SPECIAL REPORT: Clash in Yugoslavia
November 10, 2009
Overview / Beaches
of Blood / Operation
Failure / Terrorism
Attacks on NATO
Croatian capital of Zagreb is under siege with many of its residents
hiding in cellars and any other place they can find for safety, as
Serbian military units continue to move into the city.
Outside the capital, NATO forces continue to consolidate their
positions and plan their next course of action.
The road has been a long one and it initially looked as if NATO
might lose it's first war as Serbian units overwhelmed the Croatian and
NATO units that arrived before the battle and then raced into the
capital. That battle lasted
several hours and saw many dead on both sides as NATO worked to stop any
further movement west by Serbian forces.
Now the front lines have stabilized for the most part and NATO is
working at cutting off the Serbian military units inside Croatia from
F15 escorting a B2 stealth bomber
enroute to Serbian airspace
roam over the countryside, dropping bridges into rivers, destroying
truck convoys, and attacking key Serbian positions throughout the
region. NATO aircraft are
operating from airfields in Italy, onboard US aircraft carriers now off
the coast of the former Yugoslavia, and from neighboring Slovenia.
NATO sources are now saying that only a few small Serbian units
have reinforced the Croatian capital since it's initial capture,
regardless of what the Serbian leader and media are saying.
It appears the air war has gone to the American led NATO side
following several attempts by Serbian fighters to interfere in the
fighting. These attempts
only resulted in the loss of Serbian aircraft while NATO suffered only
minor losses attributed primarily to surface to air missiles which were
fired in abundance, according to NATO pilot reports.
With the loss of air superiority, NATO has switched to a massive
campaign designed to deny Serbian forces their much needed supplies in
Croatia. There have been reports of carpet bombings from American
flown B-52s and B-2 stealth bomber strikes on strategic sites in Serbia
itself, all aimed at opening a path for NATO ground forces to take back
all of Croatia, which NATO says they fully intend to do.
the ocean front, the war has gone exclusively for NATO, with claims that
the entire Serbian surface fleet has been sunk along with several
submarines. In some
instances, NATO allowed the Serbian crews to abandon their ships before
opening fire. The submarines were sunk with a loss of all onboard.
now, NATO seems content with solidifying its positions and building up
ground forces while simultaneously pounding Serbian military targets
from the sky.
is uncertain when the ground war will commence, but given the scope of
the NATO reinforcements sent to the region, it won't be a long wait.
United States Marine force, landed along the rocky shoreline east of
Split in an attempt to cut off the Serbian supply route, came to a near
disaster. A combination of
poor execution, mishaps, and faulty recon missions is being blamed for
the heavy losses the Marines suffered in the first opposed, forced
landing of US Marines in nearly seven years.
countryside didn't help the situation, as the rocky shoreline along the Dalmation mountains slowed the landing's progress even as it was coming
under fire from a small Serbian detachment watching the coastline. The Marine commander feels that being cooped up at sea for
such a lengthy amount of time also contributed to the near fiasco.
Sources reported that the Marines suffered surprisingly heavy
losses in the first 30 minutes, despite having overwhelming air and
offshore fire support from the escorting naval task force.
Amphibious ship (LCU) shown run
aground on shoal near landing beach
factor in what appears to be a growing list of complications was the damage suffered by an amphibious ship (LCU) carrying the Marines'
artillery when it ran aground on a shoal, eliminating that much needed
firepower from reducing the enemy forces on the beach head.
These situations all contributed to the disaster that unfolded
along the beach, where unconfirmed reports also stated several Marines
fell to their deaths while scaling up one side of the steep sea wall
behind the beaches.
not as bloody as the landing at Omaha beach in 1944 by US army forces,
this battle will be studied for a long time to determine what went wrong
and how not prevent the mistakes that lead to so many dead American
Marines laying on the beach.
casualties are estimated at 65% and NATO has given priority to its air
forces hitting targets within the 22nd MEU area of operations in an
attempt to extradite the 22nd from its current situation.
reaction to reports of the U.S. operation to rescue a trapped British
airborne unit behind enemy lines has been mixed.
In the United States, critics from both the right and left wings
have criticized the loss of roughly 45 British troops - an entire
platoon - to 'friendly fire' and the loss of three U.S. Apache and
transport helicopters. The
right wing criticized the President for failing to provide sufficient
funds for training the US military for these types of operations,
claiming the President has been coasting on the success of the Brunei
the left wing opposes the intervention in Croatia that has turned into a
full scale war, and claim that the Yugoslavian invasion was likely
triggered by the aggressive U.S. response to the limited intervention by
Serbia on behalf of the striking steel workers.
They pointed out that U.S. actions around the world are raising
tensions in such places as Angola, Indonesia, and Somalia.
However, public support remains relatively high, with 54%
supporting the U.S. involvement in Croatia with only 28% opposing it;
the remaining 18% are taking a 'wait and see' attitude.
it appears support will soften if losses continue to mount
without any success in stopping the Yugoslavian advances.
the UK, the public appears to have accepted the losses as an unfortunate
accident. One interviewee
compared the operation to the rescue at Dunkirk, remarking that at least
no British troops were left behind to be captured by the Serbs whereas
many soldiers had been left to surrender to the Germans in 1941.
Another citizen said that the U.S. helicopter losses demonstrated
they were doing everything possible to rescue the British soldiers, even
at the risk of their own lives. However, a number of people criticized
the British government for failing to adequately arm the troops to
defend themselves or for allowing the troops to get trapped in the first
place. Polls show that only
22% blame the U.S. for the loss,
37% blame the British government, and 41% hold Yugoslavia responsible.
Troops Suffer Terrorist Attacks
recent war has sparked a rash of terrorist attacks all across the
region. On October 17th, 20
U.S. infantry men were killed when their barracks came under fire from
terrorists firing rocket propelled grenades in Tuzla, Bosnia.
The terrorists got away, leaving the barracks in flames and dead
sprawled across the scene.
British SFOR base in Danja Luka, Bosnia suffered a suicide bombing on
October 19th. The bomber
drove a van through a security fence and crashed into the battalion
headquarters, killing the driver and many officers of the British
mechanized infantry battalion stationed there, including the commanding
all NATO and military stations throughout the region are on high
terrorist alert and security has been beefed up.
It remains to be seen if this will deter future attacks, but
appears to be working for the moment.
have claimed that the Serbians are behind the attacks, but that has not
been officially confirmed. NATO
states they are investigating all leads to the attacks and will leave
'no stone unturned' when following information.
If Serbia is implicated, as some think will happen, it remains to be seen
what kind of retaliation NATO can inflict against a country they are
already at war with.
Kelly Crawford (ENN)