For his battlefield exploits and tactical astuteness, Roland de Vries has rightfully been called the “Rommel of the SADF.” In this forthright, warts-and-all but compassionate autobiography – crammed with fascinating military detail, yet unashamedly emotional – he recounts the fascinating story of the transformation of a small, colonial army into, pound-for-pound, the best fighting force on the planet. After assimilating the principles of such diverse military geniuses as Napoleon, Sun Tzu, Heinz Güderian and Boer general, Christiaan de Wet, he and a band of daring young commanders tossed aside military textbooks and developed their own doctrine of Mobile Warfare, South African-style.

De Vries’s career bracketed the 22-year Border War and is irrevocably interwoven with the machine he helped create – the incomparable Ratel Infantry Combat Vehicle – and his beloved regiment, the renowned 61 Mech, as they are channelled through the funnel of history towards a final, climactic showdown against overwhelming odds in the mud and dust of southern Angola near a nondescript village called Cuito Cuanavale…