By Cpl. Nicolas Girault
First published in
SFOR Informer#113, May 16, 2001
Stara Gradiska - Slowly the barge, which is able
to carry six trucks on board, leaves the Sava's bank, which marks
the border between BiH and Croatia. The two BMK 130 motor boats
(made in Russia), push it to the opposite bank.
the floating bridge, which coasts in Croatia, are about 15 men
and a Hungarian truck full of sand. The engineers waiting on the
shore came to help their comrades to stow down the craft, then
to place the footbridge for the truck landing.
Col. György Györky from Nova Gradiska Hungarian engineering
base, located about three kilometers away, lead the operation.
The engineer multinational team rounded up on the Sava bank to
listen to the orders translated by Lt. Jozsef Toth, helicopter
pilot and English-speaker. A few metres from there, Australian
Cpt. Leigh Bosworth, staff engineer for MND SW, observed the operation.
20 or so women and men climbed on the floating bridge to dismantle
different pontoons which constitute its structure. Then each of
the pontoons was hoisted, one by one, onto a truck equipped with
It was the end of the joint manoeuvre, which took place between
May 8 and 10. It allowed four contingents to work with about 25
Hungarian engineers of the Raft and Bridge Company from Nova Gradiska.
Seven Czechs from the Ljubja 5th Mechanised Engineer Squadron,
eight Canadians from the Zgon 24th Field Engineer Squadron, one
New Zealander and six British from the Mrkonjic Grad 3rd Engineer
the beginning, the Hungarians only wanted to carry sand from a
Bosnian sand quarry to work in their Nova Gradiska camp. It would
have been too simple to use the existing bridge, less than a kilometre
from there! So they decided to manage a Sava crossing operation.
The operation took place at the point where in 1996 Hungarian
engineers built the "Zuzanna" bridge (now dismantled)
for SFOR deployment in an area full of mines.
To cross the rivers in spate
staff engineer in Banja Luka asked us if it was possible to help
in this work," Györki said. British 2nd Lt. Frances
Heith added, "It allows learning techniques and mixed work."
Bosworth explained that this kind of exercise permits SFOR's training
"to cross rivers in spate and to face natural disasters."
The only concern, and everybody agreed, were the language difficulties.
But every engineer, wherever they come from, always understood
themselves. "Guys worked fine. It would be interesting restarting
the work together and to use different kinds of techniques and
materials," Györki concluded.
Nations of SFOR: Australia,
New Zeland, Canada,
Engineering - bridge