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
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
Nations of SFOR: Netherlands