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Under the Glamoc sun

By Cpl. Nicolas Girault
First published in
SFOR Informer#119, August 8, 2001

The Dutch Battle Group, like others, regularly performs exercises in Glamoc. Recently, they organised three days of live-fire training that involved infantry, tanks, antitank platoons and an engineer detachment. The goal is to keep the soldiers in good condition so they are able to operate in the theatre in war conditions if necessary.

Glamoc - July 18, a flight of shells crashes down on the enemy vehicles. Their salvos shot, the two Dutch Leopards quickly move into a ditch near the minefield behind the woods where the infantry was camouflaged. This movement complete, infantrymen exit the woods, move around their Dutch version of the M113 Armoured Personal Carrier and take position 100 metres from their first place.
After waiting many long minutes, contact with enemy infantrymen is suddenly established. Individual weapons, 12.7mm machine guns and 25mm guns close in on the enemy ranks.
So, the third attack of the day was stopped. Covered by the Dutch version of the M 109 antitank vehicles (YPR AT) placed on the top of the hills, infantry and then tanks left the battlefield through an opening in the minefield, cleared by engineers. Then, sappers exploded a charge destined to make this way unusable by enemy vehicles.
Participants of this three-day exercise came mostly from Bugojno. They were followed by a team from Novi Travnik.
"It was only an exercise for the guys without any link with what we usually do here," explained Sgt. Peter Balkes, from the antitank platoon. Cavalryman Jeffrey Verrijden recalled that "SFOR is there in case of problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)." This kind of exercise is done to maintain the capacity of each contingent to operate in war conditions if necessary. SFOR troops are well known for being used to dealing with totally different types of missions in BiH: patrolling, guarding, and quick reaction force operations.

Leopard II A 5 tank
Engine: MTU MB 873 kA M 501 diesel.
12 cylinders.
1 500 hp at 2 600 rpm.
Armament: 120 mm gun.
7,62 mm coaxial machine gun.
7,62 mm AA machine gun.
Crew: 4

"It was a bit hot, but it was nice," concluded Sgt. Quist Niels, tank commander. The result was unquestionable: 43 enemy tanks and Armoured Personal Carriers were destroyed, without speaking about the numerous casualties. Verrijden added "the enemy antitank units were forced to run away." A good training exercise for all involved.

Related links: Nations of SFOR: Netherland
Training and Exercises