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Indian Summer exercise

By 1st Lt. Luis Sánchez
First published in
SFOR Informer#124, October 17, 2001

Sept. 27-28, Multinational Division Southeast (MND-SE) performed a two-day exercise, called "Indian Summer 2." It was specifically designed for gauging the capability of its reserve forces to deploy and conduct operations anywhere in its Area of Responsibility (AoR). The Spanish Battle Group commanded the action, reinforced with German and Italian Companies.

Technical Data
BMR2-600
Six-wheeled APC
Crew: 12
Combat weight: 14 tonnes
Dimensions: 6.15x2.50x2m
Weapons: 1x12.70 MG
(Other options)
Engine: Pegaso-306hp/Scania 310hp
Fuchs
APC
Configuration: 6x6 amphibious
Crew: 2+10
Weapons: 1x7.62 MG
Engine: Mercedes-Benz
OM 402A V-8, 320hp at 2,500 rpm
Centauro
Wheeled armoured vehicle
Combat weight: 27 tonnes
Dimensions: 3.05x8.27x2.74
Engine: IVECO 520 hp at 2,300 rpm
Weapon: 105/52 cannon, 2x7,62 MG

Mostar/Ljubinje - MND-SE carried out "Indian Summer" (an expression meaning a period of unusually warm weather in late autumn) as a clear display of its capabilities and determination to act immediately if needed, to prevent any violation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP, Annex 1A). The training took place across the Spanish AoR, in both entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Republika Srpska (RS) and the Federation (Fed).
Even in a peaceful environment, a hot spot can appear suddenly. SFOR soldiers know that the harder you train, the easier it is to deal with the real thing. Exercises play an important role in mission readiness, in showing a presence and in deterring any violation of the GFAP.
Scenario and Forces
The exercise set up a "Task Force" to deal with a supposed eventuality. In a town with two divided communities, an event took place with one community opposing the other. The tactical unit, comprised of the Spanish Battle Group (SPAGT XVI) based in Mostar, was reinforced by one German Coy and an Italian one. Also, French troops joined the exercise by role-playing the demonstrators to make the plot more realistic. Three sectors were made from west to east, with the central sector as the hot spot.
In the western sector (Posusje, Grude and Siroki Brijeg - Fed), the Italian unit (Squadron 1, "Lancieri Di Aosta 6" Regiment, from Tito Barracks, Sarajevo), relieved the Spanish forces in order for them to join the Task Force. They performed routine missions in their vehicles (VM-90 and Centauro). Capt. Ciro Gambino, Coy commander said: "It's the first time we have co-operated with the Spanish. This is a routine exercise, we patrol and check border points."
In the same area the Spanish cavalry unit (ELAC, "Villaviciosa" Regiment) performed routine missions with armoured scouts (VEC). The Marine Battle Subgroup "Felix Angosto" did the same in the eastern sector, in the Trebinje area (RS).
The Task Force focused on the hot spot in Ljubinje (RS). It consisted of elements from the SPAGT XVI ("Castilla 16" Regiment, XI Brigade) with Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC-BMR2-600) reinforced with a German company. Lt. Col. Aurelio Quintanilla Burgos commanded the tactical unit. "We deployed during the night in a short time and took up our positions with the mission of monitoring the area during the event, ready to react."
The German Infantry and Reconnaissance company (4, Gem Jg Aufkl Kp, German Contingent L, from Rajlovac) was equipped with APCs (Fuchs). It acted as a divisional reserve and reinforced the group. "We are used to working with other divisional forces. The point is communication but thanks to liaison officers there is not problem," commented Capt. Lutz Wehrend, company commander. "The tactics are often different but with flexibility we can work together and with joint training there is not an obstacle," he added.
The action
Once the troops took positions, two rings were developed and a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) made ready. Spanish troops established an outer ring, monitoring all routes around the hot spot. The German Company was in a waiting zone, ready to perform the inner one to provide security at the event and to protect the QRF team.
Time passed and problems arose. In the site, the two opposing groups started to fight. French soldiers played this simulation with realism, but in a low profile, trying not to disturb local life. The Tactical Command Post decided to intervene. In a flash, the German unit carried out the internal ring and the QRF entered the hot spot to evacuate SFOR staff and persons under special protection. But it was not as easy as it seemed because demonstrators impeded the action.
Soldiers were prepared for an anti-riot mission with a simulated opposition. Eventually they gained control and fulfilled the mission. The safe and secure environment was re-established; the site was once again a cold spot. The cold weather was back and Indian Summer was over.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Italy, Germany, Spain
Training and Exercises