Canadian Artillery is leaving Balkans
Capt. Martin Cloutier
First published in
SFOR Informer#147, September 12, 2002
In time, Canadian troops participating in the NATO Balkans
mission will be downsized. The Royal Canadian Artillery takes
Bihac - Since the beginning of the Stabilisation Force (SFOR)
mission in the Balkans, Canadian artillery gunners were in
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). With the United Nations Protection
Force (UNPROFOR), Implementation Force (IFOR) and finally
SFOR. Every six months artillery units rotated out serving
their time in BiH. On April 1, 2000, for the first time in
an operational theatre, howitzers LG-1, calibre 105mm, arrived
in the port of Rijeka, Croatia.
The Canadian Area of Responsibility
Battery Q members have been deployed now for nearly six months
in BiH. They are dispersed all over the Canadian Area of Responsibility
(AoR). One team is stationed in Bihac, another in Drvar, and
the third one in Tomislavgrad. Other members are in charge
of the functioning of the co-ordination centre for fire support
in Velika Kladusa. Camp Vimy, in Glamoc, is the gunner's parent
company where you can find the majority of Battery Q's members,
and the six howitzers LG-1.
Gunners have also covered up their own AoR without mentioning
the security of Camp Vimy. Detachments have patrolled in their
operational area in order to maintain a safe and secure environment
in the opstina (municipality). They built a game field in
Kavacevci, distributed beds, frying pans, cauldrons and wheelbarrows
to people in dire need, among them those returning to Glamoc.
They offered water cisterns in the Dekiribrdo. They also distributed
beehives in Gradina and finally built a house for some of
the elderly people, as well as refurbished several roofs in
Last firing mission
Battery Q took part in two important international exercises,
Balkan Gunner V from May 12-18, 2002, and Strong Guardian
V from July 7 -14, 2002. For Canadian and British artillery,
the second one was the last major exercise in the Balkans
(see SFOR Informer no. 144, dated Aug. 29, 2002).
Contingent of this operation was the first to test in an operational
environment the new Communication, Commandment and Control
Tactical System (CCCTS).
Battery Q was also the only one to use the LAV III (Light
Armoured Vehicle) for reconnaissance in the theatre. All previous
detachments used the Grizzly.
On Sept. 5, 2002, the last firing mission took place. An honour
salvo and a bonfire underlined the last shoots of battery
Q in an operational theatre, as well as the last Royal Canadian
Artillery's shoot in the Balkans.
Nations of SFOR: Canada
Training and Exercises