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2 Special Service Battalion

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Active  May 1946-1997
Branch  South African Army
Garrison/HQ  Zeerust
Country  South Africa
Type  Armoured
2 Special Service Battalion
Part of  South African Armoured Corps

2 Special Service Battalion (usually abbreviated to 2SSB) was an armoured regiment of the South African Army and only one of two such in its regular force. The Regiment was based at Zeerust. It was previously known both as in English 2 Special Service Battalion, and in the Afrikaans Language as 2 Spesiale Diens Bataljon (2 SSB and 2 SDB).



2 Special Service Battalion was founded on 1 May 1946 at Potchefstroom.


Initially, the sole purpose of 2 SSB was to train members of the Permanent Force as Infantrymen. 2 SSB was put into service officially on 21 February 1947 and on 26 January 1951 the name changed from 2 SSB to 1 South African Infantry Battalion (1 SAI). 2 SSB can thus be seen as the founding unit of the South African Infantry Corps.

Armour changeover

C-Squadron of 2 Armoured Car Regiment was founded during February 1962 with its official base at Zeerust. On 22 December 1966 the name was adapted to C-Squadron 1 SSB.

On 1 October 1973 2 SSB, born from C-Squadron 1 SSB was resettled. The headquarters of the Regiment as well as C-Squadron 1 SSB was stationed at Zeerust, while D-Squadron 1 SSB was detached to 2 South African Infantry Battalion at Walvis Bay.

Border War

Several squadrons have taken part in the war in Namibia and Angola since 1974. From 8 October 1975 to 31 January 1976, B-, C- and D-Squadron took part in Operation Savannah. This border duty was continued with significant participations in Operation Protea, Daisy, Hooper and Modular.

On 25 January 1988, 2 SSB became the first unit in South Africa to receive the Right Of Free Admission to a coloured community, namely Henryville.

Bophuthatswana coup d'état

On 10 February 1988, 2 SSB took part in Operation Adding during which President Lucas Mangope and his government was returned to power, after a failed coup d’état.

Rooikat Conversion

In May 1990, 2 SSB received the first Rooikat armoured cars and on 30 June its National Colours.


On 31 December 1992, as part of the reduction of the SA Army after withdrawal from SWA- Namibia, 2 SSB underwent a change in role. The unit was transformed from an Armoured Car Regiment to a Motorised Infantry Battalion and provided with an operational company (A-Company) which was transferred from Group 20.

During the historical General Elections of 1994, 2 SSB took part in Operation Baccarat (stability in Mmabatho and Passado (border protection) as a peace force to ensure stability in the North West Province).

On 19 December 1994, the Bophuthatswana Defence Force Parachute Battalion at Gopane was placed under operational command of 2 SSB, as part of the founding of the SANDF. 2 SSB withdrew simultaneously from Nietverdiend and Nooitgedacht. From August 1994 to 15 June 1995 successful bridging training was provided for 550 formerly non-statutory force members.


Early in 1997 the rationalisation of the Defence Force was announced and 2 SSB was one of the battalions that had to close down. 2 SSB amalgamated with 10 SAI on 1 April 1997 in Mafeking. 2 SSB was closed down on 30 August 1997 after the handing over of the base to 2 SAI Battalion.

Regimental symbols

  • The cap badge is a spray of three protea flowers, bound by a ribbon bearing the initials and motto.
  • Regimental honour roll : Soldiers who died during active combat duty and soldiers who died during training. See 2 SSB Roll of Honour
  • References

    2 Special Service Battalion Wikipedia

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