Multinational Exercise 'Diplomatic Warrior'
Capt. Sylvester Mackensen
First published June 9, 2003
Upon reading this heading, one would consider it at first
a contradiction in terms. But by interpreting the name of
the exercise as meaning 'fighter skilled in negotiation' and
taking a look at its aims, the title begins to make sense.
German Task Force Company (TF Coy) 2, an Italian platoon from
217th Company based in Rogatica and two platoons, one Slovenian
and one Italian from the Multinational Specialised Unit (MSU),
plus four German military dog-handlers from Camp Rajlovac
Filipovici - The focus was on the co-operation between the
German and Italian task force elements and the members of
the MSU with regard to the handling of demonstrators and hostage-takers.
Unusually hot temperatures in remote Camp Filipovici - the
midday sun is burning down on the billeting containers of
the task force Company whose soldiers are preparing for Exercise
"Diplomatic Warrior": placing equipment on the vehicles,
putting on the heavy Bristols and making final arrangements.
The dark-brown Italian and green Slovene MSU vehicles stir
up a fine dust on the camp road while deploying to their assembly
areas. Moving in front of the MWR facility 'Café Drina'
there is one 'Luchs' ARV (armoured reconnaissance vehicle)
and two 'Fuchs' wheeled APCs (armoured personnel carriers).
Company Commander Capt. Herrmann, the officer in charge of
the conduct of the exercise, briefs the audience on the initial
situation of the exercise: "In nearby Foca, 1,000 individuals
are demonstrating against the alleged occupation of their
country. At about 11:45 a.m., the leader of Patrol 2.4 reports
that approx. Fifty persons are moving by car or on foot in
the direction of Gorazde."
Conflict at the East Gate
The reaction to the first group of demonstrators approaching
the camp is immediate and reported. Marksmen occupy the observation
towers. With nationalist slogans on banners and a loud chorus
of "NATO go home", a group of demonstrators reaches
the access ramp. "Where is your boss?" the leader
of the group shouts at the gate guard. The camp commander
comes to the gate and, through his interpreter, explains to
the group leader that SFOR is neutral and does not give preferential
treatment to any ethnic group in the region.
Suddenly a family appears on the road. The demonstrators hurl
insults, because the father allegedly killed the brother of
the group's leader during the war. When the camp commander
hears this and notices that the family is encircled by the
men and barred from continuing on, he employs the Lion platoon
and the military dogs to separate the quarrelling groups and
allow the family to pass unimpeded.
The deployed soldiers form a cordon behind the camp gate and,
weapons pressed against their bodies, pushing the demonstrators
away. The crowd reacts wit aggressive choruses, but the situation
is cleared up rapidly, and the family can continue its travel
without hindrance. The men outside the gate insult the soldiers
for this action. The situation comes to a head when further
demonstrators start marching towards the camp.
At the same time, the camp commander receives the report that
an external camp guard soldier is being harassed by angry
individuals and urgently needs reinforcements. The crews of
three armoured vehicles mount immediately, are briefed by
the patrol leader and drive quickly to the camp exit - every
minute counts. At the site the demonstrating crowd of people
blocks the road-again the soldiers of the Lion platoon must
form a cordon: the men's pulse quickens rapidly, the bullet-proof
jackets become heavy, the uniforms are dripping with sweat,
and the stirred-up fine dust is burning in the eyes.
And again the large, heavy gate opens. Immediately some demonstrators
attempt to penetrate into the camp and it takes all the strength
of the cordoning men to push them back. Following closely
behind the soldiers are the armoured reconnaissance vehicle
and two "Fuchs" APCs, which finally can deploy towards
the external guard post. The deployed dogs keep some of the
demonstrators at a safe distance, but the situation escalates:
aggressive shouts, orders, and suddenly rocks are being thrown.
The soldiers remain calm - no shot is fired at the unarmed
crowd. In orderly fashion, they retrograde towards the camp,
close the gate and take cover. Some troublemakers try to climb
over the fence, kick and drum against the gate. Then a cracking
sound and flames burst from a vehicle inside the camp - incendiary
bottles! The machine gunner on board the "Fuchs"
APC at the entrance fires a burst over the heads of the crowd.
The fire fighters quickly have the blaze under control and
extinguish fire in the vehicle.
At the same time, the camp commander is informed that an Italian
platoon from Rogatica has arrived. He decides to form a second
cordon in the back of the demonstrators and thereby clear
the road. Two Italian »
'Torpedoes' (non-armoured transports) rush up the access ramp
to the camp; the men jump from their vehicles and form a cordon
like their German counterparts. Again, the soldiers have to
enter into bodily contact with the angry crowd, covered by
the soldiers at the camp entrance, the deployed armoured vehicles
and the marksmen on the observation towers. The demonstrators
realise their opponents' superiority and displace themselves
along the northern fence towards the West Gate. An order to
interrupt the exercise is given.
Hostage liberation by squad team
Herrmann briefs on the next scenario: hostage-taking and liberation
by Special Forces of the MSU. The men of the Lion platoon
are at the camp fence. Three fellow soldiers approach the
demonstrators - who are now peaceful and calm again - on the
jogging path. But suddenly some 20 troublemakers rush upon
the soldiers, pummel them and drag them into a house located
nearby. Distressed, the soldiers on the observation towers
have to look upon the scene helplessly.
The camp commander notifies the Med Cell, and there is a quick
succession of events, for every second counts for the imprisoned
fellow soldiers: a cordon behind the West Gate, military dogs
and the employment of over 60 MSU policemen. The cries of
the fellow soldiers can be heard inside the camp. Quickly,
the Carabinieri rush out of the camp and immobilise the demonstrators
outside the house where the hostages are held. The Slovenian
MSU men have pushed away the other elements of the agitated
mob to enable the squad team to prepare their operation unhindered.
The eight men from the MSU special team approach the house.
Black balaclavas, protective goggles, and machine pistols
- then several loud cracking noises, diversionary flash grenades
set off - the raid has begun. Quick as lightning, the squad
team disappears into the house. The hostage-takers are overwhelmed.
Albeit injured, the three soldiers are liberated and brought
back into the camp.
Impressive and convincing!
Related link: Training