The story of the Rand Light Infantry (RLI) is that of a body of men extended over many generations. From a humble beginning, the Regiment was moulded into a highly efficient fighting unit, distinguished by battle honours of immortal names such as Bardia, Gazala, Alamein Defence and El Alamein. The RLI also played a significant role during the South African Border War from 1966 to 1989 where it took part in many operations along the border of SWA / Angola. Since 1994, the RLI has continued to provide forces for internal deployment aimed at enhancing domestic security and external deployment in support of United Nations Peace Keeping Missions in Africa. During its more than 110 years of existence, the RLI has always undertaken what was required of it with enthusiasm and distinction, and to many hundreds of men still surviving, their service with it will, in many ways, represent the most dramatic and eventful period in their lives.
The RLI is a Reserve Force, light infantry unit which forms part of the South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF’s) Rapid Deployment Force. The RLI forms an important part in South Africa’s defence; for use when diplomacy, the intelligence services and the military’s own attempts at deterrence have failed. The Regiment's officers and soldiers are widely recognised for their fitness, shooting ability and excellence on the battlefield.
The infantry is the branch of a military force that fights on foot. The infantry is the oldest branch of the combat arms and are considered the ‘tip of the spear’ of an army. Infantry troops are required to engage, fight, and defeat the enemy in face-to-face combat, and are thus required to continually undergo training that is more physically stressful and psychologically demanding than that of any other branch of the combat arms.
Infantry can enter and manoeuvre in terrain that is inaccessible to military vehicles and employ crew-served infantry weapons that provide greater and more sustained firepower. The transport and delivery techniques of modern infantrymen to engage in battle include marching, mechanised transport, airborne by parachute or by air assault from helicopter, and amphibious landing from the sea. For more information, Click Here.
The RLI forms part of the South African Reserve Force, considered the backbone of the South African National Defence Force and an indispensable element of the country's defence. Reserve Force service is military service rendered by citizens of the country on a voluntary, part-time basis within the structure of an allocated unit. For more information, Click Here.
Completed deployment in South Sudan in support of UN Mission (Operation Cordite) from December 2012 to July 2013.
Completed deployment in DRC in support of UN Mission (Operation Mistral) from November 2006 to May 2007.
Currently deployed along South African border as part of Operation Corona from September 2015 to March 2016.