Mortar Attack.

Mortar Attack.

I’m going to hell for this one.

It was back in 1996 while on my second tour of Bosnia, this time I was based in Banja Luka Metal Factory as part of the Multi National Division South West. I was the photographer and driver for the unit press officer Lt Mark Simon.

I shared a Corimec (Accommodation Container) with the COs Driver (Phil) and the Clerk (Gordie) One night after visiting the JNCOs bar with Phil and having a few more than our daily two can allowance (we had been saving them up) we thought it would be a good idea to make a couple of American MRE Bombs (Meal Ready Eat) its when you add the powder from the chemical cooker into a bottle of water, the chemical reacts in the water and the bottle expands until it explodes.

Inside the metal factory there where two large, extremely deep pits that had been surrounded by Heras fencing to stop us idiots getting to close and falling in.

We trundled over to the pits with our water bottles and MRE cookers, removed the fencing and continued to prepare our bombs, when we finally worked out how to make them we each dropped our bottles into a pit each and stood looking into the abyss waiting for the explosions.

After what seemed like an eternity with no loud bangs, we came to the conclusion that we had done something wrong and decided to walk the 100 metres back to the Corimec and prepare a couple more of the MRE bombs.

We had literally just opened the door when we heard the the first explosion quickly followed by the second, they where the loudest bangs we had ever heard and we felt the blast wave hit us, we had no idea that they would be so loud or powerful, it may have had something to do with that they where so deep underground and in a confined space, or the acoustics of the metal factory, but F**K me they where loud.

We quickly jumped into the Corimec and locked the door behind us. We both burst into fits of uncontrollable laughter when a few moments later the whole metal factory burst into action, we heard the Camp Guard (Royal Pioneers) run past our accommodation, the Guard Commander screaming down the radio “Contact, Mortars, Requesting, QRF, ARF, Additional Troops to assist in the evacuation” we even heard weapons being cocked, within a few minutes we could hear the helicopters overhead and the sound of the Light Dragoon’s Scimitars starting up and racing out of the factory, people where running around everywhere screaming and shouting orders to evacuate the factory, meanwhile, myself and Phil where incapacitated with laughter, tears and little bits of wee coming out, someone banged on our Corimec door shouting “get out, we are under attack” We just lay there, unable to move.

Around 30 minutes later, things started to quieten down, the screaming and shouting stopped and was replaced with mumbles of “I ain’t gotta F**ckin clue mate, probably a test”

The next morning at breakfast everyone was talking about the mortar attack, but only those that know, know.

I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to all those involved and the F**K about me and Phil caused that night and to the Bosnian girls in the laundry who had to handle my pissed drenched combat trousers.

Names have been changed and no way am I giving you mine.

Inside Banja Luka Metal Factory - BLMF


  • Andy Goodward

    OMFG, I remember that night well, honestly thought we had been hit by mortars or artillery.
    We were running around for hours looking for the impact.
    Andy G – RMP
    BLMF 1996

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