The night of the Bataclan

    Friday, November 13, 2015, 10:15 p.m.

    Everywhere in Paris gunshots ring out, passers-by are panicked. Alain*, member of the Research and Intervention Brigade (BRI), advances towards the entrance of the Bataclan in the middle of a column of tactical operators. The guitars of the Eagles of Death Metal, the heavy metal group in concert in this legendary hall, has gone silent replaced by howls of terror and the sound of shots. Under his bulletproof vest, armored visor, and a HKG36 assault rifle, Alain is in the front line. He is part of an elite team of twenty operators that are about to enter the room. “There was an injured man at the emergency exit. At the corner of the street, we saw three bodies”he tells Marianne, for the first time. “This intervention will mark me for life."

    Slowly, the column of the BRI operators enter the glass door of 10 Boulevard Voltaire.  “It's a mass grave. Mounds of bodies. At first I thought everyone was dead inside. But no…”  In this place, life still springs up, voices whisper, hands rise and touch the feet of the operators as they proceed in the dark. There is this wounded man whose limb was torn to pieces by a bullet. Two bodies of lifeless adolescent girls hugging each other, entwined for eternity.  “There was so much youth. I saw the carnage it was. I had a moment of bewilderment. We are human beings. If we are scared or anxious, we need to resume again quickly. Because at any time you can get shot."

    “I saw the carnage it was. I had a moment of bewilderment. We are human beings. If we can be scared, anxious, we come back quickly. Because at any time you can get shot. "

    Anonymous BRI operator

    Where are the terrorists hiding, how many are they? Are they setting a trap? They don't know anything yet, or at least very little. They are just sure that one of the shooters are carrying a belt of explosives.

    The formation of BRI operators proceed in the dark. Stress levels soar, time seems to stretch. “Fractions of a second seem like hours." Behind them, medical personnel evacuate the injured. “It's like a game of rugby. Every inch you gain, you need to keep."  They take a staircase to the left. Around 11 p.m., they reach the first floor emerged in darkness. “We can't hear, we can't see anything."  Suddenly the voice of a hostage gushes through the door from the room where the terrorists are cut off: "Stay back!"

    "We open the door and receive a burst of fire"

    The two active shooters use about twenty hostages as human shields and one of the hostages to communicate their demands. A discussion begins over telephone with a negotiator from the BRI unit. The active shooters want access to the media at all cost. This is out of the question. "When they killed… I don't know how many people, what's left to negotiate?"

    Meanwhile, the police put up a Ramses shield, a 180 kg heavy ballistic system,  "the most effective protection. In a long corridor, with no room to escape, this is what allows us to move forward. "

    The police put up a Ramses shield, a 180 kg heavy ballistic system, "the most effective protection." "In a long corridor, with no room to escape, this is what allows us to move forward."

    Anonymous BRI operator

    At midnight the raid commences. "We open the door, and immediately we get a burst, a whole magazine of bullets." The BRI column is walking into a hell of explosions. 27 bullets hit the TenCate Ramses shield, which gradually distorts in the face of the unimaginable firepower. "Fortunately we had it. Without it, there would have been more deaths."

    "We open the door, and immediately we get a burst, a whole magazine of bullets." The BRI column is walking into a hell of explosions. 27 bullets hit the TenCate Ramses shield, which gradually distorted in the face of the unimaginable firepower. "Fortunately we had it. Without it, there would have been more deaths."

    Anonymous BRI operator

    The clearing team must move forward before the shooters can activate their explosives. "We have to place the shots well, without hitting the assailants in their own body armour, all the while they are moving targets that shoot at us ..."  And the more they advance, the more hostages can get out.


    BRI operators throw stun and shock grenades. In an exchange of fire, a bullet pierces the hand of a BRI operator. Then in the half-light the TenCate Ramses shield collides with a small step, escapes the hands of the operator and falls forward. The unit immediately get back in formation, and catch a glimpse of the two shooters, cornered at the staircase at the end of the room. “When we finally have contact, one of the two blows himself up. Our luck is that his explosive charge is going towards the wall and not towards us." The second assailant seeks to engage his detonator. He is shot several times and killed before he can engage it. The shooters have been eliminated.  

    The story is a translated version of the original story brought by, a French news magazine, on November 12, 2020. Please find the original version here: 

    *Alain is fictional name used to conceal the operator's identity.

    Personal protection with additional margin for the unforeseen

    The events that took place at the Bataclan on the evening of the attack made a lasting impression on all of us. The heroic actions performed by French law enforcement that night saved the life of dozens of innocent people.

    We are moved by these stories because we put our heart and blood in making protection equipment. We are well aware that operators rely on the equipment we provide when they put themselves in harm's way to perform their duty. If we fail to provide the quality they require, it can cost them their lives. Because we are aware of the consequences, we develop our solutions to perform above and beyond the specification that is required. If our shield in the Bataclan had only stopped six bullets instead of 27, the consequences could have been fatal.

    We strive hard to make personal protection that is light and achieves the highest possible ballistic performance. Through R&D and engineering we optimise the materials and the composition to effectively provide the protection that is required without adding surplus material that degrades the performance of the plate. Despite this, we still make room to safeguard against the unforeseen by making the shields and plates a little tougher and a little more rugged than what is required. We know that this tolerance can mean the difference between life and death one day.

    Need more information?

    At TenCate Advanced Armour our goal is to achieve the highest level of protection for you and your team. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact us. 

    Jacob Abelsen Director

    Jacob Abelsen
    Send me an email +65 9679 2939

    TenCate Advanced Armour Asia-Pacific

    We have a dedicated office to serve the complete Asia-Pacific region based in Singapore. We appreciate the fact that culture, customs, and perspectives differentiate from place to place and acknowledge that it is difficult to support as well as we should if we were only based in Europe. TenCate Advanced Armour Asia-Pacific enables us to serve one of the most technologically advanced regions of the world with requirements that are difficult to complete unless we arrive at a common understanding with our end-users and industry partners. 

    Our presence in the Asia-Pacific regions means that we are available for you in your office hours and at your request. We have developed long-term partnerships with trusted local partners who are specialised in various segments of the land, sea, air, special forces, police and/or commercial markets for survivability. This network of agents and distributors enables us to reach out to all partners and end-users throughout the region. More importantly, it happens in the local language and following local etiquette and culture. We work as a team and we have a proven track record for this collaboration.

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    About TenCate Advanced Armour

    • 20+ years experience in survivability solutions
    • 20+ years experience in law enforcement and civilian vehicle protection requirements
    • 15+ years experience in complex international defence programmes
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