Fact file: 1 SA Infantry Battalion
Written by Leon Engelbrecht, Monday, 01 March 2010
Established as 1 SA Infantry Training Battalion1 at Oudtshoorn (hence the ostrich feathers on the unit insignia) on January 26, 19512, the unit became part of the infantry corps with its establishment in January 1954. The unit was reconstituted as 1 SA Infantry Battalion in November 1967 and moved to its current base at Tempe3, Bloemfontein, in November 1973.
The unit mechanised in 1976 and the first Ratel ICV course was presented by then Major Roland de Vries4. Training commenced the next year and in 1978 the unit took part in Operation Reindeer. The unit later had elements involved in operations Sceptic, Protea, Daisy, Askari and Moduler. LT JJ du Toit and LCPL AT Rutherford won Honoris Crux during Sceptic and CPL AD Burgers deserved the same after Protea. Mechanised leader training at 1 SAI commenced in 1979.
Current role: Mechanised infantry.
Current base: Tempe, Bloemfontein
Battle honours: none
Motto: Sevire Parati (Ready to serve).
1 Compiled from personal knowledge, various official publications and Major G Tylden’s The Armed Forces of South Africa, City of Johannesburg Africana Museum Frank Connock Publication No 2, Johannesburg, 1954. Note that there is many a dispute between sources and, in particular, the Reserve regiments, as to seniority. Artillery and air defence unit details also drawn from LTC CJ Nöthling (editor), Ultima Ratio Regum, Artillery History of South Africa, Military Information Bureau, Pretoria, 1987.
2 In 1953, the unit consisted of a headquarters, A Coy, 1 SAI; 12 Field Battery, 4 Field Regiment (Artillery); C Squadron, 1 SSB (Armour); C Troop, 16 Field Squadron (Engineers); A Troop, 10 Armoured Brigade Signal Squadron; 60 Field Workshop;, and a supply & transport company. The organogram reflects a laudable attempt at all-arms training, in line with the slogan of “train and organise as you expect to fight. The approach was doubtless influenced by the experience of World War Two. The battalion became an infantry-only unit in July 1961, reflecting a change in priority from preparing for combat to one reflecting administrative convenience, always preferred by those who have not seen battle.
3 Tempe had been a British garrison during the 1899-1902 Anglo Boer War.
4 He retired in c2001 as deputy chief of the Army. In 1987 he published a book, Mobile Warfare, A Southern African perspective.
Top stories this week
- Another three Chinese fishing trawlers escorted into a SA port
- Navy plays major role in impounding 600 tons of squid and other fish as well as foreign trawlers
- Shoke slams Tempe’s sleeping sentries
- UK defence companies seeking partnerships in South Africa
- Landward forces will be well represented at this year’s AAD
- Indonesia to buy Airbus A400M military transport planes: minister
- Gallery: SAAF Museum air show 2016
- D-day for VIP aircraft lease is tomorrow
- Air Côte D’Ivoire orders two A320neos and two A320s
- Lockheed Martin still sees the C-130J as being the solution to SAAF airlift capacity
- All systems go for 2016 SAAF Museum air show
- SA Army under strength; personnel cuts needed elsewhere in SANDF - expert
- SAAF to replace flypasts with tow-pasts
- SAAF confirms reactivation of 10 Squadron
- Oryx hit by small arms fire in DRC – no injuries
Thales to build "Cyber Range", cyber security training, testing facility for Dutch Defence Cyber Command
by Thales, 23 May 2016
The cyber security training and testing facility for the Dutch Defence Cyber Command will be used to train its personnel.
Saab unveils first Gripen E
by Saab, 16 May 2016
The launch of the Gripen E test aircraft will take place at Saab's facilities in Linköping.
Paramount Group expands innovative industrial partnerships throughout Middle East
by Paramount Group, 12 May 2016
The African defence company and Jordanian partners have started the production of armoured fighting vehicles in Jordan.