By Cpl. Sbastien Pisani
First published in
SFOR Informer#107, February 21,
Banja Luka - The British army is perfectly experienced
with the maintenance of law and order in an urban environment.
It was proved on February 12 a few hundred metres from Banja Luka
camp. "Encouraging Lion" exercise was bringing together
65 men of the 2nd Battalion Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment
(2PWRR) with about thirty members of the Czech battlegroup playing
the role of overexcited young men.
15h05. Barricades and burning tyres are obstructing a lane bordering
the buildings of a disused factory. When the first soldiers arrive,
whistles of disapproval burst forth from the protesters ranks.
Abuse and provocation are pointless; the Brits are staying rallied.
Anti-sniper elements go into position on top of a platform for
guarantying the infantrymen's security.
· 15h06. Some projectiles beat down on the 2PWRR troops.
On Sgt. Maj. Martin Hollis's command, two APC give them their
support, closely followed by reinforcements. Five APC and 65 well-trained
men are now ready, among which are several dog handlers and a
snatch squad. Pieces of wood and potatoes shower down on Plexiglas
riot shields and helmets.
· 15h07. The attack begins. The two APC in the front row
knock down the barricade. Once the obstacle is cleared, men gather
around combat cars making an impassable rampart. The demonstrators
quickly react: Molotov cocktail fall with a crash in front of
the first row.
15h09. 2PWRR elements start their inexorable advance. The Czechs
want to fight hand-to-hand to break the British ranks. The snatch
squad appear suddenly, followed by one dog handler. Armed with
truncheons, soldiers force rioters to step back and they bring
several captives back behind their lines.
· 15h15. Under the pressure of APC, it is a general exodus
of the demonstrators. The fight is going on in an adjacent lane.
The snatch squad make more and more sorties. The Brits take advantage
of an esplanade to deploy their whole force. Five APC now face
weakened and tired rioters who have just one solution: to surrender.
was a very good job," said Maj. Gen. Rick Hilier, the Canadian
commander of the MND-SW, in front of a large audience at the conclusion
of the show. "These soldiers are perfectly trained. It is
very important that each battlegroup has some units capable of
intervening in that kind of situation for supporting the local
In the team of the British soldiers, relaxation took the place
of the pressure during the fight. "Our past experience gets
us used to difficult conditions of intervention. We usually got
bricks and explosive device thrown at us," said Cpl. Paul
In the rioters team, some had regrets that they did not have sufficient
weapons, but street-fighting training has its rules.
Nations of SFOR: UK
Training and Exercises