Colonel Borivoje Orovich, the legendary chief of staff of the 37th motorized brigade of the Yugoslav Army, was awarded the Order of National hero for her contribution to the defense of the country from the aggression of the NATO, in an interview with Russia Beyond opens, as his unit in Kosovo and Metohija were opposed by the aviation of NATO and the Albanian rebels, was ready to land the NATO aggression, the army helped the local Albanian population and how his unit fought Russian volunteers.
One of the main centers of the Albanian uprising in Kim was the area of Drenica. Directly to the area command of the Third army of the Army of Yugoslavia, sent from Raska 37th brigade of the Yugoslav Army, under the command of the then Lieutenant Colonel Ljubise of Dakovica, the current chief of staff of the Army of Serbia. For contribution to the defense of the country during the NATO aggression, this division was awarded the Order of National hero. Her chief of staff, Colonel Borivoje Orovic, shared their military memories and emotions that are left in those hard times.
How did you react to the news that started the NATO aggression?
Borivoje Orovich: "that day, March 24, on my 39th birthday, I was in Raschke, the chief of staff, Deputy commander of the 37th motorized brigade. In the military sense, NATO aggression, we met completely ready. From the barracks and warehouses, distributed ammunition, mine-explosive means, fuel and other equipment for mobilization training camps and in shelters. Division was called on the part of reserve officers and reservists of all critical specialties. As for the rational and emotional part, we were just waiting for when to start what was inevitable – final and imposed on the battle for Kosovo and Metohija.
In the darkened office of the unit commander in the barracks "Ibarska miners", with the command staff division, heard an appeal of the Federal Prime Minister Momir Bulatovic that we are in a state of imminent war danger. Then it became clear to us that the aggression could start at any moment. After the mobilization and other preparations, a unit for two nights, March 30 and April 1, in two columns, was transferred from Raska to the area of Drenica, one column through the valley of the Ibar, and the other via Novi Pazar and Ribaric. This complex operation that involved the transfer of around 6,000 soldiers and more than a hundred combat and non-combat vehicles, artillery, engineering vehicles and other equipment, directly planned and carried me, because the brigade commander, then Lieutenant Colonel ljubiša Dikovic with several hundred soldiers was already in the area of our future military action.
The chief of the General staff of the Serbian Army, General ljubiša Dikovic at the celebration of the 37th motorized brigade.
We destroyed only one tank
What kind of losses faced 37th motorized brigade during the 78 days of intense NATO action?
B. O.: Our team, with all the reinforcements, which we had in stock, had only 60 killed and 184 wounded soldiers and officers. Every human sacrifice is a big and irreparable loss. However, statistically and militarily it a bit and was only 1.5 %. As for the losses in technology, we have destroyed one T-55 tank, two anti-aircraft guns and several vehicles. These losses in equipment are insignificant. So you understand the whole context, our unit faced a triple threat to people and material resources. In addition to NATO air power, which had absolute air superiority, we are exposed to sitarski terrorist forces. Our area of responsibility was 340 km2 and covers the area of Drenica. We were opposed to from 2,500 to 3,000 well-armed terrorists sitarski, divided into three regular and one special brigade, the so-called KLA operational zone of Drenica. They were well organized, armed, and had a unified command. The third threat came from anti-tank and anti-personnel mines. more than a thousand Ming's Chinese production which is included on our territory after the mass robbery of military depots in Albania in the spring of 1997.
Visible emotion when speaking about the suffering of your soldiers. What a loss to you harder?
B. O.: Every loss in his own special way, especially when killing the sons of the unit. However, in my memory especially crashed on 8 April 1999. During the action of our intelligence couple, enhanced 6 T-55 tanks against the terrorists of the KLA in the village Obrinje, American aircraft A-10 has not hit the tank and hit the car "Pinzgauer" in which there were 8 soldiers, sergeants and officers, headed by the commander of the couple Ivica Stankovic. All died on the spot.
Another case that would have happened at the end of the same month, when, during a return to the area of deployment, the commander of the 1st motorized battalion, captain Dragan mitrović, together with another reserve officer and three soldiers were ambushed by terrorists. The driver of the car died after the first of the unequal battle. Bloodsuckers from oak as if this was not enough, and the bodies of the victims, they poured gasoline and set on fire. The picture which we found was terrible. The late Dragan Mitrovic was born from one of the villages in the vicinity of užice, and was posthumously awarded and was elevated to the rank of infantry major. His son wished to follow in his father's footsteps, he entered the military Academy and graduated from it several years ago. Thus, Mitrovici got another officer in the family, and the late Dragan – his successor in the heavy officer's profession.
Was your team ready for a ground operation of NATO? B. O.: Absolutely. Until the end of April we cleared the area from sitarski terrorist forces and their activity is reduced to several small groups, which we controlled. After that we took a defensive position and waiting for NATO.
The Ministry of defence of Serbia.
Among the public was to hear that our army managed to fool the NATO Pact in the sense of the effectiveness of its aviation. Your unit has used such methods?
B. O.: Certainly. Disguise and deception are an integral part of daily operations. For example, the only tank we destroyed NATO aircraft, we sometimes "revived" by lighting the fire on that spot where the engine and thus this created a "picture" that the tank and the engine work because he was "destroyed" at least 10 times. Would and example of the important bridge in our area of responsibility, between Hlohovec and Komorany. Of the Military technical Institute, we were delivered the so-called passive radar reflectors, a small device in the shape of a tetrahedron, which under appropriate instructions, in pairs, send the radar reflection of the aircraft that is the bridge. Our engineers recommend to put two pairs of these devices at several hundred meters downstream of the river, and they are NATO aircraft created a false picture, as if the bridge is in a different place. I think the bridge is "destroyed" is also about ten times, firing dozens of missiles and bombs on the nylon, which have been linked reflectors. We are supposed to be from the material at hand made models of tanks, artillery, vehicles, and other means.
We cared about the Albanians and help them.
How did the Army of Yugoslavia against the local Albanian population in the area of warfare?
B. O.: Treated responsibly in accordance with the rules of international military law. Any action that contradicts these rules, was processional in accordance with the law. As for our unit, we provide them with medical assistance and helped in the provision of basic foodstuffs. I would single out two cases. First – caring for the wounded local people, when NATO aircraft in early April was bombing the munitions factory at Srbica. We then organized the transportation and care of wounded to our medical corps. Formed a makeshift hospital. During this time our doctors have attended a few births.
The second case, which would highlight is from Hlohovec, occurred in the month of may. Seeing that there is no supply of the local population with basic foodstuffs and that part of the population literally starving, we decided – with the approval of the command – and distributed to the population for basic foods – flour, sugar, salt, butter, rice, pasta and canned goods.
How did you take information about withdraw troops from Kosovo and Metohija?
B. O.: When we were ordered playout training units for the March for withdrawal from Kosovo and Metohija, felt frustration, sadness, helplessness, rage.. Army at the time of the political decision on the abandonment of Kosovo and Metohija was fully prepared for the decisive battles. Everything that happened before, we thought a "warm up" before the final battle. The order, which was to be done for me personally is the biggest defeat. I have repeated many times that the Army of Yugoslavia is not affected and that concerns us, we would still be on Kosovo and Metohija and there would ensure full sovereignty of the state of Serbia.
How your family perceived NATO aggression and your participation in the war?
B. O.: It's Hard. As the families of the others who were there. I will share with you one detail. In may I received a letter from wife Liliana, which at this time together with the children, was in Raschke. Wrote that they were all in order, that spend a lot of time in shelters. The letter was and "addition", wrapper of chocolate "Best wishes", which my daughter Elena was informed that all will end well and will receive a diploma wook, and transmits the message of the son, six-year-old Bojana: "Dad, take care of yourself and come back to us. And defend our homeland." And now I feel "bone in the throat" when I think of this.
Russian volunteers were excellent soldiers.
You were in contact with Russian volunteers?
B. O.: our actions in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija in our division, if I remember correctly, there were 5 Russian volunteers, of whom three were in a reconnaissance company and two in the division air defense. It was a good, disciplined and brave soldiers, with the experience of previous wars. I remember one soldier-spy Oleg. He embodies the best military virtues. Of these, five one, unfortunately, died – missing.
Do you think that Russia was more specifically to help Yugoslavia in 1999?
B. O.: I Think that then "weak" Russia Boris Yeltsin did everything, that could. What they could have done better – Yes.
Write poetry, and it is partly mentioned and Russia. For You it is of Russia?
B. O.: Russia throughout history has been the Bastion of the Slavs and the protector of the small Orthodox peoples and countries. If it were not for Russia and its financial and other support, there would be no modern Montenegrin state. Good relations between Russia and Montenegro has changed following the First world war, when it was created Yugoslavia, whose individual components were not favorable towards the Slavs. Russia now provides the only protection for the madness of the new world order. Thanks to the positive contribution of Russia and President Vladimir Putin, the world today looks much different than it looked twenty years ago, when NATO bombed and disciplined "naughty" countries. Their victim, unfortunately, was us. I am sure that the events of 90-ies, where he was directly actor would have had a completely different outcome, if Russia was strong as it is now. I have a very positive attitude towards Russia, the homeland of hundreds of peoples, its culture and statehood. I can say that I have an open Russophile. Russophile.
Colonel retired Borivoje Orovic lives in Podgorica. Writes poems and aphorisms, a member of the Union of writers of Montenegro and the Literary community of Yugoslavia.
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