Reserve exercise peaks in live fire demo
by David Taylor
First published in SFOR Informer #21, October 15, 1997
Glamoc - Nobody heard it coming until it boomed low overhead, full throttle into what, under different circumstances, might have been a low level attack. The F-18 was followed closely by an F-16 as the fixed wing support to Exercise Loir Isole made its high speed appearance on the Barbara Range, Glamoc, in Multinational Division South West. Exercise Loire Isole had been continuing for a number of days before coming to a climax in a live fire demo. Forces from COMSFORs Operational reserve had trained and supported each other closely in an exercise designed to maintain the readiness of multinational SFOR units for any contingency.
The Operational Reserve forces provide COMSFOR with the means of dealing with any crisis throughout the entire country of Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH) as part of SFORs continuing mission of stabilising peace in the country. These Quick Reaction Forces are designed to be deployed within a short time frame and are just one part of a series of deployable forces available to ensure that troops and machinery can get to where they are needed, whenever they are needed, should the Dayton Peace Agreement be threatened.
This exercise followed on closely from a Strategic Reserve Force Exercise in Southern Greece in which multinational marine forces from over-the-horizon showed their ability to react to COMSFORs request through SACEUR for additional forces
The Multinational Forces participating in the Loir Isole live-firing included the Italian 11th Field Artillery (artigleria semovente "Teramo"), Apache helicopters from the U.S. 4th Aviation Brigade, a Moroccan AMX 10 RC Tank Company, a Czech Company and a F-18/F-16 patrol. Norwegian and Polish soldiers also participated in the exercise but were not firing at Glamoc.
The demonstration served not only to allow the participating forces to co-ordinate their operational performance through close-training and co-operation but also served to demonstrate the fire-power available to SFOR .The day proved particularly historic for the Italian gunners. It was the first time they had fired their M109L howitzers outside of Italy- even though they brought them into BiH at the beginning of the Implementation Force (IFOR) mission nigh on 22 months ago. A UK Royal Artillery officer commented "They look as though they live fire everyday" as he watched the 55.39 calibre shells thump, tightly grouped, into the hill side.
The delight of the Moroccan officers at the performance of their tankers in the demo was evident as they indulged in a behind-the-scenes round of applause as the light tank squadron rode proudly from the firing area, each tank commander waving cheerfully in acknowledgement.
From the Czechs, a demonstration of BMP Armoured Personnel Carriers 30 mm and 7.62 mm machine gun finishing of hard targets at close range and two anti tank missiles shattering their targets, was followed by an exit from the range under the dense cover of a smoke screen.
It was not a day for speeches - the men and machines of SFOR had sent a clear message - but Maj. Gen. Christian Delange (Commander Multinational Division South East) moved proudly among the forces present in a post-demo equipment presentation, introducing the men and their vehicles to leading Entity Army officers and journalists.