Many books on Special Forces have seen the light in recent years.

SA Special Forces members have been active in this regard and we table the fruits of their efforts here.

Authors are listed in alphabetical order inside the specific category.

Researched Publications

Steyn, Douw & Söderlund, Arnè

Iron Fist from the Sea - South Africa’s Seaborne Raiders: 1978-1988

Lt Col Douw Steyn and Rear Admiral Arnè Söderlund

This seminal work documents the clandestine seaborne operations undertaken by South Africa’s 4 Reconnaissance Commando Regiment. It breathtakingly reveals the versatility and effectiveness of this elite unit which worked with a range of other South African and Rhodesian forces, including the Rhodesian SAS, to engage in a range of raiding and war fighting activities. These operations saw the clandestine reconnaissance of harbours, the sinking of enemy shipping and the destruction of shore installations in Angola and Mozambique. Just some of the tasks undertaken by this extraordinary maritime capability which totalled no more than 45 operators, both black and white!

With unparalleled access to previously secret material, the authors, both of whom worked to develop 4 Recce’s operating capabilities, trace the origins of the Regiment back to the 1970’s when the South African’s determined the need for a maritime force projection capability.  They relate how maritime doctrine was developed within South Africa’s wider Special Forces capability and how joint operational approaches were configured with the South African Navy. This saw the development of a range of swimmer, reconnaissance, diving and boat operator training courses, along with the design of specialist raiding craft and amphibious assault platforms, which were originated to operate from the Navy’s existing shipping and submarines. All of which demonstrated the immense potential of this newly emergent force and the resourcefulness of its individual operators. Required to successfully complete a gruelling selection process, the operators of 4 Recce were relentlessly tested to prove their physical and mental mettle, not to mention their leadership skills and initiative.

Steyn and Söderlund’s chronological analysis of the operations undertaken by 4 Recce and the South African Navy is stunning to behold. They impartially detail the secret and specialised actions which saw both success and failure. From Cabinda on the West Coast to Tanzania on the East, 4 Recce, and whose existence and capability was largely kept secret even within the South African Defence Force, conducted numerous clandestine raids. They attacked shipping and strategic targets such as oil facilities, transport infrastructure and even ANC offices. And sometimes the raids did go wrong, spectacularly so in one instance when two operators were killed and Captain Wynand Du Toit was captured. He was later paraded in front of the world’s media, much to the embarrassment of the South African government.

This is a fascinating work and one that will enthral anyone with an interest in Special Forces operations. Profusely illustrated with many previously unpublished photographs, it stands as a testament to the author’s endeavours as, respectively, the former Operations Commander of 4 Recce and; the former Commander Task Group of the SA Navy, as well as the incredible operators of 4 Recce. 

Explosive and compulsive, Iron Fist from the Sea takes you right to the raging surf; to the adrenalin and fear that is seaborne raiding... 

The idea to write this book was inspired by the movie “Troy” – namely the words of Odysseus voiced by British actor Sean Bean: Men are haunted by the vastness of eternity. Therefore, we ask ourselves: will our actions echo across the centuries? Will strangers hear our names long after we are gone, and wonder who we were, how bravely we fought, how fiercely we loved?”

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P. Matthysen, M. Kalkwarf & M. Huxtable

Recce: A Collector's Guide to the History of the South African Special Forces

"The quintessential professional - prepared to die for his country, but not trained to - this is the elite 'Recce' soldier"
This book has been some 15 years in the making and can claim, with some justification, to be the definitive publication on the 'Recces', unlikely to be topped for many, many years. The South African Special Forces have invariably been portrayed as a sinister force, used in covert operations locally and abroad but this is pure political expediency and media propaganda. The unit's operators are shy, humble soldiers, whose primary role is intelligence gathering, although they will take offensive action, ruthlessly, if necessary. Highly trained professionals in class of their own, these elite troops have garnered for themselves an international reputation par excellence. Book includes a comprehensive history and training methods and a plethora of memorabilia, actual-size badges, insignia, collectibles etc.
Softback, 384 pages, 297 x 220cm. Over 1500 colour images, maps.

Personal Encounters

Diedericks, Andre

Journey without Boundaries

The book is available for purchase from Just Done Productions via their website at

International purchasers can obtain the book from Lulu, but should be aware that only the South African version contains colour photos.

The international (lulu) version is available in paperback from and in hardback from

John Dovey
Tel: 031-7673653, Fax: 086-5052478
Mobile: 083-3888290

The Operational Life and Experiences of a SA Special Forces Small Team Operator : the Personal Memoirs of Colonel André Diedericks HCS, HC, SM, MMM.

This is the extraordinary tale of an extraordinary man. An honestly told story of his military career, of a man who was twice decorated for valour, who pioneered and developed the concept of “small team reconnaissance” within the South African Special Forces.

He was a consummate warrior and gentleman and has told his story with humility and a disarming sense that what he did was simply the job he was given, when even the most cursory reading will show that it was anything but simple or easy. From start to finish, his life was truly a ‘Journey without Boundaries’.

These memoirs were written by Col Diedericks, better known as “Diedies”, before his untimely death from cancer in 2005. 

A private first issue of his book that Diedies distributed to a few selected friends only.

Du Toit, Wynand

Judasbok and Josefskleed

Two books written by South African Defence Force prisoner of war, Major Wynand du Toit, a SA Special Forces operator, reveals his secret mission to Cabinda that led to two years of hell in an Angolan prison.

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Greeff, Jack

A greater share of honour

As a young Staff Sergeant in the Recces, Jack Greeff became one of the most decorated soldiers in the SADF. Leading two-man reconnaissance patrols deep into enemy held territories and operating under the noses of the enemy, they collected vital strategic information on enemy movements and installations.  Using the information gathered, he led raiding parties to the targets to execute what were probably the biggest and most daring acts of sabotage in recent military history.

A Greater Share of Honour may be ordered via Just Done Productions –

Stadler, Koos

Recce : Small Team operations behind enemy lines

Written by Colonel (ret) Koos Stadler (HC, SM, MMM) titled Recce: Small Team missions behind enemy lines. While the book is essentially a first-hand account of the author’s own experiences during specialised reconnaissance missions, it also captures vivid personal emotions of joy, humour and often fear.


Other Publications

Coetzee, Peet

Web page :

Mobile orders: +27849737980

E-mail orders :

Peet Coetzee  received recognition for four of his previous books, SPECIAL FORCES JAM STEALER - ONS VERGEET NIE and POINT OF THE DAGGER - PUNT VAN DIE DOLK, in reviews by Die VOLKSBLAD, describing his books as the most gripping and richly illustrated war memoirs of all border war literature books.

In the two small team books Coetzee offers the necessary homage in the form of interesting short stories about the achievements of the Chief Scouts of South Africa. Dating back in history to heroes  like  De la Rey, Danie Theron and Hendri Slegtkamp and the adventurous accounts of Major P.J. Pretorius, who was busy with his own personal war against the Germans in German East Africa, long before the First World War commenced. Later to be appointed as the Chief Scout of General Jannie Smuts. Pretorius is also seen as being comparable to the present-day Recce Operator by the actions and methods he applied during his time.

The creator or “father” of the highly successful Small Team concept was Captain Chris Schulenburg G.C.V, S.C.R. who served in the elite forces of the Rhodesian SAS, Selous Scouts and in the South African Special Forces. The Recce Small Team operations conducted under the leadership of Colonel André Diedericks HCS, HC, SM, MMM and Major Jack Greeff HC, PMM, MMM who with their team mates successfully applied the Small Team concept in many operations they conducted, as told in this book.

Peet Coetzee when serving in the SADF, qualified himself as a Photo Interpretation (PI) and model building specialist.  He served for thirteen years with Special Forces as an Intelligence functionary, that mostly comprised dealing with interpretation of aerial photography. Coetzee physically participated in the following cross border operations: Operation Savannah, Sceptic and Askari. During his service as PI he had part in most of the SADF operations, where he formed part of the teams that had to analyse the targets.

Els, Paul

We fear naught but God

The story of the South African Special Forces ("The Recces"), from inception in the 1960s to disbandment in 1993. A unique account of one of South Africa's premier units, masters in the art of reconnaissance and clandestine warfare. Pro rata, the most highly decorated unit during the wars in Angola and Namibia/SWA. Special forces operators were carefully selected and trained to gather covert strategic and tactical information about enemy activities. They learned how to observe silently, harass the enemy and destroy selected targets -- all behind enemy lines. Frequently required to face great dread, they had to learn to control that fear in order to survive. This book brings the reconnaissance soldiers - the recces - to those who have wondered about what kind of men they were. Their families, their heartaches, their sufferings and achievements. These men were not assassins who eliminated spies in hotel rooms. They were responsible men who had a sense of integrity and served their country proudly.

We fear naught but God - Pictorial edition

"Special Forces operators were carefully selected and trained to gather covert strategic and tactical information about enemy activities. They learned how to observe silently, harass the enemy and destroy selected targets – all behind enemy lines.

Frequently required to face great dread, they had to learn to control that fear in order to survive.

These men were not assassins who eliminated spies in hotel rooms. They were responsible men who had a sense of integrity and served their country proudly.

This book brings the reconnaissance soldiers – the Recces – and the support element to those who have wondered about what kind of men they were, their families, their heartaches, their sufferings and their achievements.

WO1 Paul Els served with the ‘Recces’ during his military career, and is therefore in a privileged position, being able to describe much of their history with some accuracy. As a result of this service, he has put together a hard cover 431 page history covering the formation and some operations of all the ‘Recce’ units formed, from inception to their eventual disbandment under the new SANDF. Included within these pages are no fewer than 1800 photographs, mostly colour and some black-and-white, most of which would be new to readers.

The narrative covers all aspects of ‘Recce’ regiment formation, operations and training, descriptions of the latter I personally found particularly of interest. Also, there is the occasional personal account, mainly of men who were awarded gallantry decorations for outstanding service and the circumstances under which the awards were obtained. Unit heraldry is also covered, including badges, emblems and traditions. The book concludes with a series of appendices, including a Roll of Honour, listing all Special Forces casualties by rank, name, date of death and regiment. There is also a comprehensive list of SF members who were awarded gallantry decorations, entities in support of SA Special Forces and a description of weapons used by them, the latter including photographs.

Strachan, Zander


Zander Strachan masterfully combines the Anglo Boer war and the SA Border War in one work of fiction.

This book was awarded the kykNET-Rapport prize for fiction in 2016.

Published by Tafelberg.
Order here:
Or here:

Wêreld Sonder Grense (World Without Boundaries)

A collection of interlinked short stories about war.

Published by Tafelberg.

The Wynand du Toit story

Vryval (Free Fall)

The Killing Zone

Written by a Special Forces operator under a pseudonym

The Silent War

Written by a Peter Stiff about South African Recce operations


The Special Forces Operator

This poem was written by a Special Forces Operator and is placed here with his consent. It appears with the photo of a deceased
member of the SA Special Forces, taken whilst preparing for a HALO jump.

The Special Forces Operator

I am a Special Forces Operator
I will go where others fear to go
I will do what others cannot do
I will face the impossible, and triumph

I seek neither fame not glory
I seek neither medals nor praise
I seek only the acknowledgement of my Brother Operators
For they alone can judge me
And to be counted amongst them is my greatest Honour

I will never dishonour my Brothers
Or the name of Special Forces
I will never turn away from any challenge
I will face anything, and succeed
Nothing will stop me, save Death
And even this will be temporary
For my memory will spur my Brothers on

I will, at all times
Uphold the principles that guide us
Duty, Honour and Loyalty
The highest code of Morals, Principles and Ethics
I will never abandon my post
Or turn from my duty
No matter the consequences

I will always remember my Brothers
Who have made the Supreme Sacrifice
They will be with me at all times
In my thoughts and prayers
Their Deeds will not go unrecorded
And their Songs will not go unsung
Their memory will inspire me

I know that wherever I am
Whatever the situation
I am always in my Brothers’ thoughts and prayers
And if ever my need is near me
I know that my Brother Operators will always come to my aid
Swiftly, regardless of danger or risk
To stand by my side and help me
And knowing this gives me strength
To face anything, anywhere, at any time
With Courage and Determination

For I am proud to say
That I stand, counted amongst those few
Those brave and elite few
Silent and unseen, but ever-present
Those who can truly say
We fear naught but God

For I am a Special Forces Operator

'The Special Forces Operator' is copyrighted by the South African Special Forces Association. However, the League would like to state that we will not enforce this copyright in respect of any formal Special Forces units or Special Forces Veterans Organisations internationally. In the spirit of the International Brotherhood amongst Special Forces Operators, we feel that this verse applies to any of our Brother Operators, anywhere in the world, and should you wish to use or display this verse, we would be proud and happy for you to do so. The only proviso for such usage would be for you to contact and inform the League of your request and receive our written consent. You would also be required to credit the author by name (which we will provide you with) when displaying 'The Special Forces Operator', and list that he was a South African Special Forces Operator

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