Schumacher and Ferrari

2Lt. Agustín López Marín
First published in
SFOR Informer#154, December 19, 2002

On Dec. 2, a military ceremony, attended by French Brig. Gen. Bernard Oberto, Commanding General of the Multinational Division Southeast, took place in the Camp Capt. Carreau in Rajlovac to mark the creation of the German-Italian Battle Group (GEITBG), which will be led by Italian Col. Marcello Bellacicco.

Rajlovac - As a consequence of the improving situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) SFOR is involved in restructuring and a re-deploying its forces.
Joint integration
The newly created Battle Group has established its Joint staff in Rajlovac with three detachments: Tito Barracks (Sarajevo), Rogatica and Filipovici. Italian Capt. Giovanni Serra is on his second peacekeeping operation in BiH, this time as G3 Current Operations Officer. "This new structure does not alter the SFOR mission. We will continue carrying out the previous tasks assigned to the GE-IT forces, which still consists of deterring hostilities, discovering illegal weapon storage and monitoring de-mining activities. Moreover, providing security and humanitarian aid to the resettlements of returnees and, of course, giving a close support to joint institutions, media reform and fair elections for the lasting consolidation of peace. We have to merge our particular tactical procedures to plan every activity," said Serra.
German Master Sgt. Mirco Huller is the G3 Operation Situation NCO in the HQ Staff. "Obviously, the GEITBG has to develop its missions in a large Area of Responsibility (AOR). There are four combat companies and every one has its own AOR. We maintain one Italian detachment in Rogatica and one German in Filipovici; those units allow a flexible and mobile response to patrol the AOR and boundaries and ensure a regular check of Armed Forces in BiH's activities" Master Sgt. Huller commented. This new BG demands increased intelligence efforts to anticipate and detect any threat.
Italian presence
Daily life in Camp Capt. Carreau changed with the arrival of the Italians. There will be new Italian facilities: PX, restaurant and pubs. The different tastes in food will mean that in every meal troops can find one dish of their own country. "It's difficult to get accustomed to the German food but I like their breakfast," said Capt. Serra. Master Sgt. Huller commented: "I prefer the Italian pasta and pizza".
Close friends
Lt. Col. Peter Henn is the Deputy PIO GEITBG. He has worked doing activities in Germany for 9 years. "Italy and Germany are used to working together at a high level in NATO. But this is the first time that both countries have composed one peacekeeping BG with these features. Our task will become more effective, improving our capabilities, providing mutual support each other. It will be easier that one German unit operates in Italian AOR because the bureaucracy will be reduced with a joint staff," he said. "Previously, I was responsible for sending articles about German troops in BiH to the civilian and military newspapers and TV. Now we make up a joint PIO, merging our labour with the Italian one. Italian Maj. Antonio Passaro will head this branch. Another objective for this office is to try to create links among GE-IT troops. We are preparing posters showing the best images of the Italian and German countries: tourist places and cities (monuments, museums, festivities, cathedrals, etc.) with the aim that every soldier could introduce his own culture to the troops of the other country," commented Henn.
When both groups watch a soccer match, or when Schumacher and Ferrari win one Formula 1 race, Italians and German are closer than ever.

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: Germany, Italy

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The newly created Multinational Brigade Southeast.


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Photo: PO Paul Hanson

The German soldiers will have to get accustomed…


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Photo: PO Paul Hanson

… to their Italian comrades. They are now part of the same Battle Group.


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Photo: Sgt. Diego Ropero Pastor

Dec. 2, a military ceremony took place in Rajlovac to mark the creation of the German-Italian Battle Group, part of the Multinational Brigade Southeast.