117 Battalion emblem
|Branch||South Africa Army|
|Part of||South African Army Infantry Corps|
|Equipment||Buffel APC, Samil 20|
|Company level Inisgnia|
|SA Motorised Infantry beret bar circa 1992|
Origin of the black battalions
By the late 1970s the South African government had abandoned its opposition to arming black soldiers.
By early 1979, the government approved a plan to form a number of regional African battalions, each with a particular ethnic identity, which would serve in their homeland or under regional SADF commands.
Development of the Lebowa Defence Force
Two additional Northern Sotho Battalions were established, the 117 and the 118. Troops for 117 SA Battalion were recruited from the self-governing territory of Lebowa.
117 Battalion resorted under the command of Group 14 from Potgietersrus.
117 Battalion was converted into a training unit around 1997 and was finally amalgamated into 3 South African Infantry Battalion as part of the new SANDF.
Peled, A. A question of Loyalty Military Manpower Policy in Multiethinic States, Cornell University Press, 1998, ISBN 0-8014-3239-1 Chapter 2: South Africa: From Exclusion to Inclusion
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