South African Armoured Vehicles - A History of Innovation and Excellence

Published on
January 27, 2021
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Dr. Dewald Venter
Softcover, 112 pages with 145 b/w & 8 color photos, 23 color profiles, 1 b/w map, 6 tables
Other Publication Information
Softcover, 112 pages with 145 b/w & 8 color photos, 23 color profiles, 1 b/w map, 6 tables
Product / Stock #
Africa@War Series
Company: Helion & Company - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Casemate UK - Website: Visit Site
Product Picture

From the publisher’s website:

During the Cold War, Africa became a prime location for proxy wars between the East and the West. Against the backdrop of a steep rise in liberation movements backed by Eastern Bloc communist countries such as Cuba and the Soviet Union, southern Africa saw one of the most intense wars ever fought on the continent...

South African Armour: A history of necessity and innovation, takes an in-depth look at 13 iconic South African armoured vehicles. The development of each vehicle is rolled out in the form of a breakdown of their main features, layout and design, equipment, capabilities, variants and service experiences. Illustrated by over 100 photographs and more than two dozen custom-drawn colour profiles, this volume provides an exclusive and indispensable source of reference.

What’s Inside

This is an excellent compact volume on various armoured vehicles employed by the SADF and later South African National Defense Force (SANDF). After a brief section on the author’s acknowledgements and notes and foreword, we get into the sections that outline each vehicle. Each chapter focuses on a particular vehicle and its design characteristics. These include mobility, endurance and logistics, vehicle layout, armament, fire control systems, and protection. The vehicle range, speed, and capacities are also covered. From there, the reader gets a glimpse of variants of the vehicle, combat actions, and conclusions which often include accounts from those who crewed them. The chapters are as follows:

  1. Eland Armoured Car
  2. Buffel Mine Protected Vehicle
  3. Ratel Infantry Combat Vehicle
  4. Casspir Mine Protected Vehicle
  5. G6 Rhino Self-Propelled Howitzer Vehicle
  6. Bateleur Multiple Rocket Launcher
  7. Olifant Mk1A Main Battle Tank
  8. Olifant Mk1B Main Battle Tank
  9. Olifant Mk2 Main Battle Tank
  10. Tank Technology Demonstrator
  11. Rooikat Armoured Car
  12. Mamba Armoured Personnel Carrier
  13. Badger Infantry Combat Vehicle

Each section is concise and informative and filled with great photographs of the vehicles, crews, and in-combat scenes showing them squaring off against their opponents in the Border War. In some cases, we get a view of the interior crew positions. This book would have been invaluable to me when I was building Takom’s G6 Rhino a couple years back. The color plates include side profiles of the vehicles, as well as some color photos of the vehicles in action during training and combat. A thorough bibliography concludes the book.


This is an excellent book for those interested in South African armor-- whether it be modelers or just armor and military enthusiasts. The book does an excellent job of presenting the information and making it easy to understand and enjoyable to read. There are some excellent reference photos for those looking to trick out their interiors, or just searching for an interesting way to present their project. Most of the vehicles in the book have been kitted in some way or form- so it makes it a must-have book.

My thanks go to Helion & Company, Casemate Publishers, and IPMS-USA for the review sample.


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