SA FORCES IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR

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Keywords: Organisation of Union Defence Force, Permanent Force, Active Citizen Force, Special Service Battalion, South African Artillery, Territorial Army in Britain, South African Air Force, the outbreak of war in September, 1939

Abstract

UNION DEFENCE FORCE: LAND FORCES Organisation of Union Defence Force (a) Pre-War. At the outbreak of war in September, 1939, the armed forces of the Union consisted of a Permanent Force of 352 Officers and 5033 men, and an Active Citizen Force of 918 Officers and 12 572 men. Of the Permanent Force, 173 Officers and 1664 men formed the South African Air Force, 47 Officers and 562 men were members of the South African Artillery and 17 Officers and 1 705 men formed the Special Service Battalion, a unit consisting of men who served on a short-service basis for a minimum of one year. The rest were concerned principally in the supply services and in administering the Active Citizen Force. The latter was roughly parallel to the Territorial Army in Britain, since membership, although nominally compulsory, was in effect restricted to volunteers from among the various age groups called up annually for compulsory registration. Members of the Active Citizen Force were enrolled in units, some of which could show a history dating back to the middle of the last century, and were required to perform 1½ to 4 hours of non-continuous training per week, and 15 days of continuous training, in camp, each year. 
Published
2012-02-22
Section
Articles