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Thread: South African National Defence Force

  1. #1621

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    [quote=GETSOME;3296259][quote=exT70;3296146]
    Quote Originally Posted by Piepalook View Post

    The badge above his wings is a ratel,tracker badge.
    Do you know what the new skiet balkie and volunteer badge look like?
    The old volunteer badge ,was awarded to who,and what was the critria for its award?
    Just the colouring on the "skietbalkie" and nametags that changed. All tags etc now in the green/brown which is part of the background found in the cammo of the shirt. Allows tags to blend in better with cammos than brown current version.

    Volunteer badge upgrade very much out of date as it only now replaces the "Castle" (as previously done many years ago with the erstwhile rank badges) with the new "pride of lions" shield. Further still very similar. Can be issued with volunteer badge after 5 years of volunteer service in the reserves. I don't wear one. Just another "thank you for arriving and being here" prize, not for doing anything. Same with 99% of the gongs going around. It seems they might even be giving out gongs for Ex Bata of last year. Next they'll hand out gongs for successfully going to the bog. We're becomming like the Yanks now.

  2. #1622
    Senior Member GETSOME's Avatar
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    [quote=exT70;3298548][quote=GETSOME;3296259]
    Quote Originally Posted by exT70 View Post

    Just the colouring on the "skietbalkie" and nametags that changed. All tags etc now in the green/brown which is part of the background found in the cammo of the shirt. Allows tags to blend in better with cammos than brown current version.

    Volunteer badge upgrade very much out of date as it only now replaces the "Castle" (as previously done many years ago with the erstwhile rank badges) with the new "pride of lions" shield. Further still very similar. Can be issued with volunteer badge after 5 years of volunteer service in the reserves. I don't wear one. Just another "thank you for arriving and being here" prize, not for doing anything. Same with 99% of the gongs going around. It seems they might even be giving out gongs for Ex Bata of last year. Next they'll hand out gongs for successfully going to the bog. We're becomming like the Yanks now.
    Do you know what year the volunteer badge first came out?
    How come i did get one ,was in the reserves from 1988-1998?

  3. #1623
    Senior Member GETSOME's Avatar
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    Same with 99% of the gongs going around. It seems they might even be giving out gongs for Ex Batta of las year. Next they'll hand out gongs for successfully going to the bog.

    Its Africa,soon they will be awarding those` bottle cap`type awards,like you see those generals in Africa wearing.

  4. #1624

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    [quote=GETSOME;3298929][quote=exT70;3298548]
    Quote Originally Posted by GETSOME View Post

    Do you know what year the volunteer badge first came out?
    How come i did get one ,was in the reserves from 1988-1998?
    No idea when it was first issued, but was some time ago. Some members seem to wear ones that look older than they are!
    Getting one? Serve in a reserve unit and apply for one. No idea if you can get one after you leave (don't think it is like a medal in that regard). Reserve Units (Inf at least) countrywide are getting quite active again. Not like late 90's and early 2000's. There are now basically constantly people on deployment somewhere and units all over are growing again. Not too long ago only one or two units were up to anything (RldR & CTH mostly), but now it seems everybody is waking up. Will see how long it lasts.

  5. #1625
    Senior Member Britboy's Avatar
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    Afternoon all, I started another thread about this, but was pointed here, so here goes. I was wondering how the SANDF compares to the older SADF, and if anyone here has served in/had experience of both? Since there seems to be a general feeling that the SADF were v effective, how does the newer force rate? I understand there was the Military Skills Development programme recently?

    Cheers
    BB

  6. #1626

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    Quote Originally Posted by Britboy View Post
    Afternoon all, I started another thread about this, but was pointed here, so here goes. I was wondering how the SANDF compares to the older SADF, and if anyone here has served in/had experience of both? Since there seems to be a general feeling that the SADF were v effective, how does the newer force rate? I understand there was the Military Skills Development programme recently?

    Cheers
    BB
    Any comparison between the SADF and SANDF would be grossly unfair. The SADF in the 80's was a force on semi-war footing, utilising huge budgets, drawing (picking) members from the whole of society and having the backing (propaganda and otherwise) of most of the then ruling "class", as well as full bacing of church and state. Countering what was referred to as "the total onslaught" and the big "red danger" ("rooi gevaar").
    The SANDF is not on war footing, has a much smaller % of the GDP budget wise, has fewer members, has certain social debts to pay to certain members, is used to a certain extent as a socialist support structure, is not "backed" by the fourth estate (to the contrary, there seems to be a process of reporting almost exclusively only the negative), it has no set enemies which can be focussed and rallies against and bears the burden of both negative connotations from the previous regime's use of the army as well as negative connotations from the current. It is a peace time force.
    Even looking at the pre-76 SADF (do not forget the state of the SADF at times prior to 76 - think of the Erasmus years etc) and today's SANDF, you cannot compare. We live in totally different worlds. Not just in RSA, but around the world, ie military disciplinary standards etc of those times would land one in jail today. This is not a matter of apples and pears, but two very different entities, fauna and flora if you will.
    But that however does not say there is not a lot to be fixed still in the SANDF...
    Things are however not always as the media chooses to portray them... and it is improving rapidly.

  7. #1627

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    Quote Originally Posted by Britboy View Post
    Afternoon all, I started another thread about this, but was pointed here, so here goes. I was wondering how the SANDF compares to the older SADF, and if anyone here has served in/had experience of both? Since there seems to be a general feeling that the SADF were v effective, how does the newer force rate? I understand there was the Military Skills Development programme recently?

    Cheers
    BB
    The MSD system is similar to the old 2 year national service system, just on a volunteer basis. One year's training, one year's deployment/work, after which members leave and are supposed to join the reserves. It still has many growing pains, structures to sort out and niggles, but should in time grow to re-invigorate the SANDF.

  8. #1628
    Senior Member Britboy's Avatar
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    Perhaps a voluntary national service system like MSD is not suited to the new force?
    National service/conscription would have been vital during a long conflict. But as you said the SANDF is not in that conflict now, and is a smaller force.

    Having to train people up and then only getting 12 months productive time out of them must put a lot of strain on the training system with no hope of retention of these pers, and they'd be getting out of the regulars just as they start to get some experience and be most useful. I know there are regulars and reservists too, but why not have only them? Unless all reservists have to have done MSD, then you can still get reserves without MSD.

    Unless the plan is to get them through the door on MSD and then persuade the best ones to stay full time or become reserve (citizen force?) officers?

    Regards
    BB

  9. #1629

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    Quote Originally Posted by Britboy View Post
    Perhaps a voluntary national service system like MSD is not suited to the new force?
    National service/conscription would have been vital during a long conflict. But as you said the SANDF is not in that conflict now, and is a smaller force.

    Having to train people up and then only getting 12 months productive time out of them must put a lot of strain on the training system with no hope of retention of these pers, and they'd be getting out of the regulars just as they start to get some experience and be most useful. I know there are regulars and reservists too, but why not have only them? Unless all reservists have to have done MSD, then you can still get reserves without MSD.

    Unless the plan is to get them through the door on MSD and then persuade the best ones to stay full time or become reserve (citizen force?) officers?

    Regards
    BB
    MSD's are theoretically essential in supplying both the regulars and reserves with personell. The regulars have/had a huge problem with the ageing of its rifleman and jnr leaders, and a lot of the reserve units was not able to train its own jnr pers. The MSD's accordingly are to supply line infantryman/troopers etc for the regular units, which with the age and health of the regular force soldiers, it could not accomplish. When the MSD's leave, they are supposed to join/feed the reserve units where their training is to continue. Some are sellected for jnr leadergroup training and leave the system as 2Lt's and Cpl's.
    You are correct in that the idea is also that the best ones are supposed to feed the regulars.

  10. #1630
    Senior Member Britboy's Avatar
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    Ah, I see the idea better now.

    Just thought it was a shame to train them up and lose them after 12 months productive time, but to be honest, whats the alternative? Make them sign up for 4yrs as a regular? If that would work, then there wouldnt be the problems you mention in getting new regulars.

    Better to have the attraction of only a short contract, then at least you get 12 months out of them as opposed to the no time it would be otherwise (if MSDs wouldnt join as regulars, otherwise they already would have), and get fresh blood into the regulars and a lot more reserve troops. And hopefully convince some to stay fulltime or train them up into officers or NCOs...

    I imagine with this voluntary national service, SA aims to have a much larger reserve force that can be mobilised, kind've like the reserves of Israel or Finland which include (I think) most of the able bodied population. Having it voluntary rather than conscript will hurt the numbers some, but at least they will be motivated volunteers and there will still be a large reserve/ex-national service swathe of the population to call on in times of crisis. And hopefully some new blokes supplied to the regular units every year for peacekeeping/expeditionary tasks.

  11. #1631

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    Quote Originally Posted by Britboy View Post
    Ah, I see the idea better now.

    Just thought it was a shame to train them up and lose them after 12 months productive time, but to be honest, whats the alternative? Make them sign up for 4yrs as a regular? If that would work, then there wouldnt be the problems you mention in getting new regulars.

    Better to have the attraction of only a short contract, then at least you get 12 months out of them as opposed to the no time it would be otherwise (if MSDs wouldnt join as regulars, otherwise they already would have), and get fresh blood into the regulars and a lot more reserve troops. And hopefully convince some to stay fulltime or train them up into officers or NCOs...

    I imagine with this voluntary national service, SA aims to have a much larger reserve force that can be mobilised, kind've like the reserves of Israel or Finland which include (I think) most of the able bodied population. Having it voluntary rather than conscript will hurt the numbers some, but at least they will be motivated volunteers and there will still be a large reserve/ex-national service swathe of the population to call on in times of crisis. And hopefully some new blokes supplied to the regular units every year for peacekeeping/expeditionary tasks.
    A typical Inf Bn would deploy with about two Coy's worth of MSD's.
    And these days an attached reserve Coy as well.
    Leadergroup would mostly be regular, with reserves and MSD's supplying some jnr leaders.

    Serving terms are kept short to avoid the current problems where no exit mechanism exists for the serving ex-SADF and non-statutory force members. Having 40-something year old rifleman does not work. Nor having snr leadergroup from ex-non-statutory forces that are good for absolutely nothing (fortunately most have been weeded out - thanks BMAT, only took 14 years (and counting) to fix that).
    The name is further supposed to say it all. "Skills Development". Initial training. Then on to the reserves to serve a full military life as a reservist. Does not realy happen as planned at present, but we'll wait with bated breath. Ex-MSD's now just dissappear when they exit the MSD system. Hopefully just a growing pain.
    In the reserves we get far supperior quality soldiers, who remains in the system, if we train them ourselves. The problem is however that not all units are capable of providing quality training.

    Training. Which brings me back to your posting. Only 12 months of training? If a military cannot train a quality rifleman in 12 months, it should get out of the business of soldiering.

  12. #1632
    Senior Member Britboy's Avatar
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    Indeed, 12 months is ages of training for that role. My point was you would only have them for 12 months 'useful time' after this period before you lost them to civvy life (MSD is 2yrs, right?), so then you have to recruit and train up a new batch. Compared to regulars in most other armies who have to sign up for 4yrs. But then I guess 1yr of an MSD in a unit is better than no time from that individual in service, as these people wouldn't have joined as a regular anyway, hence the need for the MSD in the first place. So the choice from the SANDFs point of view isn't whether to employ MSDs or new regulars, but to keep on employing the regulars they have and to choose between employing MSDs or not. From this point of view, I suppose MSD is crucial.

    I had no idea that MSDs were relied upon to make up almost half of a Bn, thats quite a number! Although I suppose it depends what is happening with that Bn, i.e. one deploying overseas will get as many blokes as it needs whereas one remaining in SA is a lower priority for receiving MSDs up to full manning. By this reckoning though, only 1 coy and the HQ are regulars - the regular part of the SANDF must be in a bad way if they can only put up one coy per bn (as well as the HQ and leadership)!

    But these are just thoughts out of my own head due to what you have told me about MSD and the state of the SANDF, so I might be wrong... But that is the way I see it (i.e. its easier to train new riflemen every year than it is to attract new quality regulars)?

    I can't believe there is no way out of the SANDF for ex-SADF and ex-other forces members? You mean they literally cannot leave? Or that they would have trouble slotting into civilian life for whatever reasons, if they did leave? And that is the reason there are 40yr old riflemen? I can't believe someone would be content to stay in the same appointment for 22-ish years with no thought of advancement and no new regulars coming in to replace them as riflemen...

    Another thing you mentioned is that ex SADF and ex members of other groups work side by side. I can see how that might work now, but when the SADF had just become the SANDF, how could that be workable? There must have been a lot of former rebels from other forces pretty much dumped into what was the SADF in all but name at that point, and a LOT of recently-ex-SADF members with a lot of greivances against these new guys. Did the SANDF integrate new members directly into units, or go down the route of separate units for a cooling-off period before integrating them? There must have been a lot of tension and violence I'd have thought...

    And one more thing, thanks for answering my (probably dumb) questions, so's I can learn more about South Africa's military - cheers!

    Regards
    BB

  13. #1633

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    Quote Originally Posted by Britboy View Post
    Indeed, 12 months is ages of training for that role. My point was you would only have them for 12 months 'useful time' after this period before you lost them to civvy life (MSD is 2yrs, right?), so then you have to recruit and train up a new batch. Compared to regulars in most other armies who have to sign up for 4yrs. But then I guess 1yr of an MSD in a unit is better than no time from that individual in service, as these people wouldn't have joined as a regular anyway, hence the need for the MSD in the first place. So the choice from the SANDFs point of view isn't whether to employ MSDs or new regulars, but to keep on employing the regulars they have and to choose between employing MSDs or not. From this point of view, I suppose MSD is crucial.

    I had no idea that MSDs were relied upon to make up almost half of a Bn, thats quite a number! Although I suppose it depends what is happening with that Bn, i.e. one deploying overseas will get as many blokes as it needs whereas one remaining in SA is a lower priority for receiving MSDs up to full manning. By this reckoning though, only 1 coy and the HQ are regulars - the regular part of the SANDF must be in a bad way if they can only put up one coy per bn (as well as the HQ and leadership)!

    But these are just thoughts out of my own head due to what you have told me about MSD and the state of the SANDF, so I might be wrong... But that is the way I see it (i.e. its easier to train new riflemen every year than it is to attract new quality regulars)?

    I can't believe there is no way out of the SANDF for ex-SADF and ex-other forces members? You mean they literally cannot leave? Or that they would have trouble slotting into civilian life for whatever reasons, if they did leave? And that is the reason there are 40yr old riflemen? I can't believe someone would be content to stay in the same appointment for 22-ish years with no thought of advancement and no new regulars coming in to replace them as riflemen...

    Another thing you mentioned is that ex SADF and ex members of other groups work side by side. I can see how that might work now, but when the SADF had just become the SANDF, how could that be workable? There must have been a lot of former rebels from other forces pretty much dumped into what was the SADF in all but name at that point, and a LOT of recently-ex-SADF members with a lot of greivances against these new guys. Did the SANDF integrate new members directly into units, or go down the route of separate units for a cooling-off period before integrating them? There must have been a lot of tension and violence I'd have thought...

    And one more thing, thanks for answering my (probably dumb) questions, so's I can learn more about South Africa's military - cheers!

    Regards
    BB
    Nobody is forcing members to stay. The problem is getting rid of them. We live in a county with somewhere between 25% and 50% unemployment and people are quite content to draw a monthly salary, get all the benefits and be a rifleman for their whole lives. Its better than no house, no food, no job etc. And it is not a matter of just retrenching them either, both labour law wise, and certain political debts that must be paid by some who fought in the struggle.

    State of the SANDF is not as bad as it sounds. Remember members only deploy on Peacekeeping if they volunteer. I have friends that between courses, deployments and training have spent about 30days at home during the last 4 years. After a while it is enough. No matter how dedicated a soldier you may be. Now imagine what its like for the ambitionless 40 year old rifleman.
    So a unit might deploy with only 50% regular staffing, while back a base the barracks are still full.

    Integration between the SADF, various other statutory forces as well as non-statutory forces actually went well all considered.
    Not as bad as one could imagine, but that is probably the case or the whole of South Africa. But growing pains there were...

    Last point. Reason for only two years is not members unwilling to volunteer if longer. Remember unemployment. The MSD system is way oversubscribed.

  14. #1634

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    Having read the entire thread, I must say it is heartening to hear from people within the SANDF, that things aren't as bad as the media would like us to believe sometimes.

    With regards to the discussion on the Olifant Mk.2 upgrade. With some media reports putting the number of tanks to be upgraded as low as 26, it seems to me that the skills of our tank crews must have eroded to a small competency base only(as our fighter aircraft capability has).

    http://www.military-today.com/tanks/olifant_mk2.htm

    Given the low level of funding preventing the SANDF from exercising coventional tank warfare on a regular basis(more frequently than once a year), I wonder just how low our tank capability has sunk? (Apparently 1SA Tank Regiment has recently been deployed in their secondary infantry role due to lack of funds)

    Can anyone comment on this?

  15. #1635

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    Quote Originally Posted by john_549 View Post
    Having read the entire thread, I must say it is heartening to hear from people within the SANDF, that things aren't as bad as the media would like us to believe sometimes.

    With regards to the discussion on the Olifant Mk.2 upgrade. With some media reports putting the number of tanks to be upgraded as low as 26, it seems to me that the skills of our tank crews must have eroded to a small competency base only(as our fighter aircraft capability has).

    http://www.military-today.com/tanks/olifant_mk2.htm

    Given the low level of funding preventing the SANDF from exercising coventional tank warfare on a regular basis(more frequently than once a year), I wonder just how low our tank capability has sunk? (Apparently 1SA Tank Regiment has recently been deployed in their secondary infantry role due to lack of funds)

    Can anyone comment on this?
    Well, seeing as I'm at it...
    I left the SAAC (SA Armoured Corps) some years ago, so can't speak from direct of personal experience but...
    One of the Armoured Coprs main problems budget wise is that they are preparing for a conventional war in an era where there is no conventional threat. Mech Infantry to a lesser extent has the the same problem. Screw "civic pacem parrabelum", the "here and now" is all that is important for the politicians. The powers that be, like seeming everywhere in the world, is only looking at the short term here and now and accordingly when you stand in line for budget allocation, who will suck at the hind teat? Inf is mainly involved with peacekeeping (with the medics and engineers doing their level best to get in on the act as well) and is accordingly doing well budget wise. Now guess why tankers have been deploying as inf? "See, we can do this as well" type of thing.

    And yes, to what I've heard (only re tanks - no knowledge as the "Katte", but I'd hazzard a guess that'll be the same), armoured training has suffered. Last time I spoke to chaps who've completed gunnery phase, each gunner fired only 4 to 6 rounds in total. And low and behold, "the best gunner on course got to fire an FS!!" (told with great awe). We used to fire more on a single assault...!

    Back to the media. Yes, they specialise in painting dark pictures, and the truth is something that is sparingly used. Like one of those "based on true events" TV movies.

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