Before there was ISIS, before 9/11, and before Syria, Libya, Niger, etc., there was the Border War in Southern Africa (1966 – 1989).
I’m very excited about this book. Unlike so many recent manuals on counterinsurgency warfare, this one was not written by the losers (to quote an observation by Martin van Creveld). Drawing on their own experiences, tempered by the events of the intervening three decades, two of its participants have written a nearly 400 page examination of this conflict, which presaged many of our experiences in the Middle East. What we could have learned …
It is a weighty tome, though, so it will be a while before I can post a complete review. In the meantime, from what I’ve seen skimming the volume and its accompanying atlas, and carefully reading the first three chapters, I can recommend it to readers of this blog. And there’s even an OODA loop.
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. Continue reading