Condor takes flight
By 1lt. Kristoffer Egeberg
- The flapping sound of rotor-blades cutting air rumbles through the
valley. Loaded with French and German soldiers, four American Black-Hawks
and two German CH53 helicopters take off to their different landing
zones. Two AH64 Apache gunships supported by two OH58 Kiowas work as
guardian angels for the landing party. Nothing must go wrong. The Mintlanders
lives depend on it.
mission is to protect two villages with refugees from Mintland. Paramilitary
groups from Cherryland are threatening them. Early this morning they
cut off the road to Mostar. Therefore the commander of MNDSE decided
to fly in our Tactical Reserves, said Maj. Olivier Barnay, leading
the operation on the ground.
soldiers storming out from helicopters, Exercise Condor
is well underway. The Apaches have already encountered the first group
of hostile Cherries firing mortar grenades into a village with Mintlanders.
one of the landing zones, a German platoon is reassembling. They are
experienced in working together with French units, being a part of the
Franco-German Corps in Strasbourg.
with French Capt. Martial Courtot, they lead a mixed company with two
German platoons from the German Battle Group in Rajlovac, one French
platoon from the Battle Group in Mostar and a detachment of sharpshooters.
two infantry companies and a mortar platoon were launched to the area
by helicopters - helicopter deployment being the main aspect to the
exercise. The 120mm mortars were sling-loaded to the field, so were
several French VBL armoured cars.
This is the first time we have done this, although
we have trained at the airfield at Mostar, said Sgt. Yannick Dewalles,
leading one of the sling-loaded VBL-teams.
Blackhawk is quite different from our Puma. The mortar seamed to swing
more. It is good for us to try this with different types of helicopters.
Up until now, we have only tried it with the Puma, said mortar
platoon leader Lt. Charly Pouplin.
from the American 2nd Battalion, 3rd Helicopter Task Force assigned
from Commanche Base in Tuzla, also enjoyed the training.
a fully integrated combined arms operation, said task force commander
Lt. Col. Gary Servold, who brought with him 43 soldiers for maintenance,
air-crew and a command control unit.