Military and paramilitary formations in the Balkans during World War II PART III



National Liberation Movement of Albania

The National Liberation Movement (Albion Lévizja Nacional Çlirimtare, abbreviated LNÇ) was an Albanian anti-fascist resistance movement in World War II.

This struggle started in Albania in 1939, when Fascist Italy occupied this small Mediterranean and Balkan country, its immediate neighbor on the other side of the Adriatic Sea. On November 8, 1941, with the establishment of the Communist Party of Albania, the movement actively participated in the struggle against the occupiers.

Bajram Curi Battalion in Malaysia in late 1943


When Italy capitulated, the Supreme Headquarters of the National Liberation Army of Albania called on Italian soldiers to surrender their weapons and join the Partisans. Since the commander of the Italian troops in Albania, General Dalmazzo, did not respond to this call, the German 21st Corps disarmed a number of Italian units. Now the new occupiers were Germans.

Partisan in Tirana on November 28, 1944


The Germans gathered all the domestic mammals of Bali Kombetar and formed a monarchist organization Legalitet. They immediately launched larger operations against the Albanian National Liberation Army, which significantly strengthened the capitulation of Italy. New units were formed, so the National Liberation Army of Albania at the end of 1943 had about 20,000 fighters. In the composition of the People's Liberation Army of Albania fought, from the capitulation of Italy, the partisan battalion "Boro Vukmirovic". This detachment was created by political prisoners from Kosovo and other parts of Yugoslavia who left the Albanian camps after the capitulation of Italy.



Balli Kombëtar

Balli Kombëtar



The Balli Kombëtar (literally National Front), known as Balli, was an Albanian anti-communist resistance movement and a political organization established in November 1942. It was led by Ali Këlcyra and Midhat Frashëri and was formed by members from the landowning elite, liberal nationalists opposed to communism and other sectors of society in Albania. The motto of the Balli Kombëtar was: "Shqipëria Shqiptarëve, Vdekje Tradhëtarëvet" (Albania for the Albanians, Death to the Traitors). Eventually, the Balli Kombëtar joined the Nazi-established puppet government and fought as an ally against anti-fascist guerrilla groups.

Midhat Frashëri was the leader of the Balli Kombëtar.


With Italy on the brink of defeat in 1942, the Albanian National Liberation Movement (NOV) and the Balli Kombëtar organized a meeting in the village of Mukje. The Balli Kombëtar entered into a fragile alliance with the communist-led and acted as a resistance group against the Italians. The Balli Kombëtar, which had fought against the Italians, were threatened by the superior forces of the NOV and the Yugoslav Partisans, who were backed by the Allies. In the autumn of 1943, Nazi Germany occupied all of Albania after Italy was defeated. Fearing reprisals from larger forces, the Balli Kombëtar made a deal with the Germans and formed a "neutral government" in Tirana which continued its war with the NOV of Albania and the Yugoslav Partisans.

The forces of the Balli Kombëtar


After World War II ended, the Balli Kombëtar were defeated by Yugoslav and Albanian communists. The Ballists were so thoroughly discredited by their collaboration with the Nazis that there was no chance of them having a role in postwar Albania, though it took until 1945 to finish them off. Ironically, the Ballists' decision to work with the Nazis brought about the one thing they had sought to prevent – a Communist-dominated government. Balli Kombëtar fighters fled the Balkans to Austria, the United States, Australia, Switzerland and South America. The Ballists who did not escape were executed. An organization was set up in exile.

Ballist forces enter Prizren


In 1950, the Balli Kombëtar (in-exile) was divided into two wings, one extremist ("Agrarian") headed by Abas Ermenji, and one moderate ("United") headed by Ali Këlcyra.



Bulgarian resistance movement

the political commissioner - Emil Markov


The Bulgarian Resistance was part of the anti-Axis resistance during World War II. It consisted of armed and unarmed actions of resistance groups against the Wehrmacht forces in Bulgaria and the Kingdom of Bulgaria authorities. It was mainly communist and pro-Soviet Union. Participants in the armed resistance were called partizanin (a partisan) and yatak (a helper, or a supporter, someone who provides cover for someone else).



The German attack on the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 sparked the rage of Communists and Russophiles in Bulgaria. The same day the BCP spread a brochure among the people urging them "to hinder by all means the usage of Bulgarian land and soldiers for the criminal purposes of German fascism". Two days later, on 24 June, the BCP called for an armed resistance against the Wehrmacht and the Bogdan Filov government.

The ultimate number of partisans according to the official historiography of the People's Republic of Bulgaria was around 30,000. However, researchers after the transition to democracy point to a figure of around 9,900.



In addition, there were foreign members of Bulgarian resistance movement during World War II - 68 Soviet citizens and ex-soldiers (former prisoners of war, who escaped from Nazi concentration camps),[6] several Russian white émigrés (former participants in the White movement), several Serbs and 1 Czech communist.

Monument to the Bulgarian partisans in Tran, Bulgaria


At the beginning of September 1944, the NOVA partisan units consist of one partisan division, 9 partisan brigades, 37 partisan detachments and several combat groups (cheti)

In the clashes with government and German forces and as a result of torture and executions 2 740 people died between 1941 and 1944.

Lovćenska Brigade

Alaj-barjak is the main military flag of Montenegro



Lovcenian Brigade was the quisling armed formation in Montenegro, which was founded in March 1942.

At the beginning of March 1942, General Krsto Popovic, a participant in the 1918 Christmas Rebellion, mobilized his supporters. They gather under the Montenegrin alaj-barjak (Alaj-barjak is the main military flag of Montenegro) and with the help of the Italian occupying authorities. The Montenegrin People's Army is formed with a total formation of between 6,000 and 8,000 people, but only the Lovcen Brigade was active, with 1,650 members. The Lovcen Brigade provided the Italian authorities with regular salaries, supplies, and armaments.

The Greens' leader Krsto Popović


Members of the Lovcen brigade on national caps were wearing Montenegrin royal double-headed eagles and were known to the people as green men (by the division to whites and Greens from 1918).
The group of Krst Popovic has distanced from the group gathered around Sekula Drljevic. In March 1942, Pircio Biroli managed to form a coalition between Chetniks and Greens. Under the patronage of the occupiers, Montenegro is divided into three sectors, one of which belongs to the Greens. After the Partisans withdrew for Bosnia, the Chetniks attacked the Greens and it was the end of the coalition. In this conflict, the Italians took greenhouses in protection. From these events onwards, green people refuse to attack the Partisans. The Lovcen brigade, whose commander was Krsto Popovic, was ravaged and the Germans disbanded it in November 1943, and the Krsta disarmed.

Dinara Chetnik division


Momčila Đujića


The Dinara Chetnik Division was a Chetnik formation composed of the local Serb population in the Knin Krajina (then in the NDH), which operated under the command of Momcilo Djujic from 1941 to 1944.

Chetniks commander Momcilo Djujic with an Italian officer.


The members of the Dinar Division were obliged to participate in the anti-Partisan operations of the occupiers. Under the command of the Italians, the Chetniks were officially called the "Anti-Communist Volunteer Militia" and were subordinated to the headquarters of the Sassari Division in Knin. From the second half of 1943, under the command of the Germans, they were called "Croatian Battle Groups". At the same time, they considered themselves to be part of the Yugoslav Army in the homeland.

The withdrawal of the Đujić Chetniks, along with the Germans, into the territory of the Reich 1944.



Dinara division was the only major Chetnik formations whose members due to the withdrawal of the Germans managed to save their lives, and that after the war formed a strong nationalist, anti-communist movement in the Diaspora.

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