Training For Peace in BiH

Capt. Christine Bazarin
First published April 25, 2003

Spectators who braved the elements on Apr. 11 to attend a Live Fire Exercise in Glamoc were rewarded with an impressive display of battlefield co-ordination, tactics and firepower. Tank and mortar platoons from 17 (NL) Mechbat GFPI (Guard Fusiliers Princess Irene) - backbone of the Dutch Battle Group (NL BG) and Federation Army forces conducted there their first joint training exercise from 6-12 April.

Glamoc - Hosted by the NL BG based in Bugojno, invited guests from Headquarters Multinational Brigade Northwest and the Federation Army (Vojska Federacije, VF) attending a visitors day were given the opportunity to observe the successful integration of their soldiers. Bosniac armoured soldiers from the 7th Motorised Brigade (stationed in Zenica), Bosnian-Croat mortar-men from the 3rd Guards Brigade and Dutch troops conducted platoon-level shooting exercises.

Only seven minutes
The afternoon's events began with a blast as rounds fired from Federation AMX30 and Dutch Leopard tanks pounded targets across the track-torn landscape. Following a light lunch, visitors were driven to a position approximately one kilometre away where mortar teams awaited their fire orders. A static mortar shoot conducted by Federation forces was followed by a dynamic display of speed and accuracy, as mechanised Dutch forces responding to a call from their Forward Observer, arrived on scene and began launching their 120mm rounds. Only seven minutes had elapsed before mortars were in place and the first rounds were airborne.

"The aim of this type of training is to help create the foundation for relationships that will allow these soldiers to work together effectively within the Armed Forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina (AF in BiH). It is for the benefit of the people of BiH," said Lt. Col. Harold Jacobs, commander of the NL BG.

Training together
Initiatives, such as this joint exercise, not only provide valuable training for the Af in BiH in accordance with SFOR's mandate under the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP) but also demonstrate the level of co-operation that exists between the Bosniac and Bosnian-Croat components of the Federation Army.
"We can be proud of what we have achieved today," said Operations Warrant Officer, WO2 Brands Corné, who is currently on his fourth tour in BiH. "Previously I couldn't imagine any of these forces training together, but many things have improved since I was first here. These are well-trained, professional soldiers and this is a good opportunity for them to train and socialise with each other. It's important for troops to realise they're all the same."

Related link: Training and Exercises

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Photos: Cpl. Yves Gemus

Federation Army members loading their 120mm mortar during a static shoot.

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Capable of travelling 8100m, a round is launched from a Dutch 120mm mortar.

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A Leopard tank belonging to 17 (NL) Mechbat GFPI participated in the live fire exercise.

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AMX30s from the Federation Army's 7th Motorised Brigade advance across Resolute Barbara Range to engage their targets.

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Guests from HQ MNB-NW and the Federation Army attending a visitor's day watch a static tank shoot below.