South African Army
Republic of South Africa
The 1 Reconnaissance Commando was the first South African special forces unit, founded by General Fritz Loots - the founder of the South African Special Forces, and the first General Officer Commanding of the South African Special Forces. He appointed 12 qualified paratroopers (known as "The Dirty Dozen") as the founder members. Included in these 12 paratroopers was Jan Breytenbach, who was placed in command of the Founder Members by General Loots.
Major General Loots and the Chief of the Army, Lt. General Willem Louw realised the need for a South African Defence Force to have a special operations capability, but the Chief of the SADF, General Rudolph Hiemstra resisted. It was not until Admiral Hugo Biermann became Chief of the South African Defence Force in 1972 that the go-ahead was granted.
The unit was originally based at Oudtshoorn in the Cape Province, but was moved to Durban in 1974, where it was formally named 1 Reconnaissance Commando. In the early 1980s, the unit had less than 40 Recce's based at 1RR of which the majority were white. It was renamed 1 Reconnaissance Regiment in 1996, but was disbanded and integrated into 4 Reconnaissance Regiment and 5 Reconnaissance Regiment in 1997.