SADF Reconnaissance Commando Stable Belt - Second Pattern

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Original 1994 South African Defence Force Reconnaissance Commando “Recce” Second Pattern Stable Belt.

Original, issued and worn Stable belt with serial number “1348”.

Once reorganized as Special Forces Brigade, the brass Reconnaissance Regiment Belt Buckle was used on the 44 Para Brigade stable belt. This pattern stable belt replaced the First Pattern that featured a black belt with a single white stripe in the center. The second pattern was authorized for wear on January 1st 1994 and was in wear until a third design was introduced in May 1995. The Recce stable belts underwent various changes since their inception in 1987 until their discontinuation by the SANDF on April 1st 2001.

The initial South African Special Forces unit, 1 Reconnaissance Commando, was founded on October 1st, 1972 in Oudtshoorn, Cape Province. It later moved to Durban, Natal on January 1st, 1975 and remained a prominent special forces airborne unit.

Five more Reconnaissance Commandos were established, including 2 Reconnaissance Commando (Citizen Force) in Johannesburg. Unfortunately, this unit was eventually retired due to rationalization and the discontinuation of the Citizen Force unit concept.

3 Reconnaissance Commando, made up of ex-Rhodesian Selous Scouts, was founded in Phalaborwa. The unit's integration into the South African Military was largely unsuccessful and it was ultimately dissolved in 1981. The remaining personnel were absorbed into other Special Forces unit.

The 4 Reconnaissance Commando, which specializes in seaborne operations, originated in the coastal town of Langebaan, located in the Cape Province.

5 Reconnaissance Commando was originally stationed at Duku-Duku camp in Natal, but was later relocated to Phalaborwa in the Transvaal province.

The 6 Reconnaissance Commando, comprised of ex-Rhodesian Special Air Service members, was founded in Durban. Despite efforts to integrate the unit into the South African Military, it ultimately failed and was dissolved in 1981. The remaining individuals were assimilated into other Special Forces units.

In 1980, as part of Operation Winter, the SADF recruited numerous white members from the Rhodesian special forces who then went on to serve with the South African Special Forces.

 On January 1st, 1981, a re-organization occurred within the Special Forces. This resulted in the transformation of the Reconnaissance Commandos and other special forces into an independent formation. This formation was placed directly under the command of the South African Defence Force, instead of the South African Army. The various Reconnaissance Commandos were also elevated to regiment status in the same re-organization period. Later in the decade, a Special Forces headquarters and stores depot were included in the Special Forces structure as well. During the period from 1981 to 1990, Special Forces was involved in various unconventional operations, including Project Barnacle, the Civil Cooperation Bureau, and other operations carried out by the 7 Medical Battalion Group. In 1991, there was another transformation in the structure of the special forces. The special forces headquarters was dissolved and a new Directorate Reconnaissance was formed, which reported directly to the Chief of the Army.

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