By 1st Lt. Luis Sanchez
First published in
SFOR Informer#115, June 13, 2001
Italian logistic drivers from the Italian Battle
Group are used to transporting all types of material in their
freight trucks, from armoured personnel carriers (APCs) to cranes.
But it was the first time they had to remove vehicles and tanks,
such as Soviet-made T-55s belonging to the army of Republika Srpska
Power: 331 kw; 450 CV (2,400 r.p.m.)
Weight: 28,900 kg.
Total Weight Capacity: 50,000 kg.
Weapon: 100-millimetre barrel
Range: 1,500 metres
Machine gun: 7.62 & 12.70 mm.
Range: 600 km.
Pale It's five o'clock in the evening, there is
nothing special in Pale, a town surrounded by forests located
15 kilometres to the east of Sarajevo. On the outskirts, the guards
of the Koran Pale barracks of the 505th Infantry Brigade (V Army
Corps of the VRS, based in Sokolac) are posted.
They suddenly hear a roaring sound and open the gates, as an unusual
convoy arrived. The VRS Military Police escorted two Italian trucks
(ATC 81/A 6x6/8), carrying out a BBP M80 and a T-55, followed
by one VM-90 (armoured wheeled vehicle). Italians are carrying
out Operation T-55.
provided logistical support to VRS in order to distribute and
monitor VRS forces. As Pale is in the Italian area of responsibility
(AOR), the task was performed by the Aderlog Forward (forward
logistic unit of the Italian Battle Group based at Tito Barracks
in downtown Sarajevo). "This is the first time we accomplished
a mission like this, unfortunately we only had two lorries,"
said Lt. Col. Giraudo, Italian press information officer.
May 7 and June 7, 40 T-55 tanks, APCs and others Soviet-made vehicles
were transported from two B-Serb barracks to Pale. One of the
barracks was located near Sokolac, about 75 kilometres away, and
the other in Zvornik, 150 kilometres away. Both of them are in
Multinational Division - North, where American soldiers provided
traffic assistance on exiting their AOR.
"We have been moving about 40 tanks and other vehicles, two
trips per day, one in the morning, the other in the evening; driving
around 400 kilometres.
the first weeks, at medium speed of 40 kilometres per hour, but
most of the time at 20. It has been hard work but all the team
is happy," commented Lt. Col. Gelindo Lizzit, convoy commander.
"And in addition, we have moved another five to be destroyed."
Due to the road's condition it has not been an easy job. "When
entering tunnels it has been necessary to stop the traffic on
the other side, in order to avoid crossing the convoy with cars,
they are not wide enough and we had to drive quite carefully,"
Lizzit explained. "Furthermore, it was a good opportunity
to improve our military skills, working with these kind of armaments."
of the teams performed this task from the very beginning. Warrant
Officer Prevarin Tizina and Pvt. Brand Marcus said they are proud
of their work. "Driving across these roads is not boring,"
Tizina said. "It takes one hour to get there, about 30 minutes
to load the lorry and one and a half hours to return here; but
there are stones in the middle of the road, tunnels, sometimes
uncontrolled traffic, even accidents! On three consecutive days,
one of the trucks' tires exploded."
in the camp, B-Serb soldiers helped to unload the cargo, drivers
unhooked the tank and everybody performed their job. The language
barrier is not an obstacle when it comes to co-operation. Slowly,
the machine is offloaded, its roaring engines sounded again and
the tank moved away into the hangars, where other T-55s were in
line waiting for it. Finishing their daily job, the freight trucks
weere stationed in the middle of the barracks, all in preparation
for the next day. A van waited for the Italian staff to return
to Tito Barracks. The last transportation would be performed the
Nations of SFOR: Italy
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