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1 Special Service Battalion

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Active  1 May 1933 – present
Branch  South African Army
Garrison/HQ  Tempe
Country  South Africa
Type  Armoured
1 Special Service Battalion
Part of  South African Armoured Formation

1 Special Service Battalion (usually abbreviated to 1SSB) is an armoured regiment of the South African Army and only one of two such in its regular force. The Regiment is based at Tempe near Bloemfontein.

Contents

It was previously known in Afrikaans as 1 Spesiale Diens Bataljon (1 SDB).

History

Following World War II, the Special Service Battalion was re-organised into 2 battalions - 1 Special Service Battalion and 1 South African Infantry Battalion.

When the South African Armoured Corps was thus officially proclaimed in 1946 and Special Service Battalion was included in the corps as the only full-time unit, its symbols and colours were incorporated.

1SSB also took part in the South African Border War, serving in South-West Africa and Angola.

More recently, the unit also took part in Operation Boleas, which was a South African intervention in its neighbouring country of Lesotho in 1998.

1SSB had a sister unit for a number of years in the post-World War II era, designated 2 Special Service Battalion, which was based in the town of Zeerust. This unit has now been disbanded.

1SSB also detached squadrons to various battlegroups in the South West African campaign

Officers Commanding

  • Lt. Col. GE Poole. DSO. May 1933 - Nov 1933
  • Lt. Col. P de Waal. Dec 1933 - Jan 1934
  • Lt. Col. WHE Poole. Feb 1934 - Apr 1935
  • Lt. Col. J Danie. May 1935 - Jan 1936
  • Maj. JR Wocke. Feb 1936 - Dec 1937
  • Lt. Col. HB Klopper. Jan 1938 - Sep 1939
  • Lt. Col. HP van Noorden. Oct 1939 - Dec 1939
  • Lt. Col. GCA van Dam. Jan 1940 - Jun 1940
  • Lt. Col. CEG (Papa) Brits. DSO. Jun 1940 - Aug 1946
  • Lt. Col. GN Nauhaus. OBE. Sep 1946 - May 1949
  • Maj. EE Fodred. MC. Jun 1949 - Aug 1949
  • Maj. PE Ferguson. MC. Sep 1949 - Jan 1951
  • Cmdt. CS Leisegang. DSO. Feb 1951 - Sep 1953
  • Cmdt. WR van der Riet. MC. W.R. Van Der Riet (Later Lt Gen W.R. Van Der Riet SSA SD MC). Oct 1953 - Dec 1960
  • Cmdt. S Hugo. SM. Jan 1961 - Jun 1963
  • Cmdt. JJ Wahl. MC. Jul 1963 - Oct 1964
  • Cmdt. JR Dutton. SSA. SD. Nov 1964 - Nov 1967
  • Cmdt. WH Matthews. SM. Dec 1967 - Nov 1968
  • Cmdt. MB Anderson. Dec 1968 - May 1969
  • Cmdt. WC Meyer. Apr 1969 - Sep 1972
  • Cmdt. PJ van Schalkwyk. Oct 1972 - Jul 1973
  • Maj. AJ Snyman (acting) Aug 1973 - Nov 1973
  • Cmdt. APR Carstens. Nov 1973 - Nov 1976
  • Cmdt. R Otto. Dec 1976 - Dec 1979
  • Cmdt. FA Botha. Jan 1980 - Nov 1981
  • Cmdt. AJ van Niekerk. Dec 1981 - Nov 1983
  • Cmdt. HT Heinze. Dec 1983 - Nov 1986
  • Cmdt. AJ Kriel. December 1986 - May 1989
  • Cmdt. AJ van Jaarsveld. Jun 1989 - Nov 1989
  • Cmdt. BC Gildenhuys. Dec 1989 - Dec 1993
  • Col. GM Louw. HC. MMM. Jan 1994 - unk
  • Regimental Sergeants Major

  • RSM J Whammond. MC. DCM. MM. May 1933 - Feb 1934
  • RSM LJ van den Heever. Mar 1934 - May 1934
  • RSM BS Scheepers. Jun 1934 - May 1935
  • RSM SP Conje. Jun 1935 - Aug 1936
  • RSM CEG Brits. Sep 1936 - Mar 1937
  • RSM JO van Blommenstein. Apr 1937 - May 1940
  • RSM JW Hamilton. Jun 1940 - Jan 1943
  • WO1 S du Plessis. MM. Feb 1943 - Aug 1946
  • WO1 WE Wocke. Sep 1946 - Oct 1951
  • WO1 s du PlLessis. MM. Nov 1950 - Sep 1953
  • WO1 WJ van der Merwe. SM. Oct 1953 - Dec 1965
  • WO1 BJP Ehlers. PMM. Jan 1966 - Oct 1972
  • WO1 MA Booyens. PMM. MMM. Nov 1972 - Sep 1976
  • WO1 JP. O'Neill. Oct 1976 - Nov 1978
  • WO1 PH Rohrbeck. PMM. Dec 1978 - Jan 1979
  • WO1 GD van Baalen. PMM. MMM. Feb 1979 - Nov 1984
  • WO1 IJ Prinsloo. Jun 1984 - Nov 1988
  • WO1 WF Snyman. PMM. MMM. Dec 1988 - Nov 1993
  • WO1 JAB van Zyl. Dec 1993 - unk
  • Current

    The regiment is equipped primarily with Ratel infantry fighting vehicles and Rooikat armoured cars.

    Future

    Under Project Hoefyster, the SANDF will eventually replace the Ratel family of vehicles with the Badger system. Five versions are contemplated of which two are earmarked for 1 SSB:

  • Missile (turreted Denel ZT3 Ingwe)
  • Fire Support (turreted 30mm cannon, but with more ammunition than the section vehicle)
  • Regimental symbols

  • The cap badge is a spray of three protea flowers, bound by a ribbon bearing the initials and motto.
  • Regimental motto: Eendrag Maakt Mag (Unity is Strength)
  • Regimental communications icon :
  • Regimental deployment strength : 1,000 soldiers
  • Regimental honour roll : Soldiers who died during active combat duty and soldiers who died during training. See 1 SSB Roll of Honour
  • Regimental traditional contact meeting :Pantseraksie once a year
  • Alliances

  •  United Kingdom - 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards
  • Battle honours

  • Italy 1944 - 1945
  • Florence
  • Gothic Line
  • Celleno
  • The Greve
  • Po Valley
  • Kunene
  • South-West Africa 1975 - 1976
  • South-West Africa 1976 - 1989
  • Battle of Cuito Cuanavale from 1987-1989 being one of the largest land battles in Africa since World War II.
  • Future

    This unit will together with 1 SA Tank Regiment form the Armoured Brigade of the new Mechanized Division to be formed under Army vision 2020.

    References

    1 Special Service Battalion Wikipedia


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