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Tito and Yougoslavian Partisans

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by Skipper, Dec 30, 2015.

  1. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Grazie mille per la correzione. Strange, I use quite often a phrase "deliberate decision" and yet I have failed to realize I've been using that adjective in a wrong way.

    I am looking forward to hear from you soon. A couple of days ago I was also reading about the events related to capitulation of Italy and events that followed in Dalmatia. It is difficult to find something relevant in Croatian and Slovenian literature because all accounts seem to be either too personal or rather biased by the post war communist propaganda. Exactly during that period there must have been quite few individuals on both Croatian and Slovenian side who wanted to exploit weak position of Italian minority in a vacuum created by the fall of Italian army. These were the late "heroes of 1943" seeking vendetta against civilians while the army was in disarray.

    Once again, I will never defend "my" bastards - I just want to know what really happened during the war. Participation in this community has helped me to improve my own view on events that still have impact on our lives. Gentlemen, thank you very much.
     
  2. YugoslavPartisan

    YugoslavPartisan Drug

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    All pictures were taken in Croatian region of Slavonia in 1944. They show the life on the liberated parts of Yugoslavia.

    Partisan skiing:
    [​IMG]

    I guess he's a beginner: :)
    [​IMG]

    During the harvest:
    [​IMG]

    Partisan colonel on a motorcycle:
    [​IMG]

    I bet this guy was the funny one: :)
    [​IMG]

    Partisan poses for photograph:
    [​IMG]

    Some war propaganda:
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. YugoslavPartisan

    YugoslavPartisan Drug

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    I found another awesome photo. Partisans and US soldiers with captured Nazi flag at the island of Vis, Croatia in 1944.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    excellent YugoPartisan...whenever I see Yugoslavia and WW2, I think of the book Force Ten From Navarone.....and the ''funny guy'' pic reminds me of Lescover from the movie....here are 2 pics of the evil Lescovar
     

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  5. YugoslavPartisan

    YugoslavPartisan Drug

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    He looks just like him. :)

    I've been trying to remember the name of the movie with Harrison Ford that involved Yugoslavia and now you mentioned it. Thank you very much! :)
     
  6. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    What about this guy - Richard Burton as Tito in "The Battle of Sutjeska (1973)":

    [​IMG]
     
  7. YugoslavPartisan

    YugoslavPartisan Drug

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    He looks more like Franco Nero than Richard Burton.
     
  8. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Really? :eek: Franco Nero in spaghetti western "Keoma" looks more like a chetnik. :cool:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. YugoslavPartisan

    YugoslavPartisan Drug

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    LOL :D
     
  10. YugoslavPartisan

    YugoslavPartisan Drug

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    Here are some more photos.

    Tito with theater actors at Glamoč in 1944:
    [​IMG]

    Mongol amongst Yugoslav partisan troops:
    [​IMG]

    Kozarčanka, one of the most famous photos amongst the partisans:
    [​IMG]

    Žorž Skigrin, the author of Kozarčanka:
    [​IMG]

    Look at this little guy: :)
    [​IMG]

    Notice the belt buckle: :)
    [​IMG]

    Yugoslav navy partisan:
    [​IMG]

    Partisan women picking a flower:
    [​IMG]
     
  11. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Found this account on 1942 operations on Croatia that I believe is interesting, it highlights how, even in 1942 counterinsurgency in the former Yougaslavia were multi divisional affairs involving multiple actors with different objectives.

    I will summarise the article that is mostly from Italian military sources. After long "internal deliberation" I decided for the term "insurgents" for the defenders hope that doesn't offend anyone.

    In 1942 Croatia was nominally independent and had included most of Bosnia Erzegovina and while Hitler had agreed to assign it to in the Italian sphere of influence in reality the country was divided into German and Italian influence zones. Germany also controlled Serbia. Italy despite a good relationship with the Croatian "leader" Pavelic , and the nomination of Aimone d'Aosta (the Aosta were the minor branch of the Italian monarchy) , that never set foot in the country, as regent, had managed to alienate the Croats with the annexation of the coastal town, where Italians were just a minority, and other mistakes, the country was militarily organized in four strips roughly parallel to the coast, the annexed coastal towns, the Italian zone, a "demilitarized" zone and the German influence zone.
    The occupation forces had also noticeably failed to prevent the ethnic cleansing by the Croats of the ortodox and jewish Serb minorities in the areas they controlled to which the Serbs retaliated, on a smaller scale, against the moslem and Croat minorities in Serbia. This had pushed Italy to extend it's military operations to the theoretically demilitarized zone.

    During the 1941-42 winter the snow prevented any large scale operations and a number of Italian garrisons had found themselves practically under siege but with the coming of the good weather operations were again possible. Italian command had shifted to general Mario Roatta that had a decent relationship with the Germans due to having been the military attaché in Berlin, but initial planning between the "allies" were mostly of the "give me your troops and I will solve it" kind. The insurgents were operating across the Drina and could easily move to either the German or Italian occupation zones, or the nominally independent Croatia so combined operations were the only ones that had a chance of success.

    In the end the Germans had to admit they had not enough troops to spare as the combat capable divisions were being moved to the USSR to replace the worn out units there and so they could not plan a major effort in spring 1942. While both Croats and Germans agreed that boundaries would have to be crossed to pursue the partisan bands there was a lot of reluctance to allow Italian troops to operate outside their zone and all "pacified" areas were to be immediately transferred to Croatian control.

    The Germans allocated one infantry division to the operation (718 infantry) out of 3 divisions they had in Serbia and one, plus some independent batallions, in Croatia. Italian forces initially allocated were 3 divisions, the two mountain divisions Taurinense and Pusteria and the Cacciatori dellle Alpi that, despite the name, was regular infantry, the Croats were to contribute some 8 to 10 battalion. There were also substantial Regia Areonautica forces allocated.

    Agreed policy on the treatment of the "rebels" was brutal, shoot all weapon carrying "insurgents" and any sympathisers and burn any villages found to contain arms, there was an explicit exception for the chetniks that it was hoped would stay neutral.

    Roatta's plan was to proceed in bounds, line area at a time, as there were insufficient forces for a simultaneous offensive on the whole front.

    Taurinense was to be staged in Sarajevo, so outside the Italian zone, and the attack was initially planned for the 15th of April.

    Delays in preparations caused the Italians to ask for a postponement to the 25th, the Germans agreed in theory but were worried that the delay would give the insurgents time to disperse.

    ... to be continued
     
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  12. YugoslavPartisan

    YugoslavPartisan Drug

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    Nice article. I'm looking forward for more.
     
  13. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    I can confirm this from several personal sources, including my mother who has told me of many instances where Italians have saved individual families from certain death. On many occasions Italians have prevented ethnic cleansing but were mainly helpless. At the north, however, in German "sphere of interest" Ustashe have carried out ethnic cleansing outright brutally with consent and assistance from the Germans.

    But, let me rephrase a famous Roosevelt's statement: Italians “held the dagger” that was struck into “the back of its neighbor”. Hence, resistance, or if you wish "insurgency", was justified. Why should healthy men sit at home and serve an aggressor like sheep if annihilation was endangering the entire population?
     
  14. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Totally agree resistance was justified, the Italian army may have been a bit less bad than the Germans but were still invaders.

    .... continuing ...

    The Croatians were against the stationing of Italian forces in Sarajevo and elsewhere in the "German" zone, as required by the plan, this led them to pressure the Germans to start operations earlier, before the arrival of the Italian forces, the need to relieve the ustasha garrison of Rogatica, that was under pressure, also hastened the start of operations before the Italians were in place. Italian forces were forbidden to advance beyond the demarcation line but were just to act as anvil to prevent the insurgents from retreating across it.
    In a meeting on the 21 the German general Bader stated his lack of faith in large scale operations like the agreed plan and stated the situation in Bosnia was now much improved thanks to negotiations between Croats and Chetnics and some local successes by the former, on the 22 a Croatian communiqué stated the Ustasha and German forces had completely destroyed the bands operating in western Bosnia. The Italians were pretty surprised at such a statement six days after the demand to hurry the start of the offensive and two after describing the situation at Rogatica as "critical".

    The first phase of the offensive between April 26 and 30 relieved Rogatica but failed to trap the bulk of Tito's forces. Pusteria suffered 80 casualties and claimed having inflicted 800 on the insurgents, Cacciatori delle Alpi struggled to teach Gagko and Taurinense was ready to comence opertations only on the 25 from the Sarajevo area partly due to the trains the Germans had promised to transport it never showing up.

    Bader then wanted to downsize Trio to a more limited operation along the demarcation zone by just Pusteria in cooperation with the German and Croatian forces. Due to the offensive pushing the bulk of the insurgents to the Italian zone the Italians had some difficulty in reaching the agreed starting positions so now most of the action would take place in the Italian zone.

    The second phase was intended to destroy the forces in the area boubed by Sarajevo, Kalinovik, Foka and Goradze, Bader asked for a two week delay and was finally overruled by Roatta that received tactical as well as operation command of the forces, one of the few times where a German division was subordinated to an Italian HQ. and a the combined offensive was resumed the tenth of May and lasted for 5 days without Croatian partecipation.

    Pusteria reached Foca, that was the insurgent's HQ, arriving there just before a mororized column from the from the 718 division, but most of the insergents had already retrated towads Erzegovina and Montenegro due to the failure by Cacciatori dell Alpi to close the escape route at Kaninovik. The time lost between the two phases also contributed to the failure. The Italians accused the German of sticking to the roads so that the enemy could easily escape by taking to the mountains and then going back after the columns had passed, the 718 suffered just two KIA during this phase that seems to point it was not heavily engaged. Italian forces had 51 KIA and 86 WIA and insurgent losses were estimated at 2100.

    Total losses for the two operations according to the Italian command were
    - Italians 220 killed, 556 Wounded and 173 Missing
    - Germans 11 killed, 15 wounded and 1 Missing
    - Croatians 82 killed149 wounded and 121 Missing
    - Chetniks 72 killed 102 wounded and 3 Missing

    Estimate insurgent losses were estimated at 1646 dead 719 wounded and 2626 captured according to one report and 1720 KIA 821 WIA and 1900 captured according to another report.

    The Italian air force dropped 24 tonns of bombs and 30 of supplies during the operation .

    Operation Trio under Roatta was overall more a success for the Germans and Croats that saw the bulk of the opposing forces move to the Italian zone of operations than for the Italians. Tito was apparently shaken by the results and reported to Moscow on the 24th of May that he was out of ammo, his men were exhausted, and he needed help as the enemy was doing it's best to annihilate his army.

    This account badly needs a couple of maps to be understood by anyone not familiar with local geography, my scanner is down and the ones in the article are not great anyway so I will try making some.
     
  15. YugoslavPartisan

    YugoslavPartisan Drug

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    Such an interesting read. Thank you again for posting!
     
  16. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Are there any casualty estimates from the other side? These seem disproportionate but then the equipment and resources were disproportionate as well. Estimates of opposing casualties though are often pretty rough.
     
  17. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Could not find any figures from the Yougoslav side for the spring 1942 period, the later Neretva and Sutjeska battles get most of the attention. The "partisans killed" figure possibly included a number of "executed" rather than killed in combat, what is surprising is the number of wounded as I can't see any way for the Italian command to have figures unless they captured some records, and guerrilla forces are not big on record keeping. Also "body counts" in counter insurgency operations tend to be exaggerated. .
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    That was my thinking as well. Would have been nice to have the figures though. A very interesting series. Glad this thread survived.
     
  19. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Meanwhile I have investigated the meaning of the word "insurgent" and here is what I've found:

    - a person who revolts against civil authority or an established government;
    - a rebel not recognized as a belligerent.

    1. Neither Germany nor Italy have legally established government over the territory under consideration. These two countries were major aggressors.
    2. According to the list of Allies of World War II Yugoslavia was one of the allies with the status of belligerent state hence was recognized as a state at war and protected by and subject to the laws of war.

    TOS, neither of us is a native speaker and I consider this as a simple lapsus linguae.
     
  20. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    There are no "neutral" words to describe the fighters in Yugoslavia, using the same term to describe Tito's and Mihailovic's forces would be considered wrong by many so it's a bit of a minefield. Dependng on where you sit any word you use may be taken as having negative implications. The saying one person's freedom fighter is another person's terrorist (or to use a more WW2 era term bandit that's still a pretty "loaded" word) applies in full here. So one tries to avoid the biggest mines.

    Should we consider the "Croatian government" a true government or just a German puppet? they sometimes played their own games against German interests.
    And I believe the pro-allies 1941 government was the result of a British backed coup, that was the Hitler's apparent reason for invading, not of an election.

    Nothing is clear cut in that very confusing time
     

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