The members of Traffic and Transport Battalion 1 of the Logistics Brigade secure roads and access routes before the drivers pass through, regulate traffic if necessary and set up diversions.
100 men and women are deployed daily along the stage route. Another 40 soldiers are responsible for the logistics and transport of the troops and support the soldiers in the various barracks and canteens. “Every year we make an effort that should not be underestimated.” As commander of Transportation Battalion 1, Lieutenant Colonel Bernhard Horn at the General Staff with his 900 militia soldiers knows most of Switzerland’s major events. Without the Swiss Armed Forces, all these major Swiss events would be practically impossible to implement. “We already supported the World Ski Championships in St. Moritz last February,” explains the Commander. “In addition, last year our tasks also included traffic safety at the Federal Schwing- und Älplerfest in Estavayer”.
The battalion is largely made up of so-called transport soldiers. The soldiers, who have been specially trained in traffic management and regulation, complete their refresher course (WK) at the Tour de Suisse. Thereby long trained automatisms are refreshed. “In the event of an incident or disaster, the battalion must be operational within 24-96 hours. This is why we practice the process of mobilization with our companies again and again,” explains Colonel i Gst Horn. In addition to the transport soldiers, around 15 so-called “on-the-job soldiers” of the logistics standby company are deployed. Sometimes there is also a soldier from a different branch of the army who has postponed his WW date.
Those deployed support above all the deployment of the route security, the tour police and the security service. They secure pedestrian crossings, junctions and other dangerous places. Pius Müller, who is responsible for securing the route at the Tour de Suisse, always divides the stage into many individual sections and clarifies the group division with the officers. “It is an advantage that we can use trained transport soldiers for this delicate task.” Once the tour troop has passed, the soldiers get on their military motorcycles or drive by transporter along an alternative route to their next assignment. “Our men never ride at the height of the race or even past the racers,” emphasizes the commander.
For most of his soldiers the Tour de Suisse is a great experience. “The tour of the country is of international interest.” That’s also an issue for the service personnel. “Some are happy to see a professional cyclist up close.” The positive experience outweighs the negative. But last year’s rainy Tour de Suisse was also a challenge for members of the army. The drenched material did not dry overnight in the barracks. “At least we were able to help out with an exchange of materials from time to time,” explains the commander. Talking about barracks: As far as their accommodation is concerned, the WK soldiers are taking part in their military Tour de Suisse. After the Eschenbach/LU barracks at the start weekend, they first move into the Fribourg barracks, then move on to the Sion barracks, then Monte Ceneri, spend the night in the Engadine in the S-chanf military camp and finally in the Bülach barracks.
Information booth of the army in the TdS Village
Parallel to the work of the Transport and Logistics Battalion, apprentices and vocational trainers from the Armed Forces provide information on a wide range of Armed Forces professions during the tour of the country in the TdS Village. “We would like to inform young school leavers in particular about the attractive range of apprenticeships on offer”, says Oberstlt i Gst Horn happily. During his visits to the troops, he always wants to make a detour to the TdS Village to chat with as many people interested in the army as possible.