Heaton-Lewis Books

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Four War Boer: The Century and Life of Pieter Arnoldus Krueler

Boer Commandos

Pieter Arnoldus Krueler age 12. In two years he would be a Boer Commando

Piet Krueler started his life as a warrior at age 14 during the 2nd Anglo-Boer War from 1899-1903. He later served as an Askari commander in East Africa during World War I serving with the Germans under Lt. Gen. Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck, earning an Iron Cross 2nd Class.

                                                 Video on Youtube regarding Lettow-Vorbeck


Lt. Gen. Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck upon his return to Berlin after the war was over. He had several great distinctions: 1-He led the first integrated black and white military force in modern military history. 2-He never lost a battle of significance, and inflicted casualties against his losses at 5-1. 3-He allowed Pieter Krueler to create a survival school and teach the German troops on guerrilla fighting. This experience would be later manifested in the creation of several African Special Forces units decades later, such as the Selous Scouts and 32 Bushmen. After WW I Lettow-Vorbeck was black listed as one of the most vocal anti national Socialists in Germany, and he denounced Hitler and the Nazis.

                                                Video on Youtube regarding African colonial troops


German Askari mercenaries led by Pieter Krueler during WW I. They would follow him on the longest infantry reconnaissance patrol in history, covering over 1300 miles through East Africa, the Congo, and Rhodesia. Most would never return.

Peter Krueler, the "Four War Boer" served a life in hell and had the stories to prove it. Now, the "Grandfather of Special Forces," speaks again in this fascinating adventure tome, one best read beneath the stars, by a campfire's flickering flame. 

Adam Makos, author of the New York Times bestseller, "A Higher Call"


Book Reviews


The amazing life of Pieter Krueler (1885-1986) provides a window into a full century of conflict such as one man rarely experiences. Four-War Boer traces Krueler's highly colorful life from the Second Boer War, where he first served as a 14-year-old scout, through his service in World War I with the German Army in East Africa, to the Spanish Civil War to World War II, this time with the Allies, and on into the latter part of the 20th century, when he served as a mercenary during the 1960s Congo Crisis.


Between both world wars Krueler worked as a gold miner, diamond miner, mercenary during the Spanish Civil War, and later a commando instructor in South Africa. He was a major character during the Congo Crisis in the 1960s, and was one of the men who helped create the concept of Special Forces of southern Africa, examples include primarily the Selous Scouts, even before they were given that name in honor of Frederick Selous.

Later, by this time in his eighties, he and others became trainers for many of the men who would form the nucleus of several elite units, including the Selous Scouts of Rhodesia, and later South African commandos. This biography of a most remarkable man and warrior is based on six years of historical research, and twenty-five years of poring through hard-to-find secondary and published primary sources as well as extensive interviews with Krueler himself.

Interviews with German officers and others who knew and worked with Krueler amply document the biography, adding first-person testimony and giving the work the immediacy of a memoir. Following the Boer defeat by the British, Krueler sided with the Germans during the East African Campaign. He also operated in the Belgian Congo where he led native African soldiers on extremely dangerous missions.

After WWI, Krueler's distrust of both the rising Fascist and Communist movements in Europe led him to volunteer as a mercenary during the Spanish Civil War, where he worked with the Pyrenees Basque movement. In World War II, he worked as a reserve officer instructor, and later as a coast watcher to guard the coast of South Africa from German incursion.

Krueler later served as a mercenary assisting Colonel Michael Hoare and his 5 Commando during the 1960s Congo Crisis, after serving South Africa training commandos. A chapter of this book is devoted to the formation of Rhodesia's highly elite Selous Scouts, along with highlights of several previously classified missions. This material includes a wealth of fascinating new information, and breaks the great secrecy surrounding Rhodesian and South African special operations, as unveiled through the experience of a man who was one of the founding fathers of counterinsurgency in Africa.

His life was a remarkable adventure, and the manuscript has been reviewed with supportive comments by warriors of several nations, including famous American warriors, who evaluated his life and experience.


Advance Praise from Warriors, Authors and Historians

"Here's a chance for an inside look at some of the most controversial periods of world military history from a unique perspective.  It's not often readers get a chance to mine first-hand observations from a warrior who fought in the Boer War as well as the Spanish Civil War. The insights are fascinating and the authors back them with solid period context.  This is no dry recitation of historical facts.  It's a powerful recounting of pivotal world events from an African perspective.  The detail recounted in chapters on Rhodesia and the famed Selous Scouts is encompassing and intriguing." 

Capt. Dale Dye USMC (Ret),

Warriors, Inc.    


Pieter Krueler was a warrior I have to admire. Whether he was fighting as an insurgent, or against insurgents, his perseverance, adaptability and ingenuity as one of the fathers of special operations is seen here in its genesis. I know of no one else who can match his unique and collective experience, such as the longest infantry reconnaissance patrol in history, over 1,300 miles. I would have readily followed him into battle, and dreaded the prospect of fighting against him. His ability to learn from his enemies, educate his allies, live off the land, adjust to the ever changing combat condition, and survive the harshest variable environments and battles Africa had to offer hallmark this man, and the proud legacy of those select few, the cream of the elite who would later become the Selous Scouts. This book is a must read by anyone who wears a uniform, leads men into battle, or plans on fighting against those who do not conform to conventional warfare methods. Outstanding!

Col. Robert Howard, United States Army (Ret)

United States Army Special Forces

Medal of Honor, Vietnam


While I never had to suffer the tribulations and challenges of the elite ground forces, I can look at this book as a tactical bible. Leading men into combat is the most challenging and noble of human endeavors, and Krueler did so without the benefit of formal training. He was bred for warfare. His guts and his inherent genius allowed him to survive, and keep his men alive, but his humanity comes through, which is perhaps the most honorable aspect of his legacy.

Brigadier General Robin Olds

United States Air Force (Ret.)


Krueler's story is one of high adventure, deadly incessant combat, and the evolution of warfare from cavalry to the nuclear age. His life as a warrior came full circle, from Boer commando as a boy to helping establish anti-communist special operations in Africa. A gripping tale, his prophecies regarding his own nation are chilling in retrospect. A must read for all military leaders.

Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston

United States Marine Corps (Ret)

Medal of Honor, Vietnam


Four War Boer is the fascinating story of Pieter Krueler; a warrior in the truest sense of the word. From his service in the Boer War, to fighting with von Lettow in East Africa to fighting as a mercenary with "Mad" Mike Hoare in the Congo before training Rhodesia's famed Selous Scouts; Four-War Boer is essential reading for every serious military historian.

Andrew Lubin, author & defense analyst


Though Pieter Krueler may not be a household name his legacy of leadership, intense ground fighting, and valor under the most unforgiving conditions redefines the meaning of "guts." His life long tale of courage, sacrifice, and lessons learned should be woven into the curriculum at every level of command, from Platoon Leader to Division Commander. Krueler is indeed a special breed of man whose legacy will remain forged in the annals of military history. Simply put, Pieter Krueler is one of a kind.

Dr. Steve Greer, CSM

United States Army Special Forces (Ret.)


This is a must read for anyone leading men in combat or for those who ever wondered what close in combat was really like. Probably the best description of warfare that I have ever read and of the heroism that was demonstrated on the battlefield. Krueler was indeed one of a kind and to have one individual schooled in so many critical areas of combat makes him an example for all who may need to close with and due the hard fighting with an armed enemy.

Combat that is up close becomes very personal and there is no greater test of your fortitude, tenacity and ability to stand your ground. Krueler was not only a master of these traits but was able to teach these skills that are absolutely essential for winning the day. I cannot emphasize enough the lessons that are taught in this book and that must be mastered by Privates through Generals in order to be successful in the toughest tests you will face in a lifetime.

Jack Deichman

Lt Col  USMC (ret)

Silver Star Medal awardee  for the Battle of Dai Do in Viet Nam


A captivating story of a South African boy who came of age during the Boar War and went on to become a warrior. Pieter Krueler's story is the tale of a boy destined to make history during two world wars and conflicts in his beloved Africa.  Following his life is learning military history. This is one of those books that capture you in the very first pages. I could not put it down.  

Walter S. Zapotoczny Jr., SGM

U.S. Army Historian (Ret)

The Limited Edition

There will be a limited edition of only 50 books bearing the signatures of the authors and the following former Rhodesian Selous Scouts. All profits will be donated to the Selous Scouts Association. The Scouts who we hope to have signed are listed below:

Chris Gough, Rich Howe, Jim Schneeberger, Mark Forshaw, David Scott-Donelan, Clive Wood,  Ralph Hayes, John Davey,  Chris (Stretch) Ferreira and the great support lynchpin of the Scouts, the lovely Marianne Endicott. Also signing is Col. John Roberts (British Army) who wrote the foreword to the book.

Certificates and books will be shipped separately, so place your orders now. The books will be available starting in October 2013.

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