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

By Charles R. Shrader | Go to book overview

4 Training, Doctrine, and Logistics

Being newly formed armies, both the Croatian Defense Council and the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina were seriously deficient in individual, unit, and specialist training, had no well-defined and clearly communicated operational doctrine, and lacked both matériel and adequate logistical systems. Such deficiencies contributed to the problems of poor discipline and inadequate command, control, and communications systems, and made the conduct of sustained and efficient operations extremely difficult.


Training

The difficulties with C3 in both the HVO Operative Zone Central Bosnia and the ABiH III Corps were in part the product of the low level of individual, unit, and specialist training. Training and discipline were weak in both armies except in the elite special purpose and military police units whose personnel apparently received extra training, were better armed, and exhibited a higher level of discipline and cohesion. The short duration of the Muslim-Croat conflict and the comparatively short existence of both the HVO and the ABiH, compounded by the exigencies of the war against the Bosnian Serb army, made the attainment of a high level of individual, unit, and specialist training all but impossible. Nevertheless, both the HVO and the ABiH attempted to provide at least rudimentary individual combat training for all personnel, and in some cases were able to offer officer training courses, specialist courses for engineers and snipers, and other forms of formal training. The HVO in central Bosnia published formal training schedules, although they seem to have been more a reflection of what commanders hoped would happen than they were realistic plans that could be and were actually carried out. Both sides also appear to have given their troops instruction in the laws of land warfare. For example, a leaflet on the subject prepared by the Croatian Red Cross was distributed to the HVO units in the OZCB.1

The ABiH early on contemplated the establishment of a war college to train officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs), but it apparently did not come into being during the period under consideration. Courses for detachment commanders were organized at brigade level, and officers from other corps areas were sent to Zenica for training in engineering and other matters.2 Soldiers in the elite 7th Muslim Motorized Brigade apparently received at least fifteen days of individual training, including the use of individual weapons, automatic rifles, and mortars.3 They no doubt also received

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