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1st PRSAB: the art of recovery


By 1Lt Alexander Barb
First published in
SFOR Informer #100, November 8, 2000

Priboj - The Ural is rumbling. Two men take the chains and the hook of the heavy vehicle. They have to fix a BMD 1 (a Russian airborne tank) that cannot move anymore. Slowly, the caterpillars of the tank leave the ground. The Ural truck, of the recovery type, takes the machine back to a secure place.
"It's only an exercise but on the battlefield every second is important," said Maj. Alexander Starunskiy, liaison officer with MND-N of the 1st Peacekeeping Russian Separate Airborne Brigade (PRSAB). The 1st PRSAB comprises different elements coming from the 2nd and the 4th Paratroop Battalions. Its 1,200 soldiers are in three camps: Ugljevik, the HQ of the brigade, Priboj and Simin Han, a few kilometres from Tuzla.
At Camp Priboj, where 41 soldiers of the Special Maintenance Company of the 4th Paratroop Battalion live, everyone appears to be busy
Maj. Igor Malyuta, Chief of the Special Maintenance Company, recently hosted a visit from 26 Polish, Danish and US soldiers coming from the NORDPOL Brigade located in Doboj. More than an exercise, the purpose of the visit was to meet each other and share maintenance and recovery techniques of operational devices.
After a short brief on the organization of the brigade given by Col. Vladimir Yvanutin, the guests saw the tools used by the Russian troops. The armament was the first stage, with the famous Kalasnikov appearing as the star.
"We have 28 armoured vehicles and 45 other vehicles, among which 14 are for the Special Maintenance Company, here in Priboj. And almost 200 vehicles for the brigade," said Malyuta. "We can repair two or three vehicles a day, six if there's only light damage."
The armoured vehicles (BMD 1 and BMD 2) were a success with the visitors as well. These tanks have been especially developed for the paratroopers.
"I've already seen this kind of vehicle before because the Polish have some at our HQ in Doboj. But I'm happy to be here because it's a good opportunity to leave the camp and to meet other people," said Lance Cpl. Michael Andersen, Danish, from the NORDPOL HQ Company.
What impressed the guests most were the many characteristics of the vehicles.
"The tank can be dropped with a special parachute on the ground directly from the plane. It can swim as well, with its crew inside," pointed out Malyuta. The proof, a video made last July by the paratroopers in Camp Ugljevik, showed the dropping of the tanks from the plane during a demonstration exercise.
The NORDPOL brigade hosted a Russian delegation two weeks ago for a similar display. Other shared days are planned between the two brigades during the month of October.

Related link
SFOR at Work
Nations of SFOR: Russia