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36 Battalion/203 Battalion
SWATF 36 203 Battalion emblem.jpg
Country Flag of Namibia.svg Namibia, Flag of South Africa (1928–1994).svg South Africa
Allegiance Flag of South Africa (1928–1994).svg South Africa
Branch Flag of South Africa.svg South Africa Army,
Type Light Infantry
Part of South African Defence Force, later South West African Territorial Force
Garrison/HQ Luhebu-North Boesmanland
Nickname(s) TI # NHU” (find and destroy)
Part of the South West African Territorial Force Insignia of the South West African Territorial Force

36 Battalion was a light infantry battalion in the South African Army and in later years became part of the SWATF.


In May 1978, a group of Omega San soldiers were sent to Bushmanland to form a combat unit originally known as 36 Battalion. Battalions’s soldiers was made up of !Xun from Angola as well as some Dzuwazi (Zu/’hoasi), a subgroup of the !Kung grouping of San, who lived in Bushmanland and the neighbouring north-western corner of Botswana.

36 Battalion was commanded by a Major G.J. Coetzee and had its headquarters at Luhebu-North Boesmanland.

The South West Africa Territorial Force (SWATF) was formed in 1 August 1980, and was organised under a Department of Defence for South-West Africa, and was always headed by a prominent SADF general. The forming of the SWATF resulted in battalion number changes according to their geographical positioning on the border. The prefix 10 pertained to battalions operation to the west of the Kavango River, 20 to the Kavango or central region and 70 to the eastern region. Under this system 36 Battalion was renamed 203 Battalion.

In 1980, 203 Battalion headquarters was moved to Tsumkwe and in 1981 to Mangetti Dune. From 1980, 203 Battalion formed part of the reaction force of the South West Africa Territory Forces. It was basically a tracking battalion.

In the early 80's there were two companies A and B , 3 Platoons each , 6 teams, 25 - 30 men, 3 Buffel vehicles , a Reconnaissance Wing, 6 Tracker Groups, 5 or 6 men.

In 1981 Commandant Buitendag became commanding officer. In the same year the unit’s badge was designed with the motto “TI # NHU” (find and destroy).

In 1984 Buitendag was replaced by Cmdt J.D.C. Jankowitz. A mounted unit was formed in 1985 as well as a mounted training centre at M’kata.

In 1987 Cmdt J.L. Pattison became commanding officer. During this time the B Company was involved in late part of Operations Packer and Displace in 1988.

Lt. Col. Scholtz Van Wyk assumed command of 203 Battalion in Dec 1988 and was responsible for the relocation of unit to South Africa as well in 1989 was responsible for the demobilising of the unit for the preparation of Namibian independence.[1]


By the 1980's 36 Battalion consisted of a HQ, Support Company, Maintenance Section, 2 operational groups of 3 tracker companies, e platoons, 6 teams, 25-30 strong.

Roll of HonourEdit

  • Ntamshe, Kumsa



  • Biesele, M. Hitchcock, R.K The Ju/'hoan San of Nyae Nyae and Namibian Independence. Development, Democracy, and Indigenous Voices in Southern Africa, 2011 Berghahn Books.
  • Heitman, H.R. Modern African Wars (3): South-West Africa,Osprey Publishing, 1991.

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