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8 South African Infantry Battalion
Active October 1973
Country  South Africa
Allegiance  South Africa
Branch  South Africa Army
Type Infantry
Role Mechanised infantry
Size Battalion
Part of South African Infantry Corps
Garrison/HQ Upington Northern Cape Province
Nickname(s) 8 SAI
Motto(s) Perservate et Superate[1] (Conquer through perseverance)
Mascot(s) Gemsbok
Equipment Ratel
Battle honours
  • Southwest/Angola 1979-1989
  • Mulemba/Mulola
  • Xangongo/Ongiva
  • Mavinga II
  • Mavinga III
  • Cuito Cuanavale
  • Calueque

8 South African Infantry Battalion is a mechanized infantry unit of the South African Army.[2]

History[edit | edit source]

The unit was established at Upington in the Northern Cape in October 1973 and received its first batch of national service trainees the next January. They could, however, not cope with the Gordonia heat and the unit afterwards received trainees in July. 8 SAI contributed troops to operations Savannah (1975), Reindeer (1978), Sceptic (1980), Protea (1981), Askari (1983), Moduler (1987) and Hooper (1988). During some of these operations 8SAI’s contingent was known as 63 Mechanised Battalion. The battalion merged with 61 Mech in 2006.

Between 1979 and 1989 68 soldiers with the unit would die in combat. The unit participated in Operation Reindeer (1979), Operation Carrot (1980), Operation Sceptic (1980), Operation Protea (1981), Operation Daisy (1981), Operation Yahoo (1982), Operation Meebos (1982), Operation Phoenix (1983), Operation Dolfyn (1983), Operation Askari (1983/4), Operation Pronkertjie (1985), Operation Viper (1985), Operation Benzine (1986), Operation Moduler (1987), Operation Hooper (1988), Operation Excite (1988), Operation Linger (1988) and Operation Merlyn (1989). 8 SAI, as part of 61 Mech, was part of the last contingent of South African troops to withdraw from Namibia at independence in 1990 (Operation Agree). From 1990 the unit deployed internally in South Africa and formed part of the annual brigade-level Army Battle School exercise. In June 1994 the unit received its Colours, the first presented to a unit in the new SA National Defence Force.[3]

Unit Song[edit | edit source]

Ou Kalahari Wysie
Ver in die Noord-Kaapse duineveld waar gemsbokke nog baljaar,
Daar word 'n seun tot 'n vegter wat leer om sy land te bewaar
Selfs deur die snikhete somer en deur die winter kou,
Leer ons en werk ons en veg ons want ons land is ons hoogste trou.

Ver in die Noord-Kaapse duineveld weg van die stad se gewoel,
Daar leer die manne van 8 SAI te streef na die hoogste doel,
Onder die vry-bloue hemel en ongerepte natuur,
Toon ons ons ware karakter, wys ons ons krag en vuur.[1]

Roll of Honour[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 This person is marked on the Fort Klapperkop Memorial wall with an * as having died during operations or in combat.

References[edit | edit source]

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