30,000 Sorties Over Ten
Weeks Against Serb
Army Damages ...13 Tanks
Michael Evans
The Times (London)

LONDON - Despite thousands of sorties with sophisticated precision weapons, NATO's 78-day bombing campaign damaged just 13 of the 300 Serb battle tanks in Kosovo, the Times of London reported Thursday.
Defense Correspondent Michael Evans, reporting from Kosovo, said NATO troops fanning out across the Serb province have so far come across only three crippled tanks.
Asked to comment, Britain's top military commander, Gen. Sir Charles Guthrie, acknowledged NATO did not know exactly how many Serb tanks its bombers hit.
``Mathematics isn't everything. I have never been fixed on figures. It isn't necessarily a case of killing or knocking out tanks,'' Guthrie said as he left Parliament after testifying before a select committee.
Regardless of how many tanks were hit, he added, the bombing campaign was the main cause for the Serb withdrawal from Kosovo after more than 11 weeks of airstrikes.
Toward the end of the campaign, NATO claimed that some 40 percent of the Yugoslav army's main battle tanks had been damaged or destroyed and up to 60 percent of Serb artillery and mortar pieces hit.
Evans, quoting unidentified sources in NATO's Kosovo Force of peacekeepers, or KFOR, said the Yugoslav army was adept at camouflage techniques.
The report said that dummy tanks were sometimes placed next to dummy bridges, with strips of black plastic sheeting across fields as fake roads to delude NATO bombers into thinking they had a prime target.
Evans noted there is evidence around the Serb republic that NATO was successful in hitting army barracks, state police buildings and oil terminals.
But he said that when the Serbs finally withdrew from Kosovo, NATO counted at least 250 tanks, as well as 450 armored personnel carriers and 600 artillery and mortar pieces.
DoD Stands On Serb Damage Toll - But New Figures Speak Differently
WASHINGTON (UPI) - The Pentagon is standing behind what may turn out to be overly optimistic estimates of the damage NATO inflicted on Yugoslav ground forces over the course of the 79-day air war.
Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon acknowledged today that an unknown number of the targets hit by NATO pilots were dummies and said the Yugoslav army was well schooled in camouflage, which he called "standard operating procedure."
Bacon estimates that the Yugoslav forces rolled into Kosovo with about 1,500 pieces of equipment, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, mortar and artillery pieces, and left with about 800, NATO having destroyed 700.
However, throughout the campaign the military resisted quantifying how much damage had been done, and Bacon has kept to this tradition. "The only conclusion that matters is we struck enough targets to win," Bacon said today.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Henry Shelton told reporters June 10 that NATO destroyed about 120 tanks, 220 armored personnel carriers and 450 artillery and mortars. The destruction of Yugoslav forces shot up in late May when Serb troops were drawn out of hiding into a battle with Kosovo Liberation Army rebels near Mount Pastric in southwest Kosovo.
However, media reports out of Pristina today say NATO peacekeepers so far have discovered the burned-out hulls of only three tanks. Peacekeepers have been in place since June 11.
Furthermore, NATO reportedly has counted the exodus of retreating forces and come up with a very different tally: 450 armored personnel carriers, 600 mortar and artillery pieces and 220 tanks made it out of the country. A number of fixed-wing aircraft also left the country unscathed, including 11 MiG-21s that were shielded from NATO bombs in a bunker at the Pristina airfield.
Bacon said he was unaware of such numbers. "I haven't seen those figures at all. I don't know where they came from," he said.
Hostilities comfortably over, Defense Secretary William Cohen today authorized the return of 221 aircraft back to their home bases in the United States, and another 60 from the Kosovo theater to their European bases. In addition 34 A-10s, some of which belong to the Air Force Reserve in Massachusetts, Michigan and Idaho, will be moved back to the United States and to other European bases.
The 31st Air Wing, which remains at Aviano Air Base in Italy, will continue combat air patrol flights and other regularly scheduled missions, Bacon said.
Cohen on June 17 convened a group to conduct an after-action review of the entire American operation. It will be chaired by Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Ralston.
That review will include an assessment of the targeting procedures that led to the mistaken bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade May
7. Bacon acknowledged today that a CIA officer warned the military that the building being targeted was not the Yugoslav supply and procurement headquarters as NATO believed, although the officer apparently didn't know that it was an embassy, Bacon said. The review will try to determine why that warning, expressed by the CIA intelligence officer to a mid-level military officer, didn't make it up the chain of command.

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