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Friday, 30 September 2016

The Black Beret: The History of South Africa's Armoured Forces, Volume 1: Beginnings to the Invasion of Madagascar 1942

The Black Beret: The History of South Africa's Armoured Forces, Volume 1: Beginnings to the Invasion of Madagascar 1942

Volume 1 of "The Black Beret" starts with the early history of South Africa and ends with the invasion of Madagascar by the South African Forces during WWII. This volume covers topics such as how armor came to the battlefield, the use of horses vs armored car in German South West Africa in 1915, the first steps to mechanization, the birth of the Tank Corps, and the deployment into East Africa through Abyssinia to Addis Abba during the early years of WWII. We next experience the reverses and victories of the desert campaign with the 4th Armored Car Company amongst others, fighting alongside the Desert Rats, Operation Crusader, the disaster at Tobruk, through the Gazala gallop and on to the victory at El Alamein. We meet the newly reconstituted SA Armored Corps training at Khatadba in Egypt for deployment in the Italian campaign with the famous South African 6th Armored Division, and we ride with the armor element that takes part in the invasion of Madagascar. The development of the various marks of South African armored reconnaissance cars are touched upon but will be discussed in more detail in a later volume. This is an important and overlooked story, one told by Willem Steenkamp in a rich and unique style, and drawing on a significant number of sources, ably supported by many photographs and maps.

The Black Beret: The History of South Africa's Armoured Forces. Volume 2: The Italian Campaign 1943-45 and Post-War South Africa 1946-1961