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
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.
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.
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.
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,"
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
Nations of SFOR: Germany
SFOR at Work