THE DAY WHEN THE ENTIRE FIRST PROLETARIAN STORMED: 'onslaught proletarians ... onslaught! Just onslaught! ' Part I
|Deputy Commander of the First Proletarian Danilo Lekic speaks to the fighters ahead of the breakthrough at Sutjesk|
At dawn on June 10, 1943, the First Proletarian Shock brigade under the command of Koce Popovic and his deputy Danilo Lekic broke through the German encirclement at Balinovac, marking the beginning of the end of the largest and most difficult Partisan battle in the Second World War - Battle of Sutjeska. One of the participants of this battle, Antonio Isakovic, thus described the morning in which the First proletarian started the onslaught; onslaught on which depended on the lives of besieged partisan fighters led by Supreme Commander Tito:
|Koča Popovic, Commander of the First Proletarian Brigade.|
"There is a young forest, a meadow in front of us. But the low, thick fog, like milk thick fog, almost nothing is seen ...Out of this forest, I see, partisans go out. First Proletarian Brigade is coming out. Suddenly, the fog is stopped, the fog suddenly lifted, meadows remained clean. And on the opposite side of the meadow, somewhere around eighty to one hundred meters away from us, the German trench. That's Balinovac. There are the Germans. Entrenched.
„I remember well. DaniloLekić commanded: 'The 1st proletarian – onslaught!!’ And, probably, I believe that was the only time when the entire 1st Proletarian stormed. Across that clearing. We were all in the same firing line. For the first time, all of us... All troop commands, all battalion staffs and the brigade staff, and the Spaniard (DaniloLekić), and the Blue were storming, and all the couriers, all chefs, all paramedics... Everyone came out, all of us who were there. We headed off. And we all knew: there is no going back. We must break through...“
|Flag and Medal of the National Hero First Proletarian Brigade in the Military Museum in Belgrade|
Seventy-five percent of the First proletarians soldiers were younger than twenty-five. Among them were two hundred students, eight cadets, six gendarmes, five priests, ten housewives and one writer and musician.
|The 1st Proletarian Fighters at Zelengora, June 1943|
The book "Fighters of Sutjeska" reported that the first proletarian on May 15, 1943, was armed with 2,408 rifles with 106,758 bullets, 208 MG with 115,214 bullets, 36 heavy machine guns with 103,610 bullets, 14 heavy mortars with 801 mines, 12 light mortar with 1,622 mines, 12 guns with 1,266 grenades, 37 SMG with 1,861 bullets, 446 revolvers with 4,568 bullets, and 3,086 offensive and defensive hand grenades. At Balinovac, the First Proletarian Brigade could not count on heavy weapons. It is mostly rejected for the need for easier movement through mountain slopes.
Antony Isakovic onslaught of brigade described like this: "You're just going ahead... Astoundingly forward. In the mist, I saw a wounded comrade who he shoot himself. He does not want to remain as a wounded man. We drove out of that forest and just ran, ran unsustainable ... And our constant battle cry, more battle cry, to all of us: Onslaught proletarians! onslaught! ... 'Just onslaught ... ... We know that we do not have anywhere else except - forward. Just run and the better you see the yellow trench; The Germans lying there, their MG's ready to shoot ... Germans are firing, but we attack; a German, I see, is raised to escape.I remember those images: the German officer from the gun shoots at him, he shoots at his soldiers. He does not let them run away. In vain, We smashed the Germans, I do not know how. It seemed that we would slaughter them with our own teeth. "
to be continued