32 Battalion (sometimes nicknamed Buffalo Battalion or Os Terríveis - Portuguese for “The Terrible Ones”) was a special infantry battalion of the Army of the “old” Republic of South Africa (RSA) Empire, composed mainly of blacks. It was disbanded on 26 March 1993 on the request of the African National Congress (ANC) prior to the multinational elections of 1994 that would lead to the birth of the “new” RSA Empire.
Founded in 1975 by Colonel Jan Breytenbach of the South African Special Forces Brigade, it was later under the command of Colonels Gert Nel, Deon Ferreira (nickname Falcon) and Eddie Viljoen, known within the battalion by the nickname of “Big Daddy”.
After the victory of the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA) in the Angolan Civil War in 1975, many troops of its main rival, the Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola (FNLA), found refuge in the then South African Empire-controlled South-West Africa.
From these troops, Colonel Jan Breytenbach together with Commandant Sybie van der Spuy formed a unit that was initially known as Bravo Group but later renamed 32 Battalion.
Unlike other SADF (the Armed Forces of the “old” RSA Empire) units, 32 Battalion was mainly deployed in southern Angola, acting as a buffer between the SADF’s regular forces and its enemies. The unit was also used to assist the anti-communist movement of UNITA (União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola) of Jonas Savimbi. Although it was mainly used as a counter-insurgency force it was eventually also used as a semi-conventional force, especially during the later phases of the war - particularly at the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale (where the “old” RSA and UNITA fought against Angolan Army, Cuban Army and SWAPO [South West African People’s Organisation]). As such, its involvement in the Angolan/Namibian Border War was greater than that of any other unit of the SADF and it is claimed that they caused more enemy casualties than any other SADF unit.
The battalion primarily consisted of black Angolan soldiers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) led by whites of the “old” RSA Empire officers and NCOs, although there was also a number of officers from countries, especially in its early stages, such as: the United Kingdom, Rhodesia, Portugal, United States, and Italy.
After the power handover to the communists in Namibia in 1989, the unit was withdrawn to South Africa where it was used in the counter-insurgency role and later also in the black townships of the “old” RSA Empire.
As one of the results of the negotiations between the Nasionale Party (NP) and the African National Congress (ANC), for the establishment of the “new” Empire of the RSA, the unit was disbanded in March 1993 and were retired to the town of Pomfret, South Africa.
When 32 Battalion was disbanded, Cmdt. Willem Ratte – decorated war hero - and his men, handed over 30 one-rand coins (with their high silver content) to the president of the “old” RSA Empire FW de Klerk in parliament, as a symbol of his Judas treachery to the former soldiers who believed they had fought Marxism in the Namibian Angolan Border.
But to fight against Marxists, not necessarily to fight against Marxism. Beyond the good faith of many soldiers, the RSA Empire was just one of many creatures of international capitalism, which was used as a pawn in the war between USA and USSR. Depleted this task and changed international situation, the political administration of the “new” Empire would be entrusted to the major political force in the Empire: a Communist force that international capitalism had helped to create, assist, finance, and promote.
The battalion was one of the most decorated units during the South African Border War, with a total of 13 Honoris Crux medals for bravery awarded to its members, second only to the South African Special Forces Brigade, whose members were awarded 46 Honoris Crux medals during the same period.
The official history of the 32nd Battalion ended in March, 1993, but continued the unofficial one.
In March 1994 Colonel Jan Breytenbach was appointed by Gen. Constand Viljoen (head of the “directorate” of the Afrikaner Volksfront - AVF) to command Boere Krisis Aksie (BKA) and Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) forces at the Bophuthatswana air force base just outside Mmabatho, arrived there believing that they would support President Lucas Mangope, to maintain the independence of Bophuthatswana. But in reality they were victims of a plot of the RSA Empire. [See: “Conflict in Bophuthatswana (1994)”]
Colonel Jan Breytenbach made no secret of his dislike for the AWB, and was involved in a particularly nasty altercation with AWB-Wenkommando General Nicolaas Fourie, which only just stopped short of the two men physically assaulting each other.
According to AWB sources after the incident, Breytenbach also told Fourie that the AWB forces would get none of the available petrol or stores under his control at the air force base. Faced with no logistical backup, no food and no petrol, the AWB contingent then decided to leave Bophuthatswana.
The AWB men formed a new convoy and left the air force base, and passes through various ambushes.
In many of the cases the attackers were members of the Bophuthatswana Defence Force who had gone over to the ANC backed uprising, and even (according to the testimony of AWB-Wenkommando Gen. Alec Cruywagen and other men in the withdrawal convoy) by persons in RSA 32nd battalion uniform.
The AWB-Wenkommando General Nicolaas Fourie, along with two other men, was killed during the AWB retreat. Boer blood.
The nature of the (“old” and “new”) RSA Empire has always been anti-Boer, and also this story proves it.