April war from the German perspective



The April war (official name Operation 25) was attacked on the Kingdom of Yugoslavia by the Axis powers that began on April 6, 1941, during the Second World War. As a reason for the invasion was a coup detain Belgrade, on 27th March 1941, which ousted the pro-axle government (Cvetkovic-Macek) and substituted it with pro-British officers headed by General Dusan Simovic. The German forces quickly launched an attack and, by using technological superiority, favorable strategic position, and the doctrine of blitzkrieg, easily defeated the demoralized and disorganized Yugoslav forces, forcing them to capitulate. The king and the government fled to exile. The victorious Axis powers decided to divide Yugoslavia, taking over a part of its territory and forming satellite states such as NDH (Independent State of Croatia) and Nedic's Serbia.

Map of the Axis attack


War diary of the Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht

March 27: Coup in Belgrade. This morning the Yugoslav government resigned. Demonstrations in front of the German Embassy. Anti-German demonstrations in Belgrade and other cities of Serbia. The contract has not yet been ratified. The new Prime Minister is called Simovic. About 13:00 it was announced that the Führer had decided to destroy Yugoslavia. Supreme Commander of the Army and Air Force are already at Hitler. (...) It is required from Italy, Hungary, and Bulgaria to participate in this action. In the evening, Hitler signed "Direction No. 25", which envisages "Blitzkrieg" against Yugoslavia and Greece, and the attack was moved from April 1 to April 6 this year. This means postponing the planned undertaking "Barbarossa" for about four weeks.

Armored vehicles are progressing through Yugoslavia


March 31: Military attaché from Belgrade reports that Yugoslavia remains faithful to the Triple Pact. Obviously, it only gets on time.

April 1: Two-thirds of the air force is transferred to the Yugoslav border. The German ambassador from Belgrade came to Berlin today.

April 2nd: Yugoslav Parliament dissolved. The Bulgarians did not express their willingness to fight against Yugoslavia.

April 3: Suicide of the Hungarian representative of the government of Count Teleki, as a protest against the German pressure on Hungary, to participate in the war against Yugoslavia.

April 5: The Soviet-Yugoslav Treaty of Friendship was signed in Moscow. Antoneku is very worried about the upcoming attack on Belgrade because he fears the Russian response.

German Panzer IV of the 11th Panzer Division advancing into Yugoslavia from Bulgaria as part of the Twelfth Army.


The total German forces used in the attack against Yugoslavia and Greece amount to about 1,200 tanks, 210 fighters, 400 bombers and 170 reconnaissance planes.
Against Yugoslavia: 7 infantry divisions, 4 motorized divisions, 4 tank divisions. Against Greece: 6 infantry divisions, two tank divisions.
Hungary participates with 10 brigades, and Italy with 28 divisions and 320 aircraft.
Military forces of Yugoslavia: 17 infantry divisions, 3 horses division, about 700 aircraft.
The Greek army has 20 infantry divisions, 80 planes.

Captured Yugoslavian officers before their deportation to Germany.


The Yugoslav army was not even fully mobilized when the war began. There were visible divisions within the army. Pro axle officers were not at all motivated by the war.


April 7th: Our 12th Army entered the Yugoslav territory. Strong resistance of the Yugoslav Army. Belgrade attacked three times during the day and one at night. Strong resistance is provided by the Greeks on Rupel's transit. Losses: 98 hostile, 14 own. Pavelic's call to the Croatian people. Macek's impact is lost.

Yugoslav infantry surrendering.


April 8: Our 12th Army is advancing. Occupied Skopje.

April 10: Entrance of the 2nd German Army units to Zagreb. Announced "Independent State of Croatia" by General Lieutenant-General Kvaternik. 100,000 Yugoslav soldiers were captured in Macedonia. Yesterday Because of the bad weather, there were no major attacks by the German Air Force against Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav navy has not sailed.

Destroyed Yugoslav artillery


April 11: The beginning of the entry of the Hungarian 3rd Army into Yugoslavia

April 12: The 11th tank division is 45 kilometers from Belgrade. Pavelic was declared the head of the Croatian state.

April 13: Two Yugoslav air strikes against Szeged. Several Yugoslav aircraft fled to Russia.

April 14: In Yugoslavia, resistance is only provided in certain places. It is trying to organize resistance on hilly terrains around Sarajevo. Raw materials in Yugoslavia: the highest copper in Europe and bauxite contains 9 percent of world reserves.

German Wehrmacht, in Yugoslavia. April 1941


April 15: German troops captured Sarajevo

April 17: General Kalafatovic signed the capitulation of the Yugoslav Army in Belgrade. The total number of Yugoslav prisoners of war is 344,000.

By signing the truce Yugoslav armed forces has to capitulate unconditionally all prisoners of war are drained in captivity. [...] The soldiers who leave their units, shall apply the death penalty.

Hungary occupying army conducts the captured soldiers of the Yugoslav Royal Army in April 1941.


According to the earliest German official data, the number of prisoners of war amounted to 6,298 officers and 337,864 NCOs and soldiers, all Serbs. According to US sources based on confiscated German documents, the Germans captured about 254,000 soldiers and officers, counting only Serbs.

On the German side in the April war, there were only 151 killed, 392 wounded and 15 missing. In his storm on Belgrade, the 41st Armored Corps lost only one officer, a victim of a civil sniper.

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