Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Armija Republike Bosne i Hercegovine
Logo of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg
Bosnian Army Emblem
Founded 15 April 1992
Disbanded 14 December 1995
Service branches Bosnian Army
Bosnian Air Force and Defense
Headquarters Sarajevo, Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Commander-in-Chief President Alija Izetbegović
Defence Minister Munib Bisić
Commander General Rasim Delić
Active personnel 90-120,000 ~200,000 (in 1995)
Related articles
Ranks Military ranks and insignia of Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnian, Croatian: Armija Republike Bosne i Hercegovine, ARBiH; Serbian: Армија Републике Босне и Херцеговине, АРБиХ) was the military force of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina established by the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992 following the outbreak of the Bosnian War. Following the end of the war, and the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement in 1995, it was transformed into Army of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Under the State Defense Reform Law the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina were unified into a single structure OSBiH making entity armies defunct.[1][2]


A cemetery in Mostar flying the flag of Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (left), the flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the flag of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Creation and Composition[edit]

The Army of Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was formed on 15 April 1992 during the early days of the Bosnian War.[3] Before the ARBiH was officially created, a number of paramilitary and civil defense groups were established. The Patriotic League (PL) and the local Territorial Defence Force of the Republic of Bosnia and Hercegovina (TORBIH) were the official army while paramilitaries such as the Zelene Beretke (Green Berets) and Crni Labudovi (Black Swans) units have been founded. Other irregular groups included criminal groups, as well as collections of police and former Yugoslav People's Army soldiers.

The army was formed in poor circumstances, and suffered from a very limited supply of arms. Critical deficiencies included tanks and other heavy weaponry. The first commander of the army was Sefer Halilović.


In 1992, 70% of Bosnia was under JNA (Yugoslav People's Army), and then later VRS (Bosnian Serb Army), control. Sarajevo was under siege. The ARBiH had defended Sarajevo with light weaponry. The army was surrounded and the transfer of supplies was hard, if not impossible.


1993 saw no major changes in the front lines against Serbs. Instead, this year marked the start of the Croat-Bosniak war in Central Bosnia and in Herzegovina, notably the Mostar region. Pressured and contained by heavily armed Serb forces in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia, Croat forces - HVO (Croatian Defence Council) shifted their focus from defending their parts of Bosnia from Serbs to trying to capture remaining territory held by Bosnian Army. It is widely believed that this was due to the Karađorđevo agreement reached between presidents Slobodan Milošević and Franjo Tuđman to split Bosnia between Croatia and Serbia. In order to accomplish this Croatian forces would have to defeat the Bosnian Army, since the territory that they wanted was under Bosnian government control. HVO with great engagement from the Military of Republic of Croatia and material support from Serbs, attacked Bosniak civilian population in Herzegovina and in central Bosnia starting an ethnic cleansing of Bosniak populated territories (e.g. Lašva Valley ethnic cleansing). Vastly underequipped Bosnian forces, fighting on two fronts, were able to repel Croats and gain territory against them on every front. At this time, due to its geographic position, Bosnia was surrounded by Croat and Serb forces from all sides. There was no way to Import weapons or food. What saved Bosnia at this time was its vast Industrial complex (Steel and Heavy Industries) that was able to switch to military hardware production. After a short but bloody war and once Croats realized that their partnership with Serbs will not bring them any territorial gains they agreed to the US leadership's "Washington treaty" peace agreement. From that point on, Croat and Bosnian government forces continued to fight as allies against Serbs.


A renewed alliance between HVO and ARBiH was agreed upon, with the objective of forming a strong force that could fight the much stronger and better equipped VRS. This was the time of frequent peace negotiations.


Despite the loss of several enclaves, notably Srebrenica, 1995 was marked by HVO and ARBiH offensives and later by NATO intervention. Following the Split Agreement, the Croatian army, with cooperation from ARBiH and HVO, launched a series of operations: Flash,[clarification needed] Summer '95, Storm and Mistral. In conjunction, Bosnian forces launched operations Sana and Una '95. Bosnian and Croat armies were on the offensive in this phase, captured entire western Bosnia, and the Serb capital Banja Luka was seriously threatened, until peace negotiations stopped further bloodshed.

In the period of August–December 1995, Serb forces were defeated and driven out of the majority of Croatia and western Bosnia, and the ethnic Serb population fled from these parts.[citation needed]

Following the second Markale massacre, NATO intervention was launched, which destroyed much of the VRS infrastructure in just a few days (Operation Deliberate Force). The war ended with the signing of the Dayton Accord.

Army Corps and Commanding Officers[edit]

The army was divided into Corps, each stationed in a particular territory. In 1993, most brigades were renamed as Mountain troops given that the lack of heavy weapons made it organizationally pointless to list them as infantry or motorized. In addition, Bosnian terrain favored light infantry over armored and mechanized formations.


Name Headquarters Information
1st Corps Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina patch.jpg
1st Corps
Sarajevo This corps was the first to be formed in 1992 and served in the protection of Sarajevo in the Siege.
2nd Corps Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina patch.jpg
2nd Corps
Tuzla This corps was formed in 1992 and had mayor success in holding Tuzla area and in operations like "Operation Vozuća". This was also the only corps which had direct connection at one time during the war with the Independent 81 Division.
3rd Corps of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina patch.gif 3rd Corps Zenica The corps was formed in 1992 and because of quick change in fighting, towns like Vareš were liberated.
Coat of Arms of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1998).svg
4th Corps
Mostar The corps was famous for the successful defense of the city of Mostar. The corps was formed in 1992 and cooperated also with the Croatian Defence Forces.
5th Corps Army of RBIH logo.png
5th Corps
Sanski Most (1995)
The 5th corps formed in 1992 was one of the most organised corps in the army. They liberated a lot of the terriotry of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in operations like: Operation Mistral, Operation Storm and Operation Sana.
Coat of Arms of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1998).svg
6th Corps
Konjic Formed 9 June 1993. Disbanded February 1994, some units incorporated in 7th Corps and the rest in 4th Corps.
Coat of Arms of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1998).svg
7th Corps
Jajce, Travnik The corps was one the most important as it liberated many territories. The highest success was the capturing of mountain Vlašić.
Coat of Arms of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1998).svg
Eastern Bosnian Operational Group later, Independent 81 Division
Goražde This was not classified as a corps rather as a independent division because of not being connected to any corps. The job of this unit was to liberate territory around the Srebrenica enclave.

Bosnian General Staff[edit]

Corps commanders[edit]

  • Mustafa Hajrulahović Talijan (first commander of the 1st Corps)
  • Vahid Karavelić (second commander of the 1st Corps)
  • Nedžad Ajnadžić (third commander of the 1st Corps)
  • Željko Knez (first commander of the 2nd Corps)
  • Hazim Šadić (second commander of the 2nd Corps)
  • Sead Delić (third commander of the 2nd Corps)
  • Enver Hadžihasanović (first commander of the 3rd Corps)
  • Mehmed Alagić (second commander of the 3rd Corps, first commander of the 7th corps)
  • Kadir Jusić (third commander of the 3rd Corps)
  • Sakib Mahmuljin (fourth commander of the 3rd Corps)
  • Arif Pašalić (first commander of the 4th Corps)
  • Sulejman Budaković "Tetak" (second commander of the 4th Corps)
  • Ramiz Dreković (first commander of the 5th Corps, third commander of the 4th corps)
  • Atif Dudaković (second commander of the 5th Corps)
  • Salko Gušić (first commander of the 6th Corps)
  • Galib Hodžić (second commander of the 6th Corps)
  • Zaim Imamović (commander of the Easter Bosnian Operational Group)
  • Blaž Kraljević (commander of HOS and member of the Bosnian Army Chiefs of Staff)
  • Mustafa Polutak (fourth commander of the 4th Corps)


  • List of equipment:[4]
T-55 tanks belonging to the 28th Division, 281st Brigade, 1st Tank Battalion, stationed in Visca.
OT M-60 Armored Personnel Carrier belonging to the 28th Division, 281st Brigade, 1st Tank Battalion, stationed in Visca.
A close-up view of an M48 76mm mountain gun belonging to the 28th Division, 281st Brigade, 1st Tank Battalion, stationed in Visca.
Main aircraft of ARBiH were the Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters. Here is an Mi-8T displayed to SFOR personnel during an inspection at Ćoralići Airfield.
A Bosnian Army UTVA-75 Light Utility Aircraft displayed as an artifact at Ćoralići Airfield, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Infantry weapons of Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina[edit]

Assault Rifles, Machine Guns[edit]

Name Origin Type Notes
MG42  Germany Machine gun WW2 Model
M2 Browning machine gun  United States Machine gun captured
DSHK  Soviet Union Machine gun captured and smuggled
NSV machine gun  Soviet Union Machine gun captured, in smaller numbers
M48 Mauser  Yugoslavia Bolt-action rifle Some used as sniper rifles, fitted with ZRAK 4x32 telescopic sight
Zastava M72  Yugoslavia Assault rifle In large Numbers
Zastava M76  Yugoslavia Sniper rifle Captured/smuggled
Heckler & Koch MP5  Germany Submachine gun
AK-47 and derivates  Soviet Union Assault rifle In large Number
Zastava M70  Yugoslavia Assault rifle In large Number
Škorpion vz. 61  Yugoslavia Submachine gun Designed M84 Škorpion
Dragunov Sniper Rifle  Soviet Union Sniper Rifle Smuggled
G3  Germany Assault rifle In low numbers
Zastava M84  Yugoslavia Machine gun In large numbers
Zastava M80  Yugoslavia Assault rifle
Thompson submachine gun  United States submachine gun In low numbers (All provided from the old JNA stores )


Pistol Origin Type Versions Notes
TT pistol  Soviet Union Pistol
CZ-99  Yugoslavia Pistol

Infantry anti-tank weapons[edit]

Name Origin Type Versions Notes
M80 Rocket Launcher  Yugoslavia Rocket Launcher 64 mm
M79 Osa  Yugoslavia Rocket Launcher 90 mm
AT-3 Sagger  Soviet Union Anit-tank missile
HJ-8  China Anti-tank missile Baktar-Shikan, HJ-8E Was supplied to ARBiH in 1993-1995
RPG-7  Soviet Union Rocket-propelled grenade
M90  Yugoslavia Rocket Launcher 120 mm


Artillery Origin Type Versions Notes
D-30  Soviet Union Howitzer D-30J captured
BM-21 Grad  Soviet Union Multiple rocket launcher BM-21 Grad/RM-70
M-63  Yugoslavia Multiple rocket launcher M-63 Plamen
M-77  Yugoslavia Multiple rocket launcher M-77 Oganj
M-87  Yugoslavia Multiple rocket launcher few
Type 63 multiple rocket launcher  People's Republic of China Multiple rocket launcher Large Number

Main battle tanks[edit]

Tanks Origin Type Notes
T-34  Soviet Union Main battle tank 46 tanks
M-84  Yugoslavia Main battle tank captured, 3 vehicles
T-55  Soviet Union Main battle tank 60 tanks
PT-76  Soviet Union light tank
M47 Patton  United States Main battle tank 13 (captured from JNA reserve in Tuzla 1992 "Dubrave Airport" and used in liberating city of KALESIJA 1992 about 7 to 10 kilometers from Dubrave Airport.One was hit by maljutka in that battle,later on in war it was repaired and brought back to battle, 5 more captured. MAJEVICA these numbers are only from 2nd CORP. of ABIH)

Armored Personnel Carriers[edit]

APC Origin Notes
BVP M-80  Yugoslavia
OT M-60  Yugoslavia
BOV (APC)  Yugoslavia from police and captured from VRS
BRDM-2  Soviet Union ~3 vehicles

Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Artillery[edit]

System Origin Notes
ZSU-57-2  Soviet Union <10 Vehicles
M53/59 Praga  Czech Republic <5 vehicles

Anti-Aircraft Artillery[edit]

System Origin Notes
Bofors 40 mm  Sweden
ZU-23-2  Soviet Union mainly used against ground targets

Self-Propelled Artillery[edit]

System Origin Notes
2S1 Gvozdika  Soviet Union (captured 1994-95)
M36 Tank Destroyer  United States

See also[edit]


External links[edit]