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Joint Resolve XIs981202h.jpg (24823 bytes)

by 1Lt Alain Boy.

First published in Sfor Informer #49, November 25, 1998


s981202i.jpg (23212 bytes)A never-ending wind-swept deserted plateau at the foot of majestic snow-covered mountains, 1000 m above sea level. Only a thin trail of smoke is betraying the presence of the French Scout Company of the Immediate Reaction Element (IRE) of the MND-SE. Captain Stephane Guiot, French Army, is meeting with Norwegian Captain Torleiv Nordhus of the Telemark Company in his command post armoured vehicle to prepare the transfer of authority.

s981202l.jpg (26909 bytes)"This operation is the main part of Joint Resolve XI," explains Guiot. "My company has been carrying out a surveillance mission to the northeast of Nevesinje, but incidents have erupted in Konjic and I have been tasked to deploy over there. So my company will be taken over by the Telemark Company from Sarajevo. This operation has been thoroughly planned in order to ensure a smooth and swift move."


s981202n.jpg (25848 bytes)"The forward elements of my company were heliported yesterday around noon," Captain Nordhus goes on. "We immediately went around the French positions with our platoon leaders in order to get familiar with them. My armoured vehicles arrived by road later in the afternoon."

s981202j.jpg (21861 bytes)It is nine o’clock now and the Norwegian armoured Sisus are revving their engines. Fifteen minutes later they have taken over all French patrol units from their surveillance positions. The French have now gathered in the middle of a meadow to wait for the four German CH-53 helicopters from Rajlovac to  transport them to Konjic in three waves that will heliport the 12 French VBL (light armoured vehicles).

s981202k.jpg (21871 bytes)A few kilometres further, the same transfer of authority is taking place between Captain Pierre Santoni, commanding the French Infantry Company of the Immediate Reaction Element, and Captain Sean Wilson, commanding the Mountain Infantry C-Company of the Rapid Reaction Force from Tuzla. "The multinational combined operation already started yesterday when we were heliported by American Blackhawks and the surveillance of the area was carried out by Apaches," explains Santoni.

The tactical command post of the operation was located to the north of Nevesinje. It is commanded by French Colonel Jean-Pierre Gambotti, Chief J3 of the MND-SE. "Joint Resolve XI is taking place within the framework of the implementation of the a plan designed for the commitment of operative reserve forces," explains Gambotti. "These SFOR reserve forces on the theatre are planned to reinforce SFOR if required."

The exercise comprises four phases: in the first one, the IRE, which is the tactical reserve of the MND-SE, under direct command of General Lang, is deployed around Nevesinje, and an Action Mobile Detachment (AMD), composed of an Italian and a Portuguese company, is deployed to another area. It is able to deploy rapidly in any place of the division’s area of responsibility. In the second phase, the operative reserve forces – the Telemark Company and the American C-Company from Tuzla – will take over the IRE that will be heliported to Konjic in the third phase to deal with civil disturbances. The MSU will intervene in the Trnovo area, also to restore order, while the AMD deals with harder paramilitary actions taking place in the last phase of the exercise.

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