Croatian Army

Croatian Army
Croatian Army

Emblem of the Croatian Army
Active 1991-Present
Country Croatia
Type Army
Size 12,000 personnel (includes 2000 volunteers)
Part of Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia
H/Q Karlovac
Motto "Domovini vjerni" (Faithful to Homeland)
March Mi smo garda hrvatska (We are the guards of Croatia)
Anniversaries 28 May
Engagements Croatian War of Independence:

Bosnian war:

War in Afghanistan

Major General Dragutin Repinc
General Martin Špegelj, General Janko Bobetko, General Petar Stipetić, General Zvonimir Červenko, Lieutenant General Ante Gotovina, Lieutenant General Marijan Mareković, Lieutenant General Mladen Kruljac

The Croatian Army (also Croatian Ground Army, Croatian: Hrvatska kopnena vojska, Hrvatska vojska) is a branch of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia.

The fundamental role and purpose of the Croatian Army is to protect vital national interests of the Republic of Croatia and defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state.

Basic tasks of the Croatian Army are:

  • to maintain an optimal level of combat readiness of the Armed Forces
  • to fight a possible aggressor's main forces on strategic-operational levels and to defend against any land, air and amphibious assaults
  • to prevent, in cooperation with the other branches of the Armed Forces, an aggressor from in-depth operations on Croatian territory
  • to build and develop the capability to respond to requests of non-traditional tasks that are required of the Croatian Army (floods, fires, natural disasters...)
  • to assist its allies and friendly countries in time of need.



The Croatian Army was formed in the Croatian War of Independence, when on November 3, 1991 the Croatian National Guard was renamed Croatian Army.

Numerous Croatian army units arose from the Croatian National Guard, including:

Organizational structure and status

The Croatian Army is an all-volunteer force numbering 12,500 active personnel. The Army can also call on 6000 reserve personnel who serve up to 30 days every year.

The Croatian Army is being reorganized to fit in the NATO doctrine of a small, highly-capable force with an emphasis on mobility and versatility.

Major combatant commands of the Croatian Army are one mechanized and one motorized brigade, each brigade having a specific role and different responsibilities. In 2012 one motorized infantry company is to be detached and put under the command of the EU Battle Group led by Germany. Croatia continues to deploy 350 personnel in support of NATO International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

Croatia achieved NATO membership in April 2009. The defence reforms which Croatia initiated in 2000 have a long term goal of replacing and modernizing the armed forces to meet the challenges of NATO membership. The plan calls for modernization of the Army and introduction of the training and doctrine which is in line with Western (NATO) standards. Replacing ex-Yugoslav/Soviet hardware is also one of the main priorities.

There are various ongoing initiatives such as upgrade of the tank fleet, replacement of obsolete anti aircraft systems, introduction of a new Armored Personnel Carrier and NATO standard assault rifle, etc. Procurement of new, NATO-compatible equipment takes a significant part of the defense budget. Croatia plans to spend up to 20 billion kuna (1U$ = 5.0 kuna) on new arms over the next 7 years, of this at least 40% will be spent on the Army. However, the global financial crisis has put pressure on Croatia's public finances and the defense budget will be hard pressed to meet the modernization objectives as planned.

Croatia only recently operated almost 280 main battle tanks but this number decreased significantly due to the withdrawal of almost 200 obsolete T-55 tanks in 2006. Most units have been scrapped but a number was stored as operational reserve in case of need. The mainstay now is the aging M-84A4 main battle tank. However, modernization of the tank fleet is one of the priorities set in the new defense budget so that current M-84A4 tanks can be brought up to M-84D standard. The Croatian Army is also evaluating the M-95 Degman Main Battle Tank as one of the options.

In July, 2007 Patria AMV won the contract to supply the next generation of APCs to the Croatian Army. Only 84 vehicles were ordered at first but additional 42 were purchased in an extended contract signed in December 2008. Croatia thus has 126 units on order with first six vehicles manufactured in Finland delivered by late 2008. All remaining vehicles will be locally produced. According to some reports at least 50-60 additional APCs are needed. In 2010 an order was placed for an undisclosed number of M151 Protector remotely controlled weapons stations (RCWS).

In early 2007, Croatia bought 10 Iveco LMV light armoured vehicles at a cost of 330,000 Euros per unit. According to official documents, 94 of these vehicles are needed by 2012 and will be ordered shortly. However, Croatian contingent in Afghanistan continues to rely heavily on US-donated HMMWV and MRAP type vehicles.

Steps have been made to standardize the difficult to maintain vehicle inventory of the Croatian military which is full of various models of different origin, type and age. In 2005 the Army bought 152 light trucks and vehicles, 156 in 2006 with additional 170 obtained by the end of 2007. All vehicles are of prominent European or Japanese manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Iveco, MAN, Toyota and Nissan.

The Croatian Army plans to introduce a new assault rifle in 5.56mm NATO caliber to replace the AK-47 and its derivatives. The preferred model seems to be the locally manufactured VHS developed by HS Produkt. It was reported in the media that the MoD has purchased the initial batch of 1000 rifles in 2009-2010. Previous Defense Ministers Rončević and Vukelić both went on record stating the requirement for up to 20000 rifles. The MoD press and photo releases from regular training activities in 2011 indicate that the VHS has been issued to elements of the Military Intelligence Battalion, Combat Swimmer Detachment of the Special Forces Battalion, as well as to one of the infantry companies of the Guards Motorized Brigade that will be made available to the German-led EU Battle Group in 2012. There have been unconfirmed reports that the rifle is being tested in Afghanistan.

Current structure of Croatian Army

Current structure of the Croatian Army
    • Armored Guard Brigade (based in Vinkovci)
      • Headquarters & Headquarters Company
      • 1st Tank Battalion "Kune"
      • 2nd Tank Battalion
      • 3rd Mechanised Battalion "Sokolovi"
      • 4th Mechanised Battalion "Pume"
      • Artillery Battalion
      • Air Defence Battalion
      • Engineer Battalion
      • Reconnaissance Company
      • Signals Company
      • Logistics Company
    • Motorized Guard Brigade (based in Knin)
      • Headquarters & Headquarters Company
      • 1st Motorised Battalion "Vukovi"
      • 2nd Motorised Battalion "Pauci"
      • 3rd Mechanised Battalion "Tigrovi"
      • 4th Mechanised Battalion "Gromovi"
      • Artillery Battalion
      • Engineer Battalion
      • Air Defence Battalion
      • Reconnaissance Company
      • Signals Company
      • Logistics Company
    • Training and Doctrine Command
      • Infantry Regiment
      • Artillery Regiment
      • Air Defence Regiment
      • Engineer Regiment
      • Logistics Regiment
      • Basic Training Centre
      • Tactical Artillery Training Centre
      • Training and Operations Simulation Centre
      • Training Centre for International Military Operations
    • Military Police Regiment
    • Signals Regiment
    • Military Intelligence Battalion
    • NBC Defence Battalion

Army Modernization plans

A Croatian Army Patria AMV in Karlovac, 2009
An Iveco truck
Croatian soldiers in training

Croatia plans to spend about 7.5 billion Kuna (1.5 billion USD) over the next 7 years equipping its ground army.

Main Programs

  • Procurement of 126 Patria AMV Modular APC/IFV - 1.2 billion Kuna (additional vehicles might be ordered after 2012 once more funds become available). Original contract with Finnish Patria was revised due to economic crisis with no changes in number of vehicles.
  • Procurement of 94 Iveco LMVs at a cost of 220 million Kuna. Additional 100-150 vehicles are being considered for the needs of the army.
  • Procurement of Advanced Artillery systems, 24x 155 mm Self Propelled Howitzers are to be procured before 2015 to replace obsolete 2S1 self-propelled howitzers. Program is on the back burner as there are more important defense programs and procurement of new howitzers might need to be postponed for few years. Swedish ARCHER Artillery System and French CAESAR self-propelled howitzer are most likely candidates for this program. German PzH 2000 was labeled to be too heavy for Croatian terrain. Cost of program - 1.2 billion Kuna.
  • Procurement of 550 5-ton army trucks, 200 7.5-ton military trucks and 300 4WD vehicles - program is in a full swing and first batch of MAN (150), Mercedes (30) and Iveco (50) military trucks was delivered. Croatian Army also ordered large numbers of new 4WD vehicles, Mercedes-Benz G-Class - 160(320), Land Rover Wolf - 30, Toyota Land Cruiser - 50, Nissan Navara - 50, delivered in 2005-2007. Cost of program - 570-580 million Kuna.
  • Modernization of M-84A4 Snajper MBTs and their upgrade to M-84D standard. Program calls for an upgrade and modernization of 75 existing tanks and procurement of additional 29 new tanks over the next 4 years due to a plan which requires Croatia to operate at least 104 modern tanks before 2015. Cost of program - 850 million Kuna.
  • Introduction of new 5.56 mm NATO standard assault rifle. Cost of program - unknown. (20,000 rifles with day/night sights and grenade launchers are planned). Most likely choice is domestic VHS assault rifle, contract for acquisition of first 1,000 rifles was signed with HS Produkt.
  • Scores of smaller programs, communication equipment, night vision capability, electronic sensors, NBC equipment, battlefield management systems and modernization of Artillery systems with new sights and electronic fire control systems.

Other programs:

  • Equipping motorized infantry battalion (800-1000 men) with night vision equipment, including advanced optoelectronics and sensors, ground radars, thermal imaging cameras – 120 million Croatian Kuna
  • NBC equipment for biological/chemical-decontamination unit – 150 million Croatian Kuna
  • Procurement of new army engineering vehicles, armored recovery vehicles, mine clearance vehicles and armored personal vehicles designed to withstand mine blasts – 320 million Croatian Kuna
  • Procurement of modern communication and battlefield management systems – 50 million Croatian Kuna
  • Procurement of new logistic and amphibious vehicles – 250 million Croatian Kuna
  • Procurement of 3-4 Artillery Radars – 30-40 million Croatian Kuna
  • Procurement of 8-12 Mobile air defense radars – 200-300 million Croatian Kuna
  • Procurement of Army Field Hospital - 80-100 million Croatian Kuna
  • Procurement of 16 Army Tank transporters, Heavy Equipment Transporters – 80-100 million Croatian Kuna
  • Procurement of Bridge laying equipment – 100 million Croatian Kuna


  • Handguns
Model Image Caliber Origin Quantity Note
HS Produkt HS 2000 HS2000.png 9x19mm  Croatia 40 000 standard sidearm
FN Five-seven FiveSeven.png 5.7x28mm  Belgium - used by BSD
  • Submachine guns
Model Image Caliber Origin Quantity Note
Arma Ero / Mini ERO ERO.png 9x19mm  Croatia 2500 -
H&K MP5 MP5.png 9x19mm  Germany - -
H&K UMP UMP45.png 9x19mm  Germany - -
H&K MP7 MP7.png 4.6x30mm  Germany 850 -
  • Assault rifles
Model Image Caliber Origin Quantity Note
Zastava M70 M70.png 7.62x39mm  Yugoslavia 102 000 standard assault rifle
HS Produkt VHS HS VHS.png 5.56X45mm  Croatia 2600+ new standard assault rifle
H&K G36 G36.png 5.56X45mm  Germany 850 standard assault rifle, more to be acquired
FN F2000 F2000.png 5.56x45mm  Belgium 120 used in army and special force
FN FAL FNFAL.png 7.62x51mm  Belgium 2 000 -
Colt M4 M4SOPMOD.png 5.56x45mm  United States 400 -
  • Sniper rifles
Model Image Caliber Origin Quantity Note
Zastava M76 M76.png 7.92x57mm  Yugoslavia 640 standard sniper rifle
Metallic MACS M3 MACSM3.png 12.7x99mm  Croatia 240 standard sniper rifle
Sako TRG-42 TRG42.png 8.6x70mm  Finland 240 standard sniper rifle
Metallic RT-20 RT20.png 20x110mm  Croatia 80 anti-materiel rifle
Remington M40 M40.png 7.62x51  United States 260 -
Barrett M82 M82Barret.png 12.7x99mm  United States 150 anti-materiel rifle
  • Grenade launchers
Model Image Caliber Origin Quantity Note
Metallic RBG-6 RBG6.png 40x46mm  Croatia - -
H&K AG36 AG36.png 40x46mm  Germany - -
  • Machine guns
Model Image Caliber Origin Quantity Note
Zastava M84 M84.png 7.62x54mm  Yugoslavia 1400 -
Browning M2 BrowningM2.png 12.7x99mm  United States 500 -
FN M249 M249.png 5.56x45mm  Belgium - -
FN MAG FNMAG.png 7.62x51mm  Belgium 400 -
CIS Ultimax 100 Ultimax100.png 5.56x45mm  Singapore 100 -
Model Image Type Origin Number Details
M-95 Degman M-95 Degman tank prototype MBT  Croatia 2 Two units in operational service, development transferred to M-84D. The first unit delivered in 2004 and the second one in 2007.
M-84D M-84D MBT  Croatia 4-8 Still under development, the entire M-84A4 fleet is to be brought to this level between 2012 and 2015. Low rate modernization process is ongoing since 2008 and by late 2011 probably 10-12 units have been converted.
M-84A4 Snajper M-84A4Snajper MBT  Croatia 75 All M-84A tanks brought to this standard by 2008 and are awaiting further upgrade. They are divided into two tank battalions.
Model Image Type Origin Number Details
BVP M-80A BVP M 80A.jpg IFV  Yugoslavia 128 104 Operational in two battalions, additional 24 converted or surplus units. Possible modernization of the fleet is now unlikely and existing units will probably be replaced by additional Patria AMV IFVs after 2015.
BTR-50PK BTR-50P Amfibija.jpg APC  Soviet Union 18 Due to be replaced by Patria AMV by 2012 but so far kept due to their amphibious capabilities.
MT-LB Soviet MT-LB.JPEG APC  Poland 10 Due to be replaced by Patria AMV by 2012.
Model Image Type Origin Number Details
Patria AMV Croatian Patria AMV Karlovac 2009.jpg APC  Finland 126 Around 70 units produced or delivered by October, 2011. The production will continue till the end of 2012. A 3rd batch is possible around 2015 to augment and finally replace all BVP M-80As seen as Croatia had previously envisaged a fleet of 200 of these vehicles. Current batch of Patria AMV on order are to be armed with flowing overhead weapon stations. 88 × 12.7 mm (3.46 in × 0.50 in) M151 Protector RWS of which 36 will be armed with Spike ER ATGm and 24 with 40 mm Grenade launchers, 24-32x will be armed with 30mm/Spike ER RWS turrets (either Konensberg or Rafael), with remaining 6 being unarmed armored ambulance and armored recovery vehicles. [1]
BOV VP BOV BSD (2).jpg APC  Yugoslavia 54 Some are used by the Military Police and in ISAF missions.
LOV-1 LOV-T1 Hrvatske vojske.JPG APC  Croatia ~50 A light APC of indigenous design, a total of 72 were produced by 1997. Some sold to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to the UN.
BOV-3 Samovozni top BOV-3 HKoV .JPG  Yugoslavia 44 A self-propelled 3x20mm anti aircraft gun, also used as an APC.
M-83 Polo BOV POLO M 83.jpg APC  Yugoslavia 37 An anti-tank variant armed with the improved 9M14P1 Malyutka missiles.
HMMWV 1114 Humvee in difficult terrain.jpg IMV  United States 63 Twelve vehicles donated by the US Army in 2007, additional 30 in 2008 and again 8 vehicles in 2009. They are mostly used by ISAF forces in Afghanistan but some are home-based. Around 40 new M1151 Up-Armored Capable HMMWV [2] will partially replace the earlier M1114 versions, with 13 delivered in February and additional 13 to follow by December, 2011.
Iveco LMV Lako oklopno vozilo Iveco (HV).jpg IMV  Italy 10 Additional 84 units were planned to enter service by 2012 but this is likely to be defered by a year or two.
International MaxxPro International MaxxPro.jpg MRAP  United States 8 Additional donated vehicles are possible to follow as the Croatian ISAF contingent in Afghanistan grows.[2]
Model Type Origin Quantity Note
M-84AI Armoured Recovery Vehicle  Croatia unknown last vehicle entered service in 2002
T-55TZI Armoured Recovery Vehicle  Soviet Union unknown awaiting replacement
MT-55A Armoured Bridge Vehicle  Czechoslovakia unknown additional bridge units mounted on KrAZ 6x6 heavy trucks, awaiting replacement
PTS-M Amphibious Vehicle  Soviet Union unknown awaiting replacement
PMS Pontoon Bridge  Soviet Union unknown mounted on Tatra T813 8x8 trucks
Model Type Origin Quantity Note
Spike ER Fire-and-forget anti-tank missile  Israel unknown on order for Patria AMV 30mm/Spike Kongsberg RWS
9К115-2 Metis-M wire-guided anti-tank missile  Soviet Union 54
9K111 Fagot wire-guided anti-tank missile  Soviet Union 119
9K11 Malyutka wire-guided anti-tank missile  Soviet Union 360 9M14P1 variant in service, due to be replaced by 2015
M80 "Zolja" RPG  Yugoslavia 1000 available in large quantities
RL90 M95 RPG  Croatia 1500 available in large quantities
AT4 RPG  Sweden 300+ available in significant quantities [3]
Model Type Origin Quantity Note
Strijela - 10CROA1 short range surface-to-air missile system  Croatia 10 additional 2 units to be acquired, system currently undergoing modernization and test trials, will probably be mounted on Patria AMV vehicles to increase maneuverability
9K38 Igla MANPADS  Soviet Union 67 to undergo modernization in 2010
9K32 Strela-2M MANPADS  Soviet Union
141 additional 372 systems are being withdrawn
BOV 20/3 SPAAG  Yugoslavia 44 triple M55 20mm anti-aircraft guns mounted on a BOV APC
M55 A4 20/3 anti-aircraft gun  Yugoslavia 73 19 units to be withdrawn by 2015
Bofors 40 mm L/70 anti-aircraft autocannon  Sweden 12 possibly withdrawn Jones,
  • Although Croatia acquired the S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile system in 1994 and demonstrated some of its parts on a military parade in 1995, it is believed that the system was never fully completed and operational although the training of crews was sought as late as 1998. Some sources claim that the weapon was subsequently handed-over to the USA or Israel in 2002-2004. However, officials still claim that the system is stored somewhere in Croatia.
Model Caliber Type Origin Active Reserve Note
M57 60mm Mortar  Croatia 69 1253
M96 82mm Mortar  Croatia 69 360 improved copy of the Yugoslav M69 mortar
M75 120mm Mortar  Croatia 43 201
M56 105mm Howitzer  Yugoslavia
 United States
16 43 used only for training, license-produced copy of the M101 howitzer, additional 95 units being withdrawn till 2015
D-30 HR M94 122mm Howitzer  Croatia 36  ? improved Russian D-30 howitzer brought up to NATO standards, additional one unit withdrawn
M-46H1 130mm Howitzer  Soviet Union 32  ?
M84 "NORA" 152mm Howitzer  Yugoslavia 16 / additional two units being withdrawn till 2015
CITER 155mm L33 Gun 155mm Howitzer  Argentina 8 / all systems operational
M114 155mm Howitzer  United States 18 / all system operational
2S1 Gvozdika 122mm Self-propelled howitzer  Soviet Union 9 / due to be replaced by 18 more modern systems
RAK-12 128mm Towed MRL  Croatia 8 60 Croatian-built version of the M-63 Plamen
M-63 Plamen 128mm Towed MRL  Yugoslavia 200  ? total number is 200, but systems are mostly in reserve
M-94 'Plamen S 128mm MRL  Yugoslavia / 14 stored
APR-40 122m MRL  Romania 36 / improved Romanian version of the BM-21, some additional units in reserve
M-96 Tajfun 122mm MRL  Croatia 4 / based on the Yugoslav M-77 Oganj but of 122mm calibre instead of 128mm, mounted on Tatra T813 instead of FAP trucks
M-91 Vulkan 122mm MRL  Croatia 8 / based upon the Yugoslav M-77 Oganj but of 122mm calibre instead of 128mm
M-87 "Orkan" 262 mm MRL  Yugoslavia 4 in reserve due to lack of adequate rocket ammunition
    • Field Ambulance Trucks and 4WD vehicles (100)
    • Special Vehicles (150)
  • Withdrawn from service or in store
    • T-55A withdrawal of over 200 units started in 2006 with a dozen or so tanks used for training until late 2009, but even that is no longer the case due to shortage of funds and all units have now been withdrawn and awaiting disposal.
    • M-47 Patton (16) (2 in the local army museum and rest are target practice)
    • M60P/M60SAN (45) (Yugoslav-made APCs - scrap heap and 2 in the local army museum)
    • BRDM-2
    • BTR-60 (16) (2 in the local army museum, scrap heap)
    • ZSU-57-2 (2) (target practice)
    • M53/59 Praga (24) (2 in the local army museum, scrap heap)

See also

References and notes

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