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 its leave.

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 Vidimlije.
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.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Canada
Training and Exercises

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Photo: Cpl. Grant Rivalin

Detachment 24A deployed at firing position 4A of Resolute Barbara Range opens fire, according to the orders of the Artillery field Command Post.

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Photo: Lance Cpl. Jean-Marc Parent

Detachment 24A deployed at firing position 2A readies to provide fire support during Strong Guardian V Exercise.

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Photo: Lance Cpl. Jean-Marc Parent

A view of the field Artillery Command Post during Strong Guardian V Exercise.