As the Crow Flies - My Bushman Experience with 31 Battalion, by Delville Linford

As the Crow Flies - My Bushman Experience with 31 Battalion, by Delville Linford

Published by Protea in 2015, 287 pages. Paperback (N6892)

Brand New Book

As a relatively recent military campaign, Operation Savannah entered the annals of South African military tradition four decades ago. Though there have been several books published about this ‘bare bones’ strike force that marched almost unimpeded a quarter the way across the African continent, few are aware of the significant role played during the course of these hostilities by a fragmented Bushman unit led by one of the most enigmatic personalities to emerge in uniform since the end of World War II.

Until now, Colonel Delville Linford has had very little to say about his role as commander of Combat Group Alpha, or of that played by his Bushmen soldiers. In this volume he allows us a peek under the covers, not only how this tiny combat force operated, but also many ‘behind the screens’ machinations which explain how the unit was formed.

Following the independence of Angola from Portugal, a significant segment of that country’s Bushman community crossed the border into what was then still South West Africa - Namibia today - and sought refuge with the South Africans. He goes on to tell us a lot about the Bushman people themselves: the nature of their society, tribal traditions, bush-craft, customs that have become ingrained with time, historical fears, life in the wild, tracking - as well as much else about a historical culture that goes back millennia.

A hallmark volume with an introduction by General Constand Viljoen, Colonel Linford offers us - for the first time - his own ‘warts and all’ report, not only of the legendary 31 Battalion but also of his career in the South African Army.