1 Special Services Battalion

 

1 Special Services Battalion


Unit Badge



Beret Badge



Unit Colours



Motto

Faithful, True and Steady, Come what May, We are Ready.

Vision

1 SSB is a well sought after Armoured Car Regiment, with excellent Armour and multi-role capabilities, always ready to act swiftly and decisively.

Mission

To provide combat ready armoured car user systems to execute Armour and other multi-role tasks for the SANDF.

Values

Efficiency
Faithfulness
Excellency
Discipline
Initiative
Loyalty
Esprit de corps


History

The SSB was established on 1 May 1993 in Roberts Heights (Thaba Tshwane) to save the youth from physical and moral degeneration caused by massive unemployment due to the Great Depression. The SSB was to teach the young men military discipline, fitness and various trades to enable them to be employed by the Department of Labour and Welfare. The SSB men received a salary of a shilling a day causing the SSB soon to be known as the "Bob a Day Bn". The first Officer Commanding of the SSB was Lt Col George E. Brink. The boys of the SSB were well known for their excellent drill and PT demonstrations. The SSB also invented the now well-known "Retreat Ceremony" that was later also accepted by the British Army and is still in use today.

With the outbreak of WW II, the SSB was transformed overnight to a fully-fledged fighting unit. In April 1942 the SSBs long and illustrious career with the Armoured Corps started when it was converted to an Armoured Car Regiment. On 18/19 April 1943 the SSB set sail for Egypt as part of the 11th Armour Bde under command of the 6th SA Div, where they prepared and trained for the Italian Campaign with the Scherman Tank as main equipment. On 24 April 1944 the SSB entered Italy. Under the command of the legendary Lt Col Pappa Brits the SSB earned the Battle Honours of Italy 1944 - 1945, Celleno, Florence, The Gothic Line, the Greve and Po Valley.

(Pappa Brits was the only SA soldier ever to be the RSM, adjutant and Officer Commanding of the same unit.)

Since WWII the name of the Regiment changed to 1 SSB and the Regiment was responsible for the training of Armour soldiers and played a major role in the Angolan/South West Africa conflict as well as internal operations in the RSA in support of the police. In 1989, 1 SSB received the new Rooikat 8x8 Armoured Fighting Vehicle that now together with the Ratel ZT3 Missile System, serves as the Regiment's main equipment. In 1995 and 1996 E and D Squadrons were extensively deployed in Kwa Zulu Natal with Eland and Ratel 90 mm Armoured Fighting Vehicles. They were extremely successful in stabilising their respective areas of responsibility.

On 22 September 1998 at 01:45, B Squadron, with Maj Gustav Brink as commander, crossed the Caledon River into Lesotho with 90 mm Ratel for Operation BOLEAS. The squadron played a major role in the initial skirmishes at one of the base's around the capital, Maseru. The next evening at 23:50 A Squadron, with Rooikat Armoured Fighting Vehicle, strengthened the South African forces in Lesotho. This was the first time that the Rooikat Armoured Fighting Vehicle was deployed outside the borders of the country.

Recently the Regiment has concentrated on force preparation and plays an important role during force preparation exercises at the Combat Training Centre (Lohatla) as well as in course support to the School of Armour. The Regiment is also setting the pace in its secondary role with outstanding results during internal operations, like border line control.

The Regiment has over the past years also taken up it's rightful place on the top of the sport score boards in the Free State, South Africa and even on international scene. Today 1 SSB is noted as being the oldest regular force unit in the SANDF with a proud history, which started in the Union Defence Force, was carried forth in the SADF and now being carried further in the SANDF. A military unit that not only survived but excelled through two major political transformations of our country, which is proof of this Regiment's professional military service to the government of the day.
 
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