Military Wiki
1 Special Service Battalion
Active 1 May 1933 - present
Country South Africa
Branch South African Army
Type Armoured
Nickname(s) 1SSB (English)
1SDB (Afrikaans)
Motto(s) Eendrag Maakt Mag (Unity is Strength)
Colors Blue and Orange
Equipment Ratel armoured personnel carriers
Rooikat Armoured car
Engagements World War II
South African Border War
Operation Boleas

Lt Col George Brink
Lt Col CEG (Papa) Britz
Lt Col WHE Poole
Lt Col HB Klopper
Lt Col Bok Kriel

Lt Col Genuis Geldenhuys
Cap Badge A spray of three protea flowers, bound by a ribbon bearing the initials and motto
Beret Colour Black

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 forces. 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).


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]

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.


The regiment is equipped primarily with Ratel armoured personnel carriers and Rooikat Armoured cars.

It will most likely be re-equipped with new Hoefyster armoured personnel carriers (Finnish Patria AMVs) in the near future.

Regimental symbols

  • The cap badge is a spray of three protea flowers, bound by a ribbon bearing the initials and motto.
  • Regimental motto: Eendrag Maakt Mag (Unity is Strength)
  • Regimental communications icon : Sherman says
  • Regimental deployment strength :1000 soldiers reporting in eskadrons to 30 lieutenants and 30 corporals
  • Regimental honour roll : Soldiers who died during active combat duty and soldiers who died during training
  • Regimental traditional contact meeting :Pantseraksie once a year
  • Regimental honour roll military officer that died in active battle : Full Lieutenant Els


Battle honours

  • Italy 1944 - 1945
  • Florence
  • Gothic Line
  • Celleno
  • The Greve
  • Po Valley
  • Kunene
  • South-West Africa 1975 - 1976
  • South-West Africa 1976 - 1989
  • Battle of Cuito Cuanavale from 1987-1989 being one of the largest land battles in Africa since World War II.


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.

See also

South African Armoured Corps


External links

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