By Capt. Mike Lagace
First published in
SFOR Informer#105, January 24, 2001
Glamoc - Discovered by local hunters in September,
a "War Trophy" was to find its rightful home on the
ranges outside Glamoc. A fully-intact Russian T-54/55 tank, with
live ammunition, was left in the bushes north of Glamoc by the
warring armies during the last days of the Bosnian war, probably
during Op Storm, the last major Croat tank offensive.
to have been rusting for the past five or more years, the Canadian
Battle Group, Roto 7, were tasked with its daunting recovery.
The task was not an easy one. Who had rights to it? Should it
fall under Operation Harvest (voluntary handing in of weapons)?
What do you do with tons and tons of metal?
Finally SFOR command decided to launch the recovery operation.
The first priority was to ensure it was safe to get at it in the
bushes. Knowing whether it was booby-trapped was the next Engineer
challenge. It was decided to use the tank for target practice.
every Battle Group in Bosnia brought kit to the Resolute Barbara
Range to have a go at it! The first person honoured to fire onto
the active (but unoccupied) tank was Canadian Maj. Gen. Rick Hillier,
MND-SW Commander. He borrowed a Dutch Leopard tank. The Canadian
Anti-Armour platoon from Tomislavgrad had second dibs on the tank
and, from over 2 kilometers away with their TOW missiles, hit
the target alternately with the Dutch TOW ITV and Czech BMP-2
with 30 mm AC/AT-9 Fagot missile. After the combined Battle Group
shoot, they backed off to the OP.
Two US Apache attack helicopters provided the finale fireworks.
With the rockets firing, they hit the higher ground! The 30 mm
guns zeroed their target. With a little adjusting, the Apaches
found the tank.
The tank stood battered and bruised but, never-the-less, remained
intact for future target practice for units visiting Barbara Range.
The Brits found one, too
SFOR at Work