Books on South African Parachute Battalions.
South African special forces were internationally considered to be among the best in the world, particularly in bush warfare. Their operational and fighting capabilities are world renowned, proven year in and year out during the country's 30 year long border/bush war in Angola as well as operating with the Rhodesian Special Forcces in Mozambique.
In April 1961, South Africa's first elite forces started with the formation of the Parachute Battalion (called Parabats), after selected members of the South African Army received parachute training at UK's RAF Abingdon.

During the first few years of its existence, the Parabats were the only special forces of its time in the South African Defence Force, until the formation of the Recces and 32 Battalion.

On 26 August 1966, the Parabats first participated in operations as part of the South African Border War in South-West Africa (now Namibia). This involvement was eventually to last for more than twenty years.

In April 1978, 44 Parachute Brigade was established, with the addition of 2 and 3 Parachute Battalions.

On 4 May 1978 South Africa's first major airborne operation (Operation Reindeer) took place. A large group of paratroopers, from 1, 2 and 3 Battalions, attacked a large SWAPO base in Cassinga, Angola, successfully capturing it.

Following the end of the Border War in 1989, the Brigade was scaled down slightly and began preparing for a new role, that of conducting operations internally in South Africa in order to quell increasing levels of violence between various political groups.

In January 1991 the Brigade conducted its first operational jump in an urban counterinsurgency role when 2 Parachute Battalion deployed to Natal as part of Operation Eardrum to quell the violence. The Brigade took part in many similar operations in the following years, helping to minimise the violence sufficiently to allow South Africa's first democratic elections to go ahead in April 1994.


Below, in no particular order, is a list of the current books now available from us (click on the link under book description). There have been other publications and most are now 'Out of Print' and are hard to get / fetch high prices. Should there be a relevant title that we should know about, please let us know.




We Conquer from Above: The History of 1 Parachute Battalion 1961-1991 - Paul Els
The story of the South African 1 Parachute Battalion (popularly known as "Parabats") from inception in 1960 up to 1991. In 1966, units of 1 Parachute Battalion first participated in operations as part of the South African Border War in South-West Africa (now Namibia). This involvement was eventually to last for more than twenty years. This battalion also participated in South Africa's first major airborne operation in 1978 - 'Operation Reindeer' - the Battle of Cassinga, where they, together with other battalions attacked a large SWAPO base in Angola, successfully capturing it. The book includes training procedures / methods, operational stories, and many other information, such as parades, barracks, and some private stories.
Soft cover , A4 size, 336 pages. Approx. 1000 black/white photos.
We Conquer from Above: The History of 1 Parachute Battalion 1961-1991 - Paul Els


Parabats on the Border: The Combat War Diary of Bravo Company, 1 Para Bn, 1977 - Edited by Paul Matthysen and Marc Norman
Bravo Company spent a very "busy" 124 days fighting and patrolling against SWAPO on the Border in SWA. This book is a facsimile of the entire book - a diary. In the diary are: Daily reports, "Contact" and "Follow Up" reports which formed part of the de-briefing sessions after the Paras returned from a Patrol or a fire fight with SWAPO, Bravo Company Parabat Training course photos, Names and photos of members of Bravo Company, Maps of the operational area. All Afrikaans documents have now been translated into English and many previously unpublished photos of the Parabats on the Border have been included. If you served on the Border or would like to know what it was like, then this book will defintely bring back many memories or will give the reader who did not "serve" an idea of what it was like in the Army during the war.
Available in two editions:-
Standard Edition - 2010. Stiff Card Cover, Large and oversized high gloss paper, 348 Pages. Illustrated throughout, B/W photos.
Limited Edition - 2010. Leatherbound with slipcase, limited to 150 copies. Large and oversized high gloss paper, 348 Pages. Illustrated throughout, colour photos.
Parabats on the Border: The Combat War Diary of Bravo Company, 1 Para Bn, 1977 - Edited by Paul Matthysen and Marc Norman


Parabat: A Guide to South African Airborne Units (Volume 1 & 2) - Paul Matthysen and Marc Norman

Together the 2 volumes contains the precise history of all the parabat units. It also contains the list of the commanding officers, and covers training and selection, border duties, badges, insignia and stable belts.
Volume 1 deals with a brief history of the different airborne units that have served within the army. The second half of Volume 1 as well as Volume 2 deals with the collecting aspect of the Parabats. Full colour pictures showing all known variants (to the authors) are illustrated in crisp clear photographs.
Sept 2010 / Jan 2011. Stiff Card Cover, Size A4, Gloss Paper, 311 Pages, illustrated throughout in colour.
Parabat: A Guide to South African Airborne Units (Volume 1) - Paul Matthysen and Marc Norman


1 Parachute Battalion 1986: 25 Year Annual

This is a facsimile of the actual Annual year book as given to the Parabats in 1986. Includes many period photos taken in the Camp at the time.
Soft cover, 130 pages (glossy paper), illustrated throughout.
1 Parachute Battalion 1986: 25 Year Annual


We Conquer from Above: 1 Parachute Battalion - Paul Els

The story of the South African 1 Parachute Battalion (popularly known as "Parabats") from inception in 1960 up to 1991. In 1966, units of 1 Parachute Battalion first participated in operations as part of the South African Border War in South-West Africa (now Namibia). This involvement was eventually to last for more than twenty years. This battalion also participated in South Africa's first major airborne operation in 1978 - 'Operation Reindeer' - the Battle of Cassinga, where they, together with other battalions attacked a large SWAPO base in Angola, successfully capturing it. The book includes training procedures / methods, operational stories, and many other information, such as parades, barracks, and some private stories.
Soft cover , A4 size, 336 pages. Approx. 1000 black/white photos of which most have not been published before.
We Conquer from Above: 1 Parachute Battalion - Paul Els


19 with a Bullet: A South African Paratrooper in Angola - Granger Korff
A fast-moving, action-packed account of Granger Korff’s two years’ service during 1980/81 with 1 Parachute Battalion at the height of the South African ‘bush war’ in South West Africa (Namibia) and Angola. Apart from the ‘standard’ counter-insurgency activities of Fireforce operations, ambushing and patrols, to contact and destroy SWAPO guerrillas, he was involved in several massive South African Defence Force (SADF) conventional cross-border operations, such as Protea, Daisy and Carnation, into Angola to take on FAPLA (Angolan MPLA troops) and their Cuban and Soviet allies.

19 with a Bullet: A South African Paratrooper in Angola - Granger Korff

Eagle Strike: The Story of the controversial airborne assault on Cassinga 1978 - Colonel Jan Breytenbach
Written by the highest decorated soldier in the South African Defence Force and author of several top class military books. Founder of top South African elite army units - the SA Special Forces (Recces), 32 Battalion, 44 Parachute Brigade, SA Guerrilla School, and the SA Pathfinders (The Philistines).
This is not only an autobiography but also a comprehensive journal of one of the greatest airborne assaults ever mounted in Africa. Colonel Jan Breytenbach planned, jumped in and led the paratroopers into the Battle of Cassinga in Angola with total commitment, superb strategy and leadership ability that has made him legendary in military circles worldwide. The book is lavishly illustrated with some 60 colour photographs, detailed map overlays and to crown it all, both the full Fit Chute lists as well as Colonel Breytenbach's original 20 page handwritten battle orders that he wrote at De Brug on 28 April 1978! There are numerous appendices that should further assist historians and students of military history.
Eagle Strike: The Story of the controversial airborne assault on Cassinga 1978 - Colonel Jan Breytenbach


Parabat - Matthew Paul
This book offers the reader a personalised history of the adventures of those men in the South African Defence Force who used to be known as the Parabats. Their experiences are recorded in three historical ‘war epochs’ - the border wars in Southern Africa, the township wars, and finally, the military intervention in Lesotho. In the course of countless interviews with the author, these men relate their experiences in their own words. Though every effort has been made to verify the details provided in various accounts, this does not pretend to be an official history.
Parabat - Matthew Paul