After Israel was voted as the community’s first Nation Pack choice, we’ve announced that its two contenders, Yugoslavia & Finland, both proposed as REDFOR nations, would be added together next in the Double Nation Pack: REDS.
Yugoslavia being voted second, let’s start with a preview of the Jugoslavenska narodna armija (JNA), the Yugoslav People’s Army.
We are still working on unit models & balance, but we can already get a clear idea of what Yugoslavia will be as a Wargame nation: a highly mechanized fighting force, with powerful tanks and IFV backed up by a wide choice of versatile SAM/SPAAG weapon systems and many indigenous assault aircrafts.
Aside from the M-47 Paton, the Yugoslav People’s Army’s tank fleet relies mostly on the ubiquitous T-55 & T-72 designs. Yet, they soon took a direction of their own, the JNA focusing more on locally improving its tanks’ fire control system than their protection. Hence, at any given date, JNA tanks are usually less armored but much more accurate than their Warsaw Pact counterparts, such as the T-55A TLD & T-55AI Igman compared to the T-55A & T-55AM.
The JNA’s main warhorse during our timeframe is the M-84, an indigenous MBT family (although developed from the T-72). In Wargame, Yugoslavia will field four variants of this tank, spread over three units’ categories. But Yugoslavia won’t be lacking in “heavies”, with two variants of the M-91 Vihor MBT, a prototype tank which should have been replacing the M-84 from the early 90’s, only to be canceled because of the disintegration of the Yugoslav State.
As part of its mechanized forces, the JNA fields many tracked APC (OT M-60) & IFV (BVP M-80, BVP M-96). Although lightly armored, most of them are packing some heavy firepower for their weight, either twin 82mm RCL, 20mm or 30mm autocannons, plus ATGMs for the IFV.
Another of the JNA’s forte is its air defense. After all, not every army can claim to have shot down invisible planes … 😉
Although it lacks the medium range SAMs usually found in other REDFOR armies, such as the Osa, Yugoslavia fields an impressive array of heavy range ones, both radar (KuB-M, Neva M1) … and yet impervious to SEAD (Neva M1T). To support them at closer range and especially deal with helicopters, the JNA also deploys several smaller weapon systems, some well known ones (Strela-1, Strela-10), others indigenous (M-90 Sava, RL-4M Praćka). Add to that a loads of SPAAG (BOV 3, BOV 30, Foka), and not even accounting for the Praga variants used in other roles, and you’ll get a very thick air defense net. Out of which only about a third is vulnerable to SEAD!
The Yugoslav Air Force introduces no less than four indigenous planes (Jastreb, Super Galeb, Orao & Novi), modeled ingame into seven variants. Most of them are assault planes, loaded with several types of dumb ordnances (napalm, cluster, HE), rockets or AGM (including the indigenous Grom-B).
But the most interesting, and dearest to Yugoslav air fans, is the L-19 ‘Novi Avion’, a.k.a “Baby Rafale”. An air superiority fighter of Yugoslav design, it was intended to render the country independent from Soviet imports in that vital aspect of air warfare. Dassault Aviation provided some help, especially regarding the power plant, electronics & weaponry, hence why the Novi shares many similarities with the Rafale. It was even meant to receive the same armament, hadn’t the project been canceled a mere year before its maiden flight, because of the disintegration of the country.
The JNA will have at its disposal a strong infantry lineup, with both elite paratroopers (Padobranci) ; naval (Mornarička Pes.) & Guard (Proleteri) shock troops ; but also light (Brdska Pes.) and mechanized (Mehanizovana Pes.) riflemen. And Tommy Gun wielding militia (T.O.)!
Of course, Yugoslavia will also have the usual choices of specialized teams, such as command, ATGM & MANPAD squads, as well as recon (Granicari) and Special Forces (Senke). The latter (prototype ingame) team will be of special interest for, armed with a RT-20 anti-material rifle, it will introduce the first two-man heavy sniper/recon team for REDFOR, counterparts to the Canadian Recce.
However, the Yugoslav People’s Army does have its weak points. But for a few Fagots, its ATGM are all based on the Malyutka, even with improved optics & warheads over the years. If they don’t lack punch, their range remains quite limited.
Also, while JNA Armored & Mechanized decks will offer a wide choice of tracked APC & IFV, as well as vehicles of all kind, its Motorized deck will be much “lighter”: although able to field plenty of wheeled TD (BOV POLO, …), SPAAG (BOV 3, BOV 30), FSV (Praga, …), its transport options will be restricted to the sole TAB-71 (a faster BTR-60PB) APC and the BOV M-86 “recon APC”.
Yugoslavia’s tube artillery choices are somehow limited: a vintage SO-105 Prist (WW2 M7 Priest!), SO-122 (a.k.a 2S1 Gvozdika) but at least the much more efficient (but fragile) prototype Nora-B, a truck-mounted modern 152mm gun. The first of its kind.
Nothing ever goes to waste!
This feature of the Yugoslav People’s Army will please WW2 fans: although it has its own indigenous military industry, bringing plenty of & modern new designs to Wargame, Yugoslavia will on the other hand be the one fielding more WW2 vintage equipment than almost all the other Wargame nations together.
SO-76 Helket (a.k.a M18 Hellcat), SO-90 Džekson (a.k.a M36 Jackson), SO-105 Prist (a.k.a M7 Priest), M-8 Grejhaund (a.k.a M8 Greyhound), … and of course the good ol’ T-34B (a.k.a T-34/85). Jacksons are running with a T-55 engine to improve their motorization, while T-34 is sporting a gorgeous M2 Browning HMG. When East meets West … 🙂
But WW2 militaria isn’t limited to vehicles: M1 Thompson, MG-42, modified MP-40, … are still in service at least up to the early 80’s. And what about the elite Padobranci (paratroopers)’s trademark Sturmgewehr 44, only relinquished in the mid-80’s.