Paladin Edelweiss Exercise

Lt. Pedro Fernández Vicente
First published in
SFOR Informer#134, March 14, 2002

All four Battle Groups of Multinational Division Southeast (MND-SE) took part in Paladin Edelweiss Exercise. The exercise was carried out from March 5 - 9, over a large area including Fojnica, Kiseljak, Hadzici, Kresevo and Bradina.

Bradina - It consisted of two hot spots, where new scenarios were developed to test the readiness of SFOR troops for rapid reaction.
Exercise Hot Spot One
In this scenario two people have died as the result of a road traffic accident between a Non-Governmental Organisation's (NGO's) car and a local one. Hard-liners take this opportunity to attack the NGO team and begin to riot. Terrorists raid the NGO's accommodation and take them as hostage. A frenzied crowd surrounds the building. The situation is almost out of control. Multi-National Div-ision-SE sends a company of the Multinational Specialised Unit, a team of Special Intervention Group (SIG) and an armoured company from the German Battle Group (GBG) to regain control of the area.
"I think that it is necessary to train for short periods with the MSU in this kind of non-conventional scenario, due to the fact that an armoured company has a different method of working than an anti-riot company. We have a liaison officer from the Carabinieri. There is an especially difficult moment to co-ordinate, which is when our armoured vehicle has to join the fighting as well as cover the MSU's rear while under enemy fire. At this moment the army faces the task," said Capt. Christian Rink, German Company leader.
"Our performance has two different parts. First to take control of the situation, free the house and keep the crowds away. The second is, while this is happening, the Italian SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team assaults the house, frees the hostages and seizes the terrorists," said Italian Lt. Antonio Cavalera, Carabinieri anti-riot platoon leader.
Exercise Hot Spot Two
In the second scenario information is received about odd movements of people and tracks in an old abandoned factory.
"We received the order to investigate something strange that happened in this area. Our company had to set up an operation to reconnoitre and take control of the target without arousing suspicions. We surrounded the area without being seen and allowed free movement in the zone. We got information, co-ordinated and guided the Spanish assault group with our communications. And just when the assault group joined in and closed in on the target we closed and isolated the area " said Capt. Sansguichem, French Reconn-aissance company executive officer.
"Our company arrived at the assembly zone during the night and we were put in contact with the French reconnaissance elements. We received all the information through them. When you are going to join at an unknown place where the enemy is present; you really need all the information, otherwise you are blind.
"During the night we deployed two scout fire support teams, these team were our eyes in the first moment of the assault. It was getting light when the weapon smugglers were loading a truck. That was the moment to assault the factory. The first moments are of vital importance. You have to use the initial surprise to obtain a strong enough force position to dissuade smugglers from reacting and turning the operation into a massacre" commented Lt. José Luis Zanfaño Hidalgo, Spanish platoon leader.
Moroccan soldiers played the role of the smugglers. The realism of their behaviour was part of the success of the exercise.

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: France, Germany, Italy, Morocco, Spain
Training and Exercises

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Photos: Lt. Pedro Fernández Vicente

French Scout Element makes contact with the Spanish Assault Group at the assembly area.

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This Spanish soldier is looking for hidden smugglers in a rundown building.

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Italian SWAT Team prepares to enter the house to release the hostages.

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The Spanish and the Moroccans conducted a very realistic training session.

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German armoured vehicles closed the approach route providing the necessary coverage to the main action.