Did you know? BOOKS

  1. Colonel Jan Breytenbach, wrote five books: Eden Exile; Buffalo Soldiers; Forged in Battle; They lived by the Sword; and The Plunderers
  2. Ronnie Claassen (RSM of 1 Para Bn in 1978) and Renier du Toit authored the book, Rooiplaas: 1 Valskermbataljon
  3. Eeben Barlow wrote The War for Africa: Conflict, Crime, Corruption and Foreign Interests; Executive Outcomes Against All Odds; and Composite Warfare: The Conduct of Successful Ground Forces Operations in Africa
  4. L van Rooyen wrote Sakkie Marais: Legende van Rooiplaas

Did you know? PARACHUTES

  1. The first T10 type parachute arrived in the battalion in 1962
  2. The first SAVIAC MK 1 was the round shaped parachute known as a ‘pampoen’ (pumpkin) due to its shape.
  3. The Mark 2 Parachute was called a steerable
  4. The PT10 parachute was known as SAVIAC (South African Aviation Centre).
  5. The initial lifespan of parachutes used in training was 10 years. However, it was extended to 20 years in 1985.
  6. The entangled, turned up twisted lines of a parachute is referred as a a Roman Candle
  7. PISA (Parachute Industries of South Africa), a Johannesburg company manufactured 1 Para Bn parachutes. 

Did you know? OPERATIONAL

  1. The first 16 men to do para-training overseas departed on 27 September 1960.
  2. The first qualified paratroopers jumped out of a Sikorsky helicopter at Tempe on 5 January 1962
  3. The first paratroopers sent to the South West Africa (now Namibia) order was during 1973
  4. Cross border operations started during 1974
  5. The first 1 Para Bn reaction force started operating from Ondangwa, Namibia in 1976
  6. South African Paratroopers took part in more than 80 operations in battle
  7. Alpha, Delta and Golf were the only companies deployed in 1979/80 in Rhodesia
  8. Fire force means Paratroopers reaction force
  9. S.A.D.F. learned fire force from the Rhodesian Army
  10. A “Valkgroep” was pelatoon of paratroopers
  11. A Dac/Dak is an abbreviation for the Dakota DC3 aircraft
  12. A “Flossie” or C130 Hercules and C160 Transall aircraft transported troops to the operational area
  13. A C130 Hercules had a carrying capacity of 64 paratroopers
  14. Before jumping out of the aircraft, the red light means STAND IN THE DOOR, and the green light means, “GO – JUMP!!!”
  15. A Super Frelon is a helicopter with a carrying capacity of approximately 22 men
  16. The Puma helicopter was later upgraded and renamed Oryx
  17. A Chopper is a shortened abbreviation for a helicopter
  18. A “K-Car” was an Alouette helicopter flying above the reaction group in the operational area with the Commanding Officer controlling the fire force reaction group
  19. The “G-Car” was an Alouette helicopter with airsupport fire of 20mm or machine guns to the ground forces
  20. Tempe is a military base in Bloemfontein
  21. The R1 rifle calibre was 7,62mm and a magazine takes 20 rounds
  22. The R1 in the R1 rifle referred to Republic One and replaced the old FN
  23. The R4 rile carried two types of magazines – 30 rounds & 50 rounds, and originated in Israel
  24. The 47 of the AK-47 refers to the date it was designed
  25. A hand grenade delay is 4,5 seconds

Did you know? TRAINING

  1. The first training of SA parachutists started on 03 October 1960 at the Royal Air Force Parachute Training School at Abington, Oxfordshire.
  2. Soldiers were never called up to 1 Parachute Bn – they were selected at other units and joined out of free will
  3. When a soldier were unsuccessful during the selection phase they were deployed back to their old units (R.T.U)
  4. The obstacle course was opened at 1 Para Bn on 1 April 1977
  5. You were required to pass four of the six fitness test at the end of the two week PT course
  6. The two week PT course was changed to three days and you had to pass five of the six fitness tests
  7. The six tests you had to pass were: 1. 3600 meter run in full kit in 18 minutes, 2. Skaapdra – to carry your fellow soldier over your shoulder for 180 meters in 75 seconds. Both of you in full kit. 3. Sprint runs between two lines ten meters apart – 250 m in 90 second touching hand over the two lines. 4. 67 sit-ups in two minutes. 5. Climb/jump over a two meter wall in full kit. 6. Climb a six meter high rope and touch the high bar of the training hangar
  8. The term “skaapdra” means to carry a fellow soldier over your shoulders
  9. A marble is a block of cement, weighing approximately 30-32kg and was used in physical training in the Parachute Battalion
  10. Qualifying time for the old mile (1,6km) in full kit was 18 minutes
  11. “Die Mollers” was a traditional run on a Friday afternoon before troops went on weekend leave. It was named after Col Hans Moller
  12. Nobody was ever forced to jump
  13. Before you qualified as a paratrooper you had to complete one night jump
  14. Basic Parachute Wings were awarded after 8 jumps
  15. The basic wing colour is blue and white with a bronze wing.
  16. The “Pakhuis” was a building in the unit lines of 1 Para Bn where parachutes were packed. Troops were also chased around the building with a cut-off time of 90 seconds.
  17. Today in 44 Reg a PSM is a Parachute Regiment Sergeant Major
  18. On 5 December 1986 the first HALO course was presented – High Altitude Low Opening Freefall


* The original colour of the British Paratrooper beret is red. When the first group of qualified SA paratroopers returned from the UK after completion of their para-training they found the red beret was allocated to SA Medical Services. The nurses donated their maroon capes to be used a material for manufacturing the berets for our paratroopers.

* The red beret was issued to troops in the battalion in 1969 – the same year as the first banner was unfolded

* The first jumper boots were used in 1961

* The jumpers’ boots originated from the British paratroopers. It was later manufactured in South Africa.

* The Smock Jacket and trousers were originally utilised to wear over battle fatigues and kit to ensure the parachute rigging lines cannot get hooked during exit and opening of the parachutes.

* The “Bokkop” metal badge of a Sprinbok’s head was used on the red beret in 1969

* The “Staaldak” referred to your helmet

* A “Varkpan” is a stainless steel plate used to serve food. It translates as pig plate

* Dixies was two square metal containers in which food was served

* A fire bucket referred to a metal container to keep your water bottle in

* A Tiffy is a mechanic

Did you know? HISTORY

* The name ROOIPLAAS refers to the mother unit 1 Parachute Bn and 44 Brigade

* The slogan for 1 Parachute Battalion is Ex Alto Vincimus: We Conquer From Above

* 1 Parachute Battalion was established 01 April 1961.

* The first military jump in South Africa was on 04 August 1961

* The first 1 Para Bn ceremonial parade took place in Cape Town, 1962 with the opening of Parliament

* The First Regimental Sergeant Major of 1 Para Bn was SM PJ Grove, 1962

* Colonel Jan Breytenbach, the most highly decorated soldier in the SADF was born 14 July 1932. He was Officer Commanding of 44 Para Brigade from 24 September 1980 – 31 December 1982.

* 44 Parachute Brigade was established in 1976

* The Aapkas is named after Colonel W.P. Louw.

* Colin Deysel, a veteran paratrooper (now retired) was the official boxing coach in the para unit since the 1970’s and onward.

* On 13 May 1974, RSM Johnny Kieser made history to celebrate 1 Para Bn 100 000th jump

* 2Lt Johan Blaauw was the first recipient of the Honoris Crux Medal for bravery in the battalion on 17 December 1975

* Rondies was a tuck shop and cinema theatre for recreational purposes opposite 1 Para Bn

* FNLA Battalion – Bravo group from Angola became 32 Battalion (Buffalo Battalion)

* Com W.P. Louw was the first Commanding Officer of 1 Para Bn and his 2IB was Maj T.J. Renfree

* Colonel Archie Moore was Officer Commanding of 1 Para Bn, 1978

* Colonel Chris le Roux was the Officer Commanding of 1 Para Bn 1984

* Col Hans Moller was Commanding Officer from 1972 – October 1974

* General Constand Viljoen, previous Chief of the South African Army is a qualified paratrooper

* The current Commanding Officer (2015) at 44 Para Regiment is Col V.S. Mahlasela*

Airborne Creed


I jump by parachute from any plane flight. I volunteered to do it, knowing well thru hazards of my choice. I serve in a mighty Airborne Force-famed for deeds war-renowned for readiness in peace it is my pledge to uphold its honor and prestige in all I am-in all I do I am an elite trooper-a sky trooper-a shock trooper – a spearhead trooper.

I blaze the way to far-flung goals-behind, before above the foe`s front line.
I know that I may have fight without support for days on end. Therefore, I keep mind and body always fit to do my part in any Airborne task. I am self-reliant and unafraid. I shoot true and march fast and far. I fight hard and excel in every art and artifice of war.

I never fail a fellow trooper. I cherish as a sacred trust the lives of men with whom I serve.

Leaders have my fullest loyalty, and those i lead never find me lacking.

I have pride in the Airborne ! I never let it down

In Peace, I do not shrink the dullest of duty, not protest the toughest training. My weapons and equipment are always combat ready. I am neat of dress-military in courtesy-proper in conduct and behavior.

In battle, I fear no foe`s ability, nor under-estimate his prowess, power and guile. I fight him with all my might and skills-ever alert to evade capture or escape a trap. i never surrender, though I be the last.

My goal in peace or war is to succeed in any mission of the day or die, if needs be, in the try