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101 Battalion (South Africa)

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Active  1976
Allegiance  South Africa
Type  Motorised Infantry
Country  Namibia,  South Africa
Branch  South African Army,
101 Battalion (South Africa)

Part of  South West African Territorial Force

101 Battalion was a quick-reaction unit of the South West African Territorial Force.



The unit was formed in January 1976 as 1 Owambo Battalion, renamed to 35 Battalion in January 1978, 35 Battalion recruited exclusively among the Owambo. and were only given basic training, but this changed after 1978 when the training intensived with an emphasis on rural counterinsurgency operations.


The South West Africa Territory Force, SWATF renumbered battalion numbers according to their geographical positioning on the border. The prefix 10 pertained to battalions operating to the west of the Kavango River, 20 to the Kavango or central region and 70 to the eastern region. Under this system, 35 Battalion was renamed 101 Battalion in 1980.


Until 1980 101 battalion was used is small teams attached to SADF units as trackers and interpreters.

Light Infantry

By 1981 101 converted to a light infantry battalion.

By 1983 at least 2700 men had been recruited and trained, many converted SWAPO insurgents.


101 Battalion consisted of:

  • a HQ,
  • a support company,
  • a light workshop,
  • a training wing,
  • Special service companies, translating Police tracking concepts to suit Army operations:
  • 901 and
  • 903 Special Service Companies.
  • These Companies concentrated on external operations and pursuit of infiltrators. Another two reaction force companies was activated,and

  • a Reconnaissance Wing.
  • Equipment

    Each team in a company had:

  • 4 X Casspirs
  • 1 X Kwevoel 50
  • 2 X Hispano Suiza 20mm cannons,
  • 6 X 50 cal Browning machine guns
  • 4 X Light machine guns and
  • 4 X 60mm patrol mortars
  • Engagements

    101 Battalions reaction force teams averaged about 200 contacts annually. By 1985 101 Battalion fought under its own command instead of being detached to external units.


    101 Battalion was disbanded upon the independence of Namibia in 1990-91.


    101 Battalion (South Africa) Wikipedia