Border War SADF 32 Battalion Summer “Wet Season” Camo Service Shirt

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Original Border War South African Defence Force 32 Battalion Summer or “Wet Season” Camouflage Service Shirt. Long Sleeve.

Size Small tag still present. All original buttons present as well. Signs of wear, including holes on front and back.


31” Length

19” Chest

22” Sleeve

Following the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola's (MPLA) victory in the Angolan War of Independence in 1975, numerous troops of its primary rival, the Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola (National Liberation Front of Angola, FNLA), took refuge in South African-controlled South West Africa. Under the leadership of Colonel Jan Breytenbach and Commandant Sybie van der Spuy, a unit was formed and initially referred to as Bravo Group, but eventually renamed as 32 Battalion. Originally comprised of two infantry companies, a mortar platoon, an anti-tank section, and a machine gun platoon, 32 Battalion eventually expanded to include seven infantry companies, a reconnaissance wing, and a support company featuring 81mm mortar, anti-tank, and machine gun sections.

As a relatively unique South African Defence Forces unit, 32 Battalion was primarily stationed in southern Angola, serving as a protective barrier between the SADF's standard forces and hostile adversaries. The unit also aided the anti-communist efforts of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). While its main purpose was counter-insurgency, it eventually took on a semi-conventional role during the later stages of the war - most notably during the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale.

The battalion was made up of approximately 700 riflemen and NCOs, including predominantly Angolan nationals who previously served with the FNLA or the Portuguese Army, and mostly South African officers. Additionally, commissioned personnel from countries like Australia, Rhodesia, Portugal, and the United States were also involved, particularly in the initial phase. As the unit evolved, several SNCOs (senior non-commissioned officers, ranked as sergeants or higher) demonstrated exceptional merit and were granted commissions.

Following Namibian independence in 1989-1990, the unit was redeployed to South Africa and played a key role in counter-insurgency operations along the borders and in townships. In 1992, after negotiations between the National Party and the ANC following the Phola Park Incident, the unit was officially disbanded in March 1993. The remaining members were then transferred to other SADF units, including the Parachute and Mechanised Battalions and the Recces.

Collections: All Items, Bush Wars, South Africa, Uniforms & Kit Tags: Bush Wars, Kit, South Africa