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The Terrible Ones

The soldiers of 32 Battalion were so feared by their enemies that they were called ‘Os Terriveis’ – ‘The Terrible Ones’. Founded in utmost secrecy from the vanquished remnants of an Angolan rebel movement, they were forged into a highly effective fighting machine that took on guerrilla forces and conventional armies alike. Undefeated in 12 years of frontline battle, the ‘Buffalo Soldiers’ became the South African Army’s best combat unit since World War II.

         This comprehensive two-volume work chronicles the unit’s explosive history. Starting in the early 1960s, it covers events in Angola that would eventually result in the formation of 32 Battalion, and it ends in the 2000s, when the soldiers of the unit unknowingly betrayed themselves. It describes in detail the 117 documented military operations that 32 Battalion took part in from 1976 to 1993, explaining how they were planned and executed, and illustrating them with maps. It also provides personal recollections from former 32 Battalion members and their allies and enemies, vividly recreating the experience of what happened on the ground.

         The Terrible Ones provides a complete picture with new insights, drawing from thousands of pages of documents in the Department of Defence Documentation Centre that have only recently been declassified.


On this web page a brief overview of the content of each chapter will be given. To further enhance the content of the book the reader will be able to use this web page to obtain further information from the original research documents, maps and interviews used during research.

Chapter overview and documents 
About the Author
ISBN: 978 1 7702 3974
Format: 245 x 170mm
Extent: 1320 pp
Binding: Hard cover with dust jacket,
              contain in a slip case
Imprint: Zebra Press
Classification: Military History
BIC code: HBWS
Write to the author
32 Battalion
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The Terrible Ones Collection
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