went to Notting Hill on Dec. 1, the Belgian/Romanian camp southwest
of the city of Leposavic, we were expecting to find a big celebration
for the Romanian National Day. Instead, we found a couple of Romanian
flags and more Belgian ones, a lot of busy people going back and
forth, and the Belgians clearing the area to make room for the
Romanian Army Lieutenant Alexandru Kis saw the big question marks
stuck on our foreheads and explained what was going on. "We
are taking over," he said. "But, what about the
celebration?" we asked. "There is no time to
celebrate. The Belgians are leaving the camp to us, because now
it is our task to accomplish the mission assigned to this sector."
A simple parade, along with the TOA within the Romanians, happened
at 9:00. And that was it.
From now on, 86 Romanian men will provide security, patrol the
main roads and paths, survey the border with Serbia by temporary
and permanent Observation Points, and execute the FRAGOS affecting
them, among other missions.
They will work under the operational control of the Battle Group,
based in Leposavic, where other than Belgians, and of course Romanians,
we can find a Reconnaissance platoon from Luxemburg.
One NCO and
2 soldiers will act as the liaison cell from the Romanian Company
to the Battle Group.
their reconnaissance (recce) tasks, they use Romanian-made B-33
"ZIMBRU" Armoured Personal Carriers (APC). These
APCs have 4 wheels and resemble somehow the French "Frogs",
but with a more square-like body design. Well
we know that
whenever design and style are concerned, the French are almost
When it comes
to Combat Support, they use a different 8- wheeled version of
the ZIMBRU. In total (recce and combat support) they have 8 units.
commanded by Captain Gheju Dorin, is an actual Infantry Company
back in Rumania, the 1st Company of the 812th Infantry
Battalion, stationed in the City of Bistrita. Their tour of duty
in Kosovo will last 4 months. After this period another Company
from the same Battalion will replace this Company.
on attached units as reinforcements to their original composition,
- A Medical
Unit with a doctor and a paramedic/driver with a 4-wheeled,
- A Signal
Unit to keep links with home (Romania is not that far from Kosovo).
Just a single dipole antenna and a HF band radio transceiver
are good enough to communicate with the rest of the world. They
have this configuration installed in a Jeep Panther. For tactical
comms they use VHF equipment.
- A maintenance
truck, for mechanic support and repairs.
- A few
trucks for heavy transportation and Jeep Panther cars for light
weapon they use is a wooden-handle rifle with a calibre of 5,45
mm. It has no special name, but looks like a version of the famous
Russian Kalaschnikov. For individual protection they use a not-very-heavy
flak jacket good enough to stop small-gun bullets and de-fragmentation
from explosions caused by personnel mines or grenades.
a non-NATO country, which has already applied to enter the NATO
community. The assignment of this sector has got a lot to do with
this. The Romanians are testing themselves in the NATO environment,
and NATO is testing how Romanians perform within the NATO community.
There are probably many issues to be resolved until they finally
make it into NATO and the EU, but if the Romanians are as friendly
and polite as Lt. Alexandru Kis, things will be much easier for