No easy task to arm Muslims: Bosnian Muslims could make best use of simple heavy weapons, but what they really need is ammunition
Yesterday's reports of intense fighting between Muslims and Croats around Vitez, with both sides using multiple-rocket launchers, cast doubt on the view that the Muslims lack heavy weapons. They have small arms - automatic rifles and machine guns - though they are short of ammunition, and more supplies of ammunition would be the most welcome commodity. Another key area is that of simple but potent heavy weapons: artillery, mortars and hand-held rocket launchers.
The Serbs' greatest advantage is in 'indirect fire' weapons - those that can hit a target they cannot see directly, using data computed from a map. The Muslims, like the Croats and Serbs, have a number of former Yugoslav army officers in their ranks. Anyone able to read a map and use a compass should be able to direct artillery fire.
The Muslims are unlikely to be able to exploit more sophisticated methods of seeking targets: artillery- and mortar-locating radars, for example. The value of such devices is well known: the Ukrainian UN troops were the first to deploy a mortar-locating radar, and the Serbs promptly destroyed it.
The fighting in Bosnia has also seen much use of heavy direct-fire weapons - anti-aircraft guns fired at surface targets, tank guns and relatively short-range missiles. The range of direct-fire weapons is limited by what can be seen: in the hilly, misty, rainy mountains of Bosnia, that is not a very great distance. A few recoilless guns and hand-held anti-tank missiles with a range of 1,000 metres or so fit the bill.
Although few tanks and armoured vehicles are being used in the conflict, hand-held anti-tank weapons are extremely useful against all kinds of targets - especially houses and bunkers. They are 'user-friendly' and cause spectacular explosions at greater range.
The Muslims in Srebrenica are encircled by Serbs; those in central Bosnia pinned between Serbs and Croats. Even if the arms embargo were lifted, deliberate steps would have to be taken to get arms to the Muslims, for example, by dropping them from aircraft. If the drops were as accurate as those of food, half the arms would go to the Serbs anyway.
- 1 Autistic adults could take pure MDMA to 'reduce social anxiety'
- 2 Before you complain about your GP, this is what you need to know about actually doing the job
- 3 Father of 12 accused of raping, beating, starving and abusing his own children in US 'cult'
- 4 Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
People are criticising Fifa World Cup sponsors with corrupt corporate logos
Natalie Portman tells Harvard graduates: 'Accept your lack of knowledge'
British tourists complain impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Fifa corruption live: Sebb Blatter warns 'more bad news may follow' as he clings to power
Skull found in Spain could be the world's first-ever murder victim
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...
£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...
£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Estimating, preparation of tech...
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will work as part of a smal...