73 Motorised Brigade (South Africa)

73 Motorised Brigade was a Formation of 7th Infantry Division (South Africa), a combined arms force consisting of infantry, armour and artillery.

73 Motorised Brigade
SADF era 73 Brigade emblem.png
73 Motorised Brigade emblem
Country South Africa
Allegiance South Africa
Branch South African Army
TypeMotorised Brigade
Part ofSouth African Composite Brigade
GarrisonWitwatersrand Command Complex, Vereeniging and later Kensington
Nickname(s)73 Mot
EngagementsSouth African Border War
73 Mot Brigade Command BarSADF era 73 Brigade Command Bar.jpg



19 BrigadeEdit

71 Brigade can trace its origins back to a structure in the late 1960s, called 19 Brigade, which was headquartered at the Witwatersrand Command Complex. On 1 August 1974, through a reorganization of the Army’s conventional force, the name was changed to 73 Motorised Brigade.[1]

Initial StructureEdit

Under this reorganisation, the following units were transferred from Witwatersrand Command to the new command:

SADF 7 Division 73 Brigade associated units over time

Higher CommandEdit

73 Motorised Brigade initially resorted under the Chief of the Army until July 1986 but was then transferred to 7 Division. Eventually the entire Brigade resorted under Far North Command.

SADF era Brigade level Sergeant Major insignia

Brigade Training and ExercisesEdit

73 Motorised Brigade would generally make use of the General de Wet Training Range, Tempe, near Bloemfontein. Notably 73 Motorised Brigade was involved in Exercise Thunder Chariot, a Divisional exercise held since 1956, at the Army Battle School. Other exercises included:

  • Exercise Aggressor 1
  • Exercise Turning Wheel
  • Exercise Excalibur
  • Exercise Ysbeer both on Lohatla

Operational ActivationEdit

As a Citizen Force structure, 73 Motorised Brigade would make use of call-up orders for its personnel to generally report for 3 months service. Headquarters staff would then leave for Tempe near Bloemfontein, where a transfer camp would be established to process troops en route to the operational area in northern South West Africa. Processing of units would include personal documentation, a medical examination, inoculation and the issuing of equipment and weapons. Each unit on completion of the necessary processing, would entrain to the Olienhoutplaat Station for a six-day journey to Grootfontein, the railhead near the Operational Area.[2]

Changes over timeEdit

73 Motorised Brigade structure was not static, units were substituted as needs were adapted to Two units arrived in 73 Brigade in 1984, namely Rand Light Infantry and 7 Medium Regiment. By 1986 7 Medium Regiment was transferred under direct control of 7 Division but Regiment Uitenhage was transferred in. In 1989 Rand Light Infantry was transferred to Far North Command while the Pretoria Highlanders was added to the Brigade.

From a Conventional Brigade to a COIN BrigadeEdit

With the independence of Namibia, the conventional threat dissipated and the Army Command began a process of rationalisation. Brigade headquarters were now focussed on counter-insurgency support to regional commands.


SADF era 73 Motorised Brigade insignia


  • Brigadier E.L. Bekker 1974
  • Colonel J.S. van Heerden 1974-1975
  • Colonel T. Hanekom 1976-1977
  • Colonel Y. de Bruin 1978-1980
  • Colonel J.H.E. Aveling 1981-1983
  • Colonel D.M. Nel 1984-1987
  • Colonel B. van Heerden 1990

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ "Fact file: 7 SA Division". 17 February 2010.
  2. ^ Militia Magazine 1990/1991 Year 7 Special Edition

External linksEdit