Small Team Missions Behind Enemy Lines

Koos Stadler

Gripping first-hand account of the combat operations and life of a member of the secretive and elite South African Special Forces, known as ‘Recces'.
Date Published :
July 2021
Publisher :
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Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781636240480
Pages : 384
Dimensions : 8.3 X 5.4 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order
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A gripping first-hand account of the combat operations and life of a member of the secretive and elite South African Special Forces, known as ‘Recces’.

South African Special Forces, known as the ‘Recces’, are an elite group of soldiers that few can aspire to join. Shrouded in secrecy due to the covert nature of their work, the legendary Recces have long fascinated, but little is known about how they operate. Now one of this select band has written a tell-all book about the extraordinary missions he embarked on and the nail-biting action he experienced in the Border War.

Shortly after passing the infamously grueling Special Forces selection course in the early 1980s, Koos Stadler joined the so-called Small Teams group at 5 Reconnaissance Regiment. This sub-unit was made up of two-man teams and was responsible for numerous secret and highly dangerous missions deep behind enemy lines.

With only one other team member, Stadler was sent to blow up railway lines and enemy fighter jets in the south of Angola. As he crawled in and out of enemy-infested territory, he stared death in the face many times.

About The Author

Koos Stadler has been a career officer in the South African National Defence Force for more than 30 years. Twenty-four of these he served in the elite South African Special Forces, better known as the “Recces” - spending 10 years in active service during the long drawn-out guerilla war against the then South West Africa Peoples’ Organisation (SWAPO) on the border between Namibia and Angola. Stadler conducted many exceptionally sensitive missions, often facing extreme conditions of hunger, thirst, loneliness and danger. Fear was a constant companion and Stadler does not shy away from acknowledging this and sharing his innermost thoughts in the pages of Recce. He ended his career on a high note during a 4-year tenure as Defence Attaché to Saudi Arabia where he spent much of his time exploring the desert. During a 200 km solo hike through the Empty Quarter, one of the most barren stretches of sand on earth, he relived his small teams experiences and in his own words “buried the last of his fears in the sand”.


Author’s note
List of abbreviations

1. Target
2. Boy Adventurer
3. The Seed is Sown

Part 2: The Bushmen
1. Into the Unknown
2. Bush Baptism
3. Brothers in Arms
4. First Small Team Ventures
5. The Realities of War: Fighting Patrols into Angola
6. Operation Daisy, November 1981
7. End of an Era

Part 3: Special Forces
1. Special Forces Selection and Training
2. Special Forces Training Cycle
3. First Special Forces Operations
4. 51 Reconnaissance Commando

Part 4: Small Teams
1. Into the Fray
2. Operation Cerberus, September 1985
3. Operation Killarney, December 1985 to January 1986
4. Operation Caudad, May 1986
5. Operation Colosseum, October-November 1986
6. Operation Abduct 1, January-February 1987
7. Operation Angel, August 1987
8. Facing Fear
9. Three Crosses at Lubango: Operation Abduct 2, November-December 1987



“This book is highly recommended and should be of interest to anyone interested in Special Forces operations, both in the African context and in other parts of the world. From a training and operational perspective, there is much food for thought in this publication.”

- Insight on Africa

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