Continued from ‘Death Was Marching Along With Us, Part 1 Rende van de Kamp’ Posted with permission and translated by Mark Van Riele
Rende van de Kamp had the urge to be a Warrior from a young age. He joined the Dutch Army, did tours in Lebanon(UN-Unifil) and the Sinaï-desert(MFO).
After his time with the Dutch Army(draftee at that time) he joined the Free Lebanon Army of the Christian Major Haddad.
He was involved in the planning of an invasion of Suriname and served seven years in the French Foreign Legion. Rende also served in the Croatian Army and later became an officer in the Special Forces(Bojna Zrinski). He is now a writer and has published four books.
Small fighting force
I joined a small fighting force, and we made an outflanking maneuver, trying to protect the city from the invading tanks. In the meantime, the monks continued their unstinting march. They were clad in their Kevlar camouflage helmets and their American uniforms: their new Armour. Death felt at home with us. Comrades attacked the center of the city, where an equally cruel enemy was awaiting us with great enthusiasm. Whilst one group with its recoilless mortar gun managed to advance up the hill and take up its position, their snipers were targeting our men. The first shot made a gaping hole in the wall of the building where the enemy was hiding. Doors were blown open and men were running through corridors and stairwells. The second shot came just as the last man pulled the basement door shut behind him. Death was triumphantly seated on top of the grenade, his hair flying in the wind, and broke through the door to plunge into the basement. Death’s screech was our victory.
But a Master as cruel as that is not called and awakened with impunity. The spawn of the Devil permeated the hearts of the men who, tired and unwashed, after days spent in combat, sat and waited patiently at the crossroads behind Kupres. In the distance, huge plumes of smoke were spiraling up to the skies from the villages where Death had already put on his welcoming smile. Far, far away, the noise of the tanks and panzer wagons was reverberating through the night. It caused us to shiver in the all-enveloping cold and rain. Soldiers returned from their missions with stories to tell about the enemy who killed and burnt everything in his path.
In the early morning, I came to the realization that we were all alone. The men from the villages had made a speedy exit in the dark of night. Had they come face to face with Death? Had they felt his cold breath just in time to escape? Had they been able to get away?
Once again, the tanks that continued their invasion in the morning had brought along the certainty of death. The man who acted as my interpreter was running up the mountain with a backpack filled with RPG grenades. He was shot to pieces by a tank grenade. He harbored a death wish. And this is how they happened to meet. This is how this boy came to re-join his kin. His brothers and sisters and father and mother. Almost as if they had arranged a rendezvous beforehand.
A fellow combatant was lying in the spring grass, covered in terrible, bloodless wounds. One of his eyes had been split open by the invisible force that felled him. Death had cheated us and turned his face towards us.
Grenades fell amongst us, leaving trails of light. Undeterred, we embarked on our march back to Kupres. On the way, we hijacked the ambulance that was sent to collect our wounded, and like
madmen we drove through the city center, with complete disregard for our own lives, after our driver took a wrong turning. We did not come under fire from the Serbs, who remained safely ensconced in their homes. It did not take us long to get back to our own neighborhood, negotiating streets held by the enemy. Where were the soldiers who had marched along with us?
To be continued…
Thanks for reading, stay tuned for the next piece, of this great story!
These articles are a series of events that happened in the Kupres region in 1992, which are from his book ‘Under foreign flag’
Please visit and follow Rende at:
Website: No Men but Devils
*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.