Yugoslavia Table of Contents
In 1990 about one-half of all conscripts came from rural backgrounds. They tended to adapt well to the rigors of military life. Many conscripts lacked significant technical training or mechanical experience prior to entering military service. This factor, combined with a relatively short time of service, impeded training beyond basic military skills. Article 243 of the 1974 Constitution guaranteed the equality of all national languages in the armed forces. However, that article also stated that a single, unspecified language could be used for military training and command. In practice, Serbo-Croatian was the only language used in the armed forces.
Conscription was instituted at the time of maximum Soviet threat in 1948. Many seventeen-year-olds received premilitary training prior to induction. This training was intended to give youths some basic military knowledge so that they could enter the YPA prepared to fight. In 1990 reserve NCOs and officers still conducted regular premilitary drills in intermediate schools.
Basic YPA training was conducted in special training units. Based on the TND doctrine, training covered both conventional military operations and unconventional guerrilla warfare tactics developed by the wartime Partisans. Basic training included twenty weeks of individual physical conditioning, military drill and discipline, weapons familiarization and range firing, political indoctrination, and squad and platoon tactical exercises. Soldiers participated in more advanced training in the units to which they were permanently assigned at the end of basic training. They were involved in larger unit maneuvers and exercises up to the brigade level. Some troops received specialist training in their permanent units, while others were sent to technical schools.
Economic stringency limited expenditures on realistic live fire exercises, large-scale maneuvers, and extensive education. The YPA also was required to supply conscript labor for many large-scale civilian construction projects. YPA units and military engineers worked on roads, bridges, railroads, tunnels, coal mines, and water supply systems. These activities detracted from conventional military training time.
Data as of December 1990