By Maj. Marie Richter
First published in
SFOR Informer#122, September 19, 2001
On Aug. 30, Estonian soldiers practised riot
control procedures under the instruction of the Estonian Military
Police. Not only did they have to learn the procedures and work
as a team, but they also had to learn to work effectively with
other nations of SFOR.
- The day began with a brief on riot control procedures from the
Estonian Military Police (MP), which was mainly a refresher course
as many of the soldiers had served in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)
before or were experienced soldiers. The most important part of
this brief was teaching the soldiers the words of command in English,
as this is the language that would be used during an SFOR multinational
operation. Estonian MP Sgt. 1st Class Kommussaar spoke of the
importance of the training: "I want the soldiers to be able
to react to the orders in English so they are able to work with
other nationalities in any situation. This ensures efficiency
and good co-operation between all forces."
A solid wall
The soldiers prepared themselves with flak jackets, riot shields,
helmets and leg protectors. Although these slightly hindered their
movement and sight, they were a necessity when training for situations
where bricks or petrol bombs could be thrown directly at them.
They then formed up in a line, tightly packed to ensure a "solid
wall" of troops. The MPs pushed them and tried to break their
continuity but to no avail.
in line the order to "advance" was given by platoon
commander, 3rd Lt. Orgse, who walked behind them under the protection
of two soldiers. "I have to act as the eyes and ears for
the soldiers as they are behind the shields and are unable to
see the whole situation. I assess the situation around us so that
I can give the orders to react according to the changes. During
operations I would also liaise with other nations' commanders
so that we work effectively as one force," he said.
The training continued with left and right flanking movements,
retreating drills and manoeuvring around obstacles and vehicles.
This must all be well rehearsed so that they move without compromising
their protection. They then moved on to extracting a casualty
under protective cover should one of them be injured. The two
soldiers on both sides of the casualty used their shields in one
hand to protect themselves and the casualty and then dragged the
casualty to the rear away from danger for treatment. The soldiers
at the front had to "mend the wall" and close in quickly
before any other thrown object or rioter penetrated the break
in the line.
Hillar Pliatt observed the training, "The soldiers have to
concentrate fully and be aware of the unexpected. They move forward
with controlled aggression using minimal force to achieve their
objective. It takes a lot of courage to walk into a riot situation
so training and preparation is important."
Dannevirke-home for 6 months
Dannevirke Camp in Doboj is home to the Baltic Squadron, part
of the Nordic-Polish (NORDPOL) Battle Group. The Baltic states,
made up of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, have sent troops since
1995 in rotation for six months to support the SFOR mission.
Three weeks ago the Estonians arrived in BiH to relieve the Lithuanians
for six months. This time it was the turn of the Scout Battalion,
part of the Peace Operation Centre of Estonia, who sent three
companies. Since their arrival they have been familiarising themselves
with their Area of Responsibility (AoR). They have also been conducting
patrols and attended training in mine awareness. In Estonia the
military are used to back up the police in civil disturbances
so riot control procedures are taught to all the soldiers. Here
in BiH they will be extending their training for a similar role
but working within a multinational environment with other SFOR
Nations of SFOR: Estonia
Training and Exercises