Guns Used in the Balkans Civil War


A pretty cool icture thread was started on B-ARFCOM about the guns used in the wars. It’s not a conflict I don’t know all that much about. Maybe one of you worthies will be some kind of SME on the wars and post some long insightful fact filled boring comment on the subject I can shamelessly rip off for the part 2 for this.


  1. One wonders where they got the ammo to feed the sporting rifles and oddball (in their area of the world) sub-guns.

    A Thompson in the US? No problem to feed it. In the Balkans? I didn’t think .45 ACP was just laying around all over the place.

      • That’s the thing – Privi is a company located in Serbia. I don’t know whether the above-depicted folks are Serb, Croat, Bosnian, or what.

        I don’t fancy the Serbs selling ammo to the Croats or Bosnians in that conflict. The Serbs have the most affinity for weapons out of the various ethic groups in that war, and they pretty much sneer at gun control laws.

        S&B is a Czech company. No idea what sort of distribution or availability they had in the recently post-USSR eastern Europe.

        Most of my pondering of the issue isn’t driven by what you observe today – or even 20 years ago. It is driven by remembering what eastern Europe was like as communism was coming down after 1989-1990. Yugoslavia was perhaps the single most liberal of the eastern bloc nations before 1990, thanks to Tito (who died in 1980, as I recall), but it still wasn’t as though you could just go down to the local gun shop and start buying ammo by the crate.

        • Well the transition in Czechia was very civilized compared to other Warsaw Pact nations, so you didn’t have military stocks being sold to literal criminals very often, but S&B as a recently privatized company was free to sell ammunition, especially sporting ammunition (.45 is nothing more than that outside of the US of A), anywhere they wanted. It was a true wild west of opportunities on the free, grey or outright black market.

          The Yugoslav civil war in question started in the very early nineties, didn’t it?

        • The Igman ammunition factory in Bosnia started up in the early 50s and according to a declassified
          CIA report was making over 50000 rounds per day in 1963, including 7.35 Carcano, 12.7mm MG ammunition and 7.92 Mauser. This gave the Bosnian and their allies their own source

    • Probably easier than you think. Most of the hunting rifles are M48 Mauser based and 7.92 Mauser was still a standard military round for second line use, like the MG42 one guy is holding. US stuff was also common since there was a mix of WWII and postwar military aid and cash sales, for example the woodland pattern BDUs in some photos, and Yugoslavia was one of the last M18 Hellcat users This relationship means .45 ACP, .30-06 and .50 BMG were readily available. For that matter 8mm Mannlicher was probably common enough given how much was left after WWI

  2. The chick firing the Thompson in the 4th pic doesn’t appear to have complete control over her weapon.

    And a second for Spankie’s thoughts on the STG-57. I’ve always loved those guns.

  3. Nice Spectre!

    As for the 45 availability… you have no Idea how many guns & ammo the US left in EU after WW2. Sure it’s not as common as 9mm but I wouldn’t consider it rare

  4. Yugoslavia got a lot of american stuff in the WWII (Thompson’s are common in the museums in the Balkans as are 1911 pistols) most were stashed for future need as was captured German weapons. Then came the Soviet influence.

    Kelly’s Hero’s was filmed in Yugoslavia because it was cheap and there was an abundance of small arms and armor to rent.

    Yugoslavia was a bit more accessible that other Soviet dominated countries. There was some economic interaction with the west though limited I am sure.

    I have spent quite a bit of time in the Balkans (in Albania now) as a retired meandering ‘expat’ and seen many of the museums in the area. There was definitely an odd ball assortment of small arms in the war.

    The military museum in Belgrade (I linked a photo album to part two) covers a long history, but the small Balkan War section displayed some firearms you would not expect here. But they got here and were used (something that goes bang is better than nothing) none-the-less.

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