1 Special Service Battalion

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1 Special Service Battalion
Active 1 May 1933 – present
Country  South Africa
Branch  South African Army
Type Armoured
Part of South African Armoured Corps
Garrison/HQ Tempe 29°05′0″S 26°11′0″E / 29.08333°S 26.18333°E / -29.08333; 26.18333Coordinates: 29°05′0″S 26°11′0″E / 29.08333°S 26.18333°E / -29.08333; 26.18333
Motto Eendrag Maakt Mag (Unity is Strength)
Colors Blue and Orange
Cap Badge A spray of three protea flowers, bound by a ribbon bearing the initials and motto
Beret Colour Black
Armour Squadron emblems SANDF Armour squadron emblems
Armour beret bar circa 1992 SANDF Armour beret bar

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.

It was previously known both as in English 1 Special Service Battalion, and in the Afrikaans Language as 1 Spesiale Diens Bataljon (1 SSB and 1 SDB).


Map of the Free State
1 Special Service Battalion
1 Special Service Battalion
Battle icon active (crossed swords).svg 1 Special Service Battalion
Rooikat at the entrance to 1SSB, Bloemfontein.

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.[1]

Rooikat Armoured Car

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.

Commanding Officers[edit]


pre 1995[edit]

Variant Description Comment Image
Eland 60  South Africa Mortar platform Eland 60 Armoured Car
Eland 90  South Africa Fire support platform and assault gun Eland 90 armoured car


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

Variant Description Comment Image
Rooikat 76  South Africa 76mm cannon Rooikat Armoured Car 105mm


Under Project Hoefyster, the SANDF will eventually replace the Ratel family of vehicles with the Badger system.[2] [3] 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)
Variant Description Comment Image
Denel Badger various types  South Africa Various armaments IFV earmarked for replacement of the Ratel Fleet 2016 onwards

Regimental symbols[edit]

Honour Roll[edit]

Killed in Action[edit]

  • 1975 – Beechey, N.R. Cpl[4]:62
  • 1978 – Biggs, K.J. Tpr[4]:93
  • 1979 – Buys, P.S. Tpr[4]:186
  • 1978 – Castle, P.J. Lt[4]:201
  • 1987 – Cloete, J.J. Tpr[4]:225
  • 1978 – De Lange, H.W. Tpr[4]:316
  • 1989-04-03 – Els, C.P. Lt[4]:421
  • 1986 – Erasmus, A.H. L-Cpl[4]:433
  • 1982 – Fourie, H. Tpr[4]:468
  • 1982 – Kruger, O.P. L-Cpl[4]:752
  • 1982 – Kruger, P. L-Cpl[4]:753
  • 1975 – Le Roux, D.B. Tpr[4]:787
  • 1978 – Lesch, L.J. Tpr[4]:809
  • 1983 – Niemandt, D. Rfn[4]:1062
  • 1987 – Pretorius, J. Tpr[4]:1167
  • 1987 – Schutte, J.J.R. Tpr[4]:1276
  • 1987 – Smit, G.J. Tpr[4]:1308
  • 1989 – Van Der Merwe, A.D. Tpr[4]:1546
  • 1989 – Van Der Merwe, N.J. L-Cpl[4]:1558
  • 1989 – Van Heerden, van Z J. Tpr[4]:1477
  • 1989 – Van Wyk, W.A. L-Cpl[4]:1522

Other causes[edit]

  • 1964 – Agenbach, J.H.A. Sgt[4]:7
  • 1988 – Bannell, M.S. Tpr[4]:43
  • 1973 – Boshoff, D.P. Tpr[4]:123
  • 1981 – Botha, M.C. Tpr[4]:2013
  • 1984 – Brink, G. 2Lt[4]:154
  • 1981 – de Villiers, D.C. 2Lt[4]:2086
  • 1984 – Du Plessis, P.J. Cpl[4]:380
  • 1975 – Eybers, P.G. Tpr[4]:445
  • 1981 – Harty, M.R. Kav[4]:2015
  • 1975 – Lombaard, N. Tpr[4]:819
  • 1989 – Patterson, R.E. Tpr[4]:1115
  • 1981 – Raubenheimer, W.F. Kav[4]:2018
  • 1981 – Schoeman, J.M. Kav[4]:2019
  • 1993 – Scott, D.G. L-Cpl[4]:1280
  • 1978 – Smuts, W.S. Tpr[4]:1323


Battle honours[edit]


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.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

South African Armoured Corps



  1. ^ Engelbrecht, Leon (1 March 2010). "Fact File: 1 Special Service Battalion". defenceweb.co.za. DefenceWeb. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Leon Engelbrecht. "SA Army horse shod by December? | defenceWeb". Archived from the original on 2015-03-28. Retrieved 2015-03-25. 
  3. ^ Natalie Greve. "Land Systems SA secures sights contract for Denel’s Badger". Archived from the original on 2015-03-28. Retrieved 2015-03-25. 
  4. ^ 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 ae af ag ah ai aj Dovey, John. "SA Roll of Honour: 1 Special Service Battalion". justdone.co.za. Just Done Productions Publishing. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 

External links[edit]