Helion's Operation Deliberate Force: Air War over Bosnia-Herzegovina 1992-1995
|$24.95 MSRP from Casemate|
88 pages, softcover, over 100
The events in the Balkans in the 1990s were, to say the least, complex. The loss of the iron hand of Tito and the dissolving of the Soviet Union put into play nationalistic ferver in several parts of what was once Yugoslavia. The relatively peaceful separation of Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia let to a much nastier situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where not only ethnic, but also religion difference let to the worst atrocities in Europe since the end of WWII. It also got NATO involved and as such, the first time there were combat sorties by the Germans and Italians since 1945.
Initially, the UN established what were supposed to be 'safe zones' in highly populated areas. Flights from Croatia into these areas were constantly under attack by Serbs to the point that they had to be flown at night and at varied times to help ensure that aid could get through. During this time, there were also 'no fly' areas where Serbian military aircraft were not supposed to fly. Not surprisingly, the Serbian military and air forces ignored both the safe and no-fly zones. Though NATO patrolled these areas, there was plenty of time those jets were not in the area and the Serbs took full advantage of that time to launch strikes.
Eventually NATO got fed up with this sort of things and from this evolved operation Deliberate Force, where NATO aircraft sought out Serb ground forces, radar stations, anti-aircraft and missile sites (the Serbs were using SA-2s in ground to ground as well as ground to air missions), as well as supply dumps and air fields. These missions became quite hazardous and after losing a few aircraft, NATO turned to using Tomahawk missiles and precision guided munitions to accomplish the mission. This was highly successful and greatly reduced casualties to the civilian population compared to standard bombing and ground attack. It worked and the Serbs removed their artillery and pretty much stopped air operations over B-H.
This book covers more than just the operation. It provides a look at the men, training and equipment of the Serbian Air Force and their capabilities. In 1992, the Serbian Air Force controlled the skies and was fairly effective in the war effort. 1993-94, NATO got involved in patrolling the skies, while 1995 was when the air fighting got quite involved. Despite Deliberate Force, the Serbs were still able to pull off combat missions. NATO never did touch those areas in the eastern part of the area and that is from where Serbian missions were flown.
The book is superbly researched and written by one who is very much an expert on the situation in the Balkans during the 1990s. We get a look at the personalities involved, the equipment used and the progression of the war along with its aftermath. Add into this some great period photos, full color profiles, and several stats sections and you get as complete a look of the situation as you will find anywhere. I learned a ton from this book and I know you will as well. Highly recommended.
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