SADF 1980s Soldier

This month’s impression is the first of a series of South African Defence Force impressions we will be looking at over the next few months to coincide with our SADF series on a Monday. The first impression is of an SADF infantryman in the mid to late 1980s towards the end of the border war. 

The South African Defence Force spent much time and effort upgrading its weapons, uniforms and equipment during the early 1980s and with their extensive experience in active combat, the force was at the forefront of infantry equipment at the time, introducing concepts such as chest-rigs, light weight helmets and nylon webbing before any other military in Africa. Our infantryman shows the result of those updates and he looks very different to how a man would have been equipped just ten years before. 

On his head he wears an M87 pattern Kevlar helmet with a nutria brown cloth cover. His uniform is the 1980s pattern with straight cut pocket flaps and he is wearing an M83 chest rig to carry the magazines for his R4 rifle, the 5.56 rifle copied from the Israeli Galil. He wears an older 1970 pattern belt as a trouser belt. In some of these photos, our infantryman is carrying a couple of the distinctive plastic ammunition boxes used by the SADF during the 1980s. 

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