Croatian Defence Council
||This article may contain original research. (February 2013)|
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (February 2013)|
|Croatian Defence Council|
Emblem of the Croatian Defence Council
|Active||1992 - 1995|
|Role||Supreme body of the Croatian defense in Herzeg-Bosnia|
|Part of||HVO Department of Defence
Ministry of Defence
|HQ/Main Staff||Grude, later Posušje|
|March||HVO nas vodi (HVO leads)|
Western Bosnian Campaign:
|Chief of Main Staff||Brigadier General Milivoj Petković (April 1992 - July 1993)|
|Chief of Main Staff||Major General Slobodan Praljak (July 1992 - November 1993)|
|Chief of Main Staff||Lieutenant General Ante Roso (November 1993 - August 1994)|
|Chief of Main Staff||Major General Tihomir Blaškić (August 1994 - 1996)|
The Croatian Defence Council (Croatian: Hrvatsko vijeće obrane, HVO) was the official military formation of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia, later Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia during the Bosnian War. The HVO, the main military force of Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was established on 8 April 1992 as supreme body of Croatian defence in Herzeg-Bosnia. The HVO's military element came into existence formally on 15 May 1992, with the establishment of the HVO Department of Defence.
Following the end of the war, and the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement in December 1995, it was incorporated into the Army of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (VFBiH), as the Croatian component of that army. Under the State Defence Reform in December 2005, the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina were unified into a single structure, making entity armies defunct. First Infantry (Guard) Regiment of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the successor to the Croatian Defence Council.
Roots of Creation 
The organization, arming, and military training of the Croat community in Bosnia and Herzegovina began in 1991 when the Bosnian Croats realized that they were next on the Serb agenda and that the newly independent Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s government, led by Alija Izetbegović, and its Muslim population were either incapable of or unwilling to take decisive defensive measures against a probable attack by the Bosnian Serbs and their allies. At the time, the Muslim-dominated government in Sarajevo was declaring that "it is not our war", and HVO veterans later charged that Izetbegović was actually cooperating with the Serbs. Even the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s chief of staff, Sefer Halilović, has expressed disgust with Izetbegović’s coterie of Serbian agents, confidence in the JNA’s good intentions, and refusal to take even the most basic steps to organize his country for defense. Moreover, the apparent emphasis Izetbegović placed on Islam as the foundation of the new Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was taken as a threat to the continued existence and freedom of the Catholic Croat community in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Creation of HVO 
The civilian element of the Croatian Defense Council of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia (HZ HB) was formally established on April 8, 1992, to coordinate the work of the local municipal Bosnian Croat military forces. The civilian element of the HVO was envisioned as the highest executive and administrative authority of the HZ HB’s territory, but it was intended as only a temporary expedient, necessary until the RBiH government assumed responsibility for protecting all of the new nation’s citizens. The legal justification for the formation of an autonomous military force was seen in the provisions of the laws of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that authorized the citizens and their civic organizations to organize for their own self-defense when their government could not or would not defend them adequately. Bosnian Croat political leader Mate Boban later claimed that the HVO was formed because "thirteen Croatian villages in the municipality of Trebinje, including Ravno, were destroyed and the Bosnian government did nothing thereafter". The creation of the HVO was thus a protective reaction rather than an aggressive step toward the dissolution of the RBiH.
The HVO’s military element came into existence formally on May 15, 1992, with the establishment of the HVO Department of Defense, although some elements, including the HVO Main Staff, the Main Logistics Base at Grude, the Military Police, and the Personnel Administration, had been created earlier, and some HVO combat units had already been formed. The emerging HVO defense organization generally followed the old JNA Territorial Defense pattern both at the higher (regional) level and at the local level.
Inasmuch as the Bosnian Muslims had taken over the old JNA Territorial Defense organization and then allowed the JNA to disarm it, the Bosnian Croats had to set up local defense units from scratch, evolving them from so-called crisis staffs, flowing from the extant Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZ BiH) Party and municipal political organizations. In April and May, 1992, organization and training activities quickened, and the local HVO crisis staffs were redesignated as Municipal HVO Commands and subordinated to the HVO Main Staff in Mostar.
Operative Zones 
At first, each political district (općina) in the HZ HB was responsible for its own defense preparations. Later, the HVO divided responsibility for defense of the territory of Herzeg-Bosnia among four Operative Zones (OZ), the headquarters of which were at Tomislavgrad, Mostar, Vitez, and Orašje. The OZ boundaries were determined by the existing opcina boundaries rather than by major terrain features, the idea being to keep the HVO military organization parallel to the civilian governmental structure. The key municipalities of Posušje, Livno, Tomislavgrad, Kupres, Bugojno, Gornji Vakuf-Uskoplje, and Prozor-Rama fell in the Operative Zone Northwestern Herzegovina and those of Jablanica, Konjic, Mostar, Široki Brijeg, Ljubuški, Grude, Čitluk, Čapljina, Stolac, Neum and Ravno in the Operative Zone Southeastern Herzegovina. The principal towns in Operative Zone Central Bosnia were Jajce, Travnik, Novi Travnik, Vitez, Busovača, Kiseljak, Zenica, Kakanj, Vareš, Žepče, Zavidovići, and Sarajevo. Although effort was made to coordinate the operations of the four OZs, coordination and cooperation between them was never very good.
The territorially based Operative Zone was the principal HVO administrative and operational entity. Roughly equivalent in function to a U.S./North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) corps headquarters, the HVO OZ headquarters controlled a varying number of subordinate tactical brigades and supporting forces but had under its command far fewer combat troops and fewer organic combat support and combat service support units than did a U.S./NATO corps headquarters. Moreover, the HVO OZ headquarters itself was far smaller. The proposed "authorized" staffing for HQ, OZCB, prescribed in November, 1992, called for only forty-one officers and slightly more than sixty enlisted personnel. Even that staffing level was never reached: in April, 1993, the HQ, OZCB, had only twenty-five staff officers—only three of whom had any substantial military training for the tasks they were assigned.
In July, 1992, the HVO command in central Bosnia established four subordinate territorial commands to control the operations in the various municipalities and later those of the tactical brigades. With the redesignation of the Central Bosnia Armed Forces Command as the Operative Zone Central Bosnia, the OZCB commander reorganized the subordinate territorial commands, then also called Operative Zones, and redesignated them as Operative Groups (OG). Municipalities subordinate to the old 1st OZ headquartered in Gornji Vakuf-Uskoplje were transferred to the Operative Zone Northwest Herzegovina. The new 1st OG (formerly 2d OZ) was given responsibility for the municipalities of Travnik, Novi Travnik, Vitez, Jajce, and Zenica. The 2d OG (formerly 3d OZ) took over the municipalities of Kiseljak, Kreševo, Busovača, Fojnica, Vareš, Kakanj, and Sarajevo. The 3d OG (formerly 4th OZ) was made responsible for the municipalities of Žepče, Zavidovići, Maglaj, Teslić, and Tešanj.
Types of HVO Forces 
The actual military forces available to the commanders of the Operative Zones in 1992–95 were all essentially territorially based static reserve forces based on the old JNA Territorial Defense model. They ranged from old men armed with shotguns assigned to village defense tasks to organized, uniformed, and well-equipped brigade-sized formations that nevertheless employed part-time soldiers.
Village Guards 
As fighting spread in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1991 and 1992, the inhabitants of many Herzegovinian, central Bosnian and Bosnian Posavina's villages spontaneously formed so-called village guard formations to defend against possible JNA and VRS attack and growing criminal mischief. The village guards were local men who served on a volunteer basis, did not wear uniforms, and were armed with a hodgepodge of pistols, shotguns, hunting rifles, and old military weapons. For the most part, the village guards were old men, boys, and the disabled, although some able-bodied men did participate when not otherwise engaged. The village guard formations were often multiethnic and included Croats, Muslims, and even some Serbs. Village guards elected their own leaders and served primarily as sentries and a weak reaction force in case of trouble. Although not officially a part of the HVO, the village guards formed a recruiting pool of potential volunteers for HVO military formations. Able-bodied members of the village guards often served voluntarily as members of the "shifts" manning the frontline against the VRS, and many of them were absorbed into the HVO brigades under the control of HQ and OZCB, during Muslim-Croat War in 1993. The HVO Home Guard organizations formed in 1993 assumed many of the village guards area defense functions.
The Operative Zones commanders relied on local leaders to organize groups of volunteers who agreed to serve repetitive shifts of seven to ten days in the front line against the VRS. The shifts were controlled by HQ, OZ, and consisted of fifty to sixty men from a given area. The available military weapons were kept on the frontline position and transferred to the relieving shift. The men participating in the shifts were only skimpily supplied with uniforms and other equipment and were considered soldiers only during the time they were actually on shift. Shifts going on duty usually formed up a day or two in advance at some convenient location in their home locality, underwent some refresher training, drew additional equipment, and were then transported to the front line, where they relieved the shift that was on duty. Given their limited manpower and armament, the HVO shifts were capable of only very limited local offensive action and were thus for the most part relegated to conducting a static defense in place against the VRS. During Muslim-Croat war on HVO frontline troops, many of the men who had volunteered previously for shift duty were incorporated in the HVO brigades.
The core of the HVO’s military power consisted of brigades formed in late 1992 and early 1993. The brigades were reserve formations manned by part-time soldiers who, when not on duty, lived at home and pursued their civilian occupations. Compared to other HVO military elements, the men in the HVO brigades were relatively well-organized, well-armed, and well-equipped but were capable of only limited, local offensive action and were employed primarily to defend their home territory. With the onset of the Muslim-Croat conflict in January 1993, the HVO brigades became the mainstay of the Bosnian Croat defense forces and bore the brunt of the fighting against the ARBiH. The HVO brigades were territorially based and took their designation either from a historical personality or the area in which they were located, although some brigades were numerically designated. There were 38 infantry brigades staffed by reservists, 19 had names and/or numbers and 19 only had names. The names commemorated famous or infamous figures from Croatian and Bosnian history. Each brigade had three or four battalions plus supporting elements.
The organization of the HVO brigades was based on a modification of the old JNA Type "R" reserve brigade tables of organization and equipment and had a planned strength of 2,841 officers and enlisted men (OEM). However, the authorized strength of HVO tactical units was seldom achieved. For example, in mid-May 1993, the Frankopan Brigade in the Guča Gora, Travnik area had an actual strength of only 1,376 OEM. In the fall of 1993, the Vitez Brigade, with four battalions, was one of the larger HVO units, yet it could muster only 2,423 OEM—of whom 80 percent were home guardsmen. In early February, 1994, at the very end of the Muslim-Croat conflict, the principal HVO units in the Lašva Valley enclave under the control of HQ, OZCB, included the Stephen Tomašević Brigade in Novi Travnik (1,981 OEM); the Vitez Brigade (2,909 OEM); the Nikola Šubić Zrinski Brigade in Busovača (2,238 OEM, plus another 1,429 men in the 3d Battalion in Fojnica); and remnants of the Frankopan Brigade (1,214 OEM), the Jure Francetić Brigade (57 OEM), and the Travnik Brigade (1,074 OEM).
Problems in the functioning 
Croatian Defence Council in the Bosnian War was newly formed militia armies, neither of which had appropriate experience, sufficient training, sound organization, effective command, control and communications, established doctrine or adequate logistical support. HVO was primarily light infantry forces with minimal combat support (artillery, air defense, engineers, signal). It had only rudimentary combat service support (logistical) systems that were barely a step above living off the land. Transportation and medical services were barely adequate and they could boast of air support or aerial transport worthy of the name. Croatian Defense Council forces evolved from the Territorial Defense (TO) organization of the former Yugoslav People's Army (JNA). They shared elements of a common defense policy, strategic and tactical doctrine, organizational structures, administrative methods, and other holdovers from the JNA. To the degree that any of their officers had formal military training or experience, it had been obtained in the JNA, usually in the form of brief active duty training followed by service in the TO forces. On the whole, there were few officers in the HVO who had risen much beyond captain first class in the JNA, although army had a sprinkling of career JNA officers in its ranks. Formal military training of any kind was at a premium at all levels. When war broke out, the HVO did not yet exist as a separate entity. Army take time to work out organizational and administrative problems, to develop an effective combat style and competency, and to develop and impose rules and regulations.
Newly Formed 
All of the institutions and norms of HVO were still in the formative stage, and there had been insufficient time to work out suitable regulations and standards, much less to impart them effectively to all personnel. A good deal of time is required to achieve consensus on institutional processes and norms and to insure that all members of the organization know the rules, accept them as valid, and act accordingly. That time was simply not available to the HVO.
Another factor serving to degrade command and control in the HVO was that army was composed predominantly of part-time "citizen" soldiers, who in effect served pretty much when and even where they pleased. Most units were composed of comrades from the same village, lower-level leaders were often elected, and command authority had to be earned. Many of the lower-level HVO commanders were not fully respected by their subordinates, their peers, or their superiors. Moreover, particularly in the HVO, the part-time soldiers mixed civilian and military duties. When they were not on the frontlines against the Serbs, they were in their home villages pursuing their normal occupations, and the lack of barracks exacerbated the lack of discipline. The HVO soldiers were also prone to select for themselves the unit in which they wished to serve, requiring the commander of the HVO Vitez Brigade, for example, to issue a specific order forbidding "transfers from one unit to another on one’s own initiative." Although common around the world, such part-time and “voluntary” military service under the command of one’s friends and neighbors is not conducive to the acceptance of strict discipline and accountability.
Political Influence 
If someone wanted to appoint a brigade commander, before doing anything else, the commander of the Operative Zone had to reach agreement with the municipal authorities and to come to an agreement as to the name of the person who would be proposed. When such agreement was reached, information about that commander would be submitted through the brigade commander to the commander of the Operative Zone and further on to the highest level, the president of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia. After which, when all these steps were taken, a document would be drafted on the appointment of this commander. Throughout this chain, a key role was played by the political authorities in the municipality. Although there was certainly dissension in the higher levels of the Herzeg-Bosnia government and the HVO over matters of military policy, organization, and strategy, the principal point at which political influence affected the exercise of effective command and control by HVO military leaders was at the local level.
Special Forces 
The HVO special purpose unit (PPN) and military police (VP) posed special command and control problems for the commanders of the Operative Zones. Elements of these forces were often placed under the OZ commander’s operational control (OPCON), however, they remained under the HVO Department of Defense for administration and military justice.
That is to say, the Operative Zone commander, could in theory assign operational tasks to OPCON VP and PPN units, but he could not dismiss or discipline their commanders. In practice, the OZ commander’s powers to task OPCON PPN, VP, and Security Information Service units were even more limited, and it was usually necessary to negotiate the assignment with their commanders before formally assigning tasks to their units. At the same time, the HVO Department of Defense could (and often did) task such units directly—with or without notifying the OZ commander in whose area of responsibility they might operate.
Military Police 
The HVO’s more than three thousand military policemen were organized in four (later eight) battalions, each of which had companies specializing in antiterrorist and assault operations, guarding headquarters and other key installations, traffic control, and investigating crimes committed by or upon military personnel. Given their status as a quasi-national police force and their direct participation in operations as assault troops, HVO VPs were more like a national gendermarie in both organization and function than a sole military police force. The HVO VP units reported directly to the VP office at the HVO Department of Defense headquarters in Mostar. Military Police units were normally placed under the operational control of the Operative Zone commander, who could direct their operations but had no administrative or military justice powers over them. In mid-August, 1993, the Operative Zone commander was given full authority over the battalion and those military policemen attached to HVO brigades in the OZ answered to his brigade commanders.
Paramilitary Forces 
The principal paramilitary organization posing a control problem for HVO authorities was the Croatian Defence Forces (HOS), the military arm of the ultra-right wing Croatian Party of Rights (HSP), which had branches in both Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The HOS forces, dressed in black and sporting a variety of fascist insignia, included both Muslims and Croats and cooperated enthusiastically with the HVO and the ARBiH in the fight against the Bosnian Serbs. The HOS headquarters was in Ljubuški, and its principal area of operations was in the southern areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Extremist in their orientation, HOS soldiers were responsible for numerous excesses, including the operation of notorious detention centers for Serb prisoners in Čapljina and Mostar.
HVO authorities tolerated the unpredictable and unruly HOS forces for their value in fighting the Serb aggressors. Relations between the HVO and HOS soured quickly, however, after the HVO was implicated in the ambush and death of Blaž Kraljević, a HOS commander, and seven other HOS members at a police checkpoint in the village of Krusevo on August 9, 1992. Soon thereafter, HOS forces in western Herzegovina were disarmed by the HVO, and on August 23, HOS and HVO officials in Herzegovina agreed that the HOS would be absorbed by the HVO. The remaining HOS units were subsequently recognized by the government of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the ARBiH, as was the HVO. The HOS units in the area, along with their vehicles, weapons, ammunition, and other matériel, were integrated into the HVO and placed under the command of the HVO Brigades.
Criminal Activities 
The state of general chaos engendered by the defensive war against the VRS, the internal conflicts in Bosnia, and the general availability of weapons significantly increased the opportunities and rewards for common criminal activity in the region, a factor that further degraded the HVO commanders’ ability to exercise effective command and control. Croatian Defense Council authorities recognized the situation in a mid-1993 report, which noted:
The law and order situation in the Croatian community of Herzeg-Bosnia has reflected the state of war on the greater part of its territory. Under such conditions we evaluate the law and order situation as exceptionally complex, since war operations bring in their train various phenomena such as theft and increase in all types of crime, fights, violent behaviour, the insulting and disparagement of law-enforcement officers, arguments, shooting with firearms in public places, etc.—HZ HB, HVO, "Report on Activities", 21, KC Z1134.
The frequent "holdups" of UN and private humanitarian aid convoys passing through western Herzegovina and central Bosnia were a particular problem. Such crimes were often blamed on HVO military units when in fact they were the work of organized criminal gangs whose members may only coincidentally have been soldiers in one or the other army. Although, the HVO took some "official" action with respect to interference with the aid convoys, many of the incidents had nothing to do with actions authorized by Croat authorities.
Although many of the crimes of violence against persons and property were the actions of individuals, the most serious threat to law and order was posed by some of the smaller paramilitary groups. These heavily armed criminal gangs engaged in wholesale murder, robbery, arson, extortion, black marketeering, and other criminal activity and thus were almost impossible for HVO commanders to control. Among the most active Croat gangs operating in the area of Central Bosnia were the "Žuti" (Yellows) in Travnik, led by Žarko "Žuti" Andrić, and the "Maturice" and "Apostoli" (Apostols) gangs controlled by Ivica Rajić in the Kiseljak area.
Perhaps the greatest impediment to effective command and control by either side was the lack of adequate communications. Although HVO was equipped with a variety of communications equipment, including radios, telephones, facsimile machines, and computers (linked with radios in the so-called packet system), neither had such equipment in sufficient quantities, and neither could ensure the security of the communications means at their disposal. HVO had fairly effective electronic warfare units, and all of the available modes of communication were subject to interception and constant monitoring.
Thus, sensitive orders and information often could not be transmitted to subordinate elements. Moreover, maintenance deficiencies and enemy countermeasures often interrupted communications with higher headquarters, particularly for the HVO, which was surrounded and had to communicate by indirect means with the HVO Main Staff in Mostar. Achieving secure courier communications was seldom possible. Without reliable, secure communications, the HVO Operative Zone commanders could exercise effective command and control over their often-fractious subordinate units. Strict adherence to the established laws of land warfare was impossible under such circumstances, as the atrocities committed by Croatian Defence Council attest.
Training and Doctrine 
Being newly formed armies, the Croatian Defense Council was seriously deficient in individual, unit and specialist training, had no well-defined and clearly communicated operational doctrine, and lacked both matériel and adequate logistical systems. Such deficiencies contributed to the problems of poor discipline and inadequate command, control, and communications systems, and made the conduct of sustained and efficient operations extremely difficult.
The difficulties with command, control, and communications systems in the HVO was in part the product of the low level of individual, unit and specialist training. Training and discipline were weak in army except in the elite special purpose and military police units whose personnel apparently received extra training, were better armed, and exhibited a higher level of discipline and cohesion. The short duration of the Muslim-Croat conflict and the short existence of the HVO, compounded by the exigencies of the war against the Bosnian Serb army, made the attainment of a high level of individual, unit, and specialist training all but impossible. Nevertheless, the HVO attempted to provide at least rudimentary individual combat training for all personnel, and in some cases were able to offer officer training courses, specialist courses for engineers and snipers, and other forms of formal training. The HVO published formal training schedules, although they seem to have been more a reflection of what commanders hoped would happen than they were realistic plans that could be and were actually carried out. Both sides also appear to have given their troops instruction in the laws of land warfare. For example, a leaflet on the subject prepared by the Croatian Red Cross was distributed to the HVO units.
Few officers in the HVO had been career officers in the Yugoslav People's Army or had received training adequate for the level of their posting. Indeed, there were minority officers who had any additional training to qualify them for the positions they held in the HVO. However, quite a few officers in organization had undergone training as reserve officers and noncommissioned officers in the JNA and then went on to serve in the JNA Territorial Defense structure for several years. In most cases, that training and experience barely qualified them for duty as a captain first class or as a company commander.
The former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia relied on a national defense policy closely modeled on the Communist Chinese concept of "people's war". The JNA’s defense policy and military doctrine focused on defending against an invasion by either NATO or Warsaw Pact forces and thus stressed the mobilization of the entire population. In the event of an invasion of Yugoslavian territory, the policy envisaged the conduct of a "total defensive battle [that] would involve all the forces of the nation, the entire population, and all aspects and material resources of the society". Accordingly, Yugoslavian defensive military doctrine was based on a relatively small but well-equipped national army (the JNA) whose job was to delay an invader by engaging him in conventional combined arms operations while the larger Yugoslavian Territorial Defense forces were mobilized. The TO forces would operate in conjunction with the JNA until the latter’s combat power was exhausted. At that point, the TO would assume responsibility for largescale guerrilla operations throughout the country to defeat and eject the invader. This doctrine was adapted in one form or another by all three warring factions during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The keystone of Yugoslavia's defense doctrine was the Territorial Defense force, which was destined to carry the battle through to its successful conclusion. The TO forces were organized into mobile, brigade-size elements designed to operate over wide areas and local regional forces designed to protect their home territory. Territorial Defense forces were equipped and trained to fight with light antitank and air defense weapons as well as mortars and machine guns. Finally, they were designed to operate in a decentralized and independent manner, and although organized in brigade strength, they were trained to fight in company-size or smaller units. The JNA’s maneuver concepts were focused almost exclusively on what Baron Antoine Henri de Jomini called the "Grand Tactical Level of Battle". They were, in fact, a blend of Soviet operational and tactical concepts and methods (for example, the use of special operations forces to degrade the enemy’s command and control capabilities and heavy reliance on artillery firepower in both the offense and defense) with those of the US Army (for example, the "active defense"). To these were added uniquely Yugoslavian elements based on their own combat experience and exercises and combining the use of regular, partisan, and irregular TO forces. Inasmuch as the JNA’s defense doctrine envisioned a rather short period of conventional warfare followed by an extended guerrilla campaign, emphasis was placed on the conduct of both large- and small-scale guerrilla raids, ambushes, and terrorist actions throughout enemy-held territory. Consequently, territorial defense personnel received a good deal of training in small-unit tactics, special operations, and the employment of snipers—all of which figured prominently in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The JNA’s doctrine also emphasized the use of checkpoints to control movement along important lines of communications. Sited on or near key terrain features, natural choke points, and the front lines, checkpoints featured the use of antitank and antipersonnel mines laid on both sides of the roadway, antitank mines laid on the surface of the roadway (for easy removal in order to permit friendly vehicles to pass through), iron tetrahedron obstacles, concertina barbed wire, and light antitank weapons and machine guns. Usually manned by up to ten men, such checkpoints could also be used to extort fees for passage. Both sides in central Bosnia employed checkpoints as an important operational method. Even the elderly civilian inhabitants of some villages along the main supply routes found that the establishment of a checkpoint could provide a lucrative source of income, and such unofficial "geezer" checkpoints were common.
The Role of Outside Forces 
Real or imagined, the presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina of armed forces from outside the country also posed significant problems for Operative Zone commanders. Allegations of Croatian Army (HV) intervention in central Bosnia and western Herzegovina posed a political and public relations problem, but the presence of fundamentalist Muslim mujahideen and of other foreign mercenaries and the presence of UNPROFOR troops and both United Nations and European Community monitoring teams constituted a substantial challenge to effective command and control by commanders.
Croatian Army 
Although not involving a direct command and control problem for the Operative Zone Central Bosnia commander, the issue of whether or not HV forces operated in central Bosnia was of great political and legal significance. Although it is quite clear that the HVO in central Bosnia benefited directly from the logistical support provided by Croatia and may have benefited indirectly from the intervention of HV units in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, the actual presence of HV combatants in central Bosnia remains unproved. Despite persistent rumors, the accusations of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Muslim-led government and of Muslim witnesses before the ICTY, a great deal of speculation on the part of UNPROFOR and ECMM observers, and a straightforward statement by the UN Security Council, there is, in fact, no convincing public evidence conclusively proving that the Croatian Army ever intervened in the Muslim-Croat conflict in central Bosnia. Those making such allegations generally fail to make two key distinctions: first, between the HVO/ARBiH fight against the VRS and the Muslim-Croat conflict; and second, between the situation in central Bosnia and the situation elsewhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina. What may have been true in one conflict or location was not necessarily true in another.
Peacekeeping force officers and ECMM monitors were prone to see an HV soldier in every foxhole and an HV tank battalion around every curve in the road. In fact, their bases for making such assertions were ridiculously thin: secondhand reports from Muslim authorities; an encounter at the HVO headquarters in Novi Travnik with an obnoxious young major who "was alleged to be" a Croatian officer; an HVO order to report any HV officers or men in the ranks of HVO units; the wearing of HV uniforms and insignia by Bosnian Croat veterans of the war in Croatia; and the questionable judgment that "the HVO couldn’t have done it on their own".For the alleged HV major in Novi Travnik, see Stewart, Blaskic trial testimony, June 18, 1998. The latter speculation was particularly specious:
HVO forces have, during the past four months, proved capable of mounting military operations well inside the Bosnian Serb/Croat front-line with a strength and subsequent success which would have been unlikely had they been alone in their struggle. Indeed, the HVO have been involved in sustained combat with two foes and have managed to make gains against Moslem BiH forces while still being able to resist strong, competent and persistent Serb offensives. With such an extended front-line with the Serbs and limited resources in manpower, equipment and munitions, their effort has been supreme.—ECMM Regional Center Zenica to HQ, ECMM, Zenica, 2332, June 3, 1993, subj: Report-HV Involvement in BH, 1, KC Z1012.
A formal accusation by the UN Secretary General was of greater moment. On February 1, 1994, UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali formally notified the Security Council that, based on UNPROFOR reports, "the Croatian Army has directly supported the HVO in terms of manpower, equipment and weapons for some time", and that the UNPROFOR estimated that, as of the date of the report, the Croatian Army had the equivalent of three brigades (some three thousand to five thousand men) of regular HV personnel in "central and southern Bosnia and Herzegovina". Yet, one must ask where the secretary general got his information. It could only have been from UNPROFOR observers on the ground or from Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Muslim-led government, which, once conflict had broken out between Muslims and Croats, had a vested interest in blaming the situation on Croatian intervention. In any event, what constituted HV intervention? A few HVO soldiers wearing old HV uniforms and insignia, or a thousand-man HV brigade with all its authorized weapons and vehicles? The former there were aplenty; the latter existed in central Bosnia only in the imagination of some overwrought observers.
In an undated statement signed by Hadžo Efendić, the government of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina charged that the government of Croatia had "openly supported ‘unlawful’ actions of the HVO in Mostar and Central Bosnia" and that "reliable information" indicated that there were two units of the regular Croatian military establishment "in the Lasva region": the 114th Split Brigade and the 123rd Varaždin Brigade. The presence of the two HV units was never confirmed, and even the ECMM acknowledged that "the many reports [of HV involvement in BiH] provided by the BiH Armija have seldom been confirmed by ECMM, UNMOs or UNPROFOR".
On June 11, 1993, Mate Granić, the Croatian deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, stated that Croatia had no armed formations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and shortly thereafter Major General Slobodan Praljak of the Croatian Ministry of Defense formally acknowledged that Croatia had provided logistical support to the HVO but denied HV combat forces had any direct involvement in the Muslim-Croat conflict in central Bosnia. Senior HVO officers in central Bosnia also consistently denied under oath that HV forces were ever present or took part in the Muslim-Croat conflict there. Under questioning by a member of the Trial Chamber in the Blaškić trial, even Colonel Bob Stewart (British Army officer) acknowledged that "generally BRITBAT did not believe there was any HV presence in Central Bosnia," and the UNPROFOR chief of staff, Lieutenant General Sir Roddy Cordy-Simpson, also stated that UNPROFOR had not confirmed such reports and that he personally had never seen any HV troops in the Kiseljak area.
The UNPROFOR units operating within the boundaries of the HVO Operative Zones included British infantry battalions stationed in Nova Bila, near Travnik, the Dutch/Belgian transportion battalion in Busovača, Spanish battalion in Međugorje, near Mostar, and the UNPROFOR Bosnia and Herzegovina Command headquarters (HQ, BHC) in Kiseljak. Three reinforced British infantry battalions served successive six-month tours as the principal UNPROFOR force in the Lašva Valley. Lieutenant Colonel Bob Stewart’s 1st Battalion, 22d (Cheshire) Infantry Regiment, arrived from Germany in October, 1992, and established the British battalion (BRITBAT) base in the school at Nova Bila just off the main route through the Lašva Valley. The Cheshires deployed one company in Gornji Vakuf and the HQ and remaining three companies at Nova Bila and immediately began to use their Warrior armored vehicles to protect the humanitarian aid convoys transiting the area. The Cheshires were relieved in May, 1993, by the 1st Battalion, Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Alastair Duncan. The Prince of Wales’s Own was replaced in November, 1993, by the 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Peter G. Williams.
The UNPROFOR Dutch/Belgian transportion battalion at Busovača was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Johannes de Boer from November, 1992, to April, 1993, and by Lieutenant colonel Paulus Schipper from April to November, 1993. The battalion had the mission of providing transportation support for UNHCR humanitarian convoys and for UNPROFOR units in central Bosnia. Spanish Legion formed the Spanish Battalion of UNPROFOR and acted in Herzegovina, based in Mostar and Međugorje. The battalion had the mission of providing transportation support for UNHCR humanitarian convoys and for UNPROFOR units. The Nordic Battalion also operated in the Vareš area, while French Battalion operated in Tomislavgrad.
The UNPROFOR forces deployed in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been criticized for their general lack of training, discipline, and suitable equipment, as well as a poorly conceived mission statement. Confined mainly to protecting the aid convoys, and later the United Nations Safe Areas, UNPROFOR units were continually frustrated by restrictive rules of engagement (ROE) that prohibited them from actually intervening to prevent or stop the fighting or offenses against civilians. Even so, they established roadblocks and checkpoints, frequently interfered in on-going operations, and even fired upon Bosnian forces from time to time.
Croatian Defense Council commanders complained bitterly of UNPROFOR bias in favor of the Muslims, charging that UNPROFOR was being deceived by the high proportion of Muslim interpreters they employed and that UNPROFOR personnel supplied arms and ammunition to the ARBiH, facilitated the movement of ARBiH combat forces in UNPROFOR vehicles, discriminated against the Croats in the movement of wounded soldiers and civilians to hospital, and revealed HVO plans to the ARBiH. On the surface, however, UNPROFOR commanders tried to maintain good relations with both Muslims and Croats, and they worked diligently to broker and oversee cease-fires and to reduce the level of violence in the area.
ECM Mission 
Although unarmed and fewer in number, the ECMM teams in Bosnia and Herzegovina were a much greater nuisance, particularly to HVO commanders, than were the UNPROFOR soldiers. The ECMM was established to oversee the cease-fire provisions of the Brioni Agreement of July 9, 1991, which ended the hostilities in Slovenia. The first group of ECMM monitors arrived in Slovenia on July 15, 1991, and the EC monitoring program was subsequently extended into Croatia and then, in late 1992, into Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The ECMM in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was managed from a Regional Center in Zenica with Coordinating Centers at Travnik, Tuzla and Mostar. The actual monitoring work was done by teams composed of two monitors, usually military officers seconded to the ECMM for a six-month tour from one of the EC or Conference on Security and Confidence Building in Europe (CSCE) countries, an interpreter, and a driver. The function of the monitoring teams was to patrol their assigned area and observe ongoing activities; maintain contact with local civil and military authorities as well as local and international aid agencies; facilitate and monitor cease-fire arrangements; investigate serious incidents and human rights violations; and encourage the improvement of relations between the warring parties. For reasons that are not entirely clear, the ECMM monitors in central Bosnia generally favored the Muslims, even to the extent of minimizing Croat charges of "ethnic cleansing" by the Muslims and accusing the HVO of using women and children to rob UN aid convoys. Given their known biases, the HVO did not trust ECMM monitors, and they were not well received in areas controlled by HVO commanders. As a result, there were frequent incidents in which ECMM monitors were threatened by HVO troops and denied access to certain areas. In turn, the monitors were quick to blame the HVO for any incidents that occurred.
Reconstruction of HVO 
As time went on, the HVO forces became increasingly better organized and more "professional", but it was not until early 1994, at the very end of the Muslim-Croat conflict, that the HVO began to form the so-called guards brigades, mobile units manned by full-time professional soldiers.
Home Guard 
To supplement the organized HVO brigades’ slender resources, in early 1993 the HZ HB government established a Home Guard (HD) organization. This territorially based defense force was intended to provide support for the "regular" HVO forces and to provide armed control of territory; protect areas and facilities of special significance to the defense of HVO territory, such as reservoirs and waterworks, power plants, telecommunications facilities, hospitals, factories for the production of food and military goods, and vital storage facilities; to fight infiltrating sabotageterrorist groups; counter enemy air strikes; secure law and order; and prevent any activity aimed at undermining the defense system.
Each municipality in Herzeg-Bosnia was ordered to establish an HD command by February 10, 1993, with the mobilization and organization of units to follow. Home Guard companies were to be set up in municipalities with few or no facilities of special significance, HD battalions in municipalities near the frontlines with the VRS or with a large number of special facilities, and an HD regiment in Mostar. An assistant chief of the HVO General Staff in Mostar was appointed to oversee HD activities, and each OZ was instructed to appoint an assistant commander for HD affairs. Home Guard units within a given Operative Zone were to be subordinate to the OZ commander, and in effect provided the extant HVO military forces with a reserve.
Guards brigades 
The exigencies of the Muslim-Croat conflict in 1993 precluded completion of the organization of the Home Guard. Following the conflict’s end in February, 1994, and the subsequent creation of the Muslim-Croat Federation Army, the existing HVO brigades were redesignated as Home Guard regiments. At the same time, the HVO set up a new General Staff Mobile Command to control the newly formed "professional" guards brigades. The General Staff Mobile Command had its headquarters at Capljina and consisted of the 1st Guards Brigade Ante Bruno Bušić (Čapljina), 2d Guards Brigade (Helidrom Mostar), 3d Guards Brigade Hawks (Vitez), 4th Guards Brigade Sons of Posavina (Orašje), 116th Special Forces (PPN) Battalion Ludvig Pavlović (Čapljina), and the 56th HD Regiment (Konjic). The Guards brigades were the sections of the HVO which handled the militia's heavy weapons. The HVO had around 50 tanks, 400 artillery pieces, and 200 armored troop carriers.
The four OZ's were designated as Military Districts Mostar, Tomislavgrad, Vitez and Orašje. Orašje included a much reduced Bosanska Posavina. Four Guards Brigades were formed, each manned by full-time professional soldiers. 29 brigades were reformed as three-battalion strong Home Guard Regiments (domobranska pukovnija), usually with the same name and depot. Travnik, Vitez, Second Zenica and Kotromanić Brigade were disbanded, while Brigade Jure Francetić became 44th Home Guard Battalion Jure Francetić.
95th Home Guard Regiment Kreševo, 201st and 202nd Home Guard Regiments in Posavina were established. The military police were reduced to one Light Assault Brigade at Mostar. First Croatian Battalion became 101st Home Guard Regiment Bihać, 107th Brigade Gradačac and 108th Brigade Brčko served with the ARBiH while two HVO brigades were forcibly incorporated into the ARBiH. The 115th Brigade Zrinski Tuzla became part of the ARBiH 2nd Corps while the King Tvrtko Brigade Sarajevo became part of the ARBiH 1st Corps.
Organization and Structure 
With establishing of the House of Representatives on 28 August 1993, Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia was transformed into the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia, which was legally established on Owen Stoltenberg Plan. Civilian elements of HVO became the official Government of Herzeg-Bosnia.
Armament and Logistics 
Commentators on the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina have stressed the desperate straits in which the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina found itself as a result of the UN arms embargo and the closure of its ground links to the outside world by the VRS and the HVO. The Bosnian Serb army was by far the best equipped and supplied of the three warring factions, having taken over the bulk of the armament and equipment of JNA and TO forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina and enjoying the full support of Serbia and the rump Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The HVO, too, was relatively well equipped overall, particularly in Herzegovina, thanks to Croatia’s support.
JNA Stockpiles 
In 1990, the SFRY not only purchased arms from many other nations, it was one of the world’s leading arms exporters to Third World countries. Yugoslavian military factories produced a full range of weapons: tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, artillery pieces, multiple-barrel rocket launchers, and mortars, as well as a wide range of other military equipment and supplies. Consequently, the principal source of arms, ammunition, and other military equipment for both the HVO and the ARBiH was the system of arsenals and depots operated by the JNA in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Although Alija Izetbegović allowed the JNA to disarm the existing TO forces in 1991–92, and the JNA subsequently contrived to hand over those weapons as well as the bulk of its other arms and equipment in Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Bosnian Serbs, both the HVO and ARBiH were able to obtain enormous quantities of matériel by raiding or outright seizing the remaining JNA stockpiles. Indeed, during the course of 1992, several armed squabbles between the Muslims and Croats in central Bosnia arose over the distribution of that booty. Yet, for the most part, the HVO and ARBiH shared the available equipment and supplies equally, just as they did the remaining weapons coming from the Bratstvo factory in Novi Travnik in December, 1992. According to one authority, of twenty-four D-30J 122-mm howitzers produced by the Bratstvo plant, the ARBiH obtained twelve and the HVO obtained twelve, of which only one remained in central Bosnia; and, of eighteen M-84AB 152-mm NORA gun-howitzers produced by the Bratstvo facility, the ARBiH obtained nine and the HVO obtained nine, of which only two remained in central Bosnia. During the Muslim-Croat conflict in central Bosnia in 1993, the ARBiH had a clear advantage over the HVO in arms, ammunition, and other equipment.
Military Industry 
The majority of the military production facilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina were in the Lašva Valley or arrayed on its periphery. All had been established by the JNA before Yugoslavia disintegrated and they formed a military industrial chain, most of which was concentrated in central Bosnia. For the most part, these plants for the manufacturing of war matériel fell into the ARBiH’s hands in 1991 and 1992, but the most important of them remained in the HVO’s hands throughout the period.
The most important of the military production facilities in central Bosnia was the Slobodan Princip Seljo (SPS) factory in Vitez. The SPS factory manufactured military explosives essential for the production of mortar and artillery shells. It was the only such manufacturing facility in the Balkans, and it was the only important military production facility controlled by the HVO forces. The Vitez explosives factory, located just west of the town in a draw flanked by the villages of Donja Večeriska and Gaćice and mostly underground, was the key to the entire chain of military production in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Without it, the other arms manufacturing facilities were largely useless.
The importance of the SPS explosives factory to the ARBiH was signaled during talks in Bonn, Germany, between President Alija Izetbegović of Bosnia and Herzegovina and President Franjo Tuđman of Croatia in January, 1993. In a message to the UN secretary general, negotiator Thorvald Stoltenberg noted:
In the talks he had with Tuđman in our presence, Izetbegović insisted the Croats must leave Vitez because it had an ammunition plant that the Muslims must have. Tuđman replied that the Muslims will never have the plant and will never be able to take Vitez militarily. However, if they did, the plant would be blown up.—Thorvald Stoltenberg to the UN secretary general, Jan. 9, 1993, message, subject: Talks in Bonn, KC Z354.1.
Although the SPS explosives plant was the main objective of ARBiH offensives in the Lašva Valley throughout 1993, it was never taken and remained in the HVO’s hands at the time of the Washington Agreement, in February, 1994. The HVO internally produced some of the arms and equipment they needed. The HVO produced various types of ammunition as well as some improvised weapons such as the infamous "Bebe" (Babies): a kind of bomb launcher, the ammunition for which was manufactured from fire extinguisher canisters. Even refrigerators were turned into improvised mines.
Republic of Croatia 
Despite the UN arms embargo, the both HVO and the ARBiH obtained substantial quantities of arms, ammunition, and other military supplies from abroad. Some of it was obtained on the international black market, but the Republic of Croatia also supplied considerable amounts of arms, ammunition, and other equipment items to both sides. Almost all of this matériel had to be funneled through Croatia, which thus controlled the types and amounts reaching the two forces in conflict in central Bosnia. That the Croatian government allowed any military supplies at all to pass through Croatia for the ARBiH can be attributed to their belief that it would be used against the Serbs, who continued to threaten Croatia as well. In some cases, the Croatian government refused to permit the transit of arms for the ARBiH. For example, in September, 1992, Croatian officials discovered and confiscated some four thousand weapons and a million rounds of ammunition aboard an Iranian aircraft in Zagreb. The aircraft was ostensibly delivering humanitarian supplies.
The transit of arms for the ARBiH through Croatia is not consistent with the theory that Croatia planned to carry out an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Bosnian Muslims. Nor is it consistent with an alleged deal between Croatia and Serbia to divide Bosnia and Herzegovina between them. One of the most curious aspects of the Muslim-Croat conflict is the degree to which both sides communicated with each other and continued to cooperate in the common struggle against the Bosnian Serb army. Even at the height of the internal struggle in 1993, the ARBiH requested, and the HVO approved, the movement of weapons and ammunition through the areas controlled by the HVO to areas threatened by the Serbs. Moreover, many leaders in Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Muslim-led government, including President Izetbegović himself, parked their families in the relative safety of Zagreb to avoid the wartime dangers of Sarajevo. That the Croatian government and the HVO would permit such activities is scarcely consistent with the policy of separatism, persecution, genocide, ethnic cleansing, and wanton murder, rape, and destruction charged against HVO leaders.
The transfer of arms, ammunition, and other military supplies from Croatia to the HVO and ARBiH, as well as the transit of war matériel purchased on the international arms market through Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina violated the UN arms embargo. There was also a three-way black market that dealt in armaments and civilian consumer goods within Bosnia and Herzegovina itself. Both the HVO and the ARBiH obtained small but often significant amounts of weapons, ammunition, and other supplies from the VRS, and both the HVO and the ARBiH also benefited from illegal black market arrangements with UNPROFOR personnel. For example, the Ukrainian UNPROFOR unit in Sarajevo did a brisk trade with the HVO in the Kiseljak area, French UNPROFOR engineers supplied the ABiH with fuel, and the Dutch/Belgian UNPROFOR transport battalion in Busovača sold fuel to the HVO.
HVO War Roads 
During the Bosnian War, central Bosnia could be reached from the Dalmatian coast and Herzegovina to the south by five routes, all except one of which passed through Jablanica, Jablanica. From Split, the principal port of entry for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the main route for all traffic to Jablanica (Route CIRCLE) ran via Brnaze and Kamensko to Tomislavgrad and thence to Mandino Selo. From Mandino Selo the main road continued to Jablanica and thence to Prozor (Route SQUARE), but it was also possible to go directly from Mandino Selo to Prozor (Route TRIANGLE). The easternmost (Konjic – Hadžići – Sarajevo – Visoko and westernmost (Bugojno – Donji Vakuf – Turbe – Travnik) routes from Jablanica into central Bosnia were both in the VRS’s hands for most of the period under consideration and were thus not available to the HVO.
The route from Jablanica through Bugojno via Reput to Novi Travnik was apparently little used even before the ARBiH took Bugojno thereby closing that route to the HVO altogether. Once the ARBiH took Konjic, a significant portion of the route from Jablanica via Konjic, Kreševo, Kiseljak, Busovača, Kaonik to the Putićevo intersection (Route PACMAN) was also denied to the HVO, which in turn blocked the road south of Kreševo thereby denying its use to the ARBiH as well. Thus, the route from Jablanica via Gornji Vakuf and Reput through Novi Travnik to the Putićevo intersection with the road running down the Lašva Valley (Route DIAMOND) was the main supply route from Herzegovina to central Bosnia over which flowed the bulk of UN relief cargo as well as a small amount of commercial traffic. It was also the principal resupply route for UNPROFOR forces, and the British Royal Engineers improved and maintained it during the entire period. From April 14, 1993, neither the ARBiH nor the HVO had free use of this critical LOC because each held various segments of its length. The HVO held the termini at Gornji Vakuf and Novi Travnik, and the ARBiH held the center section.
During the course of the Croat-Muslim conflict in central Bosnia, the HVO constructed a number of alternative "war roads" to replace routes lost to the enemy or unusable because they were under direct observation and fire from the other side. The HVO built two such routes into the Lašva Valley from the south. The first ran from Prozor to Gornji Vakuf and then across the mountains to Fojnica. Called the "Road of Hope" by the HVO, this road was known to UNPROFOR as Route SALMON. Another HVO resupply route ran from Gornji Vakuf over the hills northeast to Sebešić, where it split— one path continuing on to Vitez and another to Busovača. Not suitable for vehicular traffic, the HVO used this route primarily to move essential supplies on horses and mules.
The main route through the Lašva Valley itself was used extensively during the war, but because it was vulnerable to attack from the hills north of the road, the HVO built a war road on the south side of the Lašva River running from Novi Travnik via Vitez to Busovača. Despite sustained attempts by the ARBiH to interdict it, this route remained open to HVO vehicular traffic from Vitez to Busovača. The HVO constructed numerous other local war roads because they were needed to support particular locations and operations.
Croatian Air Force 
The HVO Air Force and Anti-aircraft Artillery was formed in 1992 and consisted of the 11th Combined Squadron, operated helicopters and transports, and the 121st Observation Squadron which operated various civilian light aircraft in an observation and communications role. There was also the 14th Anti-aircraft Missile Unit which operated several different SAM systems.
Despite UN restrictions, both the HVO limited use of helicopters for medical evacuation and resupply. United Nations Security Council Resolution 816, issued on March 31, 1993, banned flights over Bosnia and Herzegovina by all fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. This no-fly zone was subsequently enforced by NATO aircraft in Operation Deny Flight, which lasted from April 12, 1993, until December 20, 1995. However, stopping unauthorized helicopter flights was extremely difficult, and between November, 1992, and July, 1995, UN authorities recorded over fifty-seven hundred violations of the flight ban.
For the HVO, the use of helicopters to evacuate casualties and to bring in even small quantities of medical supplies, repair parts, and other critical items was a very important, if limited, part of the logistical chain. Prior to the outbreak of the Muslim-Croat conflict, HVO forces in central Bosnia were relatively well supplied by road from HVO logistical bases at Grude and Posušje in Herzegovina. With the ARBiH attacks in April, 1993, the main land lines of communication to the south, Route DIAMOND in particular, could no longer be used to evacuate casualties from central Bosnia or to bring in supplies. The need for casualty evacuation was critical, and Drago Nakić, a manager of the SPS explosives firm stationed in Split, arranged and coordinated the legal use of Croatian Army helicopters for the evacuation of casualties from the HVO hospital in Nova Bila.
The HV helicopters operated from their base in Divulje under UNPROFOR and ECMM supervision, but their use was discontinued in July, 1993, due to the danger arising from heavier ABiH attacks and the shrinking of the Lašva Valley pocket. Nakić then arranged for the use of commercial helicopters with Russian and Ukrainian civilian crews to make the flights from Grude and Posušje and the evacuation flights continued at a rate of two or three per week until early 1994.
Although authorized helicopter flights brought in some medical supplies for the HVO in central Bosnia until July, 1993, for all practical purposes the Operative Zone Central Bosnia was entirely cut off from Herzegovina from early July until the fall of 1993, and no significant amounts of military supplies were received. However, the unauthorized commercial helicopter flights from Grude and Posušje did bring in limited amounts of critical items, such as ammunition, spare parts, and communications equipment, and there may well have been other unauthorized parachute drops and helicopter deliveries.
Heavy Weapons Holdings
|Antitank Gun, ZIS||1||3|
|Rocket Launcher, 107-mm||1||1|
|Rocket Launcher, 128-mm||6||4|
|Armored Combat Vehicle||1||0|
Thus, while the HVO forces in Herzegovina may have been well equipped with tanks, artillery, food, fuel, clothing, ammunition, and other supplies provided by the Republic of Croatia and other outside sources, the situation in central Bosnia was vastly different. The HVO in central Bosnia was not only outnumbered, it was outgunned as well. As the conflict dragged on, the HVO’s logistical situation became even worse, despite attempts to open alternate lines of communication and the use of helicopters. The measure of the HVO’s resources poverty is that at the time of the Washington Agreement cease-fire in February, 1994, the on-hand stocks of artillery ammunition in the OZCB had fallen to six 122-mm shells and four 155-mm shells.
In Central Bosnia, the ARBiH appears to have had a significant advantage in armor and artillery. The ARBiH III Corps had at least six tanks incorporated in the 301st Mechanized Brigade, and although there were rumors that the HVO had eight tanks in the Maglaj salient and another nine in the Kiseljak area, there appear to have been no HVO tanks in the critical Travnik-Vitez-Busovača enclaves. With respect to artillery, the ARBiH actually surpassed the HVO in mortars (60-mm and 120-mm) and artillery (122-mm and 155-mm). The Muslim forces also had 128-mm multiple-barrel rocket launchers, although they lacked ammunition. During the fighting in April and June, 1993, the ABiH III Corps was supported by a hundred 120-mm mortars; ten 105-mm, 122-mm, and 155-mm howitzers; eight to ten antiaircraft guns; twenty-five to thirty antiaircraft machine guns; two or three tanks; and two or three ZIS 76-mm armored weapons. The relative strength of the ARBiH and HVO forces in the Busovača, Novi Travnik, Travnik, and Vitez area noting the artillery and armor holdings shown in table.
Comparative Manpower 
The surviving public documentation for determining the comparative strength of HVO and ARBiH forces during the Muslim-Croat conflict between November, 1992, and March, 1994, is sparse and unreliable. Equally hard to find is documentation concerning the deployment of those forces with respect to the front lines against Bosnian Serb aggression. In late February, 1993, the European Community Monitoring Mission (ECMM) estimated the HVO’s overall strength in Bosnia and Herzegovina at some 45.000–55.000 men well-equipped with both armor and artillery. The ARBiH forces were estimated to be only slightly larger: 50.000–60.000 men in five corps areas, to which were added an unspecified number of militia and paramilitary forces. At the same time, active Bosnian Serb forces were estimated to be some 70.000–80.000 strong, divided into six corps, and equipped with some three hundred tanks and six hundred artillery pieces, as well as short-range surface-to-surface missiles and extensive air assets that included MiG-21 fighters.
Other estimates placed the relative numbers somewhat higher. For example, military historian Edgar O'Ballance, relying on a German intelligence estimate, put the comparative numbers in November-December, 1992, at 30.000 HVO militiamen supplemented by about 40.000 mobilized policemen; around 100.000 men in the ARBiH; and a Bosnian Serb army of some 90.000 "regulars" and 20.000 paramilitary troops. The normally reliable International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, probably working with UN and ECMM figures, estimated that the HVO had 50.000 men and the ABiH 30.000–50.000 in the 1992–93 edition of The Military Balance. In the 1993–94 edition, the HVO numbers remained the same (50.000 men in some thirty infantry brigades and one special forces brigade), but the ARBiH figures were revised upward to some 60.000 men organized under five corps headquarters with some fifty-nine infantry brigades, four mechanized brigades, seven mountain brigades, a special forces brigade, an artillery brigade, and two air defense regiments. The IISS figures included only "regular" forces. The HVO Main Staff itself put the ration strength of the HVO on February 23, 1993, at 34.080 officers and men, including some 6.000 in Operative Zone Southeastern Herzegovina, 8.700 in Operative Zone Northwestern Herzegovina, 8.750 in Operative Zone Central Bosnia, and 10.630 in other locations.
The ARBiH's strength as reported by the IISS and various journalists and commentators may have been underestimated by a significant amount inasmuch as their primary of source of data was the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had an interest in understating the number of men under arms so as to encourage sympathy for the embattled republic. In fact, Sefer Halilović, the ARBiH commander, put his army's total military strength, including Territorial Defense and reserve forces, at about 168.500 in August, 1992, and 261.500 in January, 1993. According to Halilović, the overall total remained at about 261.500 throughout 1993, but by the end of 1994 casualties, desertion, and leaves had reduced the total to about 228.368, of whom 130.050 were on the front lines, 58.089 in other designated positions, and 19.126 on leave. The remainder were sick, abroad, deserted, or absent without leave (AWOL).
HVO vs ARBiH 
The correlation of forces with respect to manpower was somewhat less favorable to the HVO in central Bosnia. The HVO's estimates place the comparative strengths of the two forces in the spring of 1993 at 8.000–8.200 for the HVO Operative Zone Central Bosnia (OZCB) to 82.000–84.000 for the ARBiH III Corps, a ratio of more than 10:1 in favor of the ARBiH. However, the actual disproportion was probably considerably less. In fact, the ARBiH III Corps's headquarters (HQ), reported in 1997 that its authorized strength during the period November, 1992, to April, 1993, was approximately 26,182 officers and men. As noted above, the OZCB's ration strength was 8,750 on February 23, 1993. Using those figures, a quick calculation yields a ratio of about 3:1 in favor of the ARBiH. Although the HVO was able to muster favorable force ratios on a local basis, the ARBiH III Corps had a significant advantage in manpower resources throughout the Muslim-Croat conflict in central Bosnia. The III Corps area of operations was larger than that of the HVO OZCB, and some III Corps units were deployed against HVO forces in Operative Zone Northwestern Herzegovina. On the other hand, troops from those units, as well as Muslim forces from the other ARBiH corps areas (particularly the I, VI, and VII Corps) were frequently deployed against the HVO in central Bosnia. Nonetheless, HQ, OZCB, could still muster near equivalence with III Corps on a place-by-place basis at various times. For example, in February, 1993, HQ, OZCB, reported ratios of forces in contact in the Busovača area as 1.500 ARBiH to 1.395 HVO (1,1:1); in the Novi Travnik area as 1.800 ARBiH to 1.160 HVO (1,6:1); in the Travnik area as 4,000 ARBiH to 1,701 HVO (2,4:1); and in the Vitez area as 2.000 ARBiH to 2.279 HVO (1:1,2). However, such favorable force ratios are apt to be misleading in that the reserves not in contact available to the ARBiH III Corps were substantial, whereas the HVO was fully committed.
As time went on, the basic disproportion grew in favor of the Muslims as the ARBiH increased in strength while the HVO forces in central Bosnia declined in number due to casualties and other losses. While the HVO was unable to find replacements, the ARBiH was constantly being augmented by the influx of large numbers of Muslim refugees entering central Bosnia after having been expelled from eastern Bosnia and the Krajina by the VRS. For example, at the end of 1992, some twenty thousand Muslim refugees from the Jajce area settled in central Bosnia, providing a large number of well-motivated military-age men to fill out ARBiH units and create several new, mobile brigades that could be used for offensive operations outside a given territorial home base. Despite the lack of HVO manpower throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and particularly in central Bosnia, the Croatian Defense Council's headquarters in Mostar did not declare full mobilization until June 10, 1993.
Versus VRS 
In light of the later Muslim-Croat conflict, a good deal of controversy has arisen as to the exact proportion of effort dedicated to the defense against the VRS applied by the HVO and the ARBiH, particularly on the western front, first in the Jajce area, and after the fall of Jajce on October 30, 1992, in the Turbe-Travnik area. Croatian Defense Council authorities have charged that the Muslims refused to participate fully on the front lines against the Serbs in part because they were focused on organizing, arming, and training the forces needed to pursue their strategic plan for an offensive to clear the Bosnian Croats from central Bosnia. For their part, the Muslims made similar accusations against the HVO and also accused the HVO of abandoning the fight against the Serbs altogether, at Jajce and elsewhere.
Neither the HVO's claims nor those of the ARBiH are entirely correct or entirely wrong. In 1993, the greater portion of the ARBiH forces in central Bosnia deployed against the VRS were stationed on the Visoko-Sarajevo front, while the HVO forces deployed against the VRS were stationed primarily on the Turbe-Travnik front. However, a substantial portion of the ABiH III Corps was deployed in positions surrounding the Croat enclaves in the Travnik-Novi Travnik-Vitez-Busovača-Kiseljak area, far from the VRS's front lines. As for Muslim charges that the Croats abandoned the line against the Serbs at Jajce and elsewhere, it is true that HVO forces in Jajce in October, 1992, recognized that the town was on the verge of falling to the VRS and withdrew first. However, HVO forces on the Turbe-Travnik line did not abandon their positions to the VRS in June, 1993, as the Muslims have charged. In fact, they were attacked from the rear by the ARBiH and forced to abandon their positions and flee across the front lines into the hands of the VRS.
Travnik area 
The actual number of troops stationed on the Travnik front by the HVO and the ARBiH at any given time in 1992 and 1993 varied from day to day, and the proportion of the defense provided by each force cannot be determined with any accuracy. Brigadier Ivica Zeko, the former HQ, OZCB, intelligence officer, said that until April, 1993, the ARBiH III Corps, with some 80,000 troops at its disposal—put only a minuscule number, some 1.500–1.700 men, in the lines against the VRS in the Travnik area, but added that there was not really much room on the front for many more Muslim troops. Meanwhile, another HVO veteran of the fighting on the Travnik front noted that by April, 1993, the HVO had one three-battalion brigade and one two-battalion brigade, a total of some 2.500–3.000 men, on line, whereas the ABiH had two local brigades (the 306th and 312th Mountain Brigades), the 1st and 17th Krajina Mountain Brigades, and elements of the 7th Muslim Motorized Brigade on the Travnik line under the control of General Mehmed Alagić.
Assuming that the ARBiH brigades were manned at roughly the same level as the HVO's, the total number of Muslim soldiers in the Travnik defenses would have been at least eight thousand to ten thousand. In any event, the one thing the ABiH had plenty of was manpower, and the number of men available to the commander of the ABiH III Corps were sufficient to man the Muslim portion of the Travnik defense line while simultaneously undertaking a program for the organization, arming, and training of mobile forces for a possible offensive against the Croats in central Bosnia.
Despite the UN embargo and other restrictions, the HVO had sufficient quantities of small arms and automatic weapons. The main deficiency was in artillery and mortar ammunition inasmuch as the lack of raw materials precluded any substantial internal production. The 1993–94 edition of The Military Balance credits the HVO (throughout the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina) with some 50 main battle tanks (including T-34 and T-55 models) and around five hundred artillery pieces.
Infantry Weapons 
|M-57, 44-mm||Yugoslavia||Grenade Launcher||Widespread use|
|AK-47, 7.62-mm||Soviet Union||Assault Rifle||Infantry weapon|
|M-76, 7.9-mm||Yugoslavia||Sniper Rifle||Widespread use|
|ERO, 9-mm||Croatia||Submachine Gun||Croatian production|
Machine Guns 
|M60, 7.62-mm||United States||Light Machine Gun||75-round drum|
|RPK, 7.62-mm||Soviet Union||Light Machine Gun||40-round clip|
|RP-46, 7.62-mm||Soviet Union||Company Machine Gun||40-round clip|
|M-38/46, 12.7-mm||Yugoslavia||Heavy Machine Gun||Aerial targets|
|KPVT-1, 14.5-mm||Soviet Union||Heavy Machine Gun||Aerial targets|
|M-57, 60-mm||Yugoslavia||Mortar||Widespread use|
|M-70, 60-mm||Yugoslavia||Mortar||Widespread use|
|M-69A, 82-mm||Yugoslavia||Mortar||Widespread use|
|M-74, 120-mm||Yugoslavia||Mountain Mortar||Range 9.056 m|
|M-75, 120-mm||Yugoslavia||Mortar||Range 9.056 m|
|M-48B1, 76-mm||Yugoslavia||Mountain Gun||Tito's gun|
|D-20, 152-mm||Soviet Union||Gun Howitzer||R 17.410 m|
|M-84 NORA-A, 152-mm||Yugoslavia||Gun Howitzer||HVO = 9|
|M-65, 155-mm||Yugoslavia||Gun Howitzer||Widespread|
|M-56, 105-mm||Yugoslavia||Howitzer||HVO = 60|
|D-30J, 122-mm||Yugoslavia||Howitzer||HVO = 12|
|M-115, 203-mm||Croatia||Howitzer||HVO = 10|
|M-92A1 Obad, 80-mm||Yugoslavia||MLRS||Man portable|
|M-93A2 Čaplja, 80-mm||Yugoslavia||MLRS||Crew of 3-5|
|Chinese Type 63, 107-mm||China||MLRS||Crew of 3-5|
|M-63 Plamen, 128-mm||Yugoslavia||MLRS||HVO = 30|
See also 
- Croatian Defense Council of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia, Mostar, Mar., 1992 (should be 1993), subj: A Report on Work in 1992, 1, KC Z511.
- Sefer Halilović, Lukava strategija, passim.
- Croatian Defense Council, subj: A Report on Work in 1992, 1.
- Mate Boban, interview by Helsinki Watch representatives, Grude, Oct. 23, 1992; quoted in Helsinki Watch, War Crimes in Bosnia-Hercegovina, 2:297.
- Croatian Defense Council, subj: A Report on Work in 1992, 5.
- Brigadier Slavko Marin, Blaskic trial testimony, Sept. 24, 1998. Marin was the Operations Officer (S3) of HQ, OZCB, and later served as chief of staff of the Federation army’s I Guards Corps.
- See, among others, HQ, HVO, no. 01–93/92, Mostar, Apr. 23, 1993, subj: Order, KC Z79; and HQ, Municipal HVO Command Kiseljak, no. 11–05/92, Kiseljak, May 10, 1992, subj: Order, KC Z99.
- Brigade Herceg Stjepan Konjic - 3rd Battalion Mijat Tomić Jablanica
- See HQ, OZCB, Nov. 18, 1992, subj: Formation of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone Command, B D201; and Marin, Blaskic trial testimony, Oct. 6, 1998. The former OZCB chief of staff, Brigadier Franjo Nakic, testified that when he reported for duty at HQ, OZCB, on December 1, 1992, there were only eleven persons on the staff, and only the commander, Col. Tihomir Blaskic, had any substantial professional military training. Nakic himself had extensive experience as an infantry major in the JNA (Kordic-Cerkez trial, Apr. 13, 2000). He became the OZCB chief of staff in December, 1992, and served in that position until December, 1996, when he retired from the Federation army as a brigadier.
- HQ, HVO Regional Staff Central Bosnia, Order no. 94/92, Gornji Vakuf, July 4, 1992, subj: Order (Operative Zones/Sectors in Central Bosnia), KC Z151.
- HQ, OZCB, Order no. 875/93, Vitez, Oct. 7, 1992, KC Z234. Apparently, the Kralj Tvrtko Brigade in Sarajevo constituted a fourth separate Operative Group.
- Security Information Service, Ministry of Defence, Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia Informations from Usora and Žepče
- An excellent outline of the organization and employment of the village guard formations can be found in the testimony of Sgt. Fabijan Zuljevic, Kordic-Cerkez trial, September 19, 2000. Zuljevic was from the village of Krizancevo Selo and participated in the village guard organization there. He later served as a sergeant in the Federation army.
- Sergeant Zuljevic also provides a good description of how the HVO shifts were organized and deployed. See his testimony at the Kordic-Cerkez trial, Sept. 19, 2000.
- The JNA Type “R” reserve brigade was authorized 2,864 officers and men. See the testimony of Maj. Zlatko Senkic, Kordic-Cerkez trial, July 24, 2000. Senkic was the assistant commander for organization and personnel (S1) of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade. He later served in the Federation army’s Joint Headquarters in the administration and mobilization field.
- Commander, Frankopan Brigade, to commander, OZCB, Guca Gora–Travnik,May 17, 1993, subj: (Organization and Strength of Frankopan Brigade), B D246.
- HQ, Viteska Brigade (Vitez), n.d. (fall, 1993), subj: Review of the Effective Strength of Combat Units (Viteska Brigade), KC Z583; HVO Defense Office Vitez, no. 02–11–4-08–867/93, Vitez, Sept. 28, 1993, subj: Assessment, KC Z1220.1.
- Commander, Vitez Military District (Col. Tihomir Blaskic), to HVO Main Staff Posusje Forward Command Post, Feb. 4, 1994.
- Marin, Blaskic trial testimony, Sept. 24, 1998. Marin makes the point that "volunteerism" and the political influences on commanders at the village level served to soften discipline and make logistics more difficult.
- Order no. 01–118/93, HQ, Vitez Brigade, Vitez, April 8, 1993, subj: (Ban on transfers), KC Z629.
- Marin, Blaskic trial testimony, Sept. 25, 1998. The procedures and formal authority to appoint and dismiss HVO officers and noncommissioned officers were prescribed by Article 34 of the "Decree on the Armed Forces of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia-Revised Text" (Narodni List no. 6/92), Oct. 17, 1993, B 36A, KC Z2298. See also HQ, OZCB, no. 01–3-839/93, Vitez, Mar. 26, 1993, subj: Clarification on persons authorized to appoint and dismiss officers and noncommissioned officers, KC Z572.
- HQ, Vitez Military District, Vitez, n.d. (Feb. 2), 1993, subj: Assessment of the Situation (Table, “Ratios of Forces and Equipment by Locality”), 21, KC D59/2.
- Helsinki Watch, War Crimes in Bosnia-Hercegovina, 2:352.
- Many Bosnian Muslims joined the HOS to fight against the Serbs during the period when Alija Izetbegović’s government appeared disinterested in defending the RBiH from the VRS and its Serbian and JNA allies (Vulliamy, Seasons in Hell, 215).
- See, among others, Marin, Blaskic trial testimony, Sept. 24, 1998; administrative assistant for the SIS (Ivan Budimir), HQ, 2d (Vitez) Battalion, Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade, (Vitez), Jan. 25, 1993, subj: Report on the Activities of Groups and Individuals Acting without the Knowledge of the HVO Command, B D204; ibid., Vitez, Jan., 1993?), subj: Analysis of the Work of the VP in the Zone of Responsibility of the II Battalion, KC D17/1.7 and KC D10/2; HQ, Vitez Brigade, no. 01–117/93, Vitez, Apr. 8, 1993, subj: Ban on the Movements of Uniformed Individuals and the Bearing of Arms in Inhabited Areas, KC Z630.
- Zarko Andric (“Zuti”) was shot by the HVO in October, 1993, to curb his growing criminal activity. See 1PWO MILINFOSUM no. 177, para. 1, KC Z2439.9.
- In his testimony at the Blaskic trial on September 25, 1998, Brigadier Marin stated that the OZCB did not have any secure communications, and that the lack of it influenced the types of reports and other information reaching the commander. See also Zeko, Blaskic trial testimony, Sept. 21 and 23, 1998.
- Brigadier Slavko Marin, Blaskic trial testimony, Oct. 7, 1998. Speaking of the early days of the HVO in Travnik, Maj. Gen. Filip Filipovic said that the HVO “practically had no training” (Kordic-Cerkez trial testimony, Apr. 12, 2000). Filipovic was perhaps the most experienced military officer in the OZCB, having risen to the rank of colonel and command of an artillery regiment in the JNA before leaving in April, 1992. In April–May, 1992, he commanded all HVO forces in central Bosnia and then became a staff officer under Col. Tihomir Blaskic in the OZCB and, for a short time, commander of the Travnicka Brigade. Filipovic again took command of all HVO forces in central Bosnia in April, 1994, and remained in that position until April, 1995. He retired from the Federation army with the rank of major general in January, 1997.
- Zeko, Blaskic trial testimony, Sept. 23, 1998. The third was Filip Filipovic.
- The ABiH had many more officers with JNA experience than did the HVO (Filipovic, Kordic-Cerkez trial testimony, Apr. 11, 2000).
- For a discussion of JNA doctrine and tactics, see Charles R. Patrick, Tactics of the Serb and Bosnian-Serb Armies and Territorial Militia.
- Charles R. Patrick, Tactics of the Serb and Bosnian-Serb Armies and Territorial Militia, page 6
- Charles R. Patrick, Tactics of the Serb and Bosnian-Serb Armies and Territorial Militia, page 17
- For orders of HQ, OZCB, requiring subordinate units to report any officers of the Croatian Army (HV) in their ranks, see HQ, Central Bosnia Armed Forces Command, no. 865/92, Vitez, Oct. 5, 1992, subj: Order, KC Z255.2; and HQ, OZCB, no. 01–4-171/93, Vitez, Apr. 12, 1993, subj: Order, KC Z2414. For the wearing of HV uniform items and insignia by Bosnian Croats who earlier served with Croatian units in the war against the JNA and the Serbs, see, among others, Zeko, Blaskic trial testimony, Sept. 23, 1998. Zeko noted that the veterans of the 1991 war in Croatia simply wanted to demonstrate their greater combat experience and that they were few in number. On the prohibition of the wearing of HV insignia by HVO personnel in central Bosnia, see HQ, Vitez Brigade, no. 01–81–1/93, Vitez, Mar. 31, 1993, KC Z580.
- United Nations Secretary General to the President of the Security Council, UN Security Council doc. no. S/1994/109, New York, Feb. 2, 1994, KC Z2458. However, a close reading of this document, along with other Security Council documents, makes clear that the UN definition of "central Bosnia" included the Gornji Vakuf–Rama area, which was not in the area of responsibility of the OZCB commander, that is, not in “central Bosnia” as we have defined it here. See also Permanent Representative of Croatia to the United Nations to the Secretary General, UN Security Council doc. no. S/1994/197, New York, Feb. 18, 1994, KC Z1380.1.
- Statement of the Government of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, (Sarajevo), n.d. (May 13, 1993), paras. 1 and 2, KC Z912.
- ECMM Regional Center Zenica to HQ, ECMM, Zenica, June 3, 1993, 1, KC Z1012.
- See the testimony of General Blaskic, Brigadier Marin, and Brigadier Zeko in the Blaskic trial.
- Stewart, Blaskic trial testimony, June 18, 1999; Lt. Gen. Sir Roderick Cordy-Simpson, Kordic-Cerkez trial testimony, Aug. 4, 1999. An officer in the British Army, Sir Roderick Cordy-Simpson was chief of staff of the UNPROFOR Bosnia-Herzegovina Command in Kiseljak from September 18, 1992, to April 10, 1993.
- The Nordic Battalion also operated in the Vares area, and a Canadian battalion was stationed in the Visoko area. The HQ of the commander of British Forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina (HQ, COMBRITFOR) was collocated with HQ, BHC, in Kiseljak.
- Maj. Roger D. Marshall (British Army), “Operation Grapple: British Armed Forces in UN Protection Force,” US Army Intelligence Center, Fort Huachuca, Ariz., available at http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/army/tradoc/USAIC/mipb/ 1996–4/marshall, accessed Jan. 17, 2002. The successive deployments of the three battalions were designated Operations GRAPPLE I, II, and III.
- See Stewart, Blaskic trial testimony, June 17–18, 1999. One company was placed on standby for future deployment to Tuzla.
- See the testimony of Brigadier Alaistair Duncan, Kordic-Cerkez trial, Nov. 9–10 and 25–26, 1999. Duncan commanded the 1st Battalion, Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Yorkshire, the British UNPROFOR unit in the Lasva Valley, from May 11 to November 8, 1993.
- See the testimony of Brigadier Alaistair Duncan, Kordic Cerkez trial, Nov. 9–10 and 25–26, 1999. Duncan commanded the 1st Battalion, Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Yorkshire, the British UNPROFOR unit in the Lasva Valley, from May 11 to November 8, 1993.
- See Col. Johannes de Boer, Kordic-Cerkez trial testimony, Jan. 11, 2000, and Lt. Col. Paulus Schipper, Kordic-Cerkez trial testimony, Nov. 12, 1999.
- See, among others, Rogel, Breakup of Yugoslavia, 21, and Hillen, Killing with Kindness. Hillen maintains that the UN intervention in Bosnia-Herzegovina was fatally flawed in that it prolonged the conflict and suffering rather than reducing them. He also charges the UN with the lack of a comprehensive overall strategy stemming from the unwillingness of the principal UN powers to address the conflict’s fundamental political causes because of the costs involved. In general, the British battalions deployed in the Lasva Valley were better trained, better disciplined, and better equipped than other UNPROFOR units, although the BRITBAT commanders at times displayed an abysmal ignorance of the political and cultural situation in which they found themselves.
- Soon after their arrival in the Lasva Valley, the Cheshires gained the nickname of “SHOOTBAT” due to their propensity to open fire on the HVO and, less frequently, the ABiH (Marshall, “Operation Grapple”).
- Croatian Defense Council commanders especially distrusted the UNPROFOR’s preference for Muslim interpreters, but their complaints were usually dismissed in a most cavalier manner with such comments as, “A gentleman does not comment on another gentleman’s servants.” See Williams, “Balkan Winter,” Dec. 11, 1993.
- See, for example, the ECMM dismissal of Croat charges against the Muslims for razing Croat villages near Zenica in April, 1993 (HQ, ECMM RC Zenica to HQ, ECMM Zagreb, “Special Report on Croats in Zenica, 20–21 April 1993,” [Zenica, Apr. 21, 1993], KC Z765 and KC D25/1]), and the intemperate comments of the ECMM Regional Director, French ambassador Jean-Pierre Thebault, regarding the June, 1993, incident involving the so-called Convoy of Joy (HRC, Zenica [Ambassador Thebault] to HQ, ECMM, Zenica, June 10, 1993, subj: HVO Attack on Tuzla Convoy, KC Z1041.1; and HRC, Zenica [Ambassador Thebault] to HQ, ECMM, Zenica, June 11, 1993, subj: The Tragedy of the Tuzla Convoy, KC Z1045.2). By any measurement, Ambassador Thebault was thoroughly anti-Croat in word and deed, but his successor, Britain’s Sir Martin Garrod, was much more evenhanded.
- As of February 4, 1994, the 3d Guards Brigade had only 140 men assigned. See commander, Vitez Military District (Col. Tihomir Blaskic) to HVO Main Staff Posusje Forward Command Post, no. 01–2-87/94, Vitez, Feb. 4, 1994, subj: (report on the replenishment of units in the Vitez Military District), KC D321/1.
- See Article 10, item 8, of the Decree on the Armed Forces of the HZ HB (Narodni List, no. 1/92), and Decision on the Structure of the Home Guard, Nov. 3, 1992 (Narodni List, no. 7/92). Implementing instructions were issued in HVO Department of Defense, Order no. 02–1-15/93, Mostar, Feb. 5, 1993, B 768; and HVO General Staff, Order no. 01–254/93, Mostar, Feb. 8, 1993, KC Z451.
- Assistant commander for the Home Guard, OZCB (Zonko Vukovic), to municipal Home Guard commanders, no. 20–3-538/93, Vitez, Mar. 13, 1993, subj: (Order for Establishment of the Home Guard), KC D321/1.
- Patrick, Tactics of the Serb, 17.
- Prof. Slobodan Jankovic, conversation with author, Zagreb, Oct. 20, 1999. Major General Filip Filipovic testified in the Kordic-Cerkez trial (April 11, 2000) that of the 2,000 weapons seized by the HVO and ABiH at Slimena, over 1,000 went to the ABiH and 500–600 to the HVO. Of the weapons seized at Bratstvo, one-third went to the ABiH in Visoko, one-third to the HVO, and one-third was split locally between the HVO and ABiH. The ABiH received no less than a hundred mortars, nine 122-mm howitzers, and two 152-mm Nora gunhowitzers.
- IISS, Military Balance, 1993–1994, 100.
- Brigadier Ivica Zeko outlined the locations of the various factories and the items they produced in his testimony at the Blaskic trial, September 11 and 21, 1998. Zeko was the intelligence officer (S2) for HQ, OZCB, in 1992–94, and later served as a brigadier and the senior intelligence officer (G2) of the Bosnian Federation army.
- HVO Defense Office Vitez, no. 02–11–4-08–867/93, Vitez, Sept. 28, 1993, subj: Assessment of Military, Political, Economic and Other Conditions in Wartime, KC Z1220.1, 11–12. The reported HVO production for a two-month period included, among other things, five thousand mortar shells, sixteen hundred shaped charge mines, seventeen hundred hand grenades, and four thousand kilograms of gunpowder.
- 1PWO MILINFOSUM no. 161, Oct. 6, 1993, para. 4, KC Z2439.3.
- See, for example, the list of matériel supplied by the Croatian government in 1992, 1993, and 1994 in “List of Military Equipment Issued for Special Purposes in the Period 1992–1994,” n.p., n.d., KC Z2497.2. At the height of the Muslim-Croat conflict in 1993, the Croatian government supplied the ABiH with 1,995152-mm shells.
- On the transit of arms for both the HVO and the ABiH through Croatia, see Zeko, Blaskic trial testimony, Sept. 23, 1998.
- Beale, Bombs over Bosnia, 14.
- See, for example, ABiH General Staff, Visoko Section (Rasim Delic) to HVO Central Bosnia Headquarters, no. 01–10151/93, n.p. (Visoko), Feb. 5, 1993, subj: Agreement, B D402, which deals with a request for the movement of ABiH ammunition from Tarcin to Tuzla via Kiseljak and Vares.
- Cordy-Simpson, Kordic-Cerkez trial testimony, Aug. 4, 1999; Williams, “Balkan Winter,” Dec. 31, 1993, and Feb. 1, 1994.
- The principal routes in use during the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina were assigned codenames by UNPROFOR (see UN Military Observers, Sector Southwest, MIO [Military Information Officer] Briefing, May 3, 1994, KC D333/1). The most important of those routes were: CIRCLE Split–Brnaze–Kamensko–Tomislavgrad–Mandino Selo, TRIANGLE Mandino Selo–Omrcanica–Prozor, SQUARE Mandino Selo–Jablanica–Prozor, DIAMOND Prozor-Gornji Vakuf–Novi Travnik–Puticevo, SALMON Prozor–Gornji Vakuf–Fojnica–Gromiljak, PACMAN Jablanica–Konjic–Tarcin–Kresevo–Kiseljak–Busovaca–Kaonik–Puticevo, LADA Doboj–Maglaj–Zepce–Zenica, GANNET Split–Metkovic–Mostar–Jablanica, DOVE Kisljak–Breza, FINCH Sarajevo–Ilijas–Vares, TROUT Kiseljak–Fojnica–Blodnica
- The road was actually upgraded by the Bosnian Croats in 1991, an effort in which the Muslims refused to cooperate (Maj. Franjo Ljubas, Kordic-Cerkez trial testimony, May 16, 2000). Ljubas was an HVO battalion commander in the Travnik area in 1993 and later served as a Major in the Bosnian Federation army.
- Beale, Bombs Over Bosnia, 2, 20–21.
- At any given time in 1993, there were perhaps eighty to a hundred wounded or sick Croats in the Novi Bila hospital. Serious casualties apparently were evacuated by helicopter from the Kiseljak area (see Medical Corps of the Ban Josip Jelacic Brigade to Dr. Ivo Sandrak, Mostar Medical Sector, HVO Department of Defense, Kiseljak, June 23, 1993, subj: Report, B D257, which discusses the delivery of medical supplies by helicopter from Divulje and provides a list of the seriously ill and wounded for whom adequate care could not be provided in Kiseljak). On the arrangements for the use of HV helicopters for medical evacuation from central Bosnia, see Drago Nakic, Kordic-Cerkez trial testimony, Sept. 18, 2000. Nakic was a midlevel executive of SPS Vitezit Cromen, the explosives firm located just outside Vitez. In October, 1992, he was sent to Split to coordinate SPS activities there. He later assumed responsibility for overseeing welfare activities to aid Croat refugees from central Bosnia using SPS resources and funds supplied by the Croat communities in the Lašva Valley.
- Drago Nakic, Kordic-Cerkez trial testimony, Sept. 18, 2000.
- At the end of July, 1993, the UNPROFOR Bosnia-Herzegovina Command reported that “the HVO are running out of munitions.” See HQ, BHC (UNPROFOR), Daily INFOSUM, July 31, 1993, para. 4a, KC Z2433–1. The last HVO supply line to Herzegovina, which ran through Sebesic, was cut by the ABiH on the night of July 2, 1993 (see 1PWO MILINFOSUM no. 68, July 6, 1993, KC D58/2).
- Zeko, Blaskic trial testimony, Sept. 22, 1998. For resupply of the HVO in central Bosnia by helicopter see, among others, Blaskic, Blaskic trial testimony, Mar. 26, 1999; 1CSG MILINFOSUM no. 65, Jan. 4, 1994, para. 2, KC Z2447.3; HQ, BHC (UNPROFOR), Daily INFOSUM, July 31, 1993, para. 4a, KC Z2433–1; and Williams, “Balkan Winter,” Nov. 14 and Dec. 3, 1993.
- For ABiH tanks, see, among others, 1CSG MILINFOSUM no. 65, Jan. 4, 1994, para. 10, KC Z2447.3. Although HVO units in the OZCB had no tanks of their own, they were reported to have “rented” BSA tanks for certain operations.
- Zeko, Blaskic trial testimony, Sept. 11, 1998. Some of the items listed were no doubt deployed against the BSA.
- HQ,Vitez Military District,Vitez, n.d. (February 2), 1993, subj: Assessment of the Situation (Table, “Ratios of Forces and Equipment by Locality”), 21, KC D59/2.
- HQ, European Community Monitoring Mission (ECMM), “Introduction Brief for new ECMM Monitors,” n.p. (Zagreb), Feb. 25, 1993, KC Z495, 6. None of the HVO’s armor and only a small portion of its artillery was in central Bosnia.
- Edgar O’Ballance, Civil War in Bosnia, 1992–94, 126–27.
- IISS, The Military Balance, 1992–1993, 70.
- IISS, The Military Balance, 1993–1994, 74–75. The BSA was believed to have sixtyseven thousand troops in 1992–93, and up to eighty thousand in 1993–94.
- HQ, HVO Main Staff, no. 06–01–666/93, (Mostar), Feb. 23, 1993, subj: Proracun potrsonje mesnih konzervi u ishrani postrejbi HVO ze 30 dana (Ration Strength and 30-Day Supply Level), KC Z489.2.
- Sefer Halilovic, Lukava strategija (The Shrewd Strategy), 123–24. General Halilovic was the ABiH’s chief of the General Staff from May, 1992, to November, 1993.
- Zeko, Blaskic trial testimony, Sept. 21, 1998.
- HQ, ABiH III Corps, no. 02/3–67 (sic), Zenica, July 11, 1997, subj: Podatke o mob. razvoju dostavlja, KC Z1477.4.
- HQ, Vitez Military District, Vitez, n.d. (Feb. 2), 1993, subj: Assessment of the Situation (Table, “Ratios of Forces and Equipment by Locality”), 21, KC D59/2.
- HQ, HVO Main Staff, Mostar, June 10, 1993, subj: Decision on Carrying Out Mobilization in the Territory of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna in Times of the Immediate Threat of War or in Wartime (Narodi List, no. 11/93, June 10, 1993), B 38C/1.
- See, among others, Zeko, Blaskic trial testimony, Sept. 21, 1998.
- See, among others, the testimony of Nihad Rebihic, Kordic-Cerkez trial, Oct. 13, 1999; testimony of Brigadier Dzemal Merdan, Kordic-Cerkez trial, Jan. 19 and 25, 2000; Halilovic, Lukava strategija, 124. Rehibic was the intelligence officer for ABiH forces in Stari Vitez in 1993. Merdan was the Deputy Commander of the ABiH III Corps in 1992–1994.
- The northern (Maglaj) front was held jointly, and the ABiH III Corps also had forces deployed against the HVO in the Bugojno–Gornji Vakuf area.
- The ABiH’s June, 1993, attack on the HVO in the Travnik area
- Zeko, Blaskic trial testimony, Sept. 23, 1998.
- Conversation with Maj. Franjo Ljubas, Travnik area, Aug. 20, 1999.
- IISS, Military Balance, 1993–1994, 74.
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