Within only 30 minutes German soldiers are exchanging the
engine of a Leopard 2, the Mercedes amongst the tanks.
a few kilometres north of the town of Prizren, 112 men are doing
a real tough job. They sweat day by day on the Prizren Airfield
under the merciless sun of Kosovo. They are the soldiers from
the Maintenance Company A.
With eagle eyes German KFOR soldiers are exchanging the sealing
of a Leopard 2 engine.
the military compound, the so-called airfield, one might be confused
when not finding any planes there. Well, to keep the whole story
short, the compound used to be an agricultural airfield once,
and is now the temporary home for some 800 Germans.
Having a closer
look, one can find there, amongst others, the 112 men of the 7th
Company of the German Logistics Regiment KFOR or better known
as the Maintenance Company A (InstKp A).
"It is our job
to maintain the material such as tanks, cars, trucks and other
equipment for the German Contingent. Occasionally, we also work
together with our comrades from Austria and Switzerland, and on
request check their equipment as well", says Deputy Commander,
Capt. Mathias Theiss, also in charge of the technical co-ordination.
More than 10 hours a day the soldiers on the Airfield Prizren
do their utmost despite the merciless sun over Kosovo.
of the Leopard 2 tank
Amongst other things, in regular intervals the soldiers remove
the engine from the Leopard 2 tank to exchange the sealing and
then again install it. " It doesn't take us more than one hour",
says Capt. Mathias Theiss with a smiling face.
"We have employed
13 civilians from the Prizren area working in all fields as electricians,
saddlers or metalworkers and so on", he adds.
What makes the
job sometimes difficult is the heat the Germans have to cope with
when they are working 10 hours or more in the hangars or outside
in the sun. "The vehicles parked in the sun get so hot that you
cannot touch them with your bare hands. In the tanks, for example,
you have 70-80 Centigrade. After 2 minutes inside you are sopping