Chronology of the April War in 1941

 



Destroyed Yugoslavian Renault NC tank


The April War (official name Operation 25) is the name used for the invasion of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia by the Axis Powers during World War II in April 1941. The reason for the invasion was the coup on March 27. In 1941, the pro-Axis Cvetković-Maček government was overthrown in Belgrade and replaced by a government of pro-British officers led by General Dušan Simović. German forces are, quickly modifying the plans made for Operation Marita. April 6 They launched an attack and, using technological superiority, a favorable strategic position, as well as the doctrine of blitzkrieg, easily defeated the demoralized and disorganized Yugoslav forces, forcing them to 17.4. on capitulation. While the king and the government fled into exile, the victorious Axis powers decided to dismember Yugoslavia, taking over part of its territory and forming satellite states such as the NDH and Nedić's Serbia.

 

On 25 March 1941

The Regent, Prince Paul, yielded to this pressure and declared Yugoslavia's accession to the Pact.

On 27 March 1941

Military officers (mainly Serbs) executed a coup d'état, forced the Regent to resign, and declared 17-year-old King Peter II to be of age.

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 in Serbia. The treaty has not yet been ratified. The new prime minister is called Simovic. At around 13:00, it was reported that the Führer had decided to destroy Yugoslavia. The supreme commanders of the land army and air force are already with Hitler. (...) Italy, Hungary, and Bulgaria are required to participate in that action as well. In the evening, Hitler signed "Instruction No. 25", which envisages a "blitzkrieg" against Yugoslavia and Greece, and the attack were moved from April 1 to April 6 this year. That means moving the planned operation "Barbarossa" for about four weeks.

- War Diary of the Wehrmacht Supreme Command

The invasion of Yugoslavia


March 31:

A military attache from Belgrade announces that Yugoslavia remains faithful to the Triple Alliance. Apparently just to get on time.

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

 

April 2: Yugoslav parliament dissolved. The Bulgarians did not express readiness to wage war against Yugoslavia.

 

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

 

April 5: A Soviet-Yugoslav Treaty of Friendship is signed in Moscow. Antoniuk is very worried about the upcoming attack on Belgrade, because he is afraid of a Russian attack.

April 6: Bombing of Belgrade

The Yugoslav army was not fully mobilized when the war began. There were visible divisions within the army. Pro-Axis officers were not at all motivated for war. During the war, some of them publicly told anti-Hitler-oriented officers: "You shouted 'better war than pact' in the demonstrations, so now go to war."

April 7:

Our 12th Army entered Yugoslav territory. Strong resistance of the Yugoslav army. Belgrade was attacked three times during the day and once at night. Violent resistance was offered by the Greeks at Rupel Pass. Losses: 98 enemies, 14 own. Pavelić's invitation to the Croatian people. Maček's influence is lost.



Italian soldiers entering Yugoslavia



April 8

Our 12th Army is advancing. Occupied Skopje.

Already on the third day of the war, rumors were spread within the army that the Germans had penetrated towards Belgrade via Novi Sad, that Belgrade had been completely destroyed, and that a truce would be made with the Germans.

April 11

The beginning of the attack of the Hungarian 3rd Army on Yugoslavia.

April 12:

The 11th Tank Division is located 45 kilometers from Belgrade. Pavelic proclaimed head of Croatian state.

April 13:

Two Yugoslav airstrikes on Szeged. Several planes fled to Russia.

Map of the Axis attack


April 14:

In Yugoslavia, resistance is offered only in some places. Attempts are being made to organize resistance on the hilly terrain around Sarajevo. Raw materials in Yugoslavia: the most copper in Europe, in Bor, and bauxite contains 9% of the world's reserves.

April 15:

German troops conquered Sarajevo.

April 17:

General Kalafatović signed the capitulation of the Yugoslav Army in Belgrade. The total number of Yugoslav prisoners of war are 344,000.


By signing an unconditional capitulation, it was accepted that the entire Yugoslav army would be taken, prisoner. Unit commanders were responsible for gathering soldiers. For soldiers who would try to avoid being taken to the Third Reich, the death penalty was prescribed.


Yugoslav infantry surrendering



According to the earliest German official data, the number of prisoners of war was 6,298 officers and 337,864 non-commissioned officers and soldiers, all Serbs.

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

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