1 South African Infantry Battalion

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1 South African Infantry Battalion
1 SAI Insignia.jpg
Active 26 January 1951
Country  South Africa
Allegiance  South Africa
Branch  South African Army
Type Infantry
Role Mechanised infantry
Size Battalion
Part of South African Infantry Corps
Garrison/HQ Tempe, Bloemfontein
Equipment Ratel
Engagements
Insignia
Company level Inisgnia SA Army Company Insignia.png
SA Mechanised Infantry beret bar circa 1992
SA mechanised infantry beret bar circa 1992

1 South African Infantry Battalion is a mechanized infantry unit of the South African Army.

History[edit]

Established as 1 SA Infantry Training Battalion at Oudtshoorn, (hence the ostrich feathers on the unit insignia) on 26 January 1951, the unit became part of the infantry corps with its establishment in January 1954. The unit was reconstituted as 1 SA Infantry Battalion in November 1967 and moved to its current base at Tempe near Bloemfontein, in November 1973.[1]

The unit became mechanised in 1976, and the first Ratel infantry combat vehicle course was presented by Major Roland de Vries. Full scale mechanised training commenced the next year, and in 1978 the unit took part in Operation Reindeer. The unit was later involved in operations Sceptic, Protea, Daisy, Askari and Moduler. Lt JJ du Toit and LCpl AT Rutherford were awarded Honoris Crux decorations during Sceptic and Cpl AD Burgers received the same after Protea. Mechanised leader training at 1 SAI commenced in 1979.[2]

Peled writes that after January 1993, 151 Battalion, formed from the Southern Suthos in the Orange Free area, was redesignated as 1 SAI.[3]

SADF 151 Battalion emblem

Ordnance[edit]

Current[edit]

Vehicle mounted weapons[edit]

1 SAI is equipped with Ratel 20 Infantry Fighting Vehicles,[4] Ratel 60 mm (2.4 in) Mortar Platform Vehicles, Ratel Command Vehicles with mounted 12.7 mm (0.50 in) machine guns, Kwevoel 100 Armoured Trucks for IFV Recovery, field maintenance, fuel bunkers and water provision,[5] Samil 50 and 100 logistics trucks, Samil 20 trucks for its organic field workshops, Caspar APCs for its forward artillery observation party,[citation needed] and Rinkhals Field Ambulance.[6] 1 SAI has also used Buffel IFVs and Mambas at certain stages in its history. Ratel mounted weapons include the Denel Land Systems GI-2 20 mm (0.79 in) Quick Firing Canon (QFC) (Ratel mounted), 60 mm (2.4 in) breech-loading mortar (Ratel mounted), Browning M1919 [7] Machine gun and the Browning M2 12.75 mm (0.502 in) Machine gun.[7]

Badger IFV earmarked for replacement of the Ratel Fleet 2016 onwards
Ratel 20 IFV typical fighting section layout
SA Mechanised Infantry Ordnance

Lighter and personal weapons[edit]

1 SAI is equipped with the Vektor SS77 Squad Automatic Machine gun, Fabrique Nationale 7.62 mm (0.300 in) Light Machine gun, Vektor R4 5.56 mm (0.219 in) assault rifle, 40 mm (1.6 in) Multiple Grenade Launcher (MGL), Rocket Propelled grenade launcher (RPG-7),[citation needed] M26 Fragmentation grenade,[8] M4 60 mm (2.4 in) patrol mortar (PATMOR), and the Denel 99 mm (3.9 in) FT5 rocket launcher.[9]

Future[edit]

Under Project Hoefyster, the SANDF will eventually replace the Ratel family of vehicles with the Badger system.[10] [11] Five versions are contemplated of which three are earmarked for mechanized Infantry Battalions such as 1 SAI:

  • Command (mech infantry)
  • Mortar (turreted 60mm breech loading long-range mortar) ( mech infantry)
  • Missile (turreted Denel ZT3 Ingwe)
  • Section (turreted 30mm cannon) (mech infantry)
  • Fire Support (turreted 30mm cannon, but with more ammunition than the section vehicle)


1 SAI Mechanised Fleet early 90's[edit]

Alpha or Attack Vehicles[edit]

SA Infantry Alpha attack vehicles

1 Ratel 20 per section, 3 sections per platoon, 3 platoons per company. 1 Ratel command per platoon, 4 per company.

Charlie or Support Vehicles[edit]

SA Infantry Charlie Support Vehicles

Roll of Honour[edit]

  • 1976 – Ashpole,J.E.F., Cpl [12]:2
  • 1976 – Bantjies,J.G., Sgt [12]:44
  • 1988 – Barnard,J.P., Rfn [12]:47
  • 1979 – Bester,B.G., Rfn [12]:80[a]
  • 1977 – Bishop,E.C., Rfn [12]:95[a]
  • 1976 – Blom,A.J., Cpl [12]:103
  • 1999 – Coetzee,Z.B., Maj [12]:36638
  • 1999 – Coetzer,J., Maj [12]:36632
  • 1987 – Digue,P.J., Sgt [12]:353[a]
  • 1982 – Geustyn,C.W.J., CO [12]:497[a]
  • 1973 – Hahn,K., Rfn [12]:543
  • 1999 – Hamilton,M.M., Civ [12]:36637
  • 1981 – Harmse,L., Capt [12]:2082[a][13]
  • 1982 – Jones,A.R., L-Cpl [12]:647[a]
  • 1999 – Lombard,J.F., WO1 [12]:36633
  • 1999 – Lombard,T.G., Sgt [12]:36636
  • 1982 – Meyer,J.T., L-Cpl [12]:957
  • 1981 – Myburgh,G.J., Wrn [12]:1992
  • 1999 – Nell,W.A., Sgt [12]:36635
  • 1986 – Redelinghuys,S., Pte [12]:36639
  • 1999 – Sieberhagen,R.G., WO1 [12]:36634
  • 1988 – Swanepoel,G.W., Pte [12]:36642
  • 1988 – Teles,J.M., Pte [12]:36640
  • 1984 – Van Der Merwe,D.S., Rfn [12]:1550
  • 1988 – Van Heerden,P., Pte [12]:36641
  • 1977 – Venter,A.I.E., Cpl [12]:1578[a]
  • 1982 – Venter,P.S., CO [12]:1587[a]
  • 1982 – Wessels,E.S., L-Cpl [12]:1646[a]
  • 1973 – Wulfsohn,M., Rfn [12]:1682
  • 1987 – Zaayman,J.B., Cpl [12]:1685

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i This person is marked on the Fort Klapperkop Memorial wall with an * as having died during operations or in combat.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SADF.info". SADF.info. 1951-01-26. Retrieved 2012-06-03. 
  2. ^ "Fact file: 1 SA Infantry Battalion". DefenceWeb. 2010-03-01. Retrieved 2012-06-03. 
  3. ^ Peled, p.54
  4. ^ IDRC; Cock, Jacklyn; Mckenzie, Penny (1998). From defence to development : redirecting military resources in South Africa (pdf). Cape Town, South Africa & Ottawa, Canada: David Philip, International Development Research Centre. ISBN 0-88936-853-8. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "Samil 100 Kwevoel Armoured Truck". Tips Transport. 
  6. ^ "Vehicles:Denel Mechem". Denel. 
  7. ^ a b "Ratel". GlobalSecurity.org. 
  8. ^ http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6708:fact-file-m26-fragmentation-hand-grenade&catid=79:fact-files&Itemid=159
  9. ^ http://defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10464:work-underway-on-rpg-replacement-&catid=50:Land&Itemid=105
  10. ^ http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index2.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1244&pop=1&page=0&Itemid=418
  11. ^ http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/land-systems-sa-secures-sights-contract-for-denels-badger-2014-07-09
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad Dovey, John. "SA Roll of Honour:". justdone.co.za. Just Done Productions Publishing. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  13. ^ De Vries, Roland. "Operation Protea - Operations - 61 Mech". 61mech.org.za. 61 Mech Association. Retrieved 5 November 2014.