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61 Mechanised Infantry Battalion Group
Active 1978-20005
Disbanded 2005
Country South Africa
Allegiance South Africa
Branch South African Infantry Corps
Type Mechanised Infantry
Equipment Ratel
Engagements South African Border War

61 Mechanised Infantry Battalion Group was a unit of the South African Infantry Corps; although it was classed as mechanized infantry, it was a mixed force of infantry, armour and artillery.

The Battalion Group was formed in 1978 as Battle Group Juliet in South-West Africa as a force to prevent attacks on the region from SWAPO forces in southern Angola. The Battle Group first saw action in Operation Reindeer in early May 1978. In January 1979, the battle group was renamed 61 Mechanised Infantry and became part of the regular order of battle. The unit served for over a decade in the territory fighting both a guerrilla war against the South-West Africa People's Organisation, as well as taking part in conventional operations against Cuban and Angolan forces, before South-West Africa achieved independence as Namibia.

61 Mech Inf was organised with three infantry companies, which were equipped with the Ratel Infantry Fighting Vehicle, an armoured car squadron initially equipped with Eland 90mm and 60mm Armoured Cars and later the Rooikat Armoured Fighting Vehicle, and a support company consisting of an anti-tank platoon, a mortar platoon, an anti-aircraft troop and an artillery battery equipped with the G5 howitzer. It was primarily tasked as the Army's Immediate Response Unit, due to its versatility. The unit was disbanded and its infantry elements merged into 8 South African Infantry Battalion at Upington after moving from Lohatla. Other components (armour and artillery) were merged into other existing regular forces in the respective corps.


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