Vares Part VII
In the same crazy tempo, we continue on our way (patrolling) in Vares the next couple of days. Nordbat is no longer negotiating about "the freedom of movement" that UN has their right to according to agreements done between the UN and the combating forces. Who ever stands in our way- we roll over. Orders by Col Henricsson is "Emediate use of deadly force- if someone does!" In his own words; "We fired off the warning shots last Thursday!"
During the coming three days, we get just a couple of hours of sleep. What little sleeptime we get- is usually in our dug- in defensive battle positions outside the camp. The only thing keeping us from freezing to death is our sleeping bags. We eat frozen Hotch- Potch, that we hacks free from big conserves. My fork bends because of the force used to do this.
Then somebody realizes that we are paying in beneficary taxes to the state for the "free food and housing" we are getting! Just as much as if we were staying at the Scandic Hotel in Alingsås, munching down Entrecote!!
The Canadian troops that we got as "reinforcement". Thought from the first day that we were crazy, and bailed out when they thought the situation was getting too dangerous! A couple of days later a company from the French Foreign Legion comes and reinforces our troops.
The foreign UN- Generals, that earlier on had been sceptical of the Nordbat 2:s involvement in the conflict, changed their minds totally after Vares. Some comrades of mine, a few days after the events, escorted Ulf Henricsson to the UN head quarters in Kiseljak outside of Sarajevo.
In the old olympic hotel that now housed "BH Command", there were (now) a big mess hall. When a few Swedish soldiers Lead by Col Henricsson walks in and stands at the back of the chow line; everybody else in the mess hall- from Privates to Generals- suddenly- spontaniously gives them a standing ovation!
Nordbat 2 had now made a name for themselves in Bosnia!
The Brittish General and the UN- forces commander in Bosnia, Sir Michael Rose, earlier the commander of the 22 SAS regiment (and at first- one of the strongest critics of the Swedish forces precense), later wants to include the Swedish battalion in a rapid response force, ment to be deployed in "special situations", anywhere in Bosnia. The Swedish government denies his request. Sir Michael Rose, at home, later writes in a debate article that the Swedish soldiers were shining examples of that a conscript system still could produce soldiers of highest international class.
One of the "suicidal" journalists on place in Vares was Anthony Lloyd- himself a combat veteran from Northern Ireland and the Gulf war of 1991. In his book "My war gone by, I miss it so" he writes the following about the Swedes:
”The men inside (the APC) might have been UN but they were playing by a completely different set of rules.
They were Swedes; in terms of individual intelligence, integrity and single-mindedness I was to find them among the most impressive soldiers I had ever encountered.
In Vares their moment had come.”
(This is the final part of "Vares")
The original can be found here.
I think this is a very "good" story, in the sense that it's an important record of historical events (if I may be so bold to call it "historical"). As I stated in the first post; there are a lot of editimg done throughout the series. Mainly because of me having problems with the translation. Swedish is not allways very easy to translate to English. Mainly because of my non- knowledge of the finer nuansces in the English language, but also because of some Swedish (and ceartainly the specialized military prose that are used by the author) expressions. I'm shure that somebody else could have done a translation more closer to the original- as I also could have done- given more time. But the facts are still true to the letter! And I think the true story is still there- just as important! I hope you have all enjoyed the series. And I also hope that it have made you think if only for a second...
Be good now!