The 1st Proletarian Shock Brigade


Supreme Commander Tito inspects the First Proletarian Brigade in 1942

The first proletarian People's Liberation Strike Brigade was the first partisan brigade in occupied Yugoslavia. During the war, it was considered an elite unit of the People's Liberation Army of Yugoslavia.


It was formed on December 21, 1941, in Rudo, by partisan insurgents, after retreating to Sandzak. The decision to form the First Proletarian Brigade was made by the Central Committee of the CPY. On the day of its formation, it had six battalions (four from Serbia and two from Montenegro) with a total strength of 1,200 fighters. The first commander of the brigade was Koca Popovic, political commissar Filip Kljajic Fica.

The First Proletarian Brigade had 530 major and minor battles in 1,240 war days, that is, it spent almost every other day in battle. The other days were mostly spent in exhausting marches.


Koča Popović

The First Proletarian Brigade covered more than 20,000 kilometers on its war journey. More than 22,000 people from all over Yugoslavia fought in its battles. It had more than 7,500 killed, wounded, and missing fighters, and it expelled thousands of enemy soldiers. It has produced more than 3,000 leaders and 83 national heroes.


She was awarded the Order of People's Liberation, the Order of the Partisan Star, the Order of Brotherhood and Unity, and the Order of Merit for the People. On the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of the Battle of Sutjeska, in June 1958, she was awarded the Order of the People's Hero.

Battle path of the First Proletarian

At the end of December 1941, the First Proletarian Brigade, together with the Supreme Headquarters, crossed into eastern Bosnia. During the Second Enemy Offensive, from January 17 to 23, 1942, she fought several battles: in Pjenovac, near Rogatica, Vareš, Han Pijeska, and Bijele Vode. The majority of the brigade marched over Mount Igman, at a temperature of -32 degrees. After the end of the Second Offensive, he again undertook significant undertakings in eastern Bosnia.

Campaign in Bosnian Krajina

In the Third Enemy Offensive, together with the Second Proletarian Brigade, it acted in eastern Bosnia, Montenegro, Herzegovina, and in difficult battles (Polja Kolašinska, Durmitor, Herzegovina) significantly helped the successful withdrawal of partisan forces in the Tromedje region.

Flag and Order of the People's Hero of the First Proletarian Brigade in the Military Museum in Belgrade


As part of the Shock Group of Proletarian Brigades, she set out on June 24, 1942, to march to the Bosnian Krajina. She took part in the campaigns in the battles on the Sarajevo-Mostar railway and the demolition of this road, the liberation of Konjic (August 8, 1942), then in the battles around Bugojno, Duvno, and Shujica, for the liberation of Livno and other endeavors. She fought several battles in the invasion of Imotski and vacated several places. On October 7, 1942, she participated in the liberation of Kljuc, and until the end of October, she was engaged in battles with Chetniks and Italian forces around Bosanski Grahovo.


She joined the First Proletarian Division on November 1, 1942, and seven days later in Bosanski Petrovac, she received the proletarian flag from the Supreme Commander of the National Liberation Army, Josip Broz Tito. In accordance with the plan of the Supreme Commander to penetrate the forces of the NOVJ into central Bosnia, in November and December 1942 and January 1943 it carried out several undertakings in the Vrbas Valley and central Bosnia; at night 19/20. in November it destroyed the strong enemy stronghold of Sitnica; at night 25/26. in November she took part in the liberation of Jajce; in December it liberated Skender-Vakuf and Kotor-Varos and the area of ​​Joshavka; during January, he took part in the liberation of Teslić with part of his forces; at night 15/16. January liberated Prnjavor. The successes near Teslić and Prnjavor were great: several hundred were killed and wounded, and 2,000 enemy soldiers were captured and a large amount of war material was seized.

Battle of the Neretva

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In the Fourth Enemy Offensive, in a six-day march, she moved from the Banja Luka sector, via Shiprag, Bojska, Gornji Vakuf, to the Sarajevo-Mostar railway, so it was on the night of 17/18. In February, it liquidated the enemy crews in the Raštelica-Brđani section and after that fought hard battles on Ivan-sedlo and Bradina and took part in the attack on Konjic with part of its forces. She also took part in the well-known anti-attack of the NOVJ forces near Gornji Vakuf, from March 3 to 5, 1943, and then closed the Gornji Vakuf-Prozor route.


Nurses of the 1st Proletarian Brigade in Belgrade, October 1944

After forcing the Neretva in the advance of the Main Operational Group of the NOVJ to the east, the brigade was the first to advance in the general direction: Glatičevo, Kalinovik region, Ustikolina. From March 15 to 17, it defeated Chetnik forces near Glavatičevo and on Lipeta Mountain, and on the night of 22/23. In March, she fought hard against the Chetniks near Kalinovik. In these battles, the Chetniks suffered several heavy defeats, and the brigade was praised by the Supreme Command. At the end of March, it broke out on the Drina near Ustikolina. First, she tried to force the river out of the movement, and since she did not succeed, after the preparations, she forced the force on the night of September 8th. April 1943. She fought fierce battles for Kapak and Krčino hill. In the battle near Ifsar (April 10 and 11), she took part in breaking up significant parts of the Italian division "Taurinenze". These battles enabled the penetration of the Main Operational Group of the Supreme Staff across the Drina into Sandzak. At the end of April, she fought fierce battles near Gorazde with the 369th German Division.


Battle of Sutjeska


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In the battle of Sutjeska in the first days, he fought with the First German Mountain Division in the sectors of Bijelo Polje, Mojkovac, Šahovići. It was transferred from this sector to the Celebic sector, in order to protect the Central Hospital and close the Foca-Celebic route. After a seven-day march, on May 21, near Celebic, she attacked and defeated the 13th Home Guard Regiment. From then until May 24, she fought bitterly in this sector, along with other units. She took part in a failed attempt to break through the southeast of Foca on May 24 and 25. Until June 6, she fought in the Sutjeska valley, and on June 8, she broke out in Zelengora. On June 10, in the early morning hours, near the village of Balinovac, it overtook the Höhne battle group in an assault.


The commander of the First Proletarian Brigade, Danilo Lekić, speaks to the fighters on the eve of the breakthrough.

With the assault on Balinovac, on June 10, 1943, the brigade broke through the enemy's ring on Zelengora, and two days later it broke through a new ring on the Kalinovik-Foča road. By breaking through German lines on Balinovac, the fighters of the First Proletarian Brigade enabled the rescue of the besieged majority of the NOVJ. In these battles, the First Proletarian Brigade lost 564 men.


In the counter-offensive of the Main Operational Group in Eastern Bosnia in July and August, it fought several battles (Vlasenica, Drinjača, Zvornik, and on the Sarajevo-Zenica railway). In September, it operates in Dalmatia, and in October and November in the wider area of ​​Travnik.

The First Proletarian Brigade on Vucevo during the Battle of Sutjeska


At the time of the Battle of Sutjeska, Serbs made up just over half of the population, Croats a quarter, and Montenegrins an eighth; the rest - all the others including two Germans.


Final operations


In the winter of 1943/44.  and in the spring of 1944, it operates around Jajce, Mrkonjić grad, and Gerzovo. She is fighting fierce battles in the direction of Mrkonjić grad-Mlinište and Mlinište-Glamoč. From western Bosnia, she went to Sandzak, and on that way, she fought on the mountains Vranica, Zeca, Bitovnja, and near Trnovo. In August 1944, she took part in the fighting in Sandzak, and on August 23, her penetration into Serbia began. She fought hard with the Bulgarian forces on Palisade and with strong Chetnik forces on Jelova Gora, near Karan, Kosjeric, and Varda, for the liberation of Bajina Basta and Valjevo (September) and Ub (October). In the Belgrade operation, she distinguished herself in many battles. From December 1944 to April 1945, he operated on the Srem front. He took part in the breakthrough of the Srem Front on April 12, 1945, and took part in several endeavors in Srem, Slavonia, and all the way to Zagreb. She fought the last battle for the liberation of Zagreb, which she entered on May 9, 1945.

The First Proletarian Brigade in Belgrade in October 1944.

Out of about 22,000 fighters who passed through the ranks of the First Proletarian Strike Brigade in three and a half years of the war, 83 of them were declared national heroes:

A Legacy


The first battle of the brigade, near the villages of Gaočić and Mioč, on December 22, 1941, was once celebrated as the day of the Yugoslav People's Army.

The street of proletarian brigades in Belgrade, through which parts of the First Proletarian Brigade broke through during the liberation of Belgrade, has been called Krunska Street since 1997.

The elementary school "Stari Grad" in Belgrade in the municipality of the same name was named "First Proletarian Brigade" from its founding in 1961 until the school year 1993-94.

The founder was the Municipal Assembly of Stari grad, and the godfather was the Association of Fighters of the First Proletarian Brigade - Belgrade section. Six war battalions of the First Proletarian Brigade then received the seventh - peacetime battalion of pioneers of the new school.

The school was named "First Proletarian Brigade" and the pioneer detachment "Seventh Battalion of the First Proletarian Brigade". The face of the school is symbolically greened with seven plane trees, and the pioneer detachment grows under the flag with a ribbon received from the fighters as a flag. The school cooperated with the barracks "July 4", which nurtured the tradition of the war First Proletarian Brigade, and the Day of the School and the First Proletarian Brigade, JNA Day, December 22, was solemnly and representatively marked.

Today, in Rudo, the former First Proletarian Brigade Street is called General Draža Street.




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