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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Newspaper:Just 13 Serb Tanks Hit

LONDON -- Despite thousands of sorties with sophisticated precision weapons, NATO's 79-day bombing campaign damaged just 13 of the Serbs' 300 battle tanks in Kosovo, the Times reported Thursday.

Defense correspondent Michael Evans, reporting from Kosovo, said NATO troops of all nationalities fanning out in the province of the Yugoslav republic of Serbia have so far come across only three crippled tanks.

Asked to comment, Britain's top military commander, General Sir Charles Guthrie, acknowledged NATO did not know how many Serbian 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," said Guthrie, after testifying before a select committee.

He added that, anyway, the bombing campaign was the "principal cause" of the Serbian withdrawal from Kosovo.

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 Serbian artillery and mortar pieces had been hit.

Evans, quoting unidentified sources in the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force, said the Yugoslav army was adept at camouflage techniques - dummy tanks, 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.