43rd Motorized Brigade of the Republika Srpska Army - 43.ª Brigada Motorizada del Ejército de la República Srpska

43.ª Motorizada del Ejército de la Republika Spska Brigade
43rd Prijedor Motorized Brigade (43rd pmtbr)
43rd Prijedor Motorized Brigade
Original name: 343rd Motorized Brigade
43rd Prijedor Motorized Brigade.jpg
Brigade emblem
Active 1991/1995
country Yugoslavia flag (1991)
Flag of the Republika Srpska(1992 onwards)
Fidelity Yugoslavia Yugoslav People's Army (1991)
Republika Srpska Army of the Republika Srpska (1992 onwards)
Rama/s army
Type Light infantry
Size Officers 289; NCO 420; soldiers 5415. Total 6124, equivalent to 121% of their organization chart (May 27, 1992).
Part of Body JNA 5th (1991)
1. er body Krajina (from 1992).
Quartering Cuartel Žarko Zgonjanin. Prijedor
High command
Until October 1991 Coronel Vladimir Arsić
As of October 1992 Coronel Radmilo Željaja
Last commander Radovan Šmitran
War Unit 4777
Wars and battles

Croatian War : Operation in Defense of Serbian Sectors

Bosnian War : Operation Corridor ; Operation Sadejstvo 93; Operation Vaganj 95.

The 43rd Motorized Brigade of the Republika Srpska Army ( Vojska Republike Srpske - VRS) was, initially, a regular unit of the Yugoslav People's Army ( Jugoslovenska Narodna Armija - JNA) based in the Zarko Zgonjanin barracks , in the city of Prijedor. ( Bosnia and Herzegovina ). With its original name 343.ª Motorized Brigade , was part of the order of battle of the 5th Corps in Banja Luka .

The 343rd Brigade fought in the fourth quarter of 1991 in Western Slavonia during the Croatian War . Following the withdrawal of the APB of Bosnia in 1992, it became part of the Army of RS (VRS) being renamed Motorized Brigade 43 Prijedor framed in also renowned 1. er body Krajina (1.KK) of Banja Luka .

She fought in Posavina , Bihać and the Prijedor area during the Bosnian War between 1992 and 1995. She is currently demobilized.

Dependence and mobilization

The 343rd Motorized Brigade was part of the order of battle of the 5th Corps of the JNA when on September 16, 1991 it received the mobilization order. [ 1 ] It took place at very difficult times as the 343rd Regiment was being transformed into a brigade, a process that had not been completed at the time. The material and weapons were not complete. [ 2 ]

Muslims did not respond to the call so only 42.3% of the posts were filled. [ 2 ] The staffing came from around Prijedor . The municipality of the same name had a slight Muslim majority (according to the 1991 census, it had 112,470 people: 43.8% Muslims, 42.2% Serbs, 5.6% Croats, and 5.7% Yugoslavs [ 3 ] ) .

The Yugoslav People's Army officially left Bosnia and Herzegovina on May 12, 1992, shortly after independence, declared by Bosnia in April. However, most of the higher-ranking chain of command, weaponry and military personnel, including General Ratko Mladić , remained in Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the VRS.

As a consequence of the transition of JNA units in Bosnia and Herzegovina in May 1992 into the (initially) Army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (VSR BiH) and later the Army of the Republika Srpska (VRS) and with renaming of the 5th Corps JNA in 1 st Corps of Krajina of the VRS, the brigade was redesignated as the 43rd Motorized Brigade. [ 1 ]

To unify command and control of units in the Prijedor area, the 5th Corps established in May, the Prijedor Regional Command based on the garrison command that existed in the Zarko Zgonjanin barracks. The commander of the 43rd Motorized Brigade was at the same time commander of the Prijedor Regional Command. [ 1 ]

As the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina deteriorated, the control of TOs [ Note 1 ] became increasingly important. On April 15, 1992, the Presidency of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (RS BiH) adopted a decision announcing a state of imminent threat of war and the mobilization of the TO throughout the territory of RS BiH. All recruits they were forced to place themselves at the disposal of the TO municipal commands. [ 1 ]

On May 12, during the 16th Session of the Assembly of the Serbian People in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (VRS) was established establishing that existing TO units and personnel would be renamed in the commands and units of the new VRS and began a process of full integration of the TO. [ 1 ]

Brigade War History

Organization of the 5th Corps of the JNA . July 1991

1991. Operations in Croatia (343rd Motorized Brigade of the JNA)

On September 17, 1991, the brigade was ordered to send a reinforced motorized battalion to the Stara Gradiška area . On the 19th, the second battalion left Karani ( Brezičani ), with recruitment in Rakelići , Ćela , Gomjenica and was sent to Croatia ( Novska sector : Lovska , Trokut, Bujavica , Kuknjevac ), together with the 16th Motorized Proletarian Brigade . There it will remain until June 1992. [ 4 ] On the same day, the rest of the brigade also crossed the Sava River to be engaged inWestern Slavonia . There it was reinforced by fractions of the TO.

His baptism of fire was the capture of Gornji Varos on September 20 at 0500. On the 25th, the brigade was deployed in Kusonje , Bair , Bujavica and Pakrac . On October 3, he occupied Gornji Čaglić and Lipik on the 11th, when he suffered the first death in combat. From September 19 to the end of December, the brigade covered a 34 km front. [ 5 ]

On October 17, some 300 soldiers from the 3rd Battalion of the 343rd Brigade deserted their positions in Dereza and marched to Prijedor at a time when there was no fighting there. [ 6 ]

At the end of October, the entire brigade is withdrawn to Prijedor for rest until November 17 when it returns to its positions. The return went to unfavorable positions as the Croats had attacked Jagma , Kukunjevak and Subocka . [ 4 ] Then the 343rd Motorized Brigade returned to the direction of Bijela Stijena - Lipik - Pakrac. Shortly after the brigade arrived in Western Slavonia, a volunteer company of the Brigade under the leadership of Momčilo Radanović - Ciga was deployed to the Kricka - Brezovac - Livadani - Korita area. According to some sources, one can assume that other fractions brigade were stationed in the area when the Croatian making Motel Trokut occurs 19. [ 7 ]

As a result of the Croatian recovery of Lipik ( Operation Orada ), part of the brigade members left their posts. The command of the 5th JNA Corps replaced them in Japaga , Kovačevac Čaglićki and Radjenovci with members of the 122nd Brigade brought from Gornji Varoš - Uskoci . [ 7 ]

With the ceasefire of January 3, 1992, signed in Sarajevo the day before, and within the framework of the Vance Plan , the brigade remained in Western Slavonia providing security. Prior to handing over responsibility for the sector to UNPROFOR , on July 1, 1992, the unit completed its withdrawal to Bosnia and Herzegovina . [ 5 ] [ 4 ]

1992. Operations in Bosnia

Organization of the 1st Corps of the VRS Krajina. May 1992
Evolution of the situation in Prijedor

Following the Bosnian elections in November 1990, Serbian political forces were concerned about the changing demographic balance in favor of the Muslim population. He became one of the central issues in the political life of the municipality during 1991 and 1992. [ 8 ]

During the war in Croatia in 1991, tension increased between the Serbian community in Prijedor and its Muslim and Croatian communities. There was a large influx of Serbian refugees from Slovenia and Croatia. At the same time, Muslims and Croats began to leave the area due to a growing sense of insecurity and fear. [ 8 ]

Pro-Serbian propaganda became more and more visible. A Serbian paramilitary unit seized the broadcasting station on Mount Kozara in August 1991. TV Sarajevo was cut off and replaced by broadcasts from Belgrade and Banja Luka . The Serbian media spread the idea that Serbs had to arm themselves to avoid being slaughtered as they were during WWII. [ 8 ]

At the meeting of the Municipality of Prijedor of the SDS [ Note 2 ] [Note 2] [Note 2] on December 27, 1991, representatives of SDS decided to overthrow existing legitimate authorities of Prijedor and replace them with loyal and form independent Serbian bodies. In the session of January 7, 1992, the Serbian members of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor and the presidents of the local Municipal Boards of SDS proclaimed the Assembly of the Serbian People of the Municipality of Prijedor. [ 8 ]

At the end of April 1992, several clandestine Serbian police stations were created in the municipality and more than 1,500 armed men were ready to take control of the Prijedor government institutions. On the night of April 29-30, 1992, Serbian forces seized control of Prijedor "without firing a single shot." [ 8 ]

However, it is after Bosnian Serb political, military and police forces took control of Prijedor that they committed most of the crimes that the ICTY has prosecuted. It was then that they established the Omarska , Keraterm and Trnopolje camps , which were known for the depravity of the crimes committed there. Evidence in several cases before the ICTY showed that these camps were not established by chance but were the result of an intentional policy to impose a system of discrimination against the non-Serb population of Prijedor. [ 8 ]

When the brigade returned from Croatia on rest in October 1991, inter-communal tensions had increased. Faced with the situation, the brigade command contacted the leadership of the SDS, giving them important support for the defense of the Serbs in the event of a Muslim attack. He conducted intelligence on SDA activities and plans throughout the region. [ 2 ] The camplo of Karatern was under responsibility brigade 43 [ 9 ]

Brigade fighting (43rd Motorized Brigade of the Republika Srpska Army)

While part of the brigade was in Western Slavonia until July 1992, another important part, including artillery, was already in the area of Prijedor in April / May 1992. [ 1 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ]

In a climate of strong tension between Serbs and Muslims in northern Bosnia, two soldiers from the brigade were killed on the night of May 22 in a picket incident in Hambarine , five kilometers southeast of Prijedor. In the afternoon of the following day, elements of the brigade entered the village fighting. [ 1 ] There were approximately 400 refugees there, mostly women, children and the elderly who fled as a result of the attack that saw Serbian troops kill, rape and burn houses. [ 10 ]

Since the beginning of May, several barricades were placed at the entrance to the village of Kozarac (located on the Prijedor - Banja Luka route ) by armed Muslims. On the morning of the 24th, a column of military vehicles passing through the road was attacked. That prompted the dispatch of a motorized battalion of the 43rd Brigade, supported by two 105mm howitzers batteries and a squad of M-84 tanks. In and around the village there were about 1000 members of the Green Berets faction without heavy weapons. The fighting lasted from the 24th to the 27th and included the villages of Kozaruša , Trnopolje , Donji Jakupovici , Gornji Jakupovici , Benkovac, Ratković. [1 ] The entry of Serbian troops into the sector was followed by ethnic cleansing of all non-Serbs. [ 11 ] Much of the male population was transferred to the Keraterm , Omarska , Trnopolje camps .

On May 27, 1992, Lieutenant General Momir Talić , commander of the 1 st Corps of Banja Luka , it was reported that 800 people had died in the attack on Kozarac and 1200 others were captured. The casualties by the Corps units were four soldiers killed and fifteen wounded. [ 12 ]

On May 30, an attack on military installations (brigade headquarters) and police facilities in Prijedor by Muslim forces took place in an approximate number of 80. [ 1 ] This caused the death of 14 members of the brigade and 26 wounded. [ 5 ]

On June 10, the command of the 1 st Corps VRS gave the order for defense and security and offensive operations on its territory. The brigade was ordered to maintain its defensive positions in Western Slavonia while the Prijedor Tactical Group (part of Br 343; br 6 and newly formed units under the command of the chief of staff of Br 343) must establish command and control of all units and must keep the Prijedor - Banja Luka and Ključ - Sanski Most - Prijedor roads open and eliminate sources of crisis. [ 13 ]

On June 29, the second Battalion is sent to participate in Operation Corridor . He was a member of the fourth Tactical Group, with the commander of the brigade, Colonel Radmilo Željaja , as group leader. [ 2 ] So, the fourth battalion was formed in Rakelići while the brigade was in Croatia. On July 4 it was presented at the Saničani Stadium . [ 4 ]

1993 and 1994. Operations in Bosnia

The 4th Battalion was sent to the Gradačac sector . One company operated in Gorice ( Orašje municipality ), another in Tešanj, then Teslić and then Ozren. [ 4 ] The battalion was assigned the Šeher area and later Boderište [ 4 ] It participated in operations Sadržaj , Breza, Drina and Štit . [ 14 ]

1995. Operations in Bosnia

In 1995, the brigade returned to Prijedor successfully defending its place of origin in the last battle of the war, Operation Vaganj 95. In it, it faced the 5th ARMIJA Corps advancing from Sanski Most, arresting the Bosnian combatants in Alisic Gorge, on the Stara Reka - Ljubija line .

Order of battle


During the deployment in western Slavonia. the brigade was unable to mobilize its full capacity. It deployed in Croatia with only 42% of its force due to the non-response of the Muslims. At the beginning of 1992, personnel from the 5th Corps inspected the brigade, who reported that 47% of its personnel (a total of 2,065 men) had been mobilized. Despite this, it was reported that “the satisfaction of the men is visible, they are motivated and, in general, it is possible to count on the unit and its successful performance in the combat task. It should also be noted that by the end of May 1992, due to continued mobilization, the brigade's strength had increased considerably to a total of 5,806 men, a figure that was above the unit's established strength. [ 1 ]

On May 24, the brigade was 121% effective with respect to the operational requirement (6,124 members). [ 15 ]


The JNA 343 Brigade consisted of a series of battalions with various support units (including an artillery group, an engineer battalion, and a reconnaissance company). [ 1 ] It comprised five infantry battalions, a reconnaissance and sabotage unit, and a logistics battalion. [ 16 ] On May 22, 1992, it became the 43rd VRS Motorized Brigade. [ 9 ]

Subsequently, the brigade had two armored battalions, two infantry, a military police company, an artillery group, engineers, a motorcycle squad, a support unit and a reconnaissance detachment. [ 14 ]


At the start of the Croatian War , the commander of the brigade was Colonel Vladimir Arsić and its Chief of Staff was Lieutenant Colonel Radmilo Zeljaja . [ 17 ] In October 1992, Željaja was promoted to Colonel and placed in command of the Brigade. [ 18 ]

See also


  1. ^ Teritorijalna Odbrana. The Territorial Defense (Yugoslavia) depended on the member republics of Yugoslavia.
  2. Serbian Democratic Party. Founded in 1990 by Radovan Karadžić. The party had as its objective the unification of the Serbosnians.


  1. ^ A b c d e f g h i j k Brown, Ewan (July 18, 2002). "ICTY case IT-97-24-T p.13128". In ICTY, ed. Military Developments Prijedor Municipality 1991-1992. A Background Report (in English) . Hague. p. 8-14.
  2. a b c d Ećim, Ž (May 20, 1994). “We Know our Goal. Interview Colonel Radmilo Zeljaja ». Kozarski Vjesnik (in English) (Document ICTY. Prosecutor v. Stakic. Caso IT-97-24) (La Haya).
  3. ^ "Ethnic composition of Bosnia & Herzegovina 1991" . pop-stat.mashke.org . Retrieved October 26, 2019 .
  4. a b c d e f g Glamočanin, Mićo (August 26, 1994). "Without a battle lost." Kozarski Vjesnik (in English) (Prijedor: Documento ICTY. Exhibit P1506).
  5. ^ A b c d "To the pride and honor of the fatherland" . ICTY document. Kozara Vjesnik (Kozara. Bosnia and Herzegovina). May 25, 1994. Archived from the original on July 25, 2019.
  6. Mutic, R. Ecim, Z. (25 de octubre de 1991). «Their Comrades will not forgive them». Kozarski Vjesnik (Documento ICTY. Prosecutor vs Stakic) (Kozara).
  7. a b Martinić Jerčić, Natko (December 11, 2014). Liberation Operations of the Croatian Forces in Western Slavonia in Autumn and Winter 1991/1992 godine [ Operaciones de liberación de las fuerzas croatas en Eslavonia occidental en otoño e invierno 1991/1992. ] . Zagreb: University of Zagreb. Department of Croatian Studies. pp. 108 and 131 . Advised on April 2, 2020 .
  8. a b c d e f ICTY, ed. (April 2006). "Ethnic cleasing in Projedor." . Outreach Articles Archive | International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia . Hague. Archived from the original on October 27, 2019 . Retrieved October 27, 2019 .
  9. ^ A b Orie, Alphons and others (November 22, 2017). «Prosecutor v. Ratko Mladic » . Case IT-09-92-T (in English) . II of V: ​​654.
  10. ^ Schomburg, Wolfgang and others (July 31, 2003). Judgment . PROSECUTOR v. MILOMIR STAKIc . ICTY case IT-97-24-T.
  11. "May 24, 1992: The beginning of the aggression on Kozarac" . MojPrijedor.com - Portal of the City of Prijedor - Prijedor News (en bs-BA) . 24 de mayo de 2015 . Advised on October 19, 2019 .
  12. ^ Orie, Alphons and others (November 22, 2017). "Prosecutor V. Ratko Mladic" . ICTY case IT-09-92-T (in English) . II of V: ​​540.
  13. Talic, Momir (9 de junio e 1992). «Order for defence, security of the territory and offensive operations. Operation Number 04/92». Escrito en Stara Gradiska. Documento ICTY 0094-9869-0094-9886 (La Haya).
  14. a b Srpska, Unknown From (Saturday, January 7, 2012). "Defense-Patriotic War 91-95: 43rd Prijedor Motorized Brigade" . Defense-Patriotic War 91-95 . Advised on October 25, 2019 .
  15. 1st Krajina Corps command report on elimination of Green berets in wider area of Kozarac village, 27.05.92, #44-1/150-1. (English, 4 Pages). English • Pages: 4 • Document Type: Exhibit D178A • Date: 21/03/2003 • By: Defence counsel
  16. ^ Orie, Alphons and others (November 22, 2017). «PROSECUTOR v. RATKO MLADIĆ » . Case IT-09-92-T (in English) . III of V: ​​1776.
  17. ^ Orie, Alphons and others (November 22, 2017). «PROSECUTOR v. RATKO MLADIĆ » . Case IT-09-92-T (in English) . 1 of 4:75.
  18. ^ Mutic, R. (October 9, 1992). "Liutenant colonel Radmilo Željaja new commander" . Kozarski Vjesnik (in English) (Prijedor: Document ICTY Exhibit P1487. Case IT 99-36). p. 12. Archived from the original on July 25, 2019.