Yugoslav ground force lost

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eloise

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Unread post02 Dec 2017, 11:10

The question is simple: How many Serbia APC, Tank were actually destroyed by NATO airstrike?
There are so many numbers around that i feel quite confused.
Throughout the war; 181 NATO strikes were reported against tanks, 317 against armored personnel vehicles, 800 against other military vehicles, and 857 against artillery and mortars,[110] after a total of 38,000 sorties, or 200 sorties per day at the beginning of the conflict and over 1,000 at the end of the conflict.[111] When it came to alleged hits, 93 tanks, 153 APCs, 339 other vehicles, and 389 artillery systems were believed to have been disabled or destroyed with certainty.[112] The Department of Defense and Joint Chief of Staff had earlier provided a figure of 120 tanks, 220 APCs, and 450 artillery systems, and a Newsweek piece published around a year later stated that only 14 tanks, 18 APCs, and 20 artillery systems had actually been obliterated,[112] not that far from the Serbs’ own estimates of 13 tanks, 6 APCs, and 6 artillery pieces.[113] However, this reporting was heavily criticised, as it was based on the number of vehicles found during the assessment of the Munitions Effectiveness Assessment Team, which wasn’t interested in the effectiveness of anything but the ordnance, and surveyed sites that hadn’t been visited in nearly three-months, at a time when the most recent of strikes were four-weeks old.
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tincansailor

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Unread post05 Dec 2017, 06:28

[
quote="eloise"]The question is simple: How many Serbia APC, Tank were actually destroyed by NATO airstrike?
There are so many numbers around that i feel quite confused.
Throughout the war; 181 NATO strikes were reported against tanks, 317 against armored personnel vehicles, 800 against other military vehicles, and 857 against artillery and mortars,[110] after a total of 38,000 sorties, or 200 sorties per day at the beginning of the conflict and over 1,000 at the end of the conflict.[111] When it came to alleged hits, 93 tanks, 153 APCs, 339 other vehicles, and 389 artillery systems were believed to have been disabled or destroyed with certainty.[112] The Department of Defense and Joint Chief of Staff had earlier provided a figure of 120 tanks, 220 APCs, and 450 artillery systems, and a Newsweek piece published around a year later stated that only 14 tanks, 18 APCs, and 20 artillery systems had actually been obliterated,[112] not that far from the Serbs’ own estimates of 13 tanks, 6 APCs, and 6 artillery pieces.[113] However, this reporting was heavily criticised, as it was based on the number of vehicles found during the assessment of the Munitions Effectiveness Assessment Team, which wasn’t interested in the effectiveness of anything but the ordnance, and surveyed sites that hadn’t been visited in nearly three-months, at a time when the most recent of strikes were four-weeks old.

[/quote]

The Kosovo campaign was an embarrassment for NATO tactical air power. NATO completely failed to inflict serious casualties on Serbian forces. It was NATO attacks on Serbian economic targets that brought them to it's knees. We reverted to the origins of air force thinking, strategic bombing. We hit Serbian chemical plants, urban transportation targets, The studios of Serbian national television were hit. Our objective was to make the Serbian civilian population suffer, and force their government to end the war, and it worked.

A decade later Israel found itself in a similar situation. They were under heavy rocket attack from Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israeli air and artillery forces were tasked with suppressing the threat. They failed utterly to destroy the rocket launchers. They decided to take the advice of gen Billy Mitchell and reverted to a strategic bombing campaign. Lebanon was made to suffer with massive attacks on it's transportation network. Hezbollah lost it's popularity for bringing economic ruin on the country. Internal political pressure forced Hezbollah to end the war, and assure both Israel, and the government in Beirut that they wouldn't do it again, at least anytime soon.

Back in Desert Storm the 100 hour ground war destroyed more Iraqi tanks, and other weapons then 6 weeks of bombing did. The army drove the Iraqi's out of Kuwait, something the air force failed to do. All this recent experience should teach us that air power acting on it's own cannot defeat a determined dug in enemy army. Tactical air power is most effective when employed in conjunction with ground, and naval forces. Recent history tells us those thinking that air power alone will be able to neutralize NK missile, rocket, and artillery forces are almost certainly mistaken.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post05 Dec 2017, 17:01

tincansailor wrote:
The Kosovo campaign was an embarrassment for NATO tactical air power. NATO completely failed to inflict serious casualties on Serbian forces. It was NATO attacks on Serbian economic targets that brought them to it's knees. We reverted to the origins of air force thinking, strategic bombing. We hit Serbian chemical plants, urban transportation targets, The studios of Serbian national television were hit. Our objective was to make the Serbian civilian population suffer, and force their government to end the war, and it worked.

A decade later Israel found itself in a similar situation. They were under heavy rocket attack from Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israeli air and artillery forces were tasked with suppressing the threat. They failed utterly to destroy the rocket launchers. They decided to take the advice of gen Billy Mitchell and reverted to a strategic bombing campaign. Lebanon was made to suffer with massive attacks on it's transportation network. Hezbollah lost it's popularity for bringing economic ruin on the country. Internal political pressure forced Hezbollah to end the war, and assure both Israel, and the government in Beirut that they wouldn't do it again, at least anytime soon.

Back in Desert Storm the 100 hour ground war destroyed more Iraqi tanks, and other weapons then 6 weeks of bombing did. The army drove the Iraqi's out of Kuwait, something the air force failed to do. All this recent experience should teach us that air power acting on it's own cannot defeat a determined dug in enemy army. Tactical air power is most effective when employed in conjunction with ground, and naval forces. Recent history tells us those thinking that air power alone will be able to neutralize NK missile, rocket, and artillery forces are almost certainly mistaken.


Embarrasment?

It's not that black and white at all. And your examples are wrong. The 1991 perspective you show is utterly skewed and defeats your point. Massive strategic bombing failed to remove the army from Kuwait, so the air force finally started shifting toward tactical after weeks of the army complaining that strategic bombing has failed. So one could say that defeats your strategic only point.

It wasn't a failure of tactical bombing. They started tactical targeting after the strategic campaign failed and then they took out a bunker full of civilians. The army was furious with the air forces targeting and the junior ground leadership was appalled at the lack of battlefield help as the ground offensive neared.

So one could say that tactical targeting only happened at all after the strategic campaign failed. It was an afterthought so judging it's effectiveness without context is foolish. There is tons of evidence to back this up. Cal waller was on the record on the subject many times. Including schwartzkopf threatening to choke buster glossun after buster continually redirected tac strikes to strategic targets. The army was livid. The strategic campaign had been tried, and failed, but the air force kept trying.

So you're really cherry picking the arguments. Your also leaving out 2003 and other more recent examples of tactical airpower making a difference.

Sincerely xander crews, Guy who had to write lots of briefings about airpower in the 1990s and it's conclusions
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tincansailor

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Unread post06 Dec 2017, 05:54

[Embarrasment?

It's not that black and white at all. And your examples are wrong. The 1991 perspective you show is utterly skewed and defeats your point. Massive strategic bombing failed to remove the army from Kuwait, so the air force finally started shifting toward tactical after weeks of the army complaining that strategic bombing has failed. So one could say that defeats your strategic only point.

It wasn't a failure of tactical bombing. They started tactical targeting after the strategic campaign failed and then they took out a bunker full of civilians. The army was furious with the air forces targeting and the junior ground leadership was appalled at the lack of battlefield help as the ground offensive neared.

So one could say that tactical targeting only happened at all after the strategic campaign failed. It was an afterthought so judging it's effectiveness without context is foolish. There is tons of evidence to back this up. Cal waller was on the record on the subject many times. Including schwartzkopf threatening to choke buster glossun after buster continually redirected tac strikes to strategic targets. The army was livid. The strategic campaign had been tried, and failed, but the air force kept trying.

So you're really cherry picking the arguments. Your also leaving out 2003 and other more recent examples of tactical airpower making a difference.

Sincerely xander crews, Guy who had to write lots of briefings about airpower in the 1990s and it's conclusions

[/quote]


Your countering an argument I'm not making. I didn't suggest that the USAF should adapt a strategic bombing strategy, I said they did that in Kosovo, and the Israelis did it in Lebanon. They reverted to their classic strategy because tactical bombing of a dispersed dug army had failed. Yes tactical air power can be very effective, in conjunction with offensive ground operations. The two complement each other, they are weaker apart.

There is still a lot to be said for strategic bombing. it was highly effective in WWII. It was devastating in Korea. When we finally used it in Vietnam we got political results. What your calling strategic bombing in DS was mostly interdiction, SEAD missions, and attacks of CCC. Only the F-117 was allowed to bomb targets in Baghdad. The RAF spent a lot of effort to attack airfields, because they had trained for that mission, and we thought their air force would be more active.

Bad weather was a major factor in DS. More aircraft on tank plinking missions wouldn't have helped if they couldn't find targets. All our B-52s were available for tactical bombing, didn't we use them? Just how much more could you really have used effectively? With all we had it's remarkable how little we destroyed. We did destroy the moral of their low rated infantry divisions. The Republican Guards, and regular army armored divisions were left almost fully intact, and able to engage in mobile warfare when the Ground War started. The army made short work of them.

I don't know what your point is about 2003? That reinforces my point. Their was no extended air war. The army rolled into Iraq on day 1. That was a mobile battle, where the enemy had to fight in the open, and air power could be used effectively in support of ground troops. That's just my point, air and ground power should be used together, not separately.

If you think I'm cherry picking, give me a contrary example? Show me an example where an air force defeated an army by it's self?
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pmi

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Unread post08 Dec 2017, 20:36

Geez you two.

tincansailor wrote:The Kosovo campaign was an embarrassment for NATO tactical air power. NATO completely failed to inflict serious casualties on Serbian forces. It was NATO attacks on Serbian economic targets that brought them to it's knees. We reverted to the origins of air force thinking, strategic bombing. We hit Serbian chemical plants, urban transportation targets, The studios of Serbian national television were hit. Our objective was to make the Serbian civilian population suffer, and force their government to end the war, and it worked.


It is very likely that Milošević capitulated because the Russians told him that the US was going to put close to 200,000 troops in his front yard (Gen Clark's plan). Initially President Clinton had maintained there would be no boots on the ground. With no threat of an actual invasion, the Serbs were content to dig in, weather the storm & fight the propaganda war. Learning that NATO was doing a 180 & starting to plan a major ground offensive, coupled with the loss of support from the Russians was a kick in the gut. There is little evidence that suggests the air campaign itself had much impact on the Serbs ability to fight, their morale or their surrender.

Back in Desert Storm the 100 hour ground war destroyed more Iraqi tanks, and other weapons then 6 weeks of bombing did. The army drove the Iraqi's out of Kuwait, something the air force failed to do. All this recent experience should teach us that air power acting on it's own cannot defeat a determined dug in enemy army. Tactical air power is most effective when employed in conjunction with ground, and naval forces. Recent history tells us those thinking that air power alone will be able to neutralize NK missile, rocket, and artillery forces are almost certainly mistaken.


It wasn't the air force's job to drive the Iraqi's out of Kuwait. Phase II & III were set from the beginning. The main role of the AF against Iraqi ground targets was always seen as shaping the battlefield for Phase IV (the ground assault).

And forgive me for a moment pedantic service flag waving but it wasn't the Army that drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait either. The Army destroyed the large maneuver units across southern Iraq and cut off their flanks, but the forces in KTO were almost exclusively USMC. The Tiger Brigade being the primary exception. ;)

XanderCrews wrote:It wasn't a failure of tactical bombing. They started tactical targeting after the strategic campaign failed and then they took out a bunker full of civilians. The army was furious with the air forces targeting and the junior ground leadership was appalled at the lack of battlefield help as the ground offensive neared.


See my point above. Phase I was the strategic campaign. The shift to Phase II & III was unrelated to any perceived failure. It was always planned from the beginning. Yes there was a struggle between the Army & AF over what should be prioritized but there was not a rewriting of the original plan that led to abandoning strategic for tactical targets.

The destruction of the Amiriyah shelter played little (if any) role in how targets were chosen. It was seen as a valid target & the onus was placed on the Iraqi regime for co-locating civilians within a military target. Remember we had already dealt with the 'baby milk plant' propaganda when a biological weapon production facility was targeted during the first week of the air campaign, and the threats to put hostages in high value targets.

So one could say that tactical targeting only happened at all after the strategic campaign failed. It was an afterthought so judging it's effectiveness without context is foolish. There is tons of evidence to back this up. Cal waller was on the record on the subject many times. Including schwartzkopf threatening to choke buster glossun after buster continually redirected tac strikes to strategic targets. The army was livid. The strategic campaign had been tried, and failed, but the air force kept trying.


Waller stated that he threatened Gen Glossun for retasking away from tactical & towards strategic targets (ie Baathist party HQ etc). Waller felt that Glossun would BS Schwarzkopf to sway his opinion towards going after high value strategic targets.

tincansailor wrote:There is still a lot to be said for strategic bombing. it was highly effective in WWII. It was devastating in Korea. When we finally used it in Vietnam we got political results. What your calling strategic bombing in DS was mostly interdiction, SEAD missions, and attacks of CCC. Only the F-117 was allowed to bomb targets in Baghdad. The RAF spent a lot of effort to attack airfields, because they had trained for that mission, and we thought their air force would be more active.


To be blunt the effectiveness of strategic bombing has been exaggerated by the air power proponents in every conflict. The one time it was overwhelming successful in achieving it's goals were the atomic attacks on Japan and unless you are a lunatic like Curtis LeMay that should be pretty far down on the list of preferred options.

To be honest I'm not exactly sure why you two are bickering. There is a lot of talking past one another in an apparent need to be 'right' but you are both arguing from positions that are pretty close together.
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Unread post08 Dec 2017, 21:22

Land operation wasn't want Chernomyrdin presented to Milosevic, it was much larger bombing campaign which would start if he doesn't accept therms. Milosevic expected short campaign, but instead of week or two he was stuck with 78 days of bombing. His wife said in BBC interview they expected it would last couple of days :doh:
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Unread post09 Dec 2017, 19:31

Slobo's wife believed what she did because Slobo was was delusional and telling her that. Weasely Clark and other weak-a** politicians out of uniform in too many allied nations kept the air campaign from doing what the AIr Boss always advocated and planned. The AF ended up adding assets on their own to allow LtGen Short to start going after some of targets he wanted to hit all along. When Serbs started feeling the heat in their own neighborhood, then they woke up to reality. They would have woke up sooner if ever ALL the right targets had been on the table.

What targets would you have like to have bombed that you weren't allowed to bomb? The politicians say to me, "Oh, he was able to bomb them all, in the end. "

There were still military and political targets in Belgrade I'd like to have gone after. Clearly, I'd like to have dropped the Rock and Roll Bridge. . . . There were other bridges across the Danube that we would like to have dropped. There were economic targets, factories, plant capabilities that had dual capacity for producing military goods and civilian goods. You understand the law of war as well as I do. You don't attack civilians or purely civilian targets, but you can attack economic entities that contribute to the military machine, and we did very little of that. There was still part of the power grid that we hadn't hit. . . . Even if we went after everything we wanted, it was incremental, slowly ratcheting up. Air war, as I understand it, and as we wanted to practice it, is designed to go after that target set, as rapidly and as violently and with as much lethality as possible. Just stun the enemy. And we never stunned them, from my perspective.

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontlin ... short.html

It is hard to say who did the most spinning of the truth after the shooting stopped.
1. Serbs moved a ton of damaged hardware out of Kosovo before anyone could count it and thus the myth of it was "mostly decoys that fooled them" were born.
2. The US Army's drumbeat about the "threat of a ground war" or the impact of Kosovoan resistance on the ground being key factors seemed to be required to assuage Army insecurities, and
3. Clark wrote his CYA book in record time trying to convince anyone that there was ever a credible chance of a ground war, when he was the only one advocating boots on the ground.
4. I saw a USN brief afterwards that if you didn't know any better you'd of thought the USN was the indispensable force. (Not saying they didn't play a major role)
--The ultimate weapon is the mind of man.
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arian

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Unread post16 Dec 2017, 05:00

tincansailor wrote:The Kosovo campaign was an embarrassment for NATO tactical air power. NATO completely failed to inflict serious casualties on Serbian forces.


Nonsense (oh wait I just noticed who I'm quoting. LOL)

Serbian armored losses in Kosovo are known and documented. At least the ones recovered on the ground after the war.

Between 26-28 tanks were recovered destroyed in Kosovo and about 20 APCs. All these are documented in photographs. Plenty of evidence exists of additional units destroyed but not recovered on the ground. That represents about 15% of the Serbian army in Kosovo.

Of course strikes on ground vehicles weren't only in Kosovo but in Serbia proper itself too, and those were obviously not recovered. And there's plenty of evidence that the Serbs did take out damaged or destroyed vehicles as well which were not recovered.

Serbs didn't suffer heavier losses in armor due to one simple reason: they couldn't use them very much during the war. Which is kind of the point of an air campaign: keep the enemy from even moving out and using his forces, because if he does he gets destroyed. Not sure how such a thing is spun into a "victory" for the Serbs. Hiding under trees in a forest for the duration of the war is not exactly a way to win a war. That's exactly what defeat looks like.

So,

1) Devastating Serbian infrastructure and ability to wage war
2) Devastating its air force with about 120 aircraft lost on the ground
3) Devastating its air defense almost completely
4) Pinning down its ground forces and preventing them from conducting effective ground operations
5) While also destroying about 15% of its ground equipment (at least, which was recovered as destroyed)

All of that with about an average of about 40 strike sorties per day in the space of 3 months (which is about the level of intensity we see in Syria or Iraq today).

By comparison US and allies conducted ~700 combat sorties a day during OIF. During Desert Storm, just A-10s flew about as many total combat sorties, in a shorter period of time, as the total combat sorties flown during Allied Force. Which gives you an idea of how much Allied Force was actually a very limited and small operation.

This is an "embarrassment"? NATO barely even tried to focus on ground attack in the first place, because it was not necessary nor where there any targets for it. It was a target of opportunity situation. Focusing on "ground units destroyed" is for children and Newsweek magazine. That was barely NATO's focus at all, nor is that what matters when the enemy isn't even going out to fight in the first place because you've made it impossible for him to do so.

So in conclusion, to answer Eloise's original question, 46 (+/- a couple) armored vehicles were recovered destroyed in what was, in fact, an afterthought of the aims of the operation in the first place.
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Unread post16 Dec 2017, 05:17

PS: Not that there was very much need for the Serb ground forces and especially armored forces to go out in the first place. There was little for them to do in Kosovo at that point so what kind of an idiot would move out massed armored units into the open? So there was never much opportunity (nor much deliberate tasking) of going after armored forces. Most of the kills were done in a handful of situations (5-6 cases) when small armored units (3-6 tanks) were detected hiding inside villages.

Neither side was playing that game in the first place.

Total Serb armored deployment in the theater was about 140-150 tanks (1 armored brigade and 2 mechanized/motorized brigades) and about 140-150 armored vehicles (military police had some too). Not all of these were deployed in Kosovo but in the overall 3rd Army area of responsibility which included all of Southern Serbia. And NATO strikes on ground vehicles were not limited to just Kosovo either but surrounding areas too. So if we take this ~300 armored vehicle force, we come to about 15% total recovered losses. But this is probably an under-estimate as it is not 15% of total deployed in Kosovo, but higher than that. And doesn't count vehicles destroyed outside of Kosovo or vehicles recovered by Serbs. So quite a substantial % lost given the rarity with which they went outside of their hiding areas, and the rarity of NATO targeting of such units (and the anemic nature of the operation overall).
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Unread post18 Dec 2017, 22:07

The point is an air force can't drive an army out of occupied territory, if it's determined to stay there. War is about forcing an enemy to submit to your will. I pointed out that there have been times when a strategic bombing campaign caused enough political pain to force a government to make peace on the enemies terms. Some regimes are so totalitarian in nature that almost no amount of pain inflicted on it's people can make them submit.

In WWII strategic bombing succeeded in crippling the Axis Powers ability to sustain a massive attritional war, by disrupting their economies. They ran out of weapons, fuel, and food, and the Allies had plenty of what they needed to win. Germany had to be occupied to end their resistance. No level of suffering by his people could have ever forced a nihilistic leader like Hitler to surrender. His final judgment was the people were unworthy of him, and he held enough control over his regime to keep it fighting till the bitter end. I'm sure Kim Jong-UN would say the same thing.

With it's cities destroyed, economy shut down, lines of communications cut, and facing mass starvation wasn't enough to make Japan give up. The Soviet declaration of war did it, not the Atomic Bombs, (Dropping them was the correct decision). By destroying the last overseas army Japan considered an asset, and cutting their last diplomatic contact with a major power convinced them that surrender was their only option. It's tragic how much suffering can be caused by pride.
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Unread post19 Dec 2017, 00:58

tincansailor wrote:The point is an air force can't drive an army out of occupied territory,


So? This is a strawman.

War is about forcing an enemy to submit to your will.


Pretty sure we did that in 1999.

I pointed out that there have been times when a strategic bombing campaign caused enough political pain to force a government to make peace on the enemies terms. Some regimes are so totalitarian in nature that almost no amount of pain inflicted on it's people can make them submit.


And again, this already happened in 1999. Strategic bombing is not the same thing as going after ground vehicles. And Serbia under Milosevic was nowhere near a "totalitarian" nation.

In WWII strategic bombing succeeded in crippling the Axis Powers ability to sustain a massive attritional war, by disrupting their economies. They ran out of weapons, fuel, and food, and the Allies had plenty of what they needed to win. Germany had to be occupied to end their resistance. No level of suffering by his people could have ever forced a nihilistic leader like Hitler to surrender. His final judgment was the people were unworthy of him, and he held enough control over his regime to keep it fighting till the bitter end. I'm sure Kim Jong-UN would say the same thing.


Again, strawman. We are talking about one specific conflict here: 1999 Yugoslavia. It has nothing to do with anything you're talking about.

With it's cities destroyed, economy shut down, lines of communications cut, and facing mass starvation wasn't enough to make Japan give up. The Soviet declaration of war did it, not the Atomic Bombs,


:roll: Sigh.

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