The Muslim-Croat Civil War in Central Bosnia: A Military History, 1992-1994

By Charles R. Shrader | Go to book overview

8 The ABiH Main Attack,
April, 1993
Busovaca, Kiseljak, Zenica, and Elsewhere

Although the principal objectives of the April, 1993, Muslim offensive—the SPS explosives factory, OZCB headquarters, and the vital Travnik–Kaonik road—were in the Vitez area, the attack extended, as HVO intelligence officer Ivica Zeko predicted, to the Busovaca, Kiseljak, and Zenica areas. Elsewhere—in Travnik, Novi Travnik, Zepce, and Vares—the ABiH elected to avoid an all-out attack in order to concentrate their forces in the critical Vitez-Busovaca-Kiseljak-Zenica area. The HVO mounted a strong active defense and repelled the Muslim attack in Busovaca and Kiseljak. But Muslim attackers in the Zenica area succeeded in destroying the HVO forces and expelling the Croat population from the town and many of the surrounding villages.


The ABiH Attack in the Busovaca Area

The town of Busovaca and the road junction at Kacuni were important ABiH objectives during the probing attacks in late January, 1993. Although elements of the ABiH 333d Mountain Brigade seized control of the Kacuni intersection and took up positions overlooking Busovaca from the east, they were unsuccessful in taking either the Kaonik road junction north of Busovaca or the town itself, both of which the HVO vigorously defended. In the Muslim offensive that began on April 16, Busovaca and the critical Kaonik intersection were important Muslim objectives, and the fighting in the HVO Nikola Subic Zrinski Brigade’s defensive zone was intense and sustained, punctuated by sequential Muslim attacks and HVO counterattacks that flowed back and forth over the hapless villages north and east of the Vitez–Busovaca road. The more numerous ABiH aggressors gained ground and inflicted heavy casualties on the HVO defenders, but they were ultimately unsuccessful in obtaining their principal objectives.

The ABiH forces committed to the offensive in the Busovaca area in April, 1993, consisted of elements of five mountain brigades (the 302d, 303d, 305th, 309th, and 333d), the 301st Mechanized Brigade, and the 7th Muslim Motorized Brigade, supported by the 2d Antisabotage Detachment–Zenica (2d PDO–Zenica), RBiH Ministry of the Interior police, Territorial Defense troops from Rovna, Kruscica, Busovaca, Fojnica, and Kakanj, Muslim Armed Forces units, and other troops.1 In all, the attacking ABiH forces probably totaled over five thousand men.

Unlike the HVO defenders in the Vitez area, who had to defend against a Muslim attack on a broad front but from only one direction (albeit with

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