insurgency in the republic of macedonia

A Macedonian military review.

Macedonia was perhaps the most fortunate of the former Yugoslavian republics following the breakup of the communist state. Macedonia’s bid for independence was peaceful, and minor border disputes with Yugoslavia were resolved amicably. Preemptively, Macedonia requested a small military force to be deployed by the UN, UNPREDEP, to monitor her borders.

However, UNPREDEP left Macedonia in February, 1999, and, with the Kosovo War just picking up steam, over 300,000 Kosovar Albanian refugees streamed over the border into Macedonia starting in March. The massive influx led to agitation by the KLA of the up to then peaceful ethnic Albanian minority within Macedonia, and an eventual low level insurgency in the border regions with Kosovo in 2001 led by the Albanian National Liberation Army.

Ethnic Albanian Forces in Kosovo, Serbia and Macedonia

Volunteer of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac Liberation Army

The UQPMB wore the same sleeve and beret badges as the Kosovo UQK, but with the inscription ‘USHTRIA QLIRIMT ARE E PRESHEVES, MEDVEGJES DHE BUJANOCIT’ and the initials 'UQPMB’. This fighter is wearing an obsolete 1960s JNA camouflage uniform, and has pulled on a woollen face mask to avoid recognition by the Serbian Police.

Military Policeman, National Liberation Army (Black Mountains and Tetovo) Macedonia

The UQK (NMET) wore the same uniforms as the Kosovo UQK, with similar red cloth sleeve and beret badges showing a black two-headed eagle, the black inscription 'USHTRIA QLIRIMT ARE KOMBET ARE’ and the initials 'UQK’. This man wears black civilian clothing, and on the left upper sleeve a white-edged black brassard with a beret badge and the white initials 'PU’ for Policia Ushtarake - Military Police; there was also a plain black armband with larger white letters. The Albanian National Army probably wore similar beret and sleeve badges, with the inscription 'ARMATA KOMBETARE SHQIPTARE’ and the initials 'AKSH’.

Officer, Kosovo Liberation Army

Ethnic Albanian guerrillas in Kosovo, southern Serbia and Macedonia used any camouflage uniforms they could find, capture or smuggle, often combined with civilian - particularly black - items; this officer wears a German Army M94 camouflage uniform. On the left upper sleeve the UQK wore a red cloth straight-sided shield with a black two-headed Albanian eagle, gold piping, the inscription 'USHTRIA QLIRIMTARE E KOSOVES’ and the initials 'UQK’. A smaller round cloth badge was worn on a black or red beret or peaked camouflage field cap. No rank insignia were worn.

(Darko Pavlovic)

Macedonian Military, 2000s

Constable, Macedonian Police

The Macedonian Police wore uniforms in the same camouflage pattern as other ex-Yugoslav republics, but of a distinctive model lacking the left upper sleeve pocket. A black shield was worn on the left upper sleeve, showing a gold woven Cyrillic title ‘REPUBLIKA MAKEDONIJA and 'POLICIJA, 'POLICE’ in English, and Cyrillic initials 'PM’ in a wreath. On the right upper sleeve was a black rectangle with the gold woven Cyrillic title 'POLICIJA. Special Police wore the same uniforms with unit arm badges. New rank insignia were introduced in Oct. 1994 - featuring varying numbers of four-point stars and transverse bands - but were rarely worn on camouflage field uniforms.

Vodnik I. klasa, Macedonian Army

In 1993 the ARM introduced the camouflage field uniforms illustrated (though others were occasionally worn, most often US Army surplus), with field rank insignia on the left breast. The JNA M59 helmet was worn, and later the distinctive M93 Eurokompozit PPS model, painted brownish-green; the M92 or M95 Macedonian flag was displayed on the left side, and an M93 gilt metal sun with a black boss and the initials 'ARM’ on the front.

General-major, Macedonian Army

In 1993 the ARM introduced a greenish-brown service uniform, changing to dark blue-grey in 1996. Berets were introduced in 1993 as the only headgear: Army - brown; Air Force - blue; service uniform - red. In 1996 peaked service caps were introduced, with a gold braid chin strap and two rows of gold leaves on the peak for general officers, a black leather chinstrap for other officers, and one row of leaves on the peak for field ranks. The M93 service uniform rank insignia consisted of straight and curved bars, with a wreath for general officers; in 1996 new service uniform rank insignia were introduced on the shoulder straps, while the M93 insignia were retained as breast ranking on field uniforms. The Macedonian flag - from Feb. 1992 a yellow 16-point star, replaced in Oct. 1995 by a yellow eight-rayed sun, on a red rectangle - was worn on the left upper sleeve, below a black arc edged gold with a gold Cyrillic title 'MAKEDONIJA’. The ARM badge worn on the right upper sleeve was a black cloth shield edged gold below the initials 'ARM’, with crossed rifles in a wreath, all woven in gold.

(Darko Pavlovic)