South West African military heraldry

Heraldry in Africa
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Arthur Radburn
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South West African military heraldry

Postby Arthur Radburn » 28 May 2016, 16:51

Before becoming a republic in 1990, Namibia was called South West Africa. From 1981 to 1989, during the last stage of South African administration, the territory was self-governing and had its own army, called the SWA Territory Force.

The SWATF followed the South African practice of unit coats of arms, but had its own approach to their design. Colonel Des Radmore was in charge of SWATF heraldry.

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The arms of SWATF HQ were on a distinctive shaped shield, representing a cut diamond. The animal whose head is shown is an oryx, known in southern Africa as a 'gemsbok'.

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Each of the military sectors into which the territory was divided had its own arms, with the SWATF device on a chief. Two examples :

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- Sector 30, depicting Fort Namutoni, built by the German colonial authorities before World War I

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... and Sector 40 depicting an aloe.

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Each sector controlled several 'area force units' (formerly called 'commandos') which were responsible for local defence. Each AFU's arms had a chief bearing the principal charge from the sector HQ arms. Examples :

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- Otjiwarongo AFU in Sector 30, depicting one of the vicious thorns to be found on bushes in the district

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- Swakopmund AFU in Sector 40.

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More to follow ...
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Regards
Arthur Radburn
IAAH Vice-President : Heraldic Education

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Arthur Radburn
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Location: South Africa
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Re: South West African military heraldry

Postby Arthur Radburn » 30 May 2016, 12:48

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The conventional forces were organised into 91 SWA Brigade, whose arms depicted a lion. Each unit in the brigade had a shield divided per bend, with the brigade arms in chief, and a unit or arm-of-service device in base. Two examples :

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- 91 Armoured Car Regiment, which had the mural crown and kudu's head from its capbadge on its arms :

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- 91 Field Ambulance, which had the medical branch badge of broken arrows rather than the customary Rod of Aesculapius.

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Supporting units were organised into 1 SWA Logistics Brigade. Unit arms had the charges from the brigade arms on a chief. Two examples :

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- 1 SWA Workshop

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- 1 SWA Provost Unit (the leaves around the sword are from the welwitschia, which is the local flower emblem)

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There were a few other units with their own arms, such as :

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- SWA Specialist Unit, which was made up of trackers

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- the SWA Military School, with rather uninspired arms

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- the SWA Air Squadron
Regards
Arthur Radburn
IAAH Vice-President : Heraldic Education

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Chris Green
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Re: South West African military heraldry

Postby Chris Green » 30 May 2016, 12:55

Col Radmore did a pretty good job, certainly compared with some of the military heraldic horrors one can find.
Chris Green
IAAH President

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Marcus Karlsson
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Location: Sweden

Re: South West African military heraldry

Postby Marcus Karlsson » 23 Oct 2016, 16:48

91 Brigade Structure and Unit Insignia:

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