20 Battles - Searching For A South African Way Of War 1913-2013 (Paperback)

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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 crossborder 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.


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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 crossborder 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.

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