|Union Defence Force|
|Motto||Union is Strength (Afrikaans: Eendrag Mak Mag)|
|Founded||1 July 1912|
|Service branches|| South African Army |
South African Air Force
South African Navy
|Headquarters||Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa|
|History|| World War I |
World War II
|Ranks||South African military ranks|
|Part of a series on the|
| Military history of|
|National Defence Force|
The Union Defence Force (UDF) (Afrikaans : Unie-Verdedigingsmag) comprised the armed forces of South Africa from 1 July 1912, when the Defence Act (No 13 of 1912) took effect, two years after the creation of the Union of South Africa, until 1957 when it was reorganised and renamed the South African Defence Force.
After the Union of South Africa was formed in 1910, General Jan Smuts, the Union's first Minister of Defence, placed a high priority on creating a unified military out of the separate armies of the union's four provinces. The South African Defence Act (Act 13 of 1912) made provision for a UDF that would be composed of a Permanent Force (or standing army) of career soldiers, an Active Citizen Force (ACF) of temporary conscripts, a Coast Garrison Force   and the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (South African Division) (RNVR(SA)),  as well as any other defence arm that might in future be established to meet the defence requirements of the Union of South Africa.   The 1912 law also obligated all white males between seventeen and sixty years of age to serve in the military, but this was not strictly enforced as there were a large number of volunteers. Instead, half of the white males aged from 17 to 25 were drafted by lots into the ACF. 
Initially, the Permanent Force consisted of five regular mounted regiments and a small artillery section as well as a headquarters, instructional and administrative staff.  Provision was also made for a Coastal Defence Corps, South African Aviation Corps (SAAC) – part of the ACF   and School Cadet Corps.  No provision was made for an overall commander, instead the commanders of the Citizen Force, Cadet Corps and Permanent Force reported directly to the Minister of Defence.
On 1 July 1912 the Headquarters of the UDF was established in Pretoria.  Headquarters comprised three sections: Secretariat, General Staff and an Administrative section. A Medical Services Section was added in December 1913, and during 1916 the Administrative Section became the Quartermaster-General's Section. 
Brigadier General Christian Frederick Beyers was appointed Commandant General of the Citizen Force, Brigadier General Henry Lukin became Inspector General of the Permanent Force and Colonel Percival Scott Beves became Commandant of Cadets.  They reported directly to the Minister of Defence.
C.F. Beyers resigned his post in September 1914 and the role was taken over by the Minister of Defence 
The titles of the officers in charge of these sections were changed on 1 July 1915. The Head of the General Staff became Chief Staff Officer, General Staff and Adjutant-General. The Head of the Administrative section became Quartermaster General.  In July 1917 the General Staff post was again renamed to Chief of the General Staff and Adjutant-General.
In May 1918 the co-ordination of all military staff work at HQ and the issue of all military orders was vested in the Chief of the General Staff, as well as the responsibilities of Commandant of Cadets and the role of Adjutant-General was split off.  There were 4 sections under the CGS – General Staff section, Adjudant General, Medical Services and Quartermaster General.  Andries Brink was appointed Chief of the General Staff in 1920. The posts of Chief of the General Staff and Secretary of Defence were combined on 30 September 1922, following the retirement of Sir Roland Bourne 
The South African Army was created first by merging the existing military structures of the former British colonies and Boer Republics that had become the four provinces of the Union. The formation of the South African Air Force followed in 1920.  The South African Naval Service was created in 1922, following the donation of HMS Thames which became the South African Training Ship General Botha. 
The SA Defence Act Amendment Act, No. 22 of 1922 re-organised the Permanent Force. From 1 February 1923 the Permanent Force consisted of the Staff Corps, Instructional Corps, Naval Service, Field Artillery, 1st Regiment, Mounted Riflemen, the Permanent Garrison Artillery, the Engineer Corps, the Air Force, SA Service Corps, SA Medical Corps, Ordnance Corps, Veterinary Corps and the Administrative, Pay and Clerical Corps.  
To save money another reorganisation took place in 1926. The last regiment of the SA Mounted Riflemen was disbanded as was the Brigade HQ of the SA Field Artillery.  The Great Depression put pressure on the Budget and 56 Citizen Force units were disbanded and the number of military districts was reduced from 16 to 6  The Special Service Battalion was started as a way of creating work for young people who could not find employment.  A drastic move was the disbanding of the Naval Service 
In 1933 Oswald Pirow became Minister of Defence, General Brink was appointed GOC of the UDF as well as the Secretary of Defence  and Pierre van Ryneveld became Chief of the General Staff.  In addition the 6 military districts were redesignated "Commands".
As the economy improved Minister Pirow put forward a plan to expand and reorganise the Defence Force.  The Air Force would be increased to 7 squadrons, with new bases being built at Waterkloof, Bloemfontein, Durban and Youngsfield.  However, by the start of World War II this had not materialised.  The Active Citizen Force units would increase from 8 to 24, 12 based in urban areas and 12 based in the countryside 
In 1913 and 1914, the new 23,400-member Citizen Force was called on to suppress several industrial strikes on the Witwatersrand.  The UDF participated in the First World War, The Second World War, the Berlin Airlift and the Korean War.
The Union Defence Force saw action in a number areas in the First World War. In Africa the Army invaded German South-West Africa, later known as South West Africa, and now known as Namibia. The South Africans expelled German forces and gained control of the German colony. As part of the Allies' East African Campaign an expedition under General Jan Smuts was dispatched to German East Africa (later known as Tanganyika). The objective was to fight German forces in that colony and to try to capture the elusive German General von Lettow-Vorbeck. Ultimately, Lettow-Vorbeck fought his tiny force out of German East Africa into Mozambique and then Northern Rhodesia, where he accepted a cease-fire three days after the end of the war.
In Europe the 1st South African Infantry Brigade were shipped to France to fight on the Western Front. In addition to 5 batteries of Heavy Artillery, a Field Ambulance, a Royal Engineers Signal Company and a General Hospital were raised and sent to the front.  The Battle of Delville Wood in 1916 was the most costly battle fought by the South African Overseas Expeditionary Force.
South Africans also saw action in the Middle East, with the Cape Corps deploying as part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in Palestine.
With a population of roughly 6 million, between 1914 - 1918, over 250,000 South Africans of all races voluntarily served their country. It is likely that around 50% of white men of military age served during the war, more than 146,000 whites. 83,000 Blacks and 2,500 Coloureds and Asians also served in either German South-West Africa, East Africa, the Middle East, or on the Western Front in Europe. Over 7,000 South Africans were killed, and nearly 12,000 were wounded during the course of the war.  Eight South Africans won the Victoria Cross for gallantry, the Empire’s highest and prestigious military medal. The Battle of Delville Wood and the sinking of the SS Mendi being the greatest single incidents of loss of life.
South Africa and its military forces contributed in many theaters of war. South Africa's contribution consisted mainly of supplying troops, airmen and material for the North African campaign (the Desert War) and the Italian Campaign as well as to Allied ships that docked at its crucial ports adjoining the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean that converge at the tip of Southern Africa. Numerous volunteers also flew for the Royal Air Force.
Of the 334,000 men volunteered for full-time service in the South African Army during the war (including some 211,000 whites, 77,000 blacks and 46,000 coloureds and Indians), nearly 9,000 were killed in action.
In the 1950s, 2 Squadron ("The Flying Cheetahs") of the SAAF served as South Africa's primary contribution to the United Nations Command. Over 200 officers and some 545 airmen in the South African Air Force saw action over Korea between 1950 and 1953. Also represented were 38 different ranks from other branches of the UDF.
South Africa suffered 34 dead or missing in action during the Korean War. Eight pilots either shot down by communist forces or forced to land their aircraft behind enemy lines were taken prisoner. 
The South African Army is the ground warfare branch of the South African National Defence Force. Its roots can be traced to its formation after the Union of South Africa was created in 1910. The South African military evolved within the tradition of frontier warfare fought by Boer Commando (militia) forces, reinforced by the Afrikaners' historical distrust of large standing armies. It then fought as part of the wider British effort in both World War I and World War II, but afterwards was cut off from its long-standing Commonwealth ties with the ascension to power of the National Party in South Africa in 1948. The army was involved in a long and bitter counter-insurgency campaign in Namibia from 1966 to 1990. It also played a key role in controlling sectarian political violence inside South Africa during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The 1st South African Infantry Division was an infantry division of the army of the Union of South Africa. During World War II the division served in East Africa from 1940 to 1941 and in the Western Desert Campaign from 1941 to 1942. The division was disbanded on 1 January 1943, for conversion into what would become the 6th South African Armoured Division. The division was also briefly active after the war from 1 July 1948 to 1 November 1949.
The 6th South African Armoured Division was the second armoured division of the South African Army and was formed during World War II. Established in early 1943, it was based on a nucleus of men from the former 1st South African Infantry Division who had returned to South Africa after the Second Battle of El Alamein in late 1942. The division was initially transferred to Egypt for training, after which it served in the Allied campaign in Italy during 1944 and 1945. In Italy, the division was initially deployed as part of the British Eighth Army, under command of Lieutenant-General Oliver Leese, and was then transferred to the U.S. Fifth Army, under Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, for the remainder of the Italian Campaign. The division operated as a strongly reinforced division and was frequently used to spearhead the advance of the Corps and Army to which it was attached. They returned home after the end of the war in Italy and were disbanded in 1946. The division was also briefly active after the war from 1 July 1948 to 1 November 1949.
The South African Army Infantry Formation supervises all infantry within the South African Army.
The Cape Colonial Forces (CCF) were the official defence organisation of the Cape Colony in South Africa. Established in 1855, they were taken over by the Union of South Africa in 1910, and disbanded when the Union Defence Forces were formed in 1912.
The South African Overseas Expeditionary Force (SAOEF) was a volunteer military organisation in World War I.
Major General Daniel Hermanus Pienaar was a South African World War II military commander.
The South African Medical Service (SAMS) was a branch of the South African Defence Force (SADF). In 1994 when the SADF was merged with various other military and armed resistance forces as part of the post-apartheid reforms the SAMS became the South African Military Health Service of the South African National Defence Force. The SAMS operated three hospitals, 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria, 2 Military Hospital in Cape Town, and 3 Military Hospital in Bloemfontein. It also had three specialist institutes; the Institute for Aviation Medicine, the Institute for Maritime Medicine, and the Military Psychological Institute.
During World War II, many South Africans saw military service. The Union of South Africa participated with other British Empire forces in battles in North Africa against Erwin Rommel and his Afrika Korps, and many South African pilots joined the Royal Air Force and fought against the Axis powers in the European theatre.
The South African Army is divided into functional branches, known as corps. Most consist of units, but some, such as the SA Staff Corps, consist only of personnel who are assigned to headquarters and units. The following is a list of corps established since 1912; those which still exist are shown in bold.
The South African 1st Infantry Brigade was an infantry brigade of the army of the Union of South Africa during World Wars I and II. During World War I, the Brigade served as a British formation in Egypt and on the Western Front, most famously the Battle of Delville Wood. It was reactivated at the start of the Second World War as a South African formation and served in East Africa and the Western Desert; the Brigade disbanded on 1 January 1943.
The Special Service Battalion (SSB) is a South African military unit formed on 1 May 1933 under the patronage of Oswald Pirow, Minister of Defence. The object was to give training to youths, between the ages of 17 and 23, who, in the wake of the 1929 depression, could find no suitable employment on leaving school.
The 2nd South African Infantry Brigade was an infantry brigade of the army of the Union of South Africa during World War II. The Brigade formed part of the South African 1st Infantry Division and was formed on 13 August 1940. It served in East Africa and the Western Desert and was disbanded on 1 January 1943.
The 5th South African Infantry Brigade was an infantry brigade of the army of the Union of South Africa during World War II. The Brigade formed part of the South African 1st Infantry Division and was formed on 13 August 1940. It served in East Africa and the Western Desert and was disbanded on 1 January 1943.
The 3rd South African Infantry Brigade was an infantry brigade of the army of the Union of South Africa during World War II. The Brigade formed part of the South African 1st Infantry Division and was formed on 13 August 1940. It served in the Western Desert and was disbanded on 1 January 1943.
South Africa follows the British system of awarding battle honours to military units, to recognise the battles, theatres and campaigns in which they have fought with distinction.
Southern Air Command was a formation of the South African Air Force, active from the early 1980s to the early 1990s. Throughout it had its headquarters at Silvermine, in the Cape Province.
1st SA Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment of the South African Army, during World War One.
South Africa's participation in the First World War occurred automatically when the British Government declared war on Germany in August 1914. Due to her status as a Dominion within the British Empire, South Africa, whilst having significant levels of self-autonomy, did not have the legal power to exercise an independent foreign policy and was tied to the British declaration.