• J.H. Picard SADF language Service
Keywords: esprit de corps, Brief Survey, Freedom of a City, Regimental Colours, Change-of-Command Symbols, traditions, customs and ceremonies, Naval Traditions, Naval Officer's Sword


Preliminary Look

Within any military community one finds particular traditions, customs and ceremonies, the origin of which is often shrouded in the mists of antiquity. Even the origin of certain often used terms, so specifically martial and peculiar to the military, is generally quite unknown. This is a pity as such terms are a way of communicating to the soldier that

(a) he is not alone but a member of an illustrious group,

(b) he is duty and honour bound to uphold the fine traditions of the group to which he belongs,

(c) he is justly proud of belonging to such a unit for this also raises his self-esteem,

(d) it is more frightening to live having failed the unit or one's comrades than to lay down your life in the knowledge that you have defended the honour of your country, your unit and yourself,

(e) such terms contribute to effective teamwork and the esprit de corps so important in the military.

Traditions, then, inspire comradeship, pride, love, courage and discipline. Small wonder that their absence could lead to a disaster. In Military Manpower (1981) Canby attributes the poor discipline of USA soldiers in Vietnam (as compared with the British soldier in Ireland) to the abolishment of the regimental system with its focus on traditions.

How to Cite
Picard, J. (2012). MILITARY TRADITIONS WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO SOUTH AFRICA. Scientia Militaria - South African Journal of Military Studies, 20(1).