A concise history of the South African Defence Force (1912-1987)

W.A. Dorning


As the SA Defence Force celebrates its 75th anniversary, it can look back with pride at a truly remarkable history. Established just two years after Union, the fledging force was to be severely tested within the first two years of its existence to a degree perhaps unparalleled in the history of modern armies.

Just over a year after its formation, when it still existed more on paper than in fact, the Union Defence Force (UDF) was called upon to suppress a violent industrial strike on the Reef. Having passed its first test with flying colours, the UDF was confronted a few months later by the far more serious crises of internal rebellion and World War. Once again, however, the young organization proved equal to the occasion, and by the end of the Great War the UDF had developed into a battle-hardened, professional force respected the world over for its prowess, courage and endurance in the field.


redoubtable fighting machine; Union's war effort; the South African Forces; Union Defence Force (UDF); SA Defence Force celebrates its 75th anniversary

Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5787/17-2-420


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 W.A. Dorning

ISSN 2224-0020 (online); ISSN 1022-8136 (print)

Creative Commons License -CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Powered by OJS and hosted by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service since 2011.


This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.

SUNJournals Help