In Code Name Ndebele 14 we wanted to see if it is possible to rescue downed aircrew from within a city environment and not just any city, a hostile one like Mogadishu or Mosul in recent years. This is radically different from normal CSAR rescues (Combat Search and Rescue) taking place in rural areas and dealt with in Code Name One Alpha where we also saw how South African Army Armour functions in reinforced battalion size, using elan and speed to conquer whatever they encounter. A truly fascinating and frightening sight but only used in rural areas. In this book, the scenario is where the downed aircrew are either kept safe by locals, spies or paramilitary spies (called Assassins in GMJ Books) already inside the city. Or, conceivably the aircrew are held by the enemy after being captured and then they must be rescued in the same way as any other hostage rescue with the crucial difference that this is behind enemy lines. This happens in real life, if the pilot is not rescued he may be burned alive in a cage or be abused in other ways.
The first problem is establishing contact and deciding if it is worth trying to rescue the aircrew / hostages or not – something we discussed in detail in Code Name One Alpha, looking at history and the famous BAT 21 Bravo rescue of the Vietnam Era. Even if the attempt is authorised, the friendlies inside the city need help to get the aircrew out or rescued from captivity. How do you infiltrate the Special Forces Team without causing even more hostages? There is a way. We introduce you to what became known as the “Ndebele Approach” where three sections of an Army Special Forces platoon went in first, underwater using SDVs (Special Delivery Vehicles), launched from a surface warfare ship and not a submarine as could have been done but was not for reasons that will become clear inside the book. The second and more exciting infiltration takes place by way of a HAHO (High Altitude, High Opening) parachute drop from 33,000 feet which is as high as that particular C-130 Hercules could go. The men are forty miles seawards from the enemy city (in the exercise the harbour city of East London on South Africa’s Indian Ocean coast was used), floating in. The reasons for using this method is also discussed in the book, the infiltration concept will not work everywhere because of radar and sonar coverage. The men then land on drop zones prepared by the spies already inside the hostile city and this is where the uniqueness come in - they land on top of high-rise buildings and not on the ground where they can be seen by the locals and presumably killed on the spot. They do this in the middle of the night and it is dangerous. When the idea was first mentioned by Angelique Dawson, many experts stated flatly that although it can be done, technically, the idea is insane and will lead to mass casualties. They were wrong, not for the first time. GMJ readers will recall that she figured out a way to take a hostile warship sailing in open waters by stealth, not using a helicopter or rubber duck approach during Code Name Willow Bay, the so-called “Willow Bay Method” which is unique to South African Special Forces. She then proved the concept again during Code Name Caribbean, the counter-maritime terrorism book. Here she proved the “Ndebele 14” Approach in honour of Geelslang Peter Ndebele that led the jump with 14 other men. This was a book I enjoyed writing and I hope that you would enjoy reading.
Description: Spymaster extraordinaire, Angelique Dawson and her team are in the Eastern Cape, in the harbour city of East London, South Africa, conducting a training CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue) mission to liberate shot down pilots on the run or so she claims. For the purpose of the exercise, called Code Name Ndebele 14, the pilots are held inside a “hostile” city that must be covertly penetrated by Special Forces working with spies and agents already in place. Her bodyguard and later husband, Geoffrey Foxtrot and his friend, legendary Special Forces officer, Geelslang Peter Ndebele have their hands full to protect Angelique. She is not revealing the real reason behind the exercise, to summarily assassinate a naval spy she uncovered. They penetrate the city first by SDV (Special Delivery Vehicles), submerged and all the way up the Buffalo River which forms part of the harbour. The second infiltration takes place by way of a night HAHO (High Altitude, High Opening) parachute drop from 33,000 feet. The men then land on drop zones prepared by the spies inside the city on several high-rise buildings. A concept that became known as the “Ndebele Approach.” In the meantime, the counter-espionage desk, sworn enemies of Angelique, is tasked to find her and her teams and if so a clash will take place between the two groups. As it is, they meet up during exfiltration phase... If you wish to read about Covert and Special Forces Operations in sub-Saharan Africa, the GMJ Books are the place to start. You will learn about covert operations, Special Forces techniques and military history not known outside the select few. Code Name Ndebele 14 is the 36th book of the GMJ Series.