Boyd in South Africa?

As far as I know, Boyd never made it to South Africa, but a recent book describes how the ideas of maneuver warfare were used by its forces in their highly irregular “border war” (1966 – 1990).  I have not read the book, but here is a recommendation by a colleague who is familiar with some of its primary participants.

If any of you would like to write a review, please contact me.

Maneuver Warfare in Southern Africa
Book recommendation by Morgan Norval*

Speaking of maneuver war, I want to direct your attention to a recent book titled, Mobile Warfare For Africa: On The Successful Conduct Of Wars In Africa And Beyond–Lessons Learned From The South African Border War by Roland De Vries, Camille Burger and Willem Steenkamp. The book explores Lind’s 4th Generation War concept, Boyd’s OODA loop, and utilizing the indirect approach. In fact the book is basically a text on mobile/maneuver war based on its very successful use by the old South African Defense Force. The book also has over a dozen case studies on the subject. The book also comes with a separate atlas which provides maps, illustrations and photos–including three of mine–to help understand the concepts advocated by the book.

I am familiar and friends with two of the authors–De Vries and Steenkamp. Roland was on the SA Army team that designed their successful infantry fighting vehicle–the Ratel series. [Ratel is Afrikaans for the honey badger animal–a nasty critter to say the least]. He also commanded the combined brigade, 61 Mech, during Operation Protea. He also was the main force as a colonel in establishing the South African Battle School, similar to our 29 Palms and Fort Irwin. He was known as the South African Rommel. He is a retired Maj. Gen. and lectures every year at Australian defense facilities. In short, he is steeped in mobile/maneuver warfare.

Willem Steenkamp is a retired Citizen Force infantry major–similar to our active reserve–and was a former defense correspondent for the Cape Times newspaper. He has authored numerous books include many on the South African Border War–the 23-year battle with the South West People’s Organization [SWAPO] in what is now Namibia and that also spilled over into southern Angola.

I don’t know Camille Burger, but it appears his expertise is cartography and photography.

All being said, I think readers of this blog will find the book and its corresponding atlas of great interest, and I can’t recommend them strongly enough.


Mobile Warfare For Africa is available on Amazon

*Morgan Norval is a former Marine and currently Executive Director of the Selous Foundation. He was embedded with various SADF units during the South African Border war during the mid to late 1980’s as a freelance writer for Soldier of Fortune and similar magazines. He has authored four books on the area as well.

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