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Army of Yugoslavia [VJ]

Operations in Kosovo

At the beginning of 1998, the Ministry of Interior [MUP] police forces were primarily responsible for internal security operations against the KLA in Kosovo, while the army was primarily responsible for border security. Initially, there was very little cooperation between the police and the army. Apart from occasional actions by the Military Police, Army units were not used against the KLA prior to mid-1998, in part to prevent casualties among draftee soldiers, since casualties could could trigger a negative political response by the conscript soldier's parents. The situation changed in April and May 1998, when the Army became actively involved in actions using heavy artillery and equipment which the police did not have in sufficient quantities. Subsequently, according to some reports the Yugoslav Army took over command of operations from the Serb Special Police.

Armed forces deployed in Kosovo were part of the 3rd Army. Support could also come from the 98th Air Force Brigade, the 172nd Air Force Brigade, and the 119th Helicopter Brigade from bases in Kraljevo, Podgorica, and Nis. As of mid-1998 Pristina Corps units, commanded by Gen. Nebojsa Pavkovic, the seven brigades of the Pristina Corps, which are not fully manned in peacetime, had a total strength of some 7,000 men. Including the Pristina Corps' garrison in Krusumlija, the total strength of the Corps and its associated support units was about 10,000 soldiers, who were for the most part professional contract soldiers. In case of mobilization, these forces would have grown to some 25,000 soldiers.

As of early-1999, total VJ strength in Kosovo was approximately 15-16,000, with some reinforcements from other VJ formations outside Kosovo.

One armored mechanized brigade was located in Pristina, and another in Urosevac. One motorized brigade was located in Kosovska Mitrovica and in Pec, and another located in Djakovica and Prizren. These units were deployed in two main directions:

  • garrisons in Leposavic, Kosovska Mitrovica, Vucitrn, Pristina, and Urosevac
  • garrisons in Pec, Djakovica, and Prizren, which dealt with forces entering from Albania

The BOV-3, a Self-propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun (SPAAG) based on the BOV-M A wheeled reconnaissance vehicle chassis with a triple mounted 20mm cannon in a turret, has been used in the ground role to good effect. The PRAGA, an armoured truck with a twin mounted 30mm cannon, is another SPAAG that has been used to great effect against houses and the KLA.

Border security facilities included the watchtowers in the Morina, Gorozup, Pastrik, Kosare, Koznjar and other sectors. The Army of Yugoslavia extended the depth of the border control zone to five or six kilometers, significantly impeding movement between Kosovo and Albania. Soldiers mined the area along the border with Albania.

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Page last modified: 21-09-2013 18:52:17 ZULU