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Logistics to British troops

by Capt. Halvor Molland

First published in SFOR Informer #31, March 11, 1998

Photo 1T.JPG (8612 bytes)Kupres - In a windy valley 20 kilometres south-east of Bugojno in Multinational Division South West (MND-SW), the 21 (UK) Brigade Support Squadron (21BSS) Royal Logistic Corp, is stationed. During the winter, there is normally over a metre of snow in the area, and temperatures may fall as low as 40 degrees below zero. But it is not the first time the 21BSS are in Theatre. The Squadron was first deployed to Bosnia and Hercegovina December 20, 1995, when the Implementation Force (IFOR) mission first started.

"Sixty-five percent of the squadron was here during IFOR as well. Then there were nothingPhoto 2T.JPG (9036 bytes) in Kupres. Because of the road tunnel outside the village, this was a strategically important place and was fought over five times. The final battle was won by the Bosnian Croats, and when the 21BSS first came here the whole village was laid flat," said Officer Commanding and Camp Commandant, Maj. Justin Stanhope-White.

During IFOR the Squadron stayed one week in tents in Kupres before moving to Sipovo. Now, the camp in Kupres is co-located with local industry. A sawmill and a windows factory are among the things made in the British camp.

"We have frequently meetings with the owner of the factory, and so far everything has been running smoothly," said Stanhope-White.

All supplies to British units in MND-SW are first shipped into Split. Some of the goods, such as rations and food, are sorted in Split before everything is sent by lorry to Kupres. 33 Leyland DAF Photo 3T.JPG (8046 bytes)DROPS vehicles and 10 Fuel vehicles ensure that all supplies will reach destinations in good time.

"Most of the times the goods arrive one day early, but the extra day may be needed when the roads are bad. A trip to Sipovo may take 1 hour 30 minutes in good weather but 6 hours when it is snowing," said Stanhope-White.

The 21BSS consist of over 150 troops, who work seven days a week to supply all British camps in the MND-SW. In addition, other smaller units are also attached to the 21BSS to enable them to be self sufficient. In total 240 British SFOR troops are working in Kupres.

Two Royal Engineers Snow and Ice Clearing (SNIC) Teams from 38 Engineering Regiment in Gornij Vakuf are permanently stationed in Kupres. Their main task is to keep route Parrot and Gull open during the winter. They have a hard job.

"During five months we have driven over 500,000 kilometres with very few accidents. When the Sqauadron was here during IFOR the drivers learnt to drive under much worse conditions than this time. That was an invaluable experience which pays off on this tour," said Stanhope-White.

[UK soldier]