South African Special Forces BrigadeThe tales of the South African military,police, and "Recce" units have often been told. The South Africans are revered through out the world for their fighting abilities. On October 1, 1972, 1 Reconnaissance Commando was brought online at Oudtshoorn, South Africa. It was was reloated a few years later to Durban, South Africa. This was the first South African Special Forces unit.
In 1975, during the move of 1 RC to Durban, 4 Reconnaissance Commando was established in Langebaan, South Africa. This unit was set up to perform maritime operations. 5 Reconnaissance Commando which had been set up at the Duku-Duku camp in Northern Natal, was again moved to Phalaborwa. In 1981, the Special Forces became an independant structure no longer under control of the Army. Now they answered only to the Defense Force (which the Army is a part of). Most of the Commando units were still classified as Regiments. Later a Headquaters unit was added as well.
In 1991 changes happened again. The Headquarters unit of the Special Forces was disbanded and a Directorate of Reconnaissance was formed. He answered only to the Chief of the Army. In 1993, wouldn't you know it, the SF went through yet another change. They were called 45 Parachute Brigade. All RC units now added the prefix "45" to whatever number they were already;hence "451" and "452".
In 1996, it was renamed again. This time the Special Forces Brigade. It has two active Regiments and 1 Maintenance Unit. The Maintenance unit1 RC was disbanded and combined with the other two Special Forces Regiments. Although the former "Recce" units were more well known, the Special Forces Brigade(the modern "Recce" Units) is now more powerful and more deadly then it's former self.
The South African "Recces" were deployed to many local hot spots during the late 1970's and early 1980's, particularly Angola. The main enemy then was a terrorist group known as SWAPO(South West Africa's People's Organization). It was an all black guerrilla organization who wanted Namibia seperated from the rest of South Africa. Many operations were conducted by parashute drop. The SWAPO proved to be a formidable enemy. Members of the Recces carried black face paint with them at all times while o patrol in hopes of making themselves look black(to help the white soldiers pass as SWAPO guerrillas.
In 1979 the Recces took part in Operation Staffrron,which was a attack provoked actually by the SWAPO. The SWAPO must not have been aware of the results the operation would take on them. Opertion Mebos in 1982 was one of the most successful operations the Recces ever performed. They penetrated deep into Angola and destroyed the SWAPO Headquaters. In Operation Askari, in Dec-Jan of 1994, the Recces cut off almost all supply lines to and from the SWAPO in Angloa. On many operations horses were used for transportation.
" The Ultimate Challenge " as SA SF Selection is often called, is one of the toughest selction courses in the world. A soldier must meet very requirements to actually attend SF selection. However he has to be in excellent shape to make it through.
Requirements are as follows:
Training is divided into 5 sections:
The Physical Test looks like this:
Parachute Selection Course:
Special Force Orientation Course:
Special Forces Selection:
(Courtesy South African Defence Force)
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