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12 South African Infantry Battalion
SADF 12 SAI emblem
12 SAI emblem
Country Flag of South Africa.svg South Africa
Branch Flag of South Africa.svg South Africa Army
Service history
Active 1964-2005
Battles South African Border War
Commanders
Commanders Commandant Gert Opperman
Insignia
Insignia SADF equestrian centre beret badge

12 South African Infantry Battalion was a horse, dog and motorbike assisted infantry unit of the South African Army, which provided horse-mounted infantry and dog handlers to the army for defence purposes.

HistoryEdit

The SADF established a dog and equestrian centre at Voortrekkerhoogte in 1964.

12 SAI Equestrian Dog Centres Flashes

12 SAI Equestrian Dog Centres Flashes

Equestrian historyEdit

By 1974, the Equestrian Centre was moved to the farm Welgegund near Potchefstroom.

SADF equestrian breast badge

SADF Equestrian Proficiency Class III breast badge

A stud farm grew out of the equestrian centre in 1980. Budget cuts starting in 1989 eventually let to the closure of the De Aar facility in 1991.

SADF Kwevoel 100 horse carrier

SADF Kwevoel 100 horse carrier

The unit's equestrian capability was transferred to the police on April 14, 1995.

Dog historyEdit

The main function of the Dog Training School at Voortrekkerhoogte, was to train dogs and their handlers in mine detection reconnaissance, tactical and security work. The unit was also responsible for acquiring suitable dogs and researching dog diseases, nutrition and breeding In the main, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Labrador Retrievers, and Border Collies were trained. This training started when the dogs were almost two years old and lasted from one to two years. The dog centre was moved to Bourke's Luck, in Mpumalanga, in 1979.

SADF Dog handler breast badge

SADF Dog handler breast badge

SADF Dog Centre Stable Belt

SADF Dog Centre Stable Belt

Amalgamation into 12 SAIEdit

By 1993 the Equestrian and Dog Centres were formed into the 12 SAI.[1]

SADF 12 SAI Stable belt

SADF 12 SAI Stable belt

DisbandmentEdit

The unit's dogs and related infrastructure was finally transferred to the SA Military Health Service while the units motorcycle and visual tracking capabilities were transferred to the Infantry School near Oudtshoorn.

NotesEdit

Scientia Militaria vol 40, no 3, 2012, pp. 398–428. doi: 10.5787/40-3-1028 The South African Defence Force and Horse Mounted Infantry Operations, 1974-1985 Jacques J.P. de Vries, Sandra Swart

ReferencesEdit

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