History of the Serbian Armed Forces

The development of modern Serbian Army has its roots in the military organization during the First Serbian Uprising. However, the first Military Constitution of 1813 did not enter into force due to the collapse of the Uprising. 

The Serbian military was created from the insurgent troops, the people who took up arms to fight for their freedom. These are the roots of a deep connection between our nation and military. Serbian military cherishes this essential link, remaining committed to the citizens of Serbia and helping them whenever necessary. Citizens also recognize that crucial connection and appreciate the military efforts performed for the common well-being.

Serbian Armed Forces have a rich heritage of Serbian military tradition.

  • Тhe First Generation of Women Graduating from the Military Academy
    On September 10, 2011, 19 female cadets were promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant. This was the first generation of women graduating from the Military Academy.
  • 02/15/2010    
    Аbolishment of the Compulsory Military Service
    On February 15, 2010, the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia reached a decision on abolishment of the compulsory military service, which entered into force on January 1, 2011.
  • Serbian Armed Forces
    On June 8, 2006, the Serbian Armed Forces were formally established by a Regulation of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.
  • 02/04/2003    
    Military of Serbia and Montenegro
    On February 4, 1993, the Military of Serbia and Montenegro was formed, following the establishment of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.
  • Yugoslavian Forces
    On May 20, 1992, Yugoslavian Forces were proclaimed as the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
  • 09/14/1955    
    Establishment of the Military Police in the YPA
    On September 14, 1955, the Military Police were established in the Yugoslav People’s Army, by the order of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
  • Yugoslav People's Army
    On December 22, 1951, the Yugoslav Army changed its name into Yugoslav People's Army (also known as Yugoslav National Army).
  • 11/14/1948    
    Тhe Yugoslav Army Films Department
    On November 14, 1948, the Yugoslav Army Films Department was established (a predecessor of today’s Military Film Center Zastava Film.
  • Тhe First Unit for Radio Reconnaissance and Electronic Countermeasures
    On November 11, 1946, the first unit for radio reconnaissance and electronic countermeasures was established in Niš.
  • 03/01/1945    
    Yugoslav Army
    March 1, 1945 - Upon a decision of the Supreme Commander of the National Liberation Army and Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia, Marshal Josip Broz Tito, the National Liberation Army and Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia were reorganized and renamed into Yugoslav Army.
  • People’s Liberation Army of Yugoslavia
    November 1942 — People’s Liberation Army of Yugoslavia was formed out of partisan detachments and the Voluntary Army.
  • 1942.    
    The National Liberation Movemen
    January 1942 — Apart from the existing partisan detachments, a new Voluntary Army was established within the National Liberation Movement.
  • Establishment of the First Proletarian Brigade
    On December 21, 1941 - the 1st Proletarian Brigade (Yugoslav Partisans) was established.
  • 10/31/1941    
    The First Tank Action
    On October 31, 1941, during the battle for the liberation of Kraljevo, the insurrectionary platoon consisting of two tanks was put into action for the first time.
  • Establishment of the First Partisan Detachments
    On June 27, 1941 the first partisan detachments were established.
  • 04/12/1941    
    The Sinking of a monitor Drava
    On April 12, 1941, at 08.00 a.m., after almost half-an-hour fight with the German “Stukas”, on the 1287 km of navigable Danube, in the vicinity of today’s Čelarevo, a monitor “Drava”, defending the skies over the homeland, was hit with more than 30 bombs and sunk. The commander of the monitor, Lieutenant 1st class Aleksandar Berić, performed his duty with honour and kept his promise not to let the ship fall into hands of the enemey. Saluting to the state flag, Berić, together with his ship and the whole crew, sank to the bottom of Danube.
  • The April War
    April War (April 6–17, 1941) is the name used for the German invasion of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, which marks the beginning of the WW2 on the Yugoslav territory. The war ended with the capitulation, occupation and the division of Yugoslavia. What remains are the glorious exploits of pilots and air force and air defence servicemen, as well as the crew of monitor “Drava”, who heroically stood up to the far more powerful enemy.
  • 09/28/1932    
    Establishment of the Powder Battalion
    By the Decree of the Minister of the Army and Navy of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Powder Battalion was established in Kruševac within the Institute Obilićevo. It was the first regular chemical protection unit.
  • Establishment of the First Meteorological Section
    Тhe Meteorological Section of the First Air Force Command was established in Petrovaradin. The Section was in charge of managing the aviation meteorological services and their manning and equipment.
  • 12/01/1918    
    Тhe New Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
    Serbia invested in it its statehood and the victorious military that came out of the war as a recognized and valued ally. The armed forces of the new state, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes/Yugoslavia, were multiethnic, multi-confessional and championed the Yugoslav integralism. Holding the capital of war victors, Serbian officers kept main positions in the ground forces and air force, while most of the Navy officers came from the former Austro-Hungarian Military.
  • Belgrade Liberation in WWI
    The First Serbian Army commanded by General Petar Bojović, who was the predecessor of Vojvoda Živojin Mišić as the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command, liberated Belgrade on November 1, 1918.
  • 09/14/1918    
    The Breakthrough of the Salonika Front
    Serbian forces had a crucial role during the breakthrough of the Salonika Front, which began at dawn on September 14, 1918. After breaking the front, the Serbian Armed Forces continued in unabated progression to liberate Serbia.
  • Signal Units Turned into a Separate Branch
    On the proposal of the Minister of War, Crown Prince Aleksandar Karađorđević approved the Decree on the Military Telegraph. Based on the Decree, the signal units were separated from the Engineering Branch, they developed into battalion-regiment level units, which turned the signal units into a separate Army branch.
  • 1916.    
    The Battle of Kajmakcalan
    September 1916 — the Battle of Kajmakcalan
  • Reorganization of the Serbian military
    During their stay in Greece, primarily on the island of Corfu from January to May 1916, and then on the Khalkidhiki Peninsula, the Serbian Armed Forces were reorganized and included in the Allied operations on the Salonika front. Due to heavy losses, the Supreme Command decided on February 27, 1916 to implement reorganization of the Serbian Armed Forces, which was completed on April 26 of the same year.
  • 1915.    
    Withdrawal through Albania
    Following the Austro-Hungarian offensive and attack of the Bulgarian forces, on November 25, 1915, the Government and the Supreme Command reached a decision about withdrawal through Albania.
  • The First Downing of Enemy Aircraft
    On September 30, 1915, gunner Radomir Raka Ljutovac downed the German plane, which participated in the German bombing of Kragujevac, with a modified field gun. It was the first downing of enemy aircraft using anti-aircraft gun in Serbia.
  • 08/06/1915    
    The First Serbian River Warship Jadar
    On August 6, 1915, the first Serbian river warship Jadar was launched in Čukarica, Belgrade, which officially marked the beginning of the development of Serbian River Flotilla.
  • The Battle of Kolubara
    The Battle of Kolubara (November 16 – December 15, 1914). This battle represents the greatest victory in the history of the Serbian military.
  • 1914.    
    The Battle of Drina
    The Battle of Drina (September–October 1914)
  • The Battle of Cer
    The Battle of Cer (August 12-24, 1914) — the first Allied victory in the First World War.
  • 07/28/1914    
    Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia
    On July 28, 1914, the Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, which initiated the First World War.
  • The Second Balkan War
    The Second Balkan War started in 1913. The split between the Balkan allies led to the Second Balkan War in which the Serbian military achieved a decisive victory over Bulgaria in the Battle of Bregalnica (June 30 – July 9, 1913).
  • 12/24/1912    
    Establishment of the Air Force Command
    On December 24, 1912, following the Decision by the Serbian Military Ministry and the General Staff, Vojvoda Radomir Putnik signed the Order on the Establishment of the Air Force Command based in Niš. It consisted of the ‘Aeroplane and Balloon’ Department, Hydrogen Station and Pigeon Mail (all elements of the Air Force at that time). Back then, Serbia was one of the 15 countries in the world that had the Air Force and one among the first five countries in the world to deploy aircraft in combat, during the siege of Shkodra in 1913.
  • The First Balkan War
    The First Balkan War started in 1912. In the First Balkan War, significant victories were achieved in 1912 in Kumanovo (October 23-24) and Bitola (November 16-18). Allied with the Balkan countries, Serbia made a significant territorial expansion to the south, in the territory of Kosovo and Macedonia.
  • 09/15/1908    
    Establishment of the Transport Service
    On September 15, 1908, King Peter I Karadjordjević issued the Decree on the Establishment of the Transport Service.
  • Establishment of the Belgrade's Military Band
    On September 26, 1899, the Belgrade's Military Band was established.
  • 1885.    
    The War with Bulgaria
    In 1885, the war with Bulgaria started. Despite the unsuccessful episode in this war, King Milan implemented further reorganization of the military in order to modernize it in accordance with the European standards and by training the personnel abroad.
  • Formation of the entire armed forces
    In accordance with the Act on Establishment of the Armed Forces of 1883, the Formation of the entire armed forces was introduced on January 31 of the same year. Serbia was divided into five division areas: Timok, Morava, Drina, Danube and Šumadija. In peacetime, all units, commands and establishments were permanent staff, who served as the military school through which all able citizens passed as the preparation for military service in war.
  • 01/15/1883    
    Introduction of the Mixed System of the Standing a
    With the Act on the Organization of the Military, promulgated on January 15, 1883, a mixed system was introduced to replace both the standing and the national army, i.e. permanent staff strengthened by reserve forces in war time was introduced. In this way Serbia harmonized its system with most European countries that already had compulsory military service and permanent staff.
  • Тhe Official Military Gazette
    In December 1880, the first Official Military Gazette was printed.
  • 1880.    
    Artillery School Transformed into the Military Academy
    In January 1880, the Act on the Organization of the Military Academy was passed, which transformed the Artillery School into the Military Academy.
  • The Warrior Gazette
    In January 1879, The Warrior Gazette for military science, news and literature, was launched.
  • 08/22/1878    
    Establishment of the Military Museum
    On August 22, 1878, Prince Milan issued the Decree on the Establishment of the Military Museum.
  • The Berlin Congress
    Serbia was internationally recognized as a state at the Berlin Congress in 1878, which rounded up the way to its statehood, initiated with the First Serbian Uprising.
  • 02/05/1876    
    Establishment of the General Staff
    On February 5, 1876, the General Staff was established.
  • Wars with the Ottoman Empire
    Wars with the Ottoman Empire 1876–1878 led to expansion of Serbia. In those wars, the shortcomings of the national army were evident, which was the reason for new reforms aimed at modernizing the state and society, and consequently the military.
  • 11/06/1865    
    Introduction of the Engineering Branch
    inzinjerija, ilustracija.jpg
    On November 6, 1865, the Principality of Serbia adopted the Act on Amending the Act on Regulation of the Army of 1864, which separated pontoniers and pioneers from Artillery, creating the new branch – Engineering.
  • Act on Establishment of the National Army
    On August 17, 1861 Act on Establishment of the National Army was introduced. The creation of the National Army is considered to be one of the greatest achievements of the reign of Prince Mihailo.
  • 03/18/1850    
    Artillery School
    On March 18, 1850 the Artillery School was established in Belgrade.
  • Тhe Cavalry as a New Branch
    In January 1845, a new Act on the military was adopted, introducing the cavalry as a new branch
  • 03/02/1844    
    Central Hospital of the Army
    Central Hospital of the Army of the Principality of Serbia was founded on March 2, 1844.
  • The First Law on the Military
    In 1839, the first law on the military, called Act on Establishment of the Garrison Army, was adopted.
  • 1835.    
    Sretenje Constitution
    In 1835, the Sretenje Constitution was adopted, and it contained, among other things, basis for the first organization of the Serbian Army.
  • Military personnel divided in formations
    In 1833, the permanent military personnel were divided in formations.
  • 1832.    
    Establishment of the Horse Guard
    In 1832, the Horse Guard was established in Kragujevac as the Royal Court unit. In the same period, the construction of the first barracks began in Kragujevac.
  • Establishment of Guardia
    The heads of Serbian counties selected a number of young men in accordance with specific criteria on St. George's Day 1830, and sent them to training in Požarevac. Prince Miloš took them as his personal security and called them Guardia.
  • 1825.    
    Enrollment Pandurs — Soldats
    In 1825, Prince Miloš recruited about 1000 young men for his own safety, which produced twelve companies. He concealed them from the Turks calling them Enrollment Pandurs until 1826, and Soldats from 1827.
  • Second Serbian Uprising
    The beginning of the Second Serbian Uprising, on Palm Sunday, April 23, 1815 (Serbian Cveti) is the historic milestone in the creation of the modern Serbian state and the military, which is why that day is celebrated as the Day of the Serbian Armed Forces since 2012.
  • 02/15/1804    
    First Serbian Uprising
    The development of modern Serbian Army has its roots in the military organization during the First Serbian Uprising (1804–1813). However, the first Military Constitution of 1813 did not enter into force due to the collapse of the Uprising.