The Franco-German Bgd
by Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Bruno Klein
First published in SFOR Informer #4, February 19, 1997
Rajlovac - The 10th of February, 1997, an official ceremony marked the transfer of authority to General Hans-Otto Budde of the Multinational Central Brigade, (The Franco-German Brigade) in Multinational Division South East (MND-SE). The ceremony took place in Camp Captain Carreau, in Rajlovac (near Sarajevo) and brought the Franco-German Brigade (FGB) into the history of the Stabilisation Force (SFOR) in Bosnia and Hercegovina.
The FGB is, as its name indicates, a mixed group composed essentially of elements from the Franco-German Brigade. The FGB was created in October 1989 and has 5,200 soldiers; 50 percent each from France and Germany.
The first elements from the FGB arrived in Rajlovac Dec. 17, 1996, and were joined in successive waves throughout January, 1997, by the entire Headquarters, the Command and Support Company and the Armoured Engineering Company. This structure which mainly originates from Mllheim, has a total strength of 730 soldiers.
Following this, the Light Armoured Battalion (Gepanzerter Einsatzverband) and the French Battalion, composed of three companies from the 2nd Infantry Foreign Regiment and one squadron from the 1st Spahis regiment, arrived in Rajlovac.
The Light Armoured Battalion has 600 soldiers and is equipped with 30 Fuchs Armoured Personnel Carriers and 36 Luchs Armoured Vehicles for reconnaissance.
The French Battalion has the same strength but with 24 VAB Armoured Personnel Carriers, 12 AMX 10 RC Light Tanks and 38 VBL Armoured Vehicles for reconnaissance.
The FGAs mission in the Sarajevo area is to continue to ensure freedom of movement for people and goods, to control military installations and to support Non-Governmental Organisations.
Referring to these troops, German Minister of Defence Volker Rhe remarked, "The political symbolism of this first common commitment is strong. The French and German soldiers are in the spotlight of international public opinion."