I do like talking to readers. Those who take the time to write a short note to say thank you are always appreciated by me. They come up with interesting ideas and often ask questions I would gladly answer if possible. This past week I had an interesting note. The reader flatly stated that the GMJ Series is restoring the pride the Afrikaner once had before his leaders turned out to be wankers of note.
I read the note twice because this was news to me and you will not find racism in my books as many believe, wrongly, that every Afrikaner is a racist. What you will find is action, adventure, covert operations based on actual events and a desire to ask if it is fiction or not and no one reads a GMJ without learning history. This makes the books entire great reads for that kind of reader, the ones who loved Tom Clancy and John le Carre novels except these ones are not US or UK orientated, they are South African orientated. Their outlook is completely Afrikaner and hence they don’t like the Pommies, they hate the Leeches in Buckingham Palace whom they blame for the war crimes in 1901 where one third of all Afrikaner women and children died in concentration camps and they will never not say that the British Army caused it. And so one Winston Churchill is exposed as not nearly as brilliant as the world believe he is. Such statements, even if true, are bound to rile a few people but not the Afrikaner who will applaud. And then the characters fancy themselves with a long history of counter insurgency and counter terrorism second to none and better than anything anywhere in military history. I suppose it is such themes and outlooks which caused the comment which took me by surprise.
When I was young I stopped reading Afrikaans or anything to do with Afrikaner simply because I found the books terrible. You always had the old sob story written, my word, please feel sorry for me. A farmer, drought, a child outside wedlock, a lost young man in the evil city and so it went on until I wanted to shout, this is NOT the Afrikaner! What utter crap and what a strange desire to do what? I don’t know actually; I just knew this is wrong! This is not the view I had of my people. I saw the Afrikaner as proud, scientifically advanced people, not backward farmers unable to read or write and lived to hate black people. This is pointed out in the GMJ books, the many fronts where the Afrikaner led the world and is still leading in military hardware. What was achieved in 1974 took the Americans only 30 years to catch up (MRAP), the Kukri-helmet aiming system, 1980s already and so I go on and on and I am sure, surprised the hell out of many. And yes, they, the characters are ex-South African Special Forces and I mention the statistics in every book, 482 men qualified over forty years, 100 000 tried and in Africa, you get no better. And believe you me, I can back up whatever I write with historical facts. I know what I am talking about when it comes to this subject.
Perhaps I did inject some pride as the reader suggested. After all, I am one myself and able to speak better Afrikaans than English and I wanted the world to understand what is happening here politically. How far I succeeded is impossible to judge, the books are only now hitting more and more readers but I can tell you this, they are loyal readers. If they read one GMJ, they want the others too and although the books can be read separately, they are deliberately written like that, they do have constant themes. The characters are Christian orientated and fiercely so, they don’t hold any other faith in much regard and they will kill whoever insults them. The Afrikaner is not, traditionally, a fellow who turns the cheek as happened in the last twenty years, he strikes first or strike back and he wins. The South African Army last lost a battel at Tobruk in 1942 and since then chased everyone away (it is in the books). Another theme, the characters are led by a girl, a woman in her forties and she is something else. A farm girl turned spy turned covert operator able to do whatever the lads can do, twice as good and she is not afraid of kicking shins to get attention, shooting whoever needs shooting, blowing up things and punching Pommies when needed. And she wins, she always wins and the lads, tough men all them, listen closely when she commands and she does this without losing any of her charms as a woman. So I was not surprised when some said I wrote “chick” books. That may well be true but they are real, they are based on actual operations and they read like an autobiography mixed with history and historical facts.
So did they restore the Afrikaner’s pride? Ask me again in twenty years. The story is long not over. I like such comments, keep it coming.
The idea of the Royal Air Force now joining, officially, the bombardment against ISIS is thought-provoking as we discussed the aircraft type they are using in the recently published GMJ Book 15, Code Name Blue Tang. Let me quote where this aircraft comes from:
“History will show you that the Panavia Tornado was jointly developed by Italy, the UK, and West Germany. It was first flown way back in 1974. It has different variants, from the IDS (interdictor / strike) fighter-bomber to suppress the enemy air defences Tornado ECR (for electronic combat / reconnaissance) and the Tornado ADV (air defence variant) interceptors. Of all of them the IDS fighter-bomber model won the most fame or lack of it in my eyes. During the First Gulf War they were shot out of the sky and suffered more losses than any other Coalition aircraft. The first British aircraft to be lost was a Tornado and within a few days they had to be withdrawn and used for easier missions.
The official reason for the withdrawal was that they accomplished what they had to – Wild Weasel strikes against anti-aircraft sites. The official reason is crap; in the end the US stealth bombers did what the Tornadoes failed to do. In other words, failure with a capital F. I listened to experienced fighter pilots discussing this calamity and they were from both sides of the Iron Curtain making their views interesting enough to write a report to Angelique about it.
In simple terms they claimed that the Panavia Aircraft GmbH), a tri-national consortium consisting of British Aerospace, MBB of West Germany and Aeritalia of Italy had not incorporated the lessons of the USAF in North Vietnam and thought very wrongly that sheer speed and gutsy flying on a very low level would dodge missiles and anti-aircraft guns. They were sadly mistaken. It did not work in North Vietnam, it did not work in Angola and it did not work in the Gulf War. Despite this setback no less than 992 aircraft were built and they constantly updated. The Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) became the only export operator of the Tornado and the airframe is expected to fly up to 2025, fifty years after its first flight. This proved to me, again, that the West had not really had a chance to test their weapons themselves against First World countries since 1945. The Israeli versus Arab conflicts cannot, in any terms, be said to be First World conflicts, not with less than good pilots on the Arab side. Nor was our own Angolan Experience First World although, in all the conflicts mentioned, the latest Soviet Union equipment were encountered and destroyed. Yet, no First World country had fought against another First World since World War Two. Korea was not, it was against the North Koreans and Chinese, Vietnam was not, the Gulf Wars were not.
There will be a gnashing of teeth in any future conflict between First World countries. Take for instance night vision, something the First World Armies are so proud of for reasons I don’t get. It is only an advantage if your enemy don’t have their own night vision and your likely enemies, Russia & China, have night vision and good night vision at that. Where is your advantage now? And yet I never see or hear about training missions for such events, it is always “we have the night vision advantage!” Mate, you don’t. You better start thinking what will happen when you meet with professional soldiers, airman and sailors every bit as good as you and led by non-liberal politicians very willing to take losses. War is not as Hollywood says it is, you always suffer losses and you always have to adapt, no war plan ever survives the first shot and the opposition has a nasty habit of changing the rules. They have been watching you for decades and they don’t like you much.”
Of course, I am entitled to my opinions, rightly or wrongly but what is fact is that the RAF can supply six Tornadoes for this campaign (a joke of epic proportions when you see what the rest are supplying). That is how far the UK is reduced and it is a tragedy. A proud nation, despite my comments of their war crimes during the Second Anglo Boer War, reduced to what? Let me explain - according to intelligence analysts about 80% of all foreign fighters for ISIS holds British passports! The once proud Royal Navy has to go to the Americans now to relearn how to fly and fight with an aircraft carrier and that is only when the new carriers are operational, years in the future, and with American equipment too! They lost the skills of large carriers in the 1970s already. Then we have the UK nuclear deterrent in the few remaining ballistic submarines, ah, yes, American equipment too! And yet once, a long time ago, British engineers were reckoned to be the best in the world. They still are smart and you find them all over the world, working for Chinese and other companies and doing excellent work. You have to wonder, what went wrong with the Pommies? It is sad. What will this pinprick help them? Nothing, they will experience more 2005 Tube bombings now and they are showing to the world they lack leadership. Even the arch liar Winston Churchill did better than this, second time around, Suez Fiasco, the 1953 (illegal) overthrow of Iran etc. Six Tornadoes are not going to make any difference.
This book, Code Name Blue Tang, GMJ 15, is special to me as I wrote it with the help of my late wife who knew everything about the McDonnell Douglas F18 Super Hornet and many other aircraft, their systems and what they can do or not do. In life we had long discussions – we never argued – she was too smart to argue with, what will happen if they ever clash with the South African SAAB Gripen JAS39 and in this book, we take it further and find out.
It is known in South Africa, if not the rest of the world, that in the 1990s and later, the South African Air Force Cheetah C (a Mirage derivate based on the Israeli Kfir) went up against the Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle and the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon and won the training engagements. This caused shockwaves and at first she flatly refused to believe me and I am sure many other readers will not. But do a bit of research and you will find I am correct, the Cheetahs of 2 Squadron got the upper hand.
In the meantime, the Gripen JAS39 appeared and it will shoot down any Super Hornet if it can get close. In all my GMJ Books I say the above and I had some inquiries why I was so sure of my facts. Well, you will have to read Code Name Blue Tang, all 338 pages to understand why. Essentially, and without revealing too much, in the book Angelique set up such a dogfight. Yes, the Gripen JAS39, armed with the IRIS-T and V3E Agile Darter short range infrared missiles, takes on Spanish Air Force Super Hornets at the Overberg Missile Testing Range. There are strong rumours in real life, that this happened in 2009, and the Gripens won. So in the book we looked closely at ACM (air combat manoeuvres – dogfighting) as well as Colonel John Boyd’s Energy-Mass Theory on which all modern fighter jets and ACM is based. It is, as you can expect, one hell of a good story and something of a “Top Gun” in paper or e-publishing. It is technically correct and in a language we mortals can understand (I can see my late wife smiling now, she understood the technical parts much better than me, I had to hang on grimly as she explained patiently enough). As with all GMJ Books there are twists and turns to the plot and a surprise ending. You should know by now that Angelique Dawson does not do things half way or reveal everything to the story teller, her future husband and soul, Major Geoffrey Foxtrot. And yes, Angelique now knows she is in love with him.
All GMJ Books are written to honour my late wife but this one will stand out, it is a love story too and I very happy with it. I hope you will like it as it is worth your time to read it, you will walk away with a new understanding of world politics, dogfighting and what is known as BVR or beyond visual range missiles.
George M James is a pseudo name for the author and used for security reasons. He is an expert on counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency operations in sub-Saharan Africa, a military historian and published author of more than 50 books. In the GMJ Series, you will learn about Covert Operations, Special Forces techniques, current political analyses and military history not known outside the select few. Every GMJ Book is based on historical fact and often what is revealed in a GMJ Book is published by the mainstream media a short while later. Many of the GMJ Books are used as training material by Police Forces (SWAT) across the world. Note please that GMJ does not claim to have served in South African Army or Police Special Forces.