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South African Forces


31 South African Infantry Battalion

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31 South African Infantry Battalion - (4 members)

31 Battalion (31 BN) [Afr: 31 Bataljon], or Bushmen Battalion [Afr: Boesmanbataljon], was originally formed as Alpha Group [Afr: Alfagroep] in 1974, then renamed to 31 Battalion after Operation Savannah. In 1980 the unit became 201 Battalion [Afr: 201 Bataljon] as part of the SWATF. After the disbandment of SWATF in 1989, both 201 Battalion and 203 Battalion were merged into a singe battalion, now named 31 South African Infantry Battalion (31 SAI), using this newer emblem, based at Schmidtsdrift, Kimberley, as part of the Northern Cape Command. Sunday, 31 SAI Battalion was disbanded at a public ceremony in the Cape Province, on 7 March 1993.


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From 1974

31 Battalion - (4 members)

31 Battalion (31 BN) [Afr: 31 Bataljon], or Bushmen Battalion [Afr: Boesmanbataljon], was originally formed as Alpha Group [Afr: Alfagroep] in 1974, then renamed to 31 Battalion after Operation Savannah. In 1980 the unit became 201 Battalion [Afr: 201 Bataljon] as part of the SWATF. After the disbandment of SWATF in 1989, both 201 Battalion and 203 Battalion were merged into a singe battalion, now named 31 South African Infantry Battalion (31 SAI), using this newer emblem, based at Schmidtsdrift, Kimberley, as part of the Northern Cape Command. Sunday, 31 SAI Battalion was disbanded at a public ceremony in the Cape Province, on 7 March 1993.


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History

RE: 31 Battalion

SHORTENED HISTORY OF 31 BN

The fall of the Portuguese forces in Angola in April 1974, was the direct cause that Col. Delville Linford was called back to Pretoria in July 1974 from Serpa Pinto where he was working as Senior South African Liaison Officer together with the DGS. Col. Linford was appointed as the Project Leader for Project Alpha. This decision was made by Genl. Viljoen and Genl. Maj Fritz Loots (Godfather).

On Friday 6 September 1974, Wemer Edier reformed the terrain in the Western Caprivi and Col Linford and Maj Jose De Oliveira arrived on Saturday 7 September to pitch their tents in the beautiful bush terrain.

The first Fletschas arrived in Camp Alpha on 1 November 1974 and Maj Coen Upton met some of the other groups at Calai. Two companies (1 Barakwena and 1 Vasekela) was formed with a Portuguese leader group and with Co! Linford as the first commander of Camp Alpha.

On 14 October 1975 Camp Alpha started fighting in Angola and formed Battlegroup Alpha with Col Linford in command. During operation Savannah, only two troops died. On 20 December 1975 both companies returned to Camp Alpha,

During operation Savannah in November 1975, a huge group of bushmen got together with Mutoka Matheus in charge and another group with Tango Naka in charge joined the group at a later stage, In December 1975 Matoka's group formed Group C Company. The remainder of the group at Mpupa joined Omega in February 1976.

In 1976 Alpha was renamed as 31 BN and this was the start of a new base a few km north of CampAlpha, The new base was named Omega and Camp Alpha's existence came to an end.

On 10 July 1976 the crow emblem was officially worn for the first time. The emblem was originally drawn by Private Andrew Miller (medical ordnance). Mamma Grande (Senora MLF Bastos) embroidered he emblem on Col Linford's beret.

In 1977 Maj Coen Upton took over from Col Linford and started the first school and an agriculture project on a small scale at Bagani. On 17 September 1977 Omega base was formally opened by Lt Genl Constant Viljoen (Head of the South African Defence Force).

It was decided in 1978 that the Bushmen would be lifted socio-economically and a butchery, laundry, etc. was started

In 1978 the Chaplains Services also got involved at Omega and Mario Muhango was the first lay preacher.

The Church building was erected in 1979 and in 1980 31 BN was renamed to 201 BN.


Source: Danie van den Berg



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RE: 31 Battalion

Symbolism of the new 31 BN emblem:
  • Alertness

  • Preperedness

  • Allround Defence

  • Merging of 201 Battalion and 203 Battalion into 31 Battalion
...


RE: 31 Battalion

31 Battalion under the Northern Cape Command...


RE: 31 Battalion

Art Card for Original 31 Battalion Shoulder Flash, approved 1977:...


RE: 31 Battalion

Art Card for 31 Battalion Shoulder Flash, approved 1990:...


RE: 31 Battalion

Art Card for the original 31 Battalion Beret Badge, waiting to be approved in 1977, finally approved in 1980:...


RE: 31 Battalion

Art Card for the 31 Battalion Cap Badge, approved 1990:...


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User Posts and Comments
13093Posted by

NEIL PRATT
on 25 August

RE: 31 Battalion

I was afgedeel to 201 BN in early 83 and spent about 15 months in total as a "drywer" for their "Reaksie Mag" aka Romeo Mike, teams. I grew to respect the bushmen who were excellent trackers and soldiers. They had an uncanny knack of knowing when something wasn't quite right. I felt safer with them than my own SA maatjies....

16011Posted by

Dudley Wall
on 5 September

RE: 31 Battalion

31 SA Infantry Battalion / 201 Battalion...

YearNumber of members on Roll Of Honour
TOTAL:
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Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET

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