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South African Infantry School
Active November 1953 – present
Country Flag of South Africa.svg South Africa
Branch Flag of South Africa.svg South Africa Army
Type Infantry Training
Part of South African Army Infantry Formation
Garrison/HQ Oudsthoorn
Motto(s) Exerce Perfectioni (Strive for excellence)
Insignia
Beret Colour Green
South African Infantry School
Part of South African Army
Oudtshoorn, Western Cape
Type Training base
Coordinates Latitude: -33.35
Longitude: 22.12
Built November 1953 (November 1953)

The South African Infantry School is within the Army Base in Oudtshoorn, Western Cape. The Infantry School, now at Oudtshoorn, was established in November 1953, after a chequered career dating back to the South African Military School in Bloemfontein, established in 1912. It is the Infantry’s “centre of excellence” and offers a number of infantry-specific courses to regulars and Reservists.[1]

HistoryEdit

Early HistoryEdit

On the 1 July 1912, the South African Military School was established in the old President's residence in Bloemfontein. The school's name was changed to The School of Musketry on the 1 November 1912 and moved to Tempe in Bloemfontein.

On the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the school at Tempe was closed and all the members of the staff were transferred to Potchefstroom. These staff members were responsible for the next number of years for the training of volunteers for overseas duty.[2]

During 1920, the South African Military School was established at what was then called Roberts Heights (This has subsequently changed names twice, first to Voortrekkerhoogte and now to Thaba Tshwane). The college was granted the status of School in 1924 as a result of the training of the first group of permanent force Officer Candidates. The school was enlarged just after the outbreak of the Second World War in 1935 with the creation of the following branches:[2]

  1. G Branch (Af:G-Tak)
  2. Weapon Training Branch (Af:Wapenleer)
  3. Signals Branch (Af:Seintak)
  4. Training Depot (Af:Opleidingsdepot)
  5. National Reserve Volunteers (Af:Nasionalle Reserwe Vrywilligers)
  6. Research and Development Branch (Af:Verbeterings en Vermomingstak)
  7. Chemical Warfare Branch (Af:Chemiese Oorlogvoeringstak)
  8. Regiment Training (Af:Regimente Opleiding)
  9. Armour Branch (Af:Pantsertak)

During the 1940–1945 years, certain of these branches were moved. The Regimental Training was taken over by the Weapon Training Branch for example. It was during this era that the idea was mooted that there should be an independent Infantry School.[2]

In November 1953 the Weapon Training Branch was officially renamed the Infantry School in terms of SADF order No. 206/53, but this renamed unit remained an integral part of the South African Military College.[2]

On 1 October 1963, after having been a ghost unit for almost 10 years, the Infantry School was finally established as a self accounting unit. At this stage and until 1 January 1964, Maj J. H. Rossouw, SAIC, was appointed Acting Officer Commanding. It was during this period that the decision to move the Infantry School to Oudtshoorn, its present location, was taken.[2]

OudtshoornEdit

On 1 January 1964 the new, fully fledged Infantry School opened its portals in Oudtshoorn to admit its first students under the command of Cmdt M. N. Horner, SAIC. Since that day, the School has undergone two major metamorphoses. The first being in January 1974 when, in addition to its established role, it assumed the role of the unit where National Servicemen Junior Leaders were trained. The second occurred in December 1976 when it was decided to remove virtually all Citizen Force courses from the School and transfer them to the Danie Theron Combat School in Kimberley.[2]

In January 1977 another historic event occurred at the Infantry School that is the advent of the first prospective Cadet Officer intake of then recently qualified teachers. In those years, the unit had shouldered its share of the burden of duty in the operational area. Later on it had become policy to send companies of National Servicemen to the operational area as part of their training as Junior Leaders.[2]

1977 was an important year in the school's history as they received their Colours on the 1 October 1977 and were granted the Freedom of the City by the City Council of Oudtshoorn.[2]

On the 28 March 1980, the Infantry School received it's own song from the well known Dirkie and Doll de Villiers. The song was handed over to the Commanding Officer, Col W.G. Kritzinger, during a parade at the school and the song was performed for the first time by the School's choir.[2]

During December 1980, the Exerce Perfectioni Statue was handed over to the School by the City Council of Oudtshoorn. The statue was unveiled by Gen Magnus Malan.[2]

Commanders of the SchoolEdit

  • Cmdt M. N. Horner
  • Cmdt V. A. J Torlage
  • Col H. K. J. van Noorden, SM (later Maj Gen)
  • Col R. F. Holtzhausen, SSAS SD SM (later Lt Gen)
  • Col D. J. Mortimer (later Brig)
  • Col R. Badenhorst, SD (later Maj Genl)
  • Col W. G. Kritzinger (later Brig)
  • Col C. J. Serfontein
  • Col H. J. Schultz[2]

Recent InformationEdit

ControversyEdit

There have been a number of controversial incidents recently, including allegations of recruits being beaten.[3] The latest incident has been the accusation that actions of a General Officer and some members of the Infantry School are tantamount to Sedition.[4][5][6]

InsigniaEdit

  • Current role: Corps school.
  • Current base: Oudtshoorn
  • Motto: Exerce Perfectioni (Strive for excellence)

Infantry School SongEdit

Where the sun-bathed heights of Swartberg guard the wide and fertile plain,
You are training future leaders for our army's might and main ...
Men of character and courage in a bold, heroic team ...
Gallant warriors ever ready for the sacrifice supreme.

Refain "Exerce Perfectioni" Your motto perfection enshrines!
School of heroes, you'll inspire us as long as the southern cross shines!

Happy training while our peoples gird their loins courageously,
With a cool determination to defend their liberty.
And the enemy who converts our beloved fatherland,
Will be met by all our forces guided by his almighty hand!

On the sun and starlit border galant comrades hold their breath,
And destroy the fleeing en'my with the flaming sword of death!
Fatherland, we proudly serve you with our knowledge and our power,
In the battle for survival till the day when peace shall flower!

ReferencesEdit

  1. Engelbrecht, Leon (18 June 2010). "Fact file: Infantry School". DefenceWeb. http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8537:fact-file-infantry-school&catid=79:fact-files&Itemid=159. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 "History of the Infantry School". http://sadf.info/Infantry%20School%20Introduction.html. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  3. Greef, Pikkie (7 May 2013). "SANDF recruits severely assaulted at Oudtshoorn infantry school - SANDU". SANDU. http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page71654?oid=375079&sn=Detail&pid=71616. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  4. Romer-Heitman, Helmoed (17 November 2014). "Why no action against sedition?". The Mercury. http://www.iol.co.za/mercury/why-no-action-against-sedition-1.1781606. Retrieved 3 December 2014. "On May 17, South Africa experienced what amounted to armed sedition by soldiers under the command of a general – assuming the reports were accurate." 
  5. Flanagan, Louise (22 May 2014). "General allegedly springs jailed troops". The Star. http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/general-allegedly-springs-jailed-troops-1.1692056#.VH8FGjGUeSo. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  6. "Troop raid on cops ‘illegal’". DailyNews. 22 May 2014. http://www.iol.co.za/dailynews/news/troop-raid-on-cops-illegal-1.1692360#.VH8FDjGUeSo. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 

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