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The Recces

Who were these phantom soldiers?

Visit the Special Forces League Website to learn more about the recces from the recces.

The recces (reconnaissance soldiers) were the elite of the South African Special Forces. They were highly-trained soldiers, who mostly operated behind enemy lines, usually in very small groups. They could be distinguished firstly by their maroon berets with 'compass points' badge. But the most important distinguishing feature of a operator's uniform was his operator's badge (a Fairburn Sykes dagger surrounded by a laurel wreath). If he did not have this badge, more than likely he was not a recce. Recces could be 'dropped' by land, sea or air.


These soldiers were legendary, sometimes people didn't even believe that they existed. Of course this lead to many people, especially national servicemen, falsely claiming that they were recces. National servicemen, such as the author, could not under any circumstances become recces, because one of the pre-requisites was to join the permanent force. Servicemen were recruited however to fulfill certain specialized tasks, but they could not go around making false claims. One of the key factors for the survival of an operator was not to make such claims. They would have to carry themselves quietly and humbly. This is strength! It also our RAT philosophy. So often the images that people conjure up of recces are completely false. They were not the macho type you imagine, but mostly down to earth people.

The recce's training was tough and near impossible, but it produced some of the world's finest soldiers and I'm glad that RAT has played a small part in shaping that legend.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 October 2009 21:58