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

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


Creation and Composition

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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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

Army Corps and Commanding Officers

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


  • 1st Corps: Sarajevo (HQ),
  • 2nd Corps: Tuzla (HQ)
  • 3rd Corps: Zenica (HQ),
  • 4th Corps: Mostar (HQ)
  • 5th Corps: Bihać (HQ),
  • 6th Corps: Konjic (HQ) formed 9 June 1993. Disbanded February 1994, some units incorporated in 7th Corps and the rest in 4th Corps.
  • 7th Corps: Jajce and Travnik (HQ) formed 26 February 1994.
  • Eastern Bosnian Operational Group, later formed as the Independent 81 Division: Goražde (HQ)

Bosnian General Staff

Corps commanders

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


T-55 tanks belonging to the 28th Division, 281st Brigade, 1st Tank Battalion, stationed in Visca.

OT M-60 Armored Personnel Carrier belonging to the 28th Division, 281st Brigade, 1st Tank Battalion, stationed in Visca.

A close-up view of an M48 76mm mountain gun belonging to the 28th Division, 281st Brigade, 1st Tank Battalion, stationed in Visca.


Main aircraft of ARBiH were the Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters. Here is an Mi-8T displayed to SFOR personnel during an inspection at Ćoralići Airfield.

A Bosnian Army UTVA-75 Light Utility Aircraft displayed as an artifact at Ćoralići Airfield, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Infantry weapons of Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Assault Rifles, Machine Guns

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


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

Infantry anti-tank weapons

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


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

Main battle tanks

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

Armored Personnel Carriers

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

Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Artillery

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

Anti-Aircraft Artillery

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

Self-Propelled Artillery

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

See also

External links


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