Regiment President Steyn

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Regiment President Steyn
SADF Regiment President Steyn shoulder flash.jpg
SANDF Regiment President Steyn Emblem
Active1934-
Country South Africa
Allegiance
Branch
TypeArmoured Regiment
Part ofSouth African Armoured Formation
Army Conventional Reserve
Garrison/HQBloemfontein
Motto(s)VRYHEID, GETROUHEID, MOED (Freedom; Faithfulness; Courage)
EquipmentOlifant main battle tank
Battle honours
Awarded
East Africa 1940-41
Western Desert 1941-43
Sidi Rezegh
Gazala
Alamein Defence
El Alamein
Commanders
First OC 1934Lt Col McHardy
OC 1941Lt Col W. P. Minnaar
OC 1943Lt Col A. S. Nel
OC 1987Cmdt Dries Krause
OC 1990Cmdt Bok Kriel
Current OCLt Col Braam Korff
Honorary ColonelColonel Vacant
Insignia
Beret ColourBlack
Armour Squadron emblemsSANDF Armour squadron emblems
Armour beret bar circa 1992SANDF Armour beret bar

Regiment President Steyn / Thaba Bosiu Armour Regiment is an armoured regiment of the South African Army. As a reserve unit, it has a status roughly equivalent to that of a British Army Reserve or United States Army National Guard unit. The Regiment was named after Martinus Theunis Steyn, the last President of the Orange Free State Republic and is stationed in the city of Bloemfontein (where it has the freedom of the city). It is part of the South African Army Armour Formation.

History[edit]

Origin[edit]

The Regiment was raised as a machine gun regiment in Bloemfontein and its surrounding districts in the Orange Free State on 1 April 1934.[1]

Lieutenant-Colonel McHardy was the Regiment's first commanding officer.

World War II[edit]

Mobilisation for World War II took place on 5 June 1940. In order to increase the strength of the regiment, volunteers from Regiment De Wet and Regiment Louw Wepener and the Orange Free State Field Artillery (O.V.S. Veld Artillerie in Afrikaans) were transferred to it.

Egypt[edit]

The Regiment arrived in Egypt in June 1941, as the Machine Gun Battalion of the South African 1st Infantry Division. The regiment saw a lot of action in the north African desert, most notably at Sidi Rezegh, where its 3rd Company went into action.

At the end of 1941 the regiment was made part of the 5th South African Infantry Brigade. In March of the same year additional personnel was received from the 3rd battalion of the Transvaal Scottish Regiment and in April Lieutenant-Colonel W. P. Minnaar succeeded McHardy as its commanding officer. Minnaar commanded the regiment during the El Alamein fighting in June. In January 1943 the unit was sent back to the then-Union of South Africa and placed under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel A. S. Nel, who became the commanding officer of the amalgamated Regiment Botha/President Steyn in August of the same year.

The unit was later converted to an armoured car regiment.

Post War Years[edit]

From 1960 to 1966, RPS was called Regiment Bloemfontein.

Border War[edit]

In 1975 the regiment converted from armoured cars to tanks and eventually formed part of the 8th South African Armoured Division 82 Mechanised Brigade (South Africa).

What was later to become Regiment Vrystaat was formed in the same year as 2 Regiment President Steyn. The regiment's Ratel infantry fighting vehicles and Eland-90 armoured cars saw service during the South African Border War.

Under 7th Division[edit]

The Regiment's first active duty as a tank unit was when two squadrons took part in Operation Packer in March 1988 with 82 Brigade. The unit lost three tanks in a Cuban minefield. One of the tanks was recovered while the other two remained stuck in the minefield. The commander moved his forces back out of the minefield as they attempted to retrieve the damaged tanks. By 14h30 a decision was made to withdraw altogether due to the minefields and heavy artillery attacks from both sides of the river. A request was made for the SADF artillery to destroy the three damaged Olifant tanks. This was rejected as it was believed that the tanks could be recovered. This did not happen; one was retrieved by the Cubans and taken to the town of Cuito Cuanavale while the other remains to this day in the Angolan bush.

SANDF era[edit]

Name Change[edit]

In August 2019 52 units of the Reserve Force had their names changed to reflect the diversity of the current SANDF. [2]

This unit had its name changed to the Thaba Bosiu Armour Regiment.

Regimental symbols[edit]

  • Regimental Colour: The badge is a Vickers machine gun with the arms of the late President Steyn and Floreat above it and the title and Bloemfontein below. The flash is yellow above white with black as the lowest panel, and a black triangle on the centre white.

Previous Dress Insignia[edit]

SADF era Regiment President Steyn insignia

Unit colours[edit]

The Regiment's first Unit Colour was a gift from the City Council of Bloemfontein and the wife of the late President M.T. Steyn presented it to the Unit on 17 October 1939. The RPS also became the first unit to receive the Right to the Freedom of Entry to the City of Bloemfontein. The date of this honour was 1 April 1955.[1]

Battle honours[edit]

  • East Africa 1940 - 1941
  • Western Desert 1941 - 1943
  • Sidi Rezegh
  • Gazala
  • Alamein Defence
  • El Alamein


Operational Duty during the Border War[edit]

  • South West Africa 1980,1982 & 1988
  • Angola 1987 & 1988

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Regiment President Steyn". Saarmourassociation.co.za. Archived from the original on 2013-04-21. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  2. ^ https://www.defenceweb.co.za/featured/new-reserve-force-unit-names/