Original South Africa Army Hunter Group 2 Recce Commando paratrooper wing
Worn by Qualified Members
The Hunter Group was the first South African Special Forces unit.
Some of the member went on to serve in 2 Recce Commando.
Size: approx 105 x 40 mm
Colin Owen nr. C386
Information regarding the Hunter Group:
The Hunter Group are considered to be the “mother” of the South African Special Forces. Most of the information on this website comes from a very interesting book (2 volumes): Clear the way: the military heritage of the South African Irish 1880-1990 by Monick and Baker.
The 1960s saw a worldwide increase in insurgency, especially in Africa, conducted by armies or guerrilla bands using unconventional military methods. The Hunter Group grew out of the need to counter the threat posed by this new form of warfare. The Hunter Group, thought little known outside the SADF community, was the first counter-insurgency (COIN) unit formed by the SADF, officially in May 1968 at Doornkop, south of Johannesburg.
Plans for the Hunter Group were developed by amongst others Col Gil van Kerckhoven (CO of SA Irish Regiment ’65-’69) and martial arts specialist George (Joe) Grant-Grierson (1927-2007) and were quickly put into effect. Initial Hunter Group formation and selection procedures were established, and a cadre was formed from members of the Irish Regiment. Trainees participated in 240 hours of training over a twelve-month period at the Doornkop military base. The volunteer training was conducted at weekends and by night during the week, and covered such things as unarmed combat, bush craft, buddy aid, field navigation and survival, riot control, the laying of landmines and booby traps, tracking and the use of attack dogs, and defensive and offensive driving. They were also given instruction in propaganda; guerrilla tactics, theory and thought; and stress and shock training. The members were taught terrorist tactics and theory from experts who had seen fighting in Rhodesia, Angola or the Congo. The Hunter Group trained over 1800 volunteers in part time training including Permanent Force officers and instructors, and many members later assisted in the formation and/or training of various other specialized SADF units including the Reconnaissance Regiments, Special Service and parachute units, including 32 Battalion that came later. Following Col van Kerckhoven´s departure from the Irish regiment, the Hunter Group led an independent existence during the period 1970-1974; at which latter date it developed into 2 Reconnaissance Commando. In 1981, it was re designated as 2 Reconnaissance Regiment. As part of the process of rationalisation and the discontinuation of the Citizen Force concept in the South African military, 2 Reconnaissance Regiment was retired in 1992. The unit emblem of 2 Reconnaissance Regiment was the Hunter Group scorpion, within the wings of a bat, above the compass rose. Their motto didn’t change: “We dare – Ons Waag”