Patrolling the Montenegrin border

Lt. Antonio Ruiz González
First published in
SFOR Informer#142, July 4, 2002

The 5th Company of the German Battle Group (GEBG) is posted in Filipovici, in the Multinational Division Southeast (MND-SE) Area of Responsibility (AoR). It is in charge of the far east side of the AOR of the battle group, next to the border with Montenegro.

Filipovici - Five kilometres north of Foca in the Republika Srpska, Filipovici lies quietly along the Drina riverbank. The 5th Mixed Infantry/Reconnaissance Coy is settled at a former depot of the Yugoslavian Army at the top of a hill.
Mechanised Infantrymen
This unit is made up of different personnel. It is a company with heavy and light infantrymen. The mechanised infantrymen came from Rotenburg, a town some 150 kilometres north of Frankfurt. The tools of their trade are Fuchs and Luchs.
Fuchs is the standard German armoured personnel carrier (APC). It is used for several different tasks, such as troop transport, Sapper missions or recon-APC. The Fuchs' crew is made up of two vehicle operators plus eight riflemen.
Reconnaissance tank Luchs has a special skill, its Rheinmetall 202 MK 20-mm cannon with automatic loader and thermal observation and gunnery system. It is an eight-wheel drive well-armoured vehicle. It also carries a 7.62-mm anti-air machine-gun located on the turret.
Another heavy vehicle in the Coy is the Bueffel, the German Recovery tank. With a weight of 54 tons it has a recovery crane that can tow or lift almost everything. It is the working horse of the maintenance workshop and with its help; Fuchs and Luchs get out of any situation.
Staff Sgt. Marcus Taraba is the chief of the workshop: "Here, we take car of some 70 vehicles including tanks, APC and light cars. But we don't usually have any breakdowns outside the camp. Cars are periodically checked here and we have a lot of work,” he said.
Light Infantry
Another part of the coy are the Reconnaissance Troops. They came from Lüneburg, a city 30 kilometres Southeast of Hamburg. They proudly wear a maple leaf emblem on their chest pocket. This emblem is a sort of ranger course distinction, a special commando soldier badge.
They are experts in light patrolling, field navigation, light weaponry, close combat and other tactical skills. They use the Wolf, a German light multipurpose vehicle.
First Lt. Christoph von Fregmann is the reconnaissance platoon leader: "We have a very interesting job here. The men of my platoon are in charge of an area of 150 square kilometres. We like to speak with the local townspeople and get to know them so we can try to help them," said von Fregmann.
Main tasks
Captain Martin Kellermeier is the coy commander. "Our main tasks are to patrol the area of Foca and Srbinje in order to get information about resettlements, the economical situation of the population, Harvest operation and political situations," said Kellermeier. "We also patrol to ensure a peaceful and calm situation in our AoR. We perform joint patrols with IPTF (International Police Task Force) in Foca, with the French in the Gacko area and with the Italians in Rogatica," explained Kellermeier
A patrol
The coy received a report about UXO (Unexploded Ordnance) in its area. A patrol of two Wolf vehicles were in charge of this task. In the first Wolf were Master Sgt. Muth and Cpl.'s Schmidt and Slowinski. In the other car were Staff Sgt. Boeske and two other men from an EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) team of the GEBG.
After 15 minutes of travelling the troops arrived at the location where the UXO was reported. They deployed a security team to check for the UXO and using binoculars, checked the piece of metal just a couple of meters away.
It turned out to be nothing more than a rusty part of a car. Fortunately, on that day nothing happened. But everyone has to be as observant as the people who reported the possible UXO.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Germany
SFOR at Work

Click on thumbnail to enlarge
Photos: Lt. Antonio Ruiz González

First Lt. Christoph von Fregmann, reconnaissance platoon leader, sets out the situation on a map to his men.

Click on thumbnail to enlarge

Sgt. Marc Blume works on a Bueffel (German Recovery Tank).

Click on thumbnail to enlarge

Sgt. Ralf Zissler checks a piece of equipment in a medical version of the Fuchs.

Click on thumbnail to enlarge

On patrol, Master Sgt. Stephan Muth with two members of his team.