The South African Special Forces Brigade, as they are also known, were created on 1st October1972 as a reconnaissance commando team. They now consist of several regiments and are headquartered in Seskop, Pretoria Gauteng. They have been restructured several times through the years and now consist of several brigade sized forces.
How To Become A Member Of The Recces
All members of the Recces must be soldiers as well as South African Citizens to apply for this special forces unit which is considered to be one of the most challenging in the world. There is pre-selection training, as well as other courses for those who make this first cut. Candidates must be part of the military and must meet very stringent requirements in order to be considered for pre-selection training.
Pre-selection training consists of psychological and physical tests as well as oral examinations. There are strenuous physical tests of endurance that must be performed. These include a 3 km run in full gear to be completed in 13 minutes; 67 sit ups to be done in 2 minutes, rope climbing, wall scaling and 40 non-stop push ups. In addition, each cadet has to perform 120 shuttle kicks, climb a wall that is 10 ft high and complete a 15 kms march within 2 hours.
They must demonstrate maturity as well as physical qualifications before they can continue to the parachuting course and then to the orientation course.
The psychological tests include oral interviews with Special Forces NCOs in addition to written tests. Even a hint of mental instability can lead to instant exclusion from the army training.
After they have completed the Orientation course, all soldiers must then go through intensive land, sea and airborne training.
Land training includes tracking and survival, reconnaissance and demolitions and sniping,
Sea training includes swimming, navigation, diving, underwater demolitions and beach reconnaissance.
Advanced airborne training includes rappelling and free falling.
What Are They Best At?
They are best at reconnaissance, sabotage, underwater demolition and counter terrorism.
Weapons Of The Recces
A full range of military weapons are used by this special forces brigade similar to those used by the SAS and Navy Seals.
The South African Recces were active in Angola as well as Namibia during the 70s and the 80s, during which time their main adversary was the South West Africa's People Organization ( SWAPO). The SWAPO was comprised of a group of guerillas fighting for an independent Namibia.
'Operation Mebos', carried out in 1982 was one of their most well known operations. During this operation, the Recces stormed and destroyed the SWAPO headquarters, which was located deep into Angola. Later, in 1984, they carried out 'Operation Askari'. In this operation, they severed all supply lines to and from SWAPO.
There are several units consisting of the 1 Reconnaissance Commando, the 4 Reconnaissance Commando, the 5 Reconnaissance Commando and the 7th Medical Battalion.
Are They Professional Soldiers?
The members of this special forces elite team are professional soldiers, most of whom remain with the special forces until retirement.