|YU Army Decoys
Jun 14 2000
- The Yugoslav army displayed a range of crudely-made decoys that had tricked NATO pilots
into firing away from genuine targets during the alliance's 1999 air aggression.
The head of Yugoslavia's Third Army division, Colonel-General
Vladimir Lazarevic, sought the upper hand in the post-war public relations battle by
reiterating accusations that the West had exaggerated the damage inflicted by its bombs.
"The first victim (of the war) was the truth," said
Lazarevic, who headed the army's Pristina Corps during the conflict. Lazarevic, speaking
at the bomb-damaged headquarters of the Third Army in the southern Serbian city of Nis,
put its losses at 13 tanks, 10 armoured personnel carriers as well as some artillery
pieces - well below Western estimates.
"The truth is that the losses in military equipment were
minimal," he said in an interview. "Never before in the history of warfare have
such low losses been seen."
He did not go into detail about army strategy for avoiding greater
damage, nor did he give military casualty figures. But journalists were later shown decoys
at an army base outside Nis which army personnel said were used in Kosovo.
Intended to trick hostile aircraft into going after the wrong
targets, the decoys include dummies of soldiers filled with hay standing next to fake
anti-aircraft guns made out of various metal parts, including old water pipes.
One decoy was a multiple rocket launcher with rusty vegetable cans
as barrels. "It looks primitive, but it was very effective," said one army
official. "The results were very good."
Another army officer said the decoys had contributed greatly to
reduced hardware losses. He said most of them were hit during the March-to-June air war.
reporters could approach a field where a dozen or so decoys were scattered, soldiers
covered some of the larger ones so they could not be seen. The army said these decoys had
survived the bombing and been brought back by soldiers withdrawing from Kosovo last year
to Nis, where the Pristina Corps, named after the provincial capital, is now based.
Last month, the Pentagon and the U.S. Air Force denied a Western
media report that the U.S. military and NATO had vastly inflated bomb damage wrought on
An article in the U.S. magazine Newsweek said the air strikes were
very accurate against fixed targets but ineffective against tanks, armoured vehicles and
U.S. Air Force Brigadier General John Corley, director of studies
and analysis at U.S. Air Force headquarters in Europe, conceded that only about 26
destroyed and burned-out Serb tanks were found by his team after the bombing ended.
General Lazarevic said KFOR peacekeepers had failed to stop
separatist Albanian attacks against non-Albanians and suggested that they should be
replaced by Serbian troops.
"There is no peace in Kosovo, there is no peace in the
Balkans, unless the international security troops, the way they are, withdraw from
Kosovo," he said.
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