You can read part one here.

Langebaan — Western Cape Province, South Africa. It has a predominantly white population of slightly over 8,000 and is located approximately 120 km north of the iconic city of Cape Town. Langebaan boasts of an ecosystem that is the epitome of natural serenity and the lagoon waters of its West Coast National Park are home to over 300 species of birds.

In the environs of this quiet town, not more than 20km away, lies Saldhana Bay. The Bay is home to South Africa’s National Defence Forces (SANDF) 4th Special Forces Regiment, one of the country’s premier Special Operations units.

Established as a Reconnaissance Regiment in the early 70s, the 4th Special Forces Regiment is one of the better developed SOF units on the African continent. Around the time of the Regiment’s establishment, the South African military was active in a number of regional confrontations including the South African Border War, the Rhodesian Bush War, and the Angolan Civil War. Five reconnaissance units, numbered 1 to 5 and called RECCE, were established to fulfill specialized combat roles. The contributions of those particular units greatly influenced the wars’ outcomes.

The five Reconnaissance Regiments were restructured circa 1980. Out of the restructuring the two current-day premier SOF Groups were created: the 4th and the 5th Special Forces Regiments.

These two groups are quite distinct from each other, not just in their assigned numerical identities, but also in their structure and operational doctrines. The 4th Special Forces Regiment specializes in waterborne amphibious operations — as indicated by its location. On the other hand, the 5th Special Forces Regiment specializes in airborne operations.

4 Recce operators during a public demonstration (SADF).

Both Special Operations Groups are quite proficient in the majority of the skillsets that define a proficient SOF unit.

Special Reconnaissance has been a specialty throughout the history of the two groups owing to the fact that they were initially formed primarily as reconnaissance regiments — that is why the RECCE nickname. Some other of their specializations include Survival Escape Resistance and Evasion, Counter-Insurgency, Combat Search and Rescue, Tactical Combat Casualty Care, Counter-Terrorism, and Direct Action. Reflecting of the highly proficient skills a Tier 1 Special Operations unit should possess, the 4th SF Regiment has added into its capabilities list skillsets such as like Underwater Demolitions, Combat Diving, Hostage Rescue, Unconventional Warfare, and Covert Operations.