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The artillery of the JNA - the composition and types of weapons systems
Material posted: Valetskiy OlegPublication date: 30-05-2013

In the actions of the JNA artillery and rocket fire played a large role, and often the main, kamiva the resistance of the enemy in the attack or the enemy attacks when you switch to defense. The main problem with the images, or rather insufficient number of trained and capable gunners. In the front line studied what is really needed at the moment.

If YUNA was training everywhere and constantly, after two or three months of war she would have a good, strong frame. As for military equipment, it is in artillery was more than enough to perform assigned tasks.

Pre-war JNA paid much attention to artillery, as its importing, and organizing its own production. According to the article “the Basis of firepower of the ground troops”(the magazine “Voini Glasnik”)major-General Dusan Kotorova ("vatrene Nosilac moći kopnene vojske" - gen. major Dušan Koturovac, "Vojni glasnik") in the fifties, due to a conflict with the USSR,weapons received from the Soviet army during the Second world war and after it, as the captured German guns(though the 85 mm gun was designated the M-44/58 remained in service until the war years 1991-95) began to be replaced by guns obtained from the US army. Then were adopted by American guns and howitzers of calibres of 75 mm (mountain gun M-1) and 105 mm (howitzer M-2 and M-3 and M-7) and 155 mm (howitzer M-1, M-2 and M-114) and anti-tank gun M-43 (antitank gun caliber 57 mm) and M-36 (self-propelled anti-tank gun caliber of 90 mm), reported in the divisions anti-tank gun of the Soviet PT 3ИС-3 76mm calibre (Yugoslav M-42). Produced and developed by M 52 mortars (120mm), howitzer M 56 (105mm), mountain gun M48-B1 (76 mm), as well as tridtsatidvuhletny install multiple rocket launchers M 63 "Plamen" (128 mm).

With a relative improvement of relations with the USSR in the ' 60s, there were imported ATGM "baby", and later "Competition" and "bassoon" and the anti-tank gun T-12 caliber 100m(Yugoslav M 44).In the Soviet Union was purchased by operational-tactical missile complex of a class “earth-earth”, "Luna-M". Later under license in Yugoslavia were made ATGM "baby" 9К11. According to the Soviet license of steel produced gun-howitzer D-20 (152mm) howitzer D-30 (122 mm) and on the basis of the D-20 was developed of its own towed gun-howitzer M-84 Nora-A (152 mm) with a range of 17.5 km, was purchased and towed gun M-46(130 mm.).

Was launched and production of new 32-128mm barrel rocket launchers of volley fire M-77 “Oganj”, as well as the production of self-propelled ATGM M-83, which became, together with the Soviet towed guns T-12 (100 mm) and D-44 (85mm) and American self-propelled 90 mm anti-tank guns M-36 (90mm) and M-18 (76 mm) main armament anti-tank divisions YUNA until the beginning of the Yugoslav wars 1991-95.

In the 80 years began the development of the self-propelled cannon-howitzer Nora-B (152mm) wheel base and 130 mm guns began to undergo a change in M 46/86 (152mm) with a barrel length of 46 calibres and M 46/84 (155 mm) with a barrel length of 45 calibres, and from the USSR were imported self-propelled artillery 2S1 (122mm) "Carnation".

The armed troops began to arrive 262 mm, dvenadtsatistrunnye РС30 M-87 “Orkan” the Yugoslav-Iraqi development and steel imported ballistic computers, and intelligence radars.

In addition, the coastal defense of the Navy of Yugoslavia had a large number of guns D-56 caliber 88 millimeters, and M-39 calibre 85 mm and howitzers, M-46 and anti-ship missile complexes “Frontier-E”.

Thus, the artillery of the JNA, very numerous, was well able to perform combat missions in the Yugoslav war of 1991-92. The fact that most of the guns were towed, in that, practically trench warfare, special role did not play, but the inconsistency in artelibro could not be felt, in almost direct supply from warehouses of the JNA in Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina. To counteract such supply, the enemy could not, for the aircraft then almost did not have, and several combat aircraft were not in the bill. Fighting the fight for them was not conducted due to the lack of a sufficient number of guns for this purpose.

Complete, detailed and unvarnished description of action of artillery of the JNA were Colonel Milan Miletic whose materials,first of all to work “experience in the use of artillery in the war of 1991-92," published in the second issue of the magazine “vojno Delo” for 1996("Iskustvo iz upotrebe artiljerije u ratu 1991-92." - puk. Milan Miletić, časopis "Vojno delo" br. 2., 1996.), I relied in this review of action of artillery.

In addition to this work I have used the work of Colonel Milan miletić “the Use of artillery at the front”(magazine “Novi glasnik the” room 4/5 1993)( "Upotreba na artiljerije ratištu" - puk. Milan Miletić, "Novi glasnik" br. 4. - 5, 1993.), “Artillery in the front line operations of 1991”(the magazine “Novi, glasnik”-number 6 of 1996) and “Artillery in counter-battery”(the magazine “Novi, glasnik” -number 7 of 1997) and therefore in the following review avoided constant references to his work.

According to Colonel Milan Miletić main task of the hostile artillery was direct fire support of their own troops, and attacks on Yugoslav troops, densely siplivaya along roads and about settlements, with priority given to action in a pair of guns. Particularly effective were the enemy mortars, which he often installed on machines, taking them from harassing fire on JNA forces. In addition there were the cases that the firing positions of the artillery of the JNA was located within range of the artillery of the enemy, especially his mortars, which of course, led to losses, but the move itself fighting to effect it could not. Moreover, the weakness of the enemy led to great negligence in the device of the artillery positions. They often dug, the guns were installed in one line, and the distance between them less than 10 meters, the car was left at the guns in the open, and there were soldiers around. All this led to unnecessary losses not only from enemy fire but also from subversive groups.

Since the drivers were not sufficiently trained, a fairly rare movement at night has led to congestion and stretching for properly or that the opponent had a weak opposition, the artillery of the day had to be moved in one direction.

The course of the war engineering firing positions has improved, but only in those cases where there was a real threat of enemy attack. Were, as a rule, the traditional bunkers and barriers, which were used bags and boxes from under shells, stuffed with soil. Seemed necessary the existence of artillery in the civil engineering departments possessing a technique for the construction of shelters and for construction of roads, and also needed the tractor for towing stuck cars and guns. As to masking, it was poorly managed due to lack of funds, experience and personal responsibility. Smoke curtains were used rarely, although they have demonstrated their effectiveness. In defense of firing positions they have been used rarely and mostly also against the rules due to the lack of engineers in the artillery parts.

As for battle convoy, it at the beginning of the formerly unsatisfactory, have improved later, but the March continued to remain vulnerable until the end of hostilities. In particularly dangerous places, the gunners got in subordination to the infantry (a company), and even the bomb squad, but it was not always, but there were cases when artillery was used as infantry at the front. Choose artillery for the defense of the positions used mortars, recoilless rifles and anti-aircraft guns, including captured from the enemy. All this talked about the importance of having the artillery, infantry and engineering units, reduced at least one consolidated company and equipped with vehicles and weapons, sufficient not only for defence positions, but also for defence and observation posts at the front. Characteristically, one of the most essential things in the artillery when in the woods was a chainsaw, and one of the most reliable modes of transport was a horse and it requires far less formalist approach in the organization and armament of artillery battalions. Most combat actions were necessitated improvisation. So, anti-aircraft guns air defense showed its value as a means of combating ground-based enemy. At the same time more often experienced the opposite cases, when other commanders not only did not want to do something new, but not wanted to follow the basic rules. So, firing positions are often not changed in tens of days, if not months, which is primarily treated MLRS. Spare positions are rarely created, even though the orders from above were not needed. Redeployment of artillery took place without prior exploration in the place of the future dislocation. Due to the fact that relocation was in one stage, the roads often experience traffic congestion. Firing was often without rules, leading to breakages in guns, and some of them were not identified deviations from the average flight speed of projectiles. In very poor condition were keeping air. No reconnaissance radar, outer-10, no protivominometnymi radar had no enough trained operators and almost never used. Acoustic stations worked inaccurately and without adjustments. Radar - weather exploration is almost out of question. Topographic and geodetic provision was poor and lacked basic maps of scale 1:25000, plans and especially urban development. Laser rangefinders were used seldom, and the preparation of initial elements for firing very often was wrong, which is not surprising, because the Charter of the artillery of the JNA, which was released in early 1991 goals to the forces and was not brought. The adjustment was carried out, as a rule, on the breaks, and the use of corrective tools left in the theory, like the definition of amendments on primary elements in several ways.

When doing volley fire same adjustment almost was not conducted. As for aviation the correction, it is also almost was not, as due to very poor assistance with aviation, and for fear of enemy air defenses, which led to not using the opportunities of the reconnaissance helicopters Gazelle 341G, specially designed for adjusting artillery fire. A major role in bringing the artillery played artillery observers in the combat formations of the advancing troops, and they are often replaced themselves grassroots commanders of these troops. This observation was important in this war, especially because only 20-30% of the target obtained by the artillery, was examined from the ground. Air has demonstrated its importance and that no time group air was not created, has led to a large and ineffective waste of ammunition. The creation of observation points has shown himself to be mandatory, for military officers, most of them didn't have sufficient knowledge for the proper adjustment.

Heavy theater of war for the artillery were fighting in the city and in the mountains, because of the difficulty in observing breaks. This forced the day use a smoke, shells, and night - lighting, although the latter lacked in many artillery units. The correction was, generally, "to yourself" and many capable officers approached the line breaks up to 100 meters to their observation points.

Showed using radio detonators, especially mortar mines that with proper preparation of items not requiring adjustment, while ampernye fuses could be used in urban and mountainous terrain, generally with the adjustment.

In the town well "provided the firing vertical angles with fuses on the slowdown, which led to the destruction of the basements and first floors of the buildings, especially in the use of 155 and 152 mm guns and such shells are often pierced by two concrete slabs. Used lighting and shells 122 mm shells with fuses set for impact action, which caused fires, particularly in forests, and combined with the use of high-explosive shells.

In rocky terrain, proved the use of ricochet fire, whose shrapnel effect of increased crumb and chunks of stone. In General, the main barrage damage an enemy force was applied in the first few minutes (about three), and then effective was the fire only with remote fuses (radio and ampernye) if the enemy has not existed a large number of shelters.

Best of all was the sudden and relatively short to one and a half hours of fire training is probably equal volleys by direct observation purposes. Effective was, of course, and MLRS fire on the enemy located in an open area. Turned out to be inaccurate prewar assertion about large dispersal on the last third of the trajectory of handling and according to Yugoslav officers, the fire had to be conducted over the entire range of weapons. Preparation of initial components was generally on a reduced act, and the fire control was mainly in the hands of the commanders of the batteries. Not just because of the lack of training last, first reserve officers, it passed into the hands of divisional commanders. In light infantry and guerrilla (light infantry units of the JNA reserve) brigades, often where artillery was not available, one group consisted of the battalion mortars, which gave good fire control and good computational branches.

Night was conducted mainly planned fire on already prepared items without supervision, and with regard to meteorological ballistic corrections, they were rarely done. Great use gave data from military commanders, and I think that should create a single air base, where did all the reconnaissance data about the targets from all departments. The processing of such data in practice is not often conducted, the group was involved air when the chief of artillery of the operative group, which were then reduced part of the JNA. It was pretty reasonable, and “Mali artilerijska headquarters” (MASH) that is created when this task force, handled the tasks of fire support, while the existence of a headquarters of corps and army artillery failed, the more so because even the fire brigade of artillery almost nobody ran. The main artillery formation was the division. Under the command of MASH was about a dozen divisions and several mortar batteries, which was enough for a counter and room for maneuver by fire. When planning fire batteries or individual guns have one or more azimuths and were able to cover up to 2/3 of the total number of goals simultaneously, although the need for this arose not often, but what the enemy called the view large from the reality of the forces of the JNA artillery.

When planning many of the documents required in peacetime, on the front was written, according to need, and then in abbreviated form.

Needed was simplicity with maximum versatility, despite the fact that the computational and command and information systems were required, and in these areas the activity was duplicated in the divisions and batteries to avoid mistakes. The preparation of the action plan in the Mary could not dispense with the divisional commanders, but more importantly, without complete and comprehensive aim, which was to be ongoing with effectiveness of at least 50%.

The main shortcomings of command lay not in the tasks and in the evaluation of the situation, which could not be evaluated without ongoing monitoring it is not only coming from military orders, but also from the enemy rear. This is well illustrated by the example of the military orders of corps and army artillery groups that did not follow combat orders, they support parts, and has advanced far ahead, or Vice versa, was left far behind. Best intergeneric assistance was at the level of battalion-division, and higher command levels of this support was failing, and with aviation it was almost not there, but there were frequent occasions when aircraft and artillery operated by the same goals.

No doubt, there were big problems in the promotion of the artillery with the infantry, and here the misunderstanding was obostrennym. In the infantry, at the command level, the opinions of artillery is often not taken into account, and the consumption of ammunition was determined arbitrarily by the commanders of combined-arms formations and units. At the same time many artillery commanders because of their own unpreparedness chose a lighter, but less effective way. Then only formally spent this amount of ammo without taking into account the factors of surprise and concentration of fire. The tasks themselves were staged inaccurately, and targets have been selected by the commanders of combined arms formations without considering the opinion of artillery officers.

Goals stated too broadly, causing the ammunition shortage. Artillery could not control the movement of infantry and armored forces, and sometimes they changed the position, and the artillery didn't know and fell under the blow of enemy troops. The loss of communication with supported troops, often led to tragic consequences, while the creation of the firing shaft in front of their own advancing troops was not carried out completely.

Possible, on the basis of the experience gained by the Yugoslav gunners would have to pay more attention to air,for in the company's 1991-92 year,according to the sources the situation with the JNA air was disastrous.

Perhaps air was supposed at the period of hostilities to enter into military intelligence and representatives of the air would also have to be in the observers as in the units at the front and the reconnaissance and sabotage groups .It is obvious that necessarily equip all artillery - automated control of artillery fire type of Soviet "Skit", or French “ATILA” or the same type of French LMS for mortars "ATIMO". Of course the ability of the artillery officers themselves count the amendments and the coordinates of a positive thing,but still has its advantages in the application of Asov which the observer is to press a special pencil on the screen of your portable computer LMS “ATIMO”, which is a topographic map of the area, immediately to the automatic ballistic calculator on the command issued would place the initial element with all the amendments that would be immediately passed on to the calculations.

Meanwhile soglasno His situation radically has not changed and until the end of the war and the organization has been strikingly unsatisfactory,and so the staff often worked in full capacity, team places, were badly equipped, no spare KM, whereas at the observation point comdiva didn't happen often, but of higher artillery commanders and say no.

As for the strength and means of direct fire support, anti-tank divisions and forces fire support battalions, primarily mortars, their actions are almost never taken into account when planning artillery support. It was necessary, for infantry commanders often required artillery support where you could do your strike forces and expected that the artillery would do the job. This led to the fire just "for moral support" of the infantry in that war would be impossible. The chiefs of artillery operational teams many times received an ultimatum about the destruction of small point targets, although the crew had not used their own artillery and battalion mortars. Artillery brigades were used unplanned, and this was during the hostilities that did not leave time for the gunners to prepare initial elements, and dividing the task, essentially, was not. Often the commanders of infantry or tank units didn't know about the time and purpose of fire support.

Not only by Colonel Miletic,but also many other artillery officers of the JNA in the war, the infantry did not use all of the effects of artillery fire, although, of course, the vision of combat in the infantry and artillery varied considerably, but where the latter lost ammunition, the first people. Artillery as it is very often let the infantry due to the stretching of fire preparation time with the poor accuracy.

At the same time, it cannot,as rightly observes Miletic be expected from the artillery of omnipotence and to give it the task of direct fire support of infantry and tanks, while the means of this support in the battalions and companies not really used. The use of these funds was conducted, mainly, without observance of elementary rules and without the coordination with the artillery. It was found also that these funds can attain great effects with the fire on the front edge of enemy that requires to create a service in artillery battalions, able to enforce rules of their use and at the same time enable their actions in firing a single plan of fire support.

In this war anti-tank guns were successfully used, especially in the city, to destroy the fortifications, and found that older 76-millimeter cannon M 42 were more popular in the infantry than anti-tank guided weapons, whose use for such purposes was often not only inefficient but also unprofitable.

The existence of such units as anti-tank division NOAD(MPOAD –Mešoviti protivooklopni artileriski division) (armed with anti-tank guns T-12, self-propelled ATGM М83 and self-propelled anti-tank guns M36) was not a hopeless anachronism. These divisions could reinforce the infantry battalions, and a similar prescription applies in future wars, as still in such wars, the infantry units will be created and logically, such a part to arm even outdated SU means than to leave them with one of the newest small arms.

Even in the war with a more modern army infantry (rifle) units armed even obsolete anti-tank weapons would be efficient if their actions were secretive and rational. In any case, because of the armor in mass mobilization was not enough, and to arm the infantry will need.

In the Yugoslav war it was proved that even seemingly outdated tools can play an important role in the war. These tools are quite suitable for weapons, relatively speaking

"militia" units. Insufficient firing range and low rate of fire shall be reimbursed by the stealth and unexpectedness of action. One successful operation would outweigh the possible subsequent destruction of these guns superior quality of the enemy forces. Moreover, it is unlikely that all enemy units will have military equipment with the latest military exhibitions, and thus we only need to choose which enemy and when to attack. In this case, it is essential that the parts have divisions of guns that use shells of the same calibre to facilitate the supply of ammunition. Besides there is no need in numerous levels of command in artillery and there is quite a few – the headquarters of the artillery regiment and task force, and separate regiments of tactical missiles and medium-range missiles and separate battalions of towed artillery and MLRS would be intended to strengthen those or other sectors of the front.

Must have civil engineering and infantry units in the artillery piece to position and prepare their defence and, if necessary, to give the artillery the military construction teams. In the artillery headquarters should be seconded from air gunners for coordination tasks. The power of modern aviation requires high technology artillery stealth and agility. This causes firstly the need to create deep shelters for the guns and good camouflage. It accordingly requires the desired number of engineering techniques which can be created on a large area some cover for a single gun with a larger than currently accepted distance between the guns and consequently an increasing number of engineering units and military construction brigades. Secondly, because the capacity of the air munitions currently exceeds the capacity for the creation of shelters, more rational way is to increase the maneuverability of artillery batteries, as the divisions become too visible and less evasive objective for the movement.

Modern developers tools pycuda to achieve and the creation of self-propelled guns on trucks, which would stipulate towed guns, with which they could fire, or by installing small-sized motors providing the tools to independently change positions.

In artillery units in the engineering units must exist engineering intelligence, which would determine the category of soil, which affects the rate of creation of shelters for artillery, as well as the permeability of those areas in which it is assumed the transfer of artillery. When the transfer of artillery she should be given to road-building or train troops for rapid maneuver.

Thought this was long known, but not worked out. Need experience a long period war in the conditions of use by both sides of large masses of aviation, artillery and rocket forces.

In addition to artillery pieces an important means of fire support was the mortars. Mortars in the Yugoslav war were without doubt the most popular in the infantry.

Shortcomings in the firing artillery often tried to compensate by fire from mortars because the mortar was faster and easier to cook.As trained calculations lacked, was organized urgent retraining, and mortar batteries, sometimes up to 90% of people with mortars were not acquainted, in a few weeks,a month tops became efficient(art major Dragan nikolić “Mortar-universal infantry weapon”-the magazine “Novi, glasnik”- # 6 1995"Minobacač univerzalno pešadije oružje" - major Dragan Nikolić, "Novi glasnik", br. 6.,1995).


Summarizing the experience of the Yugoslav war on the basis of the conclusion made by the officers of the JNA,you can come to the conclusion that one of the major problems was the large number of command links,resulting in support requests and fire orders for firing was often untimely.

In practice, it was enough of team managers and the division chief of artillery of the operational teams, providing them with freedom in the querying support of the troops, and thus the intervention of a higher headquarters would be less needful.

Due to the high density of conducting missile fire,infantry fire power of artillery, as a rule, and determined the latitude of hitting the front and therefore without air officers,nahodimsa Xia would in the combat formations of attacking,it was difficult to correctly perform such a task and to determine the moment of transfer of fire on the second lines of the enemy's defense in case of assault by infantry and armored vehicles. To suppress the enemy artillery still more rational use of the artillery of the parent compounds, so that the artillery involved in the artillery support of the attacking troops,not to dissipate forces.


Chapter from the book "Yugoslav war" (Kraft+,2008 ISBN 978-5-93675-138-7)

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