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Forged in Battle: The Birth and Growth of 32 Battalion from former Enemies and Terrorists into Decorated Soldiers, Jan Breytenbach : book review

Volume 60, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



Colonel (retired) Jan Breytenbach is the author of a number of books about his role in the Border War. Forged in Battle is an account of how (the then commandant) Breytenbach transformed a motley crew of erstwhile MPLA and subsequently FNLA combatants into a disciplined fighting unit known as Bravo Company. In the process these soldiers switched their allegiance from Daniel Chipenda to Breytenbach and his fellow white South African Defence Force officers who trained and led them through a series of battles against FAPLA and Cuban forces from August to December 1975. This is the story of Battalion 32 before the unit adopted the symbol of the Buffalo and the motto "forged in battle". The metaphor of the blacksmith's forge might refer to the fashioning of Bravo Company's fighting prowess, but it could equally refer to its transition from bandits with shifting allegiances to soldiers loyal to the unit and its commanding officers.

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