By 1st Lt. Luis Sanchez
First published in
SFOR Informer#117, July 11, 2001
One of the most appreciated topics for soldiers
serving abroad is to improve their military knowledge, especially
about other armies and weapons. Such knowledge is highly regarded
back home. From this point of view, SFOR's multinational activities
provide an unsurpassable context. This is an opportunity for everybody
to share experience on the ground.
- During the first week of July one Moroccan platoon visited the
Italian Battle Group, at Tito Barracks in Sarajevo. The exchange
activities comprised a joint patrol, as well as an Italian weapons
display, July 3.
Activities in Tito Barracks are quite normal. In the main square,
one patrol is preparing their vehicles (VM 90) and the Italian
soldiers are loading their equipment. Among them, comprising the
SFOR patrol, others wear green berets and are dressed in a different
They are a Moroccan Platoon from the Moroccan contingent, based
in Mostar-Ortijes participating in an exchange activity with the
Italian Battle Group; both belong to the Multinational Division
Southeast. Firstly the Moroccans go to the Italian Camp and later
their counterparts return the visit. "This kind of co-operation
within a multinational team provides experience and allows us
to see how the Italians work. It is very important for us,"
said 1st Lt. Hicham Elouali, Moroccan Patrol commander, "this
is not the first time, we joined German and Italian units before,
in joint activities," he added.
Wheeled armoured vehicle
Combat weight: 27,000 Kg
Width: 3.05 m
Length: 8.27 m
Height: 2.74 m
Power: 382 Kw (520 hp) at 2,300 r.p.m.
Maximum speed: 105 Km/h
Main weapon: 105/52 mm canon
Armoured Personnel Carrier
Combat weight: 13,000 Kg
Width: 2.09 m
Length: 5.98 m
Height: 2.06 m
Power 220 hp
Maximum speed: 90 Km/h
Weapons: (Moroccan type) 20 mm gun
Other: 2 machine gun (MG 49/52 cal 7.62 NATO)
The convoy crossed the barracks' main gate, led
by one VM-90/P in which the Italian platoon leader, 2nd Lt. Carlo
Mori manages the mission, with a map in his hand. "When patrolling
we make a circuit, checking points, communications and times.
Everything is detailed in the mission procedures. Eventually we
will set up a monitoring point. In this way, Moroccans will see
and know how we work," he explained.
Apart from the lead vehicle, the convoy is comprised of two VAB
(Armoured Personnel Carrier) and one Humvee belonging to the Moroccans
and another Italian VM-90 at the rear. The patrol reached a cross-road
in Semizovac, a village about 20 kilometres north of Sarajevo,
and deployed a safety cordon to monitor and report supicious vehicles
heading towards Sarajevo.
time-sharing also included a briefing, in which the tasks and
procedures of the Italian Battle Group were explained; furthermore
mine equipment and weapons exhibitions took place. Italian Capt.
Carmine Marasco, in charge of this part, commented: "this
point is valuable for SFOR forces. We work together and it is
important to learn how they work for future co-operation. In a
short time, we will go to Mostar-Ortijes and learn their procedures."
soldiers showed great interest in Italian weapons (individual
and weapon systems) presented in the exhibition, where Italian
Cpl Paolo Sammartano explained the functions to them. Such as,
for instance, the Beretta 92FS pistol, the AR 70/90 rifle and
the machine gun MINIMI. But the "star" was the Italian
wheeled armoured vehicle armed with a 105-millimetre gun, which
performed several movements and ran across Tito Barracks court.
"As a gunner I am fond of this kind of weapon and I was impressed
by its velocity and brakes. The driver has great experience,"
commented Moroccan Warrant Officer 1 Abderrahmane Znibel.
Of course, there was time to enjoy an Italian lunch in the dining
facility; visiting Sarajevo and other activities organised by
the hosts, in which everybody took the opportunity to exchange
impressions and memories with their SFOR comrades.
Nations of SFOR: Italy,
SFOR at Work