By 1st Lt. Luis Sánchez
First published in
SFOR Informer#123, October 3, 2001
To keep the mission going, it is vital to secure
the movement of SFOR's logistic convoys in order to provide supplies
to units throughout the theatre. Multinational Division Southeast
(MND-SE) has a specialised unit to perform this task, the Circulation
Mostar-Ortijes - To drive a heavy lorry across Bosnia
and Herzegovina's (BiH) roads is not as easy as it seems. There
are a lot of obstacles: bad weather conditions, the poor state
of the roads and unpredictable traffic among others. In any event,
drivers in MND-SE know their job is easier thanks to the Spanish
Circulation Control Unit (CCU).
This company-sized unit has two main missions: to check and report
on the viability of routes, and to guide and facilitate road movement.
However, they do not provide security. The unit from the Spanish
contingent is under the direct command of G4, logistic branch
of MND-SE. It comprised of one command team and two platoons,
each of them divided into four six-person teams.
Capt. Jose Luis Garcia Hernando, company commander, stated: "Our
mission is very dynamic. We stay on the road all day to make the
movement of convoys easier without disturbing the civilian traffic."
In fact, they have authority only over military traffic, not civilian
and they try to disturb it as little as possible.
To perform their duties, they have divided the MND-SE area into
two parts. The company is also split in two different places:
one army platoon in Rajlovac, and the other in Mostar-Ortijes.
last platoon consists of Military Police (Guardia Civil), a corps
well experienced in traffic control, anti-riot and authority protection
missions. The platoon commander, 1st Lt. Jose Borrego Garcia,
commented: "Most of the traffic we guide is composed of freight
trucks. The roads' conditions are not good enough and the circulation
All the routes are monitored from time to time. Equipped with
armoured cars and motorbikes, they meticulously check anything
that affects normal driving: route conditions, traffic density,
temperature and climatic conditions. The unit also checks to see
what kind of vehicles the routes are opened to and if special
equipment is needed. Big convoys, over 15 vehicles, are divided
into parts to improve their movement.
The Pacman route
They really focus on Pacman route, a south-north road (Metkovic
- Mostar - Jablanica - Konjic - Sarajevo). It is one of the busiest
in BiH and the main route for supplies from the Croatian coast
and Ploce harbour, the logistic gate of all units in MND-SE. A
steady stream of SFOR convoys, escorted by CCU staff, roam the
route. Most of them consist of cargo trucks carrying other vehicles,
especially engineer machines.
Every day, two patrols depart from Mostar and Rajlovac, respectively,
to check and report if the Pacman route is operational. The information
is needed before the convoys start to move.
There are difficult points to focus on, such as narrow sections,
crossroads or junctions, where it may be necessary to stop civilian
traffic. A difficult one is the border crossing with Croatia in
Metkovic, where a huge amount of lorries wait for crossing. "This
is a critical point, the convoys cannot stop or separate and we
facilitate the pass," commented Borrego.
The task is not an easy one, MP Pfc. Antonio Rodriguez Guijarro
said, "Here, people drive in a different way. The roads haven't
got berms, even some secondary roads are difficult to drive on.
We must be cautious when driving."
Nations of SFOR: Spain