Books on the South African Special Forces 'The Recces'.
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 1961, South Africa's first elite forces started with the formation of the Parabats. 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. . The South African Special Forces Brigade (popularly known as Recces), established in 1972, then became the main Special Forces unit of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). This Regiment, was established to perform deep penetration and long range reconnaissance for the SADF. This unit was highly skilled and thier role was very different from the Parabats. These reconnaissance soldiers ("Recce" for short) were proficient in small group unconventional operations by sea, land and air, as well as urban and hostage situations of various kinds.

Below is a list of the current books now available from us, in no particular order (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 that should be listed on this site, please let us know.





Recce: A Collector's Guide to the History of the South African Special Forces - P. Matthysen, M. Kalkwarf & M. Huxtable
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.
Recce: A Collector's Guide to the History of the South African Special Forces - P. Matthysen, M. Kalkwarf & M. Huxtable


A Greater Share of Honour: The Memoirs of a Recce Officer - Jack Greef
As a young Staff Sergeant in South Africa's special forces '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: The Memoirs of a Recce Officer - Jack Greef

Special Forces "Jam Stealer" - Peet Coetzee (Also available in Afrikaans 'Verkennings Kommando's: Ons Vergeet Nie')
Peet served in the South African Defence Force (SADF) for 33 years, commencing with border duties in 1968 till SADF ended its role in Namibia in 1994. Read about this first ever to be told intelligence support role that he filled, earning him a place to serve with South Africa's elite special forces - The Recces. Discover the role that Photo Interpreters played in SADF Operations such as Savannah, Sceptic, Askari, Kropduif (Eheke) and Reindeer (Cassinga). In one way or other, he had insight in the majority of the cross border operations that SADF conducted in those days. The highlight of his military career was his serving 12 years in the Intelligence Support group for the Recces. His specialised Photo Interpretation service was specifically directed in aiding the Small Team Operators. (STO's is covered in two South African Special Forces books - "A Greater Share of Honour" & "A Journey without Boundaries" - both available on this website)

Special Forces "Jam Stealer" - Peet Coetzee - Verkennings Kommando's: Ons Vergeet Nie

Journey Without Boundaries - Andre Diedericks
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. The author gained early experience in "small team reconnaissance" whislt with the SA's special forces '5 Recce' attached to the Rhodesian SAS as Delta Squadron, in Rhodesia 1978-79, and then went on to develop the concept further with ex-Rhodesian SAS and Selous Scouts members in SA.
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.
Journey Without Boundaries - Andre Diedericks

We Fear Naught but God: The story of the SA Special Forces "The Recces" - Paul Els
New revised and updated edition 2009.
The story of the elite 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. This is no gung-ho account, but rather a loving compiled series of accounts put together by the author who was there from the inception of this fine regiment. This is about the "operators", the men of the Recces, their exploits in Angola, SWA/Namibia and other southern africa territories. The original and hard-to-get, much sought after publication has been reworked with additional information, updates, corrections plus many new photographs..
The original and hard-to-get much sought after publication has been completely reworked with more information, updates, corrections and new photographs.

We Fear Naught but God: The story of the SA Special Forces "The Recces" - Paul Els


The Silent War: South African Recce operations 1969-1994 - Peter Stiff
This book covers South African military operations during the apartheid years. It includes the Recces manning and staffing Rhodesia's 'D' Squadron SAS, and, after the fall of Rhodesia, how the Rhodesian SAS and Selous Scouts were re-formed as Recce units in South Africa. This amazing book tells not only the story of South Africa's special elite forces, it has also been described as the most important and frank history of South Africa itself during the apartheid years. It is also the most illuminating book on special forces published anywhere. Not only does Stiff deal with military operations but he also explains the political dynamics that prompted them.

The Silent War: South African Recce operations 1969-1994 - Peter Stiff