Attacks on garrisons Independent State of Croatia


Fighters of the Mostar Battalion on the move towards Kupres, 1942.

Attacks on garrisons were, along with attacks on communications, an integral part of partisan strategy and tactics developed on the territory of occupied Yugoslavia during World War II. These attacks had multiple meanings:

They enabled the formation and expansion of free territory

They were a way of supplying troops and people in the free territory

They were an important part of the effort to weaken the enemy militarily, politically, and morally.

The uprising in occupied Yugoslavia in September 1941.

The Independent State of Croatia was formed with the help of occupation troops, but as a puppet creation without sufficient support among the people, it failed to gain control over its territory during the entire war. The administrative system of the NDH was very shaken by the uprising of the NDH in 1941. Later during the war, especially from the middle of 1942, the NOVJ managed to force the NDH to strategically defend its territory with its partisan war. The NDH was unable to provide any assistance to its Axis allies. On the contrary, as the war progressed, its creators, and especially Nazi Germany, had to provide it with increasing military assistance. Beginning in August 1943, practically all forces of the German Second Armored Army were engaged in the defense of the territory, communications, and production resources of the Independent State of Croatia.

Punitive expedition of the Black Legion in the region of Kupres and Livno in 1942.

Taking full advantage of the military, political and moral weakness of the NDH, the partisans developed and perfected this form of offensive action against its forces.

The attack on the garrisons in tactical and operational terms consisted of two components: isolation and liquidation.

By isolating the enemy garrison, communications with neighboring formations were cut off and security was set up to prevent intervention during the attack itself. Since the attack on the garrison usually provoked the intervention of neighboring formations, this was a motive for setting up ambushes in suitable positions and an opportunity to inflict additional losses on the attacked side. The fight with the columns that intervene to help the attacked garrison was often the main focus of the attack itself, and stronger forces were usually engaged in security than in carrying out the attack itself.

Oil plants were on fire after the attack on Gojilo in 1942.

For the liquidation of the garrison, the NOVJ rarely had sufficient forces and war equipment at its disposal according to the usual norms in military science. Therefore, special attention was paid to the possibility of achieving surprises and the possibility of inserting parts of the corps within the enemy lines of defense. The lack of heavy equipment was compensated by the formation of bomb groups.

The Partisans set off by train from Mlinište to the front, in November 1942.

Attacks on the NDH garrisons have become almost a daily occurrence since 1943. From there, almost all settlements were fortified: surrounded by barbed wire, trenches, and bunkers, and with an organized fire system to prevent the attackers from approaching. All important places were reinforced by German troops. However, that did not prevent the consistently unfavorable development of the war for the Independent State of Croatia.



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