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Spanish Battle Group Speeds Up

By 1st Lt. Javier Donesteve
First published in
SFOR Informer#112, May 3, 2001

Mostar - "Adventure Express / Dynamic Response 2001" is under way. It runs May 1-10 in the Balkans, including Kosovo, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This big effort includes the deployment of the Strategic Reserve Forces (reinforcing troops from NATO and other contributing nations). In preparation for it, training activities have been increased in the whole theatre.
Specifically, in the Spanish area of responsibility (AOR), a training exercise took place April 21-28 in the zone between Grude, Posusje and Siroki Brijeg, in the heart of Canton 8 (western Herzegovina).
It was directed by Multinational Division - Southeast (MND-SE) headquarters and run by the Spanish Battle Group, reinforced with French, Italian and German troops, as well as a Portuguese company from SFOR's Operational Reserve.
The goal of the exercise was to demonstrate the interoperability between troops from different contingents. For this purpose, different activities and scenarios were planned in the Operations Centre and executed every day and every night by combined patrols to unify procedures.
The Spanish and German troops trained together the morning of April 26. The scenario was the establishment of a checkpoint by a German platoon on the road between Grude and Posusje, supported by elements from a Spanish cavalry squadron. During the exercise, a Spanish platoon was transported by helicopter to reinforce the deployment.
At 9 a.m. the convoy left "Mostar España" and headed to Grude with eight VECs (cavalry scout vehicle), one VCZ (sappers), one BMR (signal) armoured vehicle, and four German armoured personnel carriers (APCs), two Luchs and two Fuchs. Leading them was Spanish Cavalry Capt. Luis Joven.
The convoy crossed Canton 8 smoothly and reached the point at 10:45 a.m. At 11 a.m., the German platoon had set the checkpoint. "German platoons mix reconnaissance (cavalry) and Jäger (light infantry) assets, with Luchs and Fuchs respectively," explained Warrant Officer Andreas Bernstein, platoon leader. Near there, Joven had established his command post and received news from every point of the deployment.
A few hundred meters further, Staff Sgt. Alberto Giner reached his position in his VEC. "Our task is to mark and secure the helicopter landing zone (LZ)," he said, checking the grids with the Global Positioning System (GPS). Meanwhile, his crew marked out the LZ with luminous sheeting to show the helicopter pilot the lay of the field.
At 11:45 a.m., the Cougar landed, and a Spanish platoon rapidly got out and headed to the checkpoint. Once there, they reinforced the German deployment. Later on, with their goals accomplished, they redeployed to Mostar.
At 1 p.m., at Joven's order, all the devices were dismantled, everyone jumped into their APCs, and the convoy headed to "Mostar España," where they were able to rest a couple of hours. Another exercise was waiting for them.

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: Spain,
Training and Exercises