Military Wiki
Regiment President Steyn
Country  South Africa
Branch South African Army
Type Armoured Regiment
(Freedom; Faithfulness; Courage)
Battle honours East Africa 1940 - 1941
Western Desert 1941 - 1943
Sidi Rezegh
Alamein Defence
El Alamein
Honorary Colonel Col Jonie van der Linde

Regiment President Steyn is an armoured regiment of the South African Army. As a reserve unit, it has a status roughly equivalent to that of a British Territorial Army or United States Army National Guard unit. The Regiment was named after Martinus Theunis Steyn, the last President of the Orange Free State Republic and is stationed in the city of Bloemfontein (where it has the freedom of the city). It is part of the South African Army Armour Formation.


The Regiment was raised as a machine gun regiment in Bloemfontein and its surrounding districts in the Orange Free State on 1 April 1934.[1]

Lieutenant-Colonel McHardy was the Regiment's first Commanding Officer; mobilisation for World War II took place on 5 June 1940. In order to increase the strength of the regiment, volunteers from the De Wet and Louw Wepener regiments and the Orange Free State Field Artillery (O.V.S. Veld Artillerie in Afrikaans) were transferred to it.

The Regiment arrived in Egypt in June 1941, as the Machine Gun Battalion of the South African 1st Infantry Division. The regiment saw a lot of action in the north African desert, most notably at Sidi Rezegh, where its 3rd Company went into action with 4 officers, 117 other ranks and 25 "natives", of whom only 1 officer, 44 other ranks and 9 "natives" survived.

At the end of 1941 the regiment was made part of the 5th South African Infantry Brigade. In March of the same year additional personnel was received from the 3rd battalion of the Transvaal Scottish Regiment and in April Lieutenant-Colonel W. P. Minnaar succeeded McHardy as its commanding officer. Minnaar commanded the regiment during the El Alamein fighting in June. In January 1943 the unit was sent back to the then-Union of South Africa and placed under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel A. S. Nel, who became the commanding officer of the amalgamated Regiment Botha/President Steyn in August of the same year.

The unit was later converted to an armoured car regiment.

From 1960 to 1966, RPS was called Regiment Bloemfontein.

In 1975 the regiment converted from armoured cars to tanks and eventually formed part of the South African Army's 82 Mechanized Brigade. What was later to become Regiment Vrystaat was formed in the same year as the second battalion of Regiment President Steyn. The regiment saw service during the South African Border War (as infantry). Its first active duty as a tank unit was when two squadrons took part in Operation Packer in March 1988.

Regimental symbols

  • Regimental Colour: The badge is a Vickers machine gun with the arms of the late President Steyn and Floreat above it and the title and Bloemfontein below. The flash is yellow above white with black as the lowest panel, and a black triangle on the centre white.

Unit colours

The Regiment's first Unit Colour was a gift from the City Council of Bloemfontein and the wife of the late President M.T. Steyn presented it to the Unit on 17 October 1939. The RPS also became the first unit to receive the Right to the Freedom of Entry to the City of Bloemfontein. The date of this honour was 1 April 1955.[1]

Battle honours

  • East Africa 1940 - 1941
  • Western Desert 1941 - 1943
  • Sidi Rezegh
  • Gazala
  • Alamein Defence
  • El Alamein


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