal experience: he served in 32 Battalion from 1979 to 1987 and was its Regimental Sergeant Major. The author's text is complemented by 84 maps and nearly 600 (mostly colour) photographs. Beautifully presented, The Terrible Ones is only available for sale as a two volume set. Definitive and magisterial, this is one of the most impressive military histories ever written.
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