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It has not arrived yet but is encroaching daily a few miles to the south. The locals are hoping that the weekend ceasefire agreement and the prospect of EC monitors coming in to separate warring Serbs and Croats spare them the ravages of war.
But scepticism is rife. But we will always be here, even if we are six feet under. The army is our problem. The army was not always the problem, rather the reason for the town's existence.
Karlovac has always been a garrison town, on the frontier between two civilisations. Imperial Vienna granted the town its charter more than years ago, declaring Karlovac a military city and headquarters for the troops stationed here to defend the West against the Turks. Marshal Tito carried on the tradition after the war, establishing the town as one of the Yugoslav army's principal bases in Croatia.
With as many as 10, troops stationed here, roughly every third man in the town is a soldier. It was our army and he was protecting us. With our money we paid for the tanks, for the aircraft, for the artillery, for the troops. We were proud of all this until they started shooting at us. Mrs Ban was among thousands of conscripts' mothers demonstrating here and across Yugoslavia for the past four days, demanding an end to the war in Croatia and the release of their sons from the army.
Until last week, the territorial conflict had been largely fought in the villages and countryside in the south and the east of Croatia. That changed with the Serbian rebel and army onslaught on Vukovar, a town the same size as Karlovac miles due east, raising doubts of the inviolability of Karlovac, where Serbs make up 25 per cent of the community.