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Searching for a South African Way of War

by Evert Kleynhans and David Brock Katz


Stand the chance to WIN a copy of this book “20 battles, searching for a South African Way of War”
written by Evert Kleynhans and David Brock Katz


Favouring manoeuvre over attrition, and often punching above their weight, South African soldiers have become known for their tenacity, dash and ability to defy the odds. Their unique directive command style has also helped them to excel in defining battles and operations, from the campaign in German South West Africa in 1915 to the cross-border operations in Angola during the Border War.

In 20 Battles, military historians Evert Kleynhans and David Brock Katz investigate the evolution of South Africa’s armed forces over a century. They track the evolution of the doctrine and structure of the defence force, rediscovering historical continuity and the lessons learned in past battles and operations.

What is clear is that when South African soldiers have the freedom to operate according to their manoeuvre doctrine, such as in East Africa in 1916 and Southern Ethiopia in 1941, they can achieve stunning results. But when hemmed in by rigid doctrine and top-down command style, as at Delville Wood in 1916 and Tobruk in 1942, the results can be tragic. 

20 Battles combines both battlefield drama and crisp analysis and will provide much-needed perspective on the South Africa way of war.


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Closing date for entries:  Friday 3 November 2023


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DR EVERT KLEYNHANS is a senior lecturer in the Department of Military History at the Faculty of Military Science at Stellenbosch University (SU). He is the author of Hitler’s Spies: Secret Agents and the Intelligence War in South Africa (2021) and The Naval War in South African Waters, 1939-1945 (2022). He is also the editor of Scientia Militaria: South African Journal of Military Studies.
DR DAVID BROCK KATZ is an author and historian, as well as a part-time lecturer and research fellow in the Department of Military History at the Faculty of Military Science at SU. Katz is also an active member of the Andrew Mlangeni Regiment. He is the author of South Africans vs Rommel (2019) and General Jan Smuts and his First World War in Africa: 1914-19-17 (2022).


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