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Canadian Cavalry returns visit to Germans

By 1Lt Javier Donesteve
First published in
SFOR Informer#106, February 7, 2001

Filipovici - A joint patrol is covering "Zone Orange," the area of the Montenegro Border that belongs to the German area of responsibility (AOR). Two Canadian "Coyote" and two German "Fuchs" are travelling through a narrow road near Drina River. Meanwhile, another "Coyote" placed five kilometres from their point is recording everything with its camera.
"The surveillance equipment of the "Coyote" includes a radar, a thermal camera, a video recorder and a GPS, among other items," said Warrant Officer Geof Bamford, leader of First Troop, B Squadron of Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) Cavalry Regiment. The unit is returning the visit to German Battle Group after one German platoon visited Tomislavgrad, Canadian AOR.
"These activities are always welcomed. It is nice to get out of the routine and meet different parts of BiH and different armies," Bamford said. "I was specially looking forward to this exchange because I served in Germany and married a German girl." About the Germans, he said, "Our procedures are very similar. It is very easy for us to work with them."
The host is the German company-sized detachment at Filipovici, a small town between Foca and Gorazde, near Montenegro. Capt. Olaf Layhe, commanding officer, said, "Due to the Camp security tasks, our coy has five platoons instead of four, as well as engineer, signal and logistics teams." About life in Filipovici, he stressed, "This is much more quiet than Rajlovac (the main German Battle Group Camp) and I would say more operational, because our platoons are never involved in other tasks."
The joint activities included, among others, joint patrols, both on vehicle and on foot, observing tasks with the "Coyote" surveillance kit, as well as expositions of weapons and equipment. A briefing in German was held by Canadian Master Cpl. Magas, who also served in Germany from 1987 to 1993. This is his third tour in Bosnia, after one in 1994 and another in 1997. "Since we arrived in September, we have made about 8,000 kilometres with our vehicles," he said.
German Sgt. Kristophe Schneider-Biel is the crew leader of a "Luchs" Armoured Scout Vehicle. "I am very glad for having the opportunity of participating in this exchange." Like his captain, he is also happy with life in Filipovici because the camp is small and everyone is like family. "We all know each other," he said.
But not all is work. The last activity of the week is a "Canadian Party" organised by the hosts, where everybody will take the opportunity of exchanging impressions with their new comrades.

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: Germany, Canada
Training and Exercises