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Bosnian Serb in Sarajevo

Bosnian Serb in Sarajevo

When the war in Croatia officially ended in March 1992. , every Serbian militiaman knew that the next phase of the fighting would be in Bosnia, especially around the new capital of Sarajevo.


Apart from a crossroads east of the city, there was nothing about Sarajevo that made it of any strategic importance. Even during the battles to create a corridor from Serbia through Bosnia, Sarajevo's worth was only symbolic.


It was in Sarajevo in 1914 that World War One began with the assassination of the Austrian Crown Prince Ferdinand by a Serbian student Gavrilo Princip.


Although Tito selected Sarajevo to be the capital of Bosnia he created in 1948, all three Yugoslav religions are represented in city. It was only natural, then, that Sarajevo was chosen to be the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina when it declared itself independent in the spring of 1992.


Other than conducting a few localized infantry raids to protect their communications lines, the Serbian forces never took any action to seize the city of Sarajevo. They have preferred to wage war from the many strategic hills most of which they control—that surround the city.


Apart from his decidedly unmilitary bowler hat, this man is typical in appearance of the soldiers of the Serbian militia units. They are often called volunteers.  His uniform is a new pattern of camouflage worn by the former JNA. The badge on his pocket is a Serbian national insignia.


The red star that was worn by federal troops during the fighting in Slovenia and Croatia has given way to the red, blue and white emblem of Greater Serbia, as is seen here on the helmet and shirt worn by this soldier. These troops have earned respect from their foes for the great amount of courage they have displayed in pitched battles.


Wearing a traditional Serbian cap adorned with a national emblem, this man poses for a photograph somewhere in the suburbs of Sarajevo. As is the case with most Serbian militiamen, he sports a beard. Note the white eagle badge that is partially visible on his left sleeve. This has become a symbol of Bosnian Serbs soldiers.


These Serbian militiamen are trying to gain a foothold in the suburb of Dobrinja near Sarajevo. They are armed with assault rifles and wear JNAstyle helmets that have undoubtedly come from the military supply caches turned over to the Serbian militia in the spring of 1992. The white arm bands worn by the men are recognition signs. Each day a new color is worn.


These men are Serbian reservists that have been assigned to the trenches on the western front of Sarajevo. The Serbian pocket badge adds the only bit of color to the army shirts they wear. Note the camouflage netting affixed to the helmet worn by the man on the right.


This young Serbian militiaman is posted in Dobrijna near the Sarajevo airport. He is armed with a 7.62mm Yugoslav version of the Soviet Simonov rifle. He is further equipped with an abundance of ammunition and a JNA-style helmet that bears the Serbian colors on the front.


Anyone who has ever fought in a war is well aware that there is nothing glamorous about it. The Serbian reservist shown here has learned that lesson by spending his days in the trenches before Sarajevo. His uniform consists of an old JNA uniform blouse and an ex-JNA helmet. He is armed with an M-59/66A1 rifle.


The Serbs used this M-80 armored personnel carrier during the fighting around Sarajevo. The netting that covers the vehicle is an anti-tank rocket protection made of thick rubber. Painted on the M-80's hull are two Serbian flags and a skull and crossbones insignia, a symbol associated with at least one Serbian commando unit.


A Serbian officer (center) is shown here conferring with two of his men.



The following chart reflects the number of Bosnia Serb soliders and heavy weapons available to the armed forces in the Sarajevo area following the arrival of the UN peacekeeping force:

Soldiers - 8.500   Tanks: 30  APC: 50  Artillery: 100  Mortars: 50