Croatian Defence Council

In today's world, Croatian Defence Council is a topic that has gained great relevance in different areas of society. Over time, Croatian Defence Council has proven to be a fundamental piece in decision-making and in the development of various aspects of daily life. Its impact has become so significant that more and more people are seeking information and analysis about Croatian Defence Council to understand its importance and how it influences their lives. In this article, we will thoroughly explore the role of Croatian Defence Council today, its evolution over time, and its impact on society.
Croatian Defence Council
Hrvatsko vijeće obrane
LeadersMilivoj Petković
Bruno Stojić
Vladimir Šoljić
Slobodan Praljak
Ante Roso
Tihomir Blaškić
Dates of operation1992–1996
Allegiance Herzeg-Bosnia
Size50,000 (1995)
Allies ARBiH (after 1994)
Opponents VRS
ARBiH (before 1994)
Battles and warsYugoslav Wars
Bosnian War
Croat–Bosniak War
Operation Storm
HVO T-55 tanks

The Croatian Defence Council (Croatian: Hrvatsko vijeće obrane, HVO) was the official military formation of the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia, an unrecognized state that existed in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1991 and 1996. The HVO was the main military force of the Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[citation needed]

In the initial stage of the Bosnian War, the HVO fought alongside the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ARBiH) against the Army of Republika Srpska, but in the latter stage of the conflict clashed against its former ally, particularly in the Mostar area. The European Community Monitoring Mission estimated the strength of the HVO in the beginning of 1993 at 45,000–55,000. In July 1993, the Central Intelligence Agency estimated the HVO forces at 40,000 to 50,000 men.

HVO was incorporated into the Army of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (VFBiH) in December 1995 by following agreement made after signing the Dayton Accords. In December 2005 HVO was reorganized as 1st Infantry Guard Regiment of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, after VFBiH and Army of Republika Srpska were united into a single armed force.


The HVO was established on 8 April 1992 in Grude by the political leadership of Croats, mainly members of Croatian Democratic Union as the official military formation of Herzeg-Bosnia.[citation needed] On 15 May 1992 the HVO Department of Defense was established. By that time the HVO Main Staff, Main Logistics Base, Military Police, and Personnel Administration were also formed.

War broke out between Herzeg-Bosnia, supported by Croatia and the Croatian Defence Forces, and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, supported by the Bosnian Mujahideen. In March 1994, the Washington Agreement was signed which ended fighting between the HVO and ARBiH. In March 1996, Herzeg-Bosnia ceased to exist as it was merged with the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the HVO was reorganized as 1st Infantry (Guard) Regiment of the ARBiH.



HVO 122mm Howitzer D-30J during an exercise

HVO was located in Mostar and was divided into four corps-status operational zones: 1OZ/South-Eastern (Herzegovina) and 2OZ/North-Western Herzegovina, 3OZ/Central Bosnia and 4OZ/Posavina. While first three zones were grouped more or less together, Posavina was completely isolated in northern Bosnia on right bank of Sava river around Orašje and was entirely dependent on support from Croatia. There was also an HCO headquarters in the Bihać enclave which liaised with the ARBiH 5th corps. Each OZ controlled 8-14 infantry brigades, a military police battalion and an MP "Light Assault Battalion".

HVO military license plate

The HVO also included the brigade sized Ante Bruno Bušić Regiment manned by full-time soldiers, two independent infantry battalions, a light anti-aircraft artillery battalion, Special Forces and artillery units. In early 1993 the HVO Home Guard was formed in order to provide support for the brigades. The HVO forces became better organized as time passed by, but they started creating guards brigades, mobile units of professional soldiers, only in early 1994.

Guard brigades

The Guards brigades were the sections of the HVO which handled its heavy weapons. The HVO had around 50 tanks, 400 artillery pieces, and 200 armored troop carriers. A brigade numbered between a few hundred to several thousand men, but most had 2,000–3,000.

Other brigades

There were 38 infantry brigades staffed by reservists, 19 had names and/or numbers and 19 only had names. The names commemorated famous or infamous figures from Croatian and Bosnian history. Each brigade had three or four battalions plus supporting elements. Two, the 107th and 109th were later transferred en masse to the ARBiH due to their Muslim majorities, as did the Muslim contingent of the 108th Brigade who went on to form the ARBiH's 108 Motorized Brigade. The 107th became the ARBiH 107th "Chilvalrous" Brigade while the 109th became the 109th Mountain Brigade.

1993 restructuring

In 1993 General Ante Roso restructured the HVO along the lines of the Croatian Army (HV). The four OZ's were designated as Corps Districts Mostar, Tomislavgrad, Vitez and Orašje. Orašje included a much reduced Bosanska Posavina. Four Guards Brigades were formed, each manned by full-time professional soldiers. 29 brigades were reformed as three-battalion strong Home Defense Regiments, usually with the same name and depot. Four brigades were disbanded. The military police were reduced to one Light Assault Brigade at Mostar.

Eight HVO units served with the ARBiH while two HVO brigades were forcibly incorporated into the ARBiH. The 115th Brigade became part of the ARBiH 2nd Corps while the King Tvrtko Brigade became part of the ARBiH 1st Corps.

HVO aviation

The HVO Air Forces and Anti-aircraft Artillery was formed in 1992 and consisted of the 11th Combined Squadron, operated helicopters and transports, and the 121st Observation Squadron which operated various civilian light aircraft in an observation and communications role. There was also the 14th Anti-aircraft Missile Unit which operated several different SAM systems.

See also


  1. ^ "Ustroj Hrvatskog vijeća obrane (HVO) 1995". Retrieved 2023-11-11.
  2. ^ Stallaerts, Robert (2010). Historical Dictionary of Croatia (3rd ed.). Scarecrow Press. p. 60. ISBN 9780810873636.
  3. ^ Shrader 2003, p. 22.
  4. ^ CIA 1993, p. 28.
  5. ^ Shrader 2003, pp. 25–27.
  6. ^ Bethlehem & Weller 1997, p. liv.
  7. ^ Shrader 2003, p. 31.
  8. ^ Shrader 2003, p. 29.
  9. ^ CIA 1993, p. 31.
  10. ^ Shrader 2003, p. 30.
  11. ^ CIA 1993, p. 47.

Works cited