The SA Army’s annual force preparation endeavour, Exercise Seboka enters the home stretch on Saturday when 43 SA Brigade puts all its allocated forces into simulated battle.
Units taking part in this year’s iteration deployed to the Chris Hani training area at the SA Army Combat Training Centre at Lohatlha in the Northern Cape as early as mid-August.
Unit training for the 5000 soldiers and 18 units deployed started in early September and continued to 28 September. Formation training started the next day and concludes tomorrow.
Seboka itself will take place from 11 to 15 October with an “open day” for the media on 16 October.
“During this time the infantry will be responsible for rear area protection tasks, defile drills, bridge crossing, ambushes, battalion column night attacks and mobile operations,” Major Merle Meyer, a spokeswoman for the SA Army Infantry Formation says.
The evolution then becomes instructional. From 17 to 29 October the units will take part in Exercise Parabellum, during which students on this year’s Junior Command and Staff Course at the SA Army College will practice their recently acquired knowledge.
Demobilisation will take place from October 29 to 31 and the units will return to their home bases from November 1.
Units currently deployed at Lohatlha include the motorised 5 South African Infantry Battalion (SAI Bn) from Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal and the mechanised 8 SAI Bn from Upington in the Northern Cape. Also in the field are elements of 1 SA Tank Regiment, armoured cars from 1 Special Service Battalion (SSB), artillery from 4 Artillery Regiment and anti aircraft artillery from 10 Air Defence Regiment.
They are supported by a maintenance unit, field workshop and signals troops; in addition to medics from the SA Military Health Service and SA Air Force elements. An SA Army spokesman says this year`s exercise will be supported by Denel CSH2A Rooivalk attack helicopters and BAE Systems Mk120 Hawk fighter-bombers in addition to Denel Oryx and AgustaWestland A108 medium and light utility helicopters.
Demonstrating the size of a military deployment, Meyer in a newsletter noted that 5 SAI was deploying 113 Casspir armoured personnel and weapon carriers and 41 echelon vehicles including logistics trucks, pantries, diesel and water bunkers, mobile showers and recovery vehicles. 8 SAI was deploying 107 Ratel infantry fighting vehicles along with 38 echelon vehicles.
Meyer noted that 8 SAI will remain at Lohatlha when other forces depart to continue with Exercise Sebetsa, a SA Army Armour Formation undertaking that will also include tanks and Rooikat armoured cars from 1 SSB.