Exercise Orange Dragoon

2Lt. Meghan Marsaw
First published in
SFOR Informer#150, October 24, 2002

On Oct. 8 the Netherlands Battle Group (NLBG) held Exercise Orange Dragoon at the Manjaca Range near Banja Luka. This live-fire exercise comprised of an infantry company had the aim of training troops in basic infantry skills.

Manjaca - The company of 90 to 100 soldiers was made up of three platoons: two from 44 Mechanised Infantry Battalion and the other from 43 Brigade Reconnaissance Squadron. The objective of the exercise was to destroy the enemy element on the hill using fire and movement techniques. For covering fire, the company had a fire-base set up along a nearby ridge as well as snipers strategically placed in the area.

Basic foot soldier skills
The company was equipped with C7 A1 rifles, MAG machine guns, and AT4 anti-tank rocket launchers while the snipers used the Accuracy International Long Range rifle.
"In the past, our exercises have always involved tanks and Armoured Personnel Carriers," said Sgt. Richard Den Boer, Safety Officer for the exercise. "This time we are practising basic foot soldier skills. We are setting up a fire-base, distributing fire on the target, and assaulting the hill," he said.
The platoons effectively destroyed the enemy after a two-hour assault on the hill. The soldiers covered approximately five kilometres across mud, field, bush and hills before succeeding in their mission.

"I have learned that the terrain can be very difficult," said Soldier 1st Class Marwin Beishuizen, a C7 gunner for this exercise. "I am not used to rugged hills. Holland is very flat."
Room for more improvement
"We did not have much preparation time for this exercise," said Maj. Hans Vam Dalem, Deputy Battalion Commander for the Dutch Battle Group who was acting as Company Commander for the exercise. "We had to rely on the existing experience of the troops. They did a fine job for such a complicated mission."
Even though this exercise was deemed a success, according to Vam Dalem, there is always room for more improvement.
"You can never be ready, you must always exercise until there is no time left," he said.

Related links: Training and Exercises

Nations of SFOR: Netherlands

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Photos: Cpl. Simon Butcher

Soldiers from the Dutch Battle Group advance on the enemy using C7 A1 rifles and MAG machine guns during Exercise Orange Dragoon held Oct. 8 at Manjaca Range.

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With the regimental flag flying behind him, Soldier 1st Class Marwin Beishuizen takes aim from the trenches.

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From the partial protection of a trench, soldiers take aim with a MAG machine gun.

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A soldier shouts orders while closing in on the enemy.