By Sgt. Michael Maddox
First published in
SFOR Informer #96, September 13,
- Forces from across Multinational Division Southwest converged on
Glamoc Range Aug. 31 to conduct Operation Strong Guardian, an exercise
where British, Czech and Canadian forces took on an enemy force played
by Dutch soldiers.
None of that would have been possible without another exercise, Joint
Resolve, where the Portuguese Battle Group filled in British positions
while Strong Guardian was being conducted. Thanks to that effort,
a British headquarters, a Czech company and a Canadian recce squadron
were able to take part in the imaginary war.
morning of the battle started out slowly as the sun climbed the sky,
but that soon changed and the fight was on.
"We kept our eyes on them all night, it's been a very quiet night.
We had blocking positions around them to keep them from moving out,"
said British Maj. Mark Lee, second in command during the exercise.
"This morning they loaded up their vehicles and the majority
headed off towards our positions, we were quite happy to block them.
They have now just swung around and headed off in a northwesterly
direction toward another blocking position."
there, the battle began and forces began to engage one another. To
aid in this imaginary war, special measures were taken to make the
exercise run smoothly and fairly though the use of umpires for each
side because there was no other way to signify hits on targets.
"We obviously aren't in a position to simulate the live firing
of the guns and all small caliber weapons are using blank ammunition
during the exercise," said Lee. "The larger caliber of weapo's
firing is being simulated through the headlights being flashed and
the umpires communicating with each other."
to Maj. Damian Hoskins, tank squadron leader for the 2nd Royal Tank
Regiment, there were several reasons why blank fire was a good idea.
"We are multi national, so nothing works across the board to
register hits," he said. "We will be prepared to fire, but
in reality we aren't firing live ammunition because the SFOR force
will be out there playing a real enemy."
Lee said coordinating the blank fire was one of the toughest parts
of the operation.
travelled with arms and loaded weapons, and yet to come onto the exercise,
we had to come into a stagnant pause where we completely unloaded
all of the soldiers with their live and replaced it with blanks,"
he said. Lee added, the Canadian Battle Group conducted security around
the training exercise so the soldiers would not need to carry live
The movement to Glamoc was the second most difficult part of the mission,
formed up at Manjaca Range and that was an exercise in itself,"
he explained. "We had 200 vehicles from 15 units, seven locations,
from nine routes to go to the replan position there. We managed to
do that. We were then given our orders and moved through the night
of the work was definitely worth the effort, according to Lee. He
said there was a huge benefit to performing the exercise.
"Should push come to shove, we can actually form up as a multinational
battle group and do the job that we are over here to do," he
said. "Also, we are able to enhance our abilities over and above
what we do everyday."
Nations of SFOR: UK, Czech
Exercices and training
Related articles: Portuguese support,