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The Dutch reserve: a smooth, but strong force

By 2nd Lt. Alexandre Barbé
First published in
SFOR Informer#113, May 16, 2001

In Multinational Division - Southwest (MND-SW), the Dynamic Response exercise has seen the deployment of 350 Dutch soldiers from the 11th Air-mobile Infantry Battalion Grenadier and Riflemen Guards. They settled in Busovaca and take over the missions of SFOR in Canton 6. They ended their tour with a live-fire exercise in Glamoc.

Busovaca and Glamoc - The Dutch camp in Busovaca has been busy since April 26, although it shall be closed down soon. The 350 Dutch soldiers of the 11th Air-mobile Infantry Battalion Grenadier and Riflemen Guards deployed to Busovaca until May 14, as they were part of the Dynamic Response exercise.

The composition of the 11th Battalion
- Battalion staff
- An anti-armour company (called Wolf) including an 81 mm mortar group and an aid station
- Two infantry companies (called Kings and Tiger) included an 81 mm mortar group in each one
- Different supply, maintenance and signals platoons
The elements involved in the exercise
- Blackhawk (American), MI-8 (Czech), Griffin (Canadian) and Cougar (Dutch) helicopters
- Challenger tanks (British)

Its aim was to allow SFOR troops to maintain their skills and to increase their capability to fulfil their mission: provide a safe and secure environment within BiH. As the SFOR contingent is being reduced, the Strategic Reserve Forces can be called in case of a crisis.
"We take part in the Dynamic Response exercise until May 10, as part of the NATO Strategic Reserve Forces, but we will stay until May 17, the day of our departure to The Netherlands," declared Maj. Rob Poldervaart, battalion press information officer. "That's a short tour, but all the soldiers enjoyed it.

Fortunately we arrived in the camp just before it closed down for good, so we could use the facilities." Thus, the soldiers took over the duties of their fellow countrymen in their area of responsibility in Canton 6 of the Federation. "Every day, we lead driven or foot patrols and are also conducting inspections on the different weapon storage sites of the area," Poldervaart added.

At the soldiers' living accomodations, the atmosphere seems to be joyful and relaxed despite the weather not always being fair. Indeed, the soldiers feel proud of their mission, and much more so as a television crew is making a film for the Dutch Ministry of Defence about the operations the battalion is conducting.
But the main point of these three weeks in Bosnia and Herzegovina was indisputably the live-fire exercise in Glamoc.

Related link: Training and Exercises
Nations of SFOR: Netherland
Restructuring and Reserves