• ARRSE have partnered with Armadillo Merino to bring you an ARRSE exclusive, generous discount offer on their full price range.
    To keep you warm with the best of Merino gear, visit www.armadillomerino.co.uk and use the code: NEWARRSE40 at the checkout to get 40% off!
    This superb deal has been generously offered to us by Armadillo Merino and is valid until midnight on the the 28th of February.

What did the RWF do in Gorazde?

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
#1
Just reading Dusty Warriors by Richard Holmes, and as he describes the makeup of the battle group, he describes the addition of A Coy RWF, and mentions that regiments "terrific, but little publicized role in the defence of Gorazde in 1994". What did they do, or where can i find out?
 
#2
For once I would agree with Richard Holmes in that the work carried out there by the RWF was exemplary - working within the tight constraints of the UN mandate and under great pressure.

Gorazde was the largest of the three Muslim enclaves in the east of Bosnia and sits in a steep-sided river valley with the river Drina running through it.

The situation was that some 10k Serb troops complete with armour and arty surrounded the 60k inhabitants (including BiH troops) of Gorazde in what was, essentially, a stalemate.

A Coy, RWF took over from a RGBW Coy (not sure which one) and were located at the northern end of the town, along with a det of about 80 Ukrainian troops at the southern end. The UN mandate was to ensure that humanitarian aid got through to the town.

The UN troops came under sustained fire, both when the Serbs and Muslims were having a pop at each other and when the UN p1ssed off one side or the other and they wanted an easy target. Due to the limitations of the UN mandate the troops on the ground were limited in their response. Some the of RWF troops manning the OPs on the hills around the town were taken hostage by the Serb army and held for several weeks. The situation was made worse with the debacle of the Ukrainians, who had been involved in some heavy black marketeering (allegedly), being surrounded and forcibly 'disarmed' by the BiH troops.

During early-mid 95, the serbs made a concerted effort to overrun the two smaller enclaves of Zepa and Srebrenica, details of which are comprehensively reported elsewhere. It was obvious that with the two northern enclaves out of the way, the serbs would now have enough manpower to attack Gorazde.

The UN withdrew from Gorazde in August (?) 95 to make way for the NATO airstrikes.

Get a copy of 'White Dragon' - the story of the RWF in Bosnia written by Lt Col (now Maj Gen) Jonathon Riley DSO the then CO of 1 RWF which covers the Gorazde op in some detail and also 'The Peacekeeper's Tale' by Gillian Sandford and Mike Price (GMS Media).
 
#4
Funy enough I just read about that episode in "Winter Warriors - Across Bosnia with the PBI". The author mentions his build up training at the time when about 30 RWF were captured. No one knew what was going on and speculation was rife. It was a scary time for the British army and probably helped focus the LI in their training.
 
#6
yes i can confirm i was in gorazde and one of the PiG's (people in gorazde) rather than a pog (people out of gorazde)
my vehicle was the last but one saxon to leave Gorazde , the final few hours were very very unweary , muslims knew we were goign and wouldnt let us leave an hour to move notice was more like a min, the drive to Belgade was one ofthe most sureal experiances of my life and as for Being the Last TA soldier out of Gorazde i felt Proud to of served with 1Rwf , one of my fondest memorys was of a Giant of a Man Called Cpl Steve Williams from the med center a great guy and the god father of my first child , i haev lost contact with him now but i know hes in wrexham ....... STICK IT YOU WELSH !!! :)
 

Andy_S

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
No disrespect to the troops involved who were operating under UN constraints. However: What was 'terrific' about this role?

Captured and held hostage by Serbs; eventual retreat. I don't hold the RN and RM rank and file who were taken by the Iranians to blame for their leadership, but I would not consider that episode to have been 'terrific' exactly, either.
 
#9
No disrespect to the troops involved who were operating under UN constraints. However: What was 'terrific' about this role?

Captured and held hostage by Serbs; eventual retreat. I don't hold the RN and RM rank and file who were taken by the Iranians to blame for their leadership, but I would not consider that episode to have been 'terrific' exactly, either.
Contrast and compare the conduct of Brit commanders and soldiers, with that of other European nations, of similar capability, and subject to the same ROE. It was a tough, hands-tied-behind-yer-back job, and the contrast is both substantial, and inspirational.
 
#13
You're a chippy little spud guzzler of late aren't you Murphy.
Don't rush to judgment: his post was without context - difficult to know what he really meant.
===

P.S. "Chippy" followed by "Spud guzzler" - I'm right in assuming that was accidental, aren't I? :wink:
 
#14
I remember seeing the pictures on the news of UNPROFOR. In fairness, UNPROFOR's mandate was weak and they didn't have enough troops.

Also with the exception of BRITFOR were poorly armed.

The NATO NFZ wasn't and the Blue Sword strikes didn't.

Correct me if I got it wrong but the Brits pulled out of the enclave ?
 
#15
Wasn't it the Glosters before the RWF? RGBW were still being thought about.

Didn't realise it was the RWF that were held hostage, I thought the Glosters/RGBW were taken. (IIRC it was A Coy, they went back recently to erect a memorial to a couple of lads that died. A mate said t was very moving).

Other than that was the RWF deployment famous for their recreation of the 'Wind Talkers'?
 
#16
Wasn't it the Glosters before the RWF? RGBW were still being thought about.

Didn't realise it was the RWF that were held hostage, I thought the Glosters/RGBW were taken. (IIRC it was A Coy, they went back recently to erect a memorial to a couple of lads that died. A mate said t was very moving).

Other than that was the RWF deployment famous for their recreation of the 'Wind Talkers'?
Welsh speakers tend find themselves as Sig's, recreated Burma more like, QBO's were routinely shouted from one trench to another.
 
#18
... and ISTR that the Congo was the last time the IDF got into a proper scrap during the seige of Jadotville. They surrendered, without having taken any KIA, while undertaking a UN peace keeping task.

I could point out that that action bore more resemblance to Srebinicia than the RWF's conduct in Gorazde, but will restrict myself to saying that UN tasks are notoriously difficult. Its unfair to judge from an armchair without having similar operational experience yourself. You've been very shy on that point, IrlSgt, despite having been vocal about others failings.
 
#19
... and ISTR that the Congo was the last time the IDF got into a proper scrap during the seige of Jadotville. They surrendered, without having taken any KIA, while undertaking a UN peace keeping task.

I could point out that that action bore more resemblance to Srebinicia than the RWF's conduct in Gorazde, but will restrict myself to saying that UN tasks are notoriously difficult. Its unfair to judge from an armchair without having similar operational experience yourself. You've been very shy on that point, IrlSgt, despite having been vocal about others failings.
Absolutely, regarding Jadoville a light inf coy outnumbered up to 32:1, suffered zero casualties, 300 enemy KIA, withstood assaults for 6 days without resupply, ran out of food, water and almost ammo before truce that wasn't honoured by the enemy and then being disarmed.

I have no operational experience.

The reason the Congo came up was about Welsh on radios and I asked why was it done (it may have also been done in Lebanon with Irish).

So why was the Brit work in Gorazde brilliant I'm asking a genuine question ?
 
#20
I didn't say that Gorazde was a triumph - I was pointing out:

a) That the RWF's actions in Gorazde, whatever their failings, did not lead to another Srebenica

b) UN operations ( in fact all military operations ) are typically complex, tough and confusing. Its fair to reflect on them and discuss what should have been done better. Your posts about operations in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan often ask simple but telling questions, often ones which should have been asked more forcefully at the time.

However, equally as often they have been naive and poorly informed. I can't help but suspect that's largely due to the fact that you have the operational experience of a paraplegic ACF Instructor. This detracts from your credibility when you imply that those doing the fighting have been guilty of obvious and easily avoidable mistakes.

Any healthy organisation can take criticism and learn from it, regardless of the source. Most people on here can, and dish out a fair amount too. But if the comments are snide and the commentator's experience is so slight, don't be surprised if some come to the conclusion that you're a knob.
 

Latest Threads