- NATO claims its aircraft destroyed 120 Serb armored vehicles
and tons of other military hardware during its recent Balkans bashing.
But as reported in this space last week, down in the Kosovo mud our grunts
say, "It ain't so."
- Our warriors say it sure looks like NATO, after blowing
a cool $4 billion on bombs and missiles, didn't do the demo job as hyped.
Pound for pound of enemy gear destroyed, this is America's costliest war.
- So how did the Serbs pull the wool over NATO's electronic
eyes and foil the most high-tech military force in history?
- Simple. They used their imaginations and adapted tricks
and deceptions that've been around since long before the Trojan Horse rolled
into Troy. And our electronic spies in the sky and other high-tech gadgets,
gadgeteers and generals fell for it.
- During the conflict, smart bombs and missiles costing
from 50 grand to 2 million bucks repeatedly blew up decoy "tanks,"
"artillery pieces" and other "targets" made of sticks
and plastic, some of which included primitive heat sources for faking out
gold-plated thermal-image systems in NATO aircraft.
- Our guys in Kosovo have found hundreds of imitation tanks,
trucks, artillery pieces, missiles and missile launchers, roads and even
bridges, which NATO aircraft and cruise missiles had "destroyed."
"From up close they look like junk, but from three miles up, they'd
look like the real thing," says an Army sergeant.
- Real roads and bridges were painted to show "battle
damage" to con NATO satellites and reconnaissance aircraft into thinking
they'd already been knocked out.
- Another trick used by the Yugoslav army was to set up
dummy mobile-air- defense missile units. Many of these were placed next
to fake bridges (made out of logs) and mock roads -- strips of black plastic
sheeting laid across open fields with "tanks" and other "military
vehicles" painted on them.
- U.S. aircraft flying at 15,000 feet had a field day blowing
up these "Serb air defense units" and other dummy targets, while
their spinners back at NATO headquarters daily chanted to the world, "We
are significantly degrading their air defense and combat ability."
- Serb commanders worked out that NATO did most of their
reconnaissance during the daytime, after which targets were laboriously
picked by generals, diplomats and horse-holders for presidents and prime
ministers to approve, then assigned to pilots who'd be tasked to zap them.
So as soon as darkness fell, Serb units scooted to new positions and began
the mock-up game. One Serb commanding officer said, "From the 300
projectiles which NATO has fired, only four have hit something of substance."
- Another Serb CO said his unit would fire at attacking
NATO aircraft and then quickly move his firing batteries, replacing them
with dummies. " The time it took NATO's photo-reconnaissance people
to identify the point of fire and return to bomb the mock-up was a minimum
of 12 hours. So we knew when we had to move our equipment - every 12 hours,"
- The same officer said that Serb army technicians had
taken apart an unexploded $1million U.S. Tomahawk missile and figured out
that its targeting largely depended on a chip that guided the rocket by
heat sources. As a result, soldiers burned tires parallel to major roads
and bridges. The burning tires emitted more heat than the surface of the
bridges themselves and attracted the missiles away from the vital bridges.
- Saddam Hussein used similar tricks during Desert Storm.
His heat source was a can with burning oil, set next to a plywood or rubber
tank. An Iraqi prisoner of war said he knew of one such "tank"
that was "knocked out 10 times" by U.S. aircraft.
- In February 1991, the Air Force reported they'd destroyed
half of Iraq's tanks. This news triggered Stormin' Norman's ground attack.
U.S units on the ground later discovered that only 13 percent of the enemy
tanks were knocked out. Luckily, the Iraqis didn't have the stomach for
a fight, or we would've paid for this bad call in American blood
- Fortunately, Milosevic's army bugged out before our ground
force hit the deck, or our generals would be relearning the hard way that
an opposing army cannot be defanged at 15,000 feet regardless of how smart
the weapons and how all-seeing the eyes in the sky.