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Operation Spider
Part of the Bosnian War
Western Autonomous Republics of the Former Yugoslavia 1993.png

Western Bosnia is the light green canton in the middle
Date4 — 20 November 1994
Location45°11′N 15°48′E / 45.183°N 15.800°E / 45.183; 15.800Coordinates: 45°11′N 15°48′E / 45.183°N 15.800°E / 45.183; 15.800

Decisive Serb victory

Republika Srpska Republika Srpska
 Republic of Serbian Krajina
 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Bosnia and HerzegovinaRepublic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Commanders and leaders
Republika Srpska Franko Simatović "Frenki"[1] Bosnia and Herzegovina Atif Dudaković
Units involved
Republika Srpska Army of Republika Srpska
Army of Serbian Krajina
Bosnia and Herzegovina ARBiH
unknown unknown
Casualties and losses
unknown unknown

Operation Spider (Serbo-Croatian: Operacija Pauk, Операција Паук) was a combined effort by Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Republika Srpska and the Republic of Serb Krajina to recover the territory of the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia, which was a key ally of the Serbs. The Bosnian central government had previously overrun and seized the territory. The operation ended in a Serb victory and the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia remained in existence until the fall of its key ally the Republic of Serbian Krajina and the subsequent end of the war.


Before the operation was conducted on November 4, the ARBiH 5th corps, the 506 Mountain infantry brigade, 505 Mountain infantry brigade, 517 infantry brigade, and the 1 Bosnian Liberation infantry brigade under Bosnian general Atif Dudaković and Hamdija Abdić had already invaded and captured Velika Kladuša on August 21, 1994, and had completely run the entire province over on August 22, 1994, defeating the 1-6 APWB infantry brigade's that were defending the state.[2] 40,000 Muslims loyal to Fikret Abdić had seeken refugee in Serbian Krajina.[3] The 5th corps even went on to invade parts of Republika Srpska and kick out Krajina from Bosnia. Fikret abdić, the former president of the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia, had already fled to Croatia (Republic of Serbian Krajina) and had stayed there until his province was liberated and restored. A year earlier, the HVO had sent there 101 HVO infantry brigade over to the Bosnians in 1993 to deal with them since they were at war in the Croat–Bosniak War.


On September 27, 1994, the army of the Republic of Serbian Krajina and the army of Republika Srpska attacked and invaded a small part of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with Krajina attacking from the south and Republika Srpska from the south-east. On October 2, there forces met and started to continue invading, but made very little progress in later days such as October 7 and 11 when they invaded very small parts. Their goal was to capture Bihać and liberate the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia. They continued to advance and made steady progress until November 3, 1994, when the forces of the 501 and 502 Mountain brigade stopped the serb advance and pushed back the armies of Krajina and Republika Srpska. 3 Days later on November 6, the 502 Mountain brigade almost cutoff from the rest of the army but failed to do so. Meanwhile, the 501 Mountain brigade advanced south aiming to destroy Krajina's army there and put an end to liberate the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia. The Elms/501 Mountain brigade force had pushed back the serbs from the outskrits of Bihać to be below the city of Kulen Vakuf.

Order of battle

As they were making preparations for the operation, they had made their main staff be located near Jasenica in order to put more reserves faster and closer. The army of Republika Srpska sent out its VRS TG-1, TG-2, TG-3, and TG-4, with TG-4 being located in the north, while VRS TG-3 was located in the south with TG-1 AND TG-2 being located in-between. The army of Republic of Serbian Krajina had sent out its SVK 15 LIKA operational zone, SVK TG-5, SVK TG-6, SVK TG-7, SVK TG-8, SVK TG-9, SVK 21 Kordun operational zone, SVK 39 BANIJA operational/zone, and the "PAUK" (spider) division.


As the VRS and the SVK were ready, the VRS were given the signal to begin the operation. The VRS TG-3 and the SVK TG-5 attacked first. The VRS TG-3 first went to attack the village of Kulen Vakuf. As they approached the village, the Elms 501 Mountain infantry brigade had already retreated from the village just in time before the VRS had arrived. When the VRS TG-3 had came to the village, they were met with no resistance from the ARBiH. The SVK TG-5 on the other hand, had attacked the 502 Mountain infantry brigade and the 101 HVO infantry brigade from the south with help from the SVK TG-6, who attacked from the west and advanced to push out 501 Mountain infantry brigade, capturing the villages of Vedro Polje, Zegar, Sokolac, Mali Skocaj, Zavalje, Medudrazje, Veliki Skocaj, and the mountain of Debeljaca. Meanwhile, The Army of Republika Srpska had already by that time captured the villages of Cukovi, Lipa, Gorjevac, Lohovo, Ripac, Lohovska Brda, Golubac, Pritoka, Grabez, Radic, Grmusa, Drenovo Tijesno, and Ostroznica. In the west, the SVK TG-7 attacked and captured the village of Bugar. From the north, however, the SVK TG-8, "Pauk" division, and the SVK TG-9 had prepared to attack and launched an offensive to liberate Velika Kladuša and restore APWB. They didn't make very much progress though, and only captured the villages/cities of Bosanska Bojna, Smerkovac, and Velika Kladuša, although they would not liberate it until mid-1995.


The aftermath of this operation left the Bosnians and the HVO encircled by the APWB, Republic of Serbian Krajina, and Republika Srpska for the rest of the war until Operation Storm when the Republic of Serbian Krajina, a key ally to the APWB were defeated in August 1995 making a huge turning point for the Bosnian War and Croatian war of independence. The APWB, having just 1 division (which was the APWB/"Pauk" infantry division) and had no strength to take on the Bosnians, were completely run over in just one day with Velika Kladuša being taken when Operation Storm ended on August 7, 1995, by the 502 Mountain infantry brigade and the 505 Mountain infantry brigade over running everything else. Operation Spider and Operation Storm left many towns forever destroyed and ruined, often the towns were ruins because there were on the frontlines that were being fought. There are around ~8 ruined tows in the area. 3 next to Bihać, 1-2 next to Velika Kladuša, and 2-3 located in the middle of the area.


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  1. ^ Spider’s Web by Filip Švarm
  2. ^ "Bosnia: Bihac, January-August 1994". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Retrieved 2022-07-19.
  3. ^ "FRENCH WITNESSES TESTIFY FOR MILOSEVIC". Retrieved 2022-07-18.