Operation Flash 1995


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Mar 8, 2013
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I haven't posted to the forum largely due to writing this, and I will probably not post again until I finish the second part...

Serb rebellion against Croatia had been stoked by Belgrade in support of its own expansionist plans. Serbia’s goal was to use the Serbs in Croatia as a fifth column, with rebellion and establishment of SAO Krajina eventually leading to an outcome where Serb areas on Croatia and Bosnia would be annexed by Serbia itself, thus leading to establishment of Greater Serbia – an imperialist Serb project half of whose territory would consist of areas that never were part of any Serb state throughout history. Western borders of this state would be on the line Virovitica – Pakrac – Karlovac – Ogulin – Karlobag, which means that majority of Croatian historical lands would be part of Serbia.

Serbian leadership hoped to fulfill this goal with the help of Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) and the rebel Serbs in Croatia itself. Serb rebellion in Croatia itself started in July 1990. in northern Dalmatia, before spreading to western Slavonia. It was in western Slavonia that first conflict erupted, after municipality of Pakrac, on 22nd February 1991., decided to join the Serb Autonomous Area (Srpska Autonomna Oblast – SAO) Krajina (or as is more commonly known, Republic of Serbian Krajina). Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia declared the decision invalid on 28 February 1991., after which police officers of Serb ethnicity and local Serb extremists disarmed non-Serb officers on 1 March, taking over the police station in Pakrac. The rebellion was mostly broken next day by the anti-terrorist unit Lučko and special forces of the Ministry of Interior of Republic of Croatia, but the rebels were saved by JNA which established a buffer zone between Croatian Police and the rebels.

Under protection of JNA, Serb rebels continued with their activities against Croatia. On 12th August the rebels declared SAO Western Slavonia, and by mid-August Serb rebels began open aggression against Croatia, supported by the Yugoslav Army, Territorial Defense units of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Chetnik volunteers from Serbia.

Operations Orkan-91, Otkos-10 and Papuk-91
On 18th August 1991., units of the 5th Corps of Yugoslav People’s Army crossed Sava in an attempt to link up with Serb rebels (Chetniks) in western Slavonia and also with units of 32nd Varaždin Corps of JNA. The goal was to cut Croatia on the line Okučani – Lipik – Pakrac – Daruvar – Virovitica. By mid-October 1991, Serb forces had taken large area of western Slavonia in municipalities of Novska, Nova Gradiška, Pakrac, Daruvar, Grubišno Polje, Virovitica, Podravska Slatina, Orahovica and Požega. Croatian forces managed to defend municipal centres and stop any further advance by Serb forces. The only success of Serb forces after this was capture of Lipik on 28th November 1991.

Meanwhile, Croatian forces moved to liberate areas of Western Slavonia. Operation Orkan-91 began on 29th November 1991., and by 3rd January 1992. Croatian forces had liberated sixteen settlements in municipalities of Novska, Nova Gradiška and Pakrac. Operation also indirectly assisted operations Otkos-10 and Papuk-91, which had been carried out in parallel on northern part of Western Slavonian theatre. Operation Otkos-10 had begun on 31st October 1991 and ended on 12th December 1991. During the operation, Croatian forces had liberated Grubišno Polje and part of Daruvar. Following the consolidation of Croatian forces, operation Papuk-91 was launched, and lasted until 3rd January 1992. Operation had liberated municipalities of Daruvar, Virovitica, Podravska Slatina, Orahovica and Požega, as well as parts of the Pakrac municipality. All operations ended on 3rd January 1992. when Sarajevo ceasefire began.

Croatian Preparations for Liberation of Occupied Areas
Some 600 square kilometers of Western Slavonia had remained under Serb control. The area consisted predomantly of the plains of the Sava river valley, with only northern areas reaching hills and a mountain of Psunj. Occupied areas had population of between 23 000 and 29 000, leading a very difficult life due to heavy dues required to maintain the military forces. Occupied area of the Western Slavonia was defended by 18th Corps of the Serbian Army of Krajina (SVK).

Strategically, position of Serbs in Western Slavonia was very difficult. They were surrounded by Croatian territory on three sides, and their only link with Serb-controlled areas in BiH was a bridge near Stara Gradiška. At the same time, their territory was extremely important to Croatia as it intersected the railway and the highway which connected central Croatia with Slavonia. At first, Croatian authorities attempted to reach a peaceful diplomatic solution, but they were well aware that military solution may be necessary.

As a consequence of this, as early as early 1992 plans had existed for liberation of western Slavonia. Further plans were made in late 1992. and early 1993., but were abandoned in favor of liberation of wider area of Zadar, which enabled linking Dalmatia with rest of Croatia.

Initial Plans
Due to attacks of Serb Army of Krajina (SVK) and Army of Republic of Serbia (VRS) on Bihać, Croatian Army (HV) and Croatian Council of Defense (HVO) initiated action Winter ’94 during late November of 1994. The goal was liberation of Dinara and Field of Livno, and successes in the operation led to making of plans for a new operation, which received name Bljesak (Flash). Initial plans called for liberation of western Slavonia, as well as city of Petrinja, Ljubovo and dominant positions on Velebit and Promina. Later, the first part of operation (Flash-1) was limited western Slavonia, and operation was entrusted to Command of the Corps Area Bjelovar, under command of brigadier Luka Džanko.

Plan called for a fast and energetic attack of infantry and mechanized forces along the Zagreb-Lipovac highway, starting from Nova Gradiška and Novska. The goal was to cut in half the rebel Serb forces (south and north of the highway) and liberate Okučani. After that, strong infantry and antitank forces would reach Sava in wider area of Stara Gradiška, and, if necessary, destroy the bridge on river of Sava and secure the border towards Bosanska Gradiška. Jasenovac was to be blockaded, and river ferries near Mlaka and Jablanac disabled, so as to prevent intervention of Serb forces from Banovina and Bosnia. In the second stage, Croatian forces were to destroy the now cut-off Serbian forces north of the highway. Operation was to last two to three days, and for its purpose the Corps Area Bjelovar received reinforcements from the General Staff as well as Corps Areas Osijek and Zagreb.

For the sake of successful completion of combat operations in the Flash-1 phase, temporary Forward Command Post had been formed in Garešnica for Croatian forces in Novlja and Pakrac areas, that is for western and northern fronts. Its formation had been ordered on 19th of January and it started with operation on 24th January 1995., under command of General-Major Marijan Mareković. Command of operation on the eastern front remained under Corps Area Bjelovar, which in early January 1995 had established its own forward command post in Nova Gradiška.

Preparations for the operation itself began during December 1994. Constant scouting provided new intelligence, while units carried out day and night training on terrain similar to that of the areas they had been assigned for the operation. Special police formed scouting groups which, starting from March 1994., scouted the area of western Slavonia. Due to this, Croatian army soon gained good information on Serb deployments. Final preparations for the operation began in late April 1995., with arrival of main units that had been assigned to the operation to their respective starting positions and mobilization of reserve forces.

Opening the Highway and Increase in Tensions
At the same time, after many attempts and failed negotiations, Croatian authorities had managed, on 2nd December 1994., to sign an economic agreement with rebel Serbs. Among other points, the Zagreb-Lipovac highway had been put back into operation on 21st December 1994. But, taught by the experience, Croatia could not peacefully wait the results of the agreement which Serbs were likely to break in due time anyway. Planning continued for military liberation of the occupied territory, should attempts at peaceful reintegration fail.

Even so, opening of the highway led to significant reduction in tensions. Serbs from western Slavonia began en masse to cross into Croatian territory, seeking to buy necessities which were lacking in the SAO Krajina. Many requested and received Croatian nationality certificates, and some also engaged in smuggling fuel which they procured in free Croatian territories. Situation seemed calm enough that Chief of the General Staff of Croatia Janko Bobetko on 18th April of 1995. commanded that both forward command posts were to be shut down on 21st April. Yet only two days later, on 23rd of April, the command posts had been reactivated due to increased tensions.

Tensions in the western Slavonia rose again on 24th April, when president of rebel Serbs Milan Martić decided to close the highway for 24 hours. In this way, Serbs protested behaviour of UNCRO which had stopped large number of trucks with fuel and contraband being sent to Serbs. At the same time, Chief of the General Staff of Croatian Army decided that forces slated for the operation Flash were to be in place by morning of 26th of April. This decision however was withdrawn as the tensions calmed the next day.

Situation grew tense again on 28th April after Tihomir Blagojević had been murdered on the territory controlled by Croatian government. Tihomir was killed by a man whose brother he had murdered, and Serbs, led by Tihomir’s brother, responded by shooting at cars passing through their territory, killing several civilians and capturing five. These were quickly released as the Serbian government feared Croatia could use this as a justification for the attack. Road was closed, and UNCRO prevented a larger conflict, after which the highway was to be opened in the morning of 29th April. But this did not happen due to opposition by commander of 18th Corps of Serb Army of Krajina, Lazo Babić, and secretary of SUP Okučani, Dragan Veselinović.

Later captured Serb documents indicate that they were following orders of Milan Martić with support of general Milan Čeleketić and the General Headquarters of Serbian Army of Krajina (SVK). Their beliefs was that opening the road would give advantage to forces of Croatian Army. But they were counting chickens that had not yet hatched, as blockade of the road made conflict unavoidable.

Change in Plans
The only possible solution that remained was the military one. On 29th April 1995., order was sent to activate the Directive Flash, but with no operations being undertaken. All units in the Western Slavonia were placed at full combat readiness, while in other areas Croatian Army prepared for potential defensive actions. Franju Tuđman originally intended only the highway itself and a four-kilometer wide segment along it to be liberated, but as such an operation was militarily impossible, he was convinced to allow liberation of the entirety of Western Slavonia.

Basic idea behind the operation was to break Serb forces through a combination of heavy firepower and fast maneuver of infantry, mechanized and armored forces with the aim of liberating western Slavonia before forming a system of defense along the Sava river. Operation itself was divided into two phases. In the first phase, which was to last one day, forces of the 18th Corps of Serb Army of Krajina (SVK) would be cut along the line of Donje Kričke – Donji Rajčići – Benkovac Okučanski – Širinci, and a flanking maneuver from the north would ensure fast advance along the lines of Novska – Okučani and Nova Gradiška – Okučani. In the second phase, expected to last two days, main aim was to cause Serb rebels as many losses as possible, liberate Jasenovac and Okučani, reach Sava river and form a defense along it. This would ensure unimpeded destruction of surrounded forces of SVK’s 18th Corps on Psunj. Main lines of advance were Nova Gradiška – Okučani and Novska – Okučani, while auxilliary forces advanced along the lines of s. Pivare – Stara Gradiška, Novska – Jasenovac and Pakrac – Lipik – s. Bijela Stijena.

Just before the beginning of the operation, larger groups of the Special Tasks Police of the Ministry of Interior (MUP) of Croatia entered the depth of the occupied territory, establishing themselves in the immediate proximity of Serb positions with task of taking control of key objects along the lines of advance and preventing consolidation of Serb forces. In order to achieve this objective and maintain surprise, there was no artillery preparation in areas where MUP forces were active.

Beginning of the Operation
Croatian government waited for a good moment to start the Operation Flash. In the end, using Serb refusal to open the highway as a casus belli, the operation began at a prearranged signal in 5:21 in the morning of 1st May 1995. Operation should not have been a surprise. Military and civilian officials of RSK had received warnings from multiple sources, including international community, that the operation was being prepared. But these warnings came too late: final confirmation that Croatian forces will attack only came at midnight of 30th April / 1st May, when their intelligence service warned lieutenant colonel Gvozdenović about Croatian negotiations with command of Nepal battalion of UNCRO in village of Dragalić and of the Croatian attack which will begin at 6:00, but lieutenant showed no concern.

Around 2:30 on 1st May 1995. Croatian government notified UNCRO Command of Western sector about the impending operation in western Croatia. Two hours later, UNCRO Command in Zagreb ordered its units to avoid their positions along the highway and take shelter in their camps, which was soon done.

Occupied territory of the Western Slavonia was defended by 18th Corps of Serb Army of Krajina (SVK), which consisted of the HQ and its assigned units, 51st, 54th and 98th Infantry Brigades, 59th Daruvar and 63rd Podravina-Slatina detachments, Tactical Group 1 (TG-1), intervention battalion, 18th Mixed Artillery Regiment (MAP), Mixed Antitank Artillery Battalion (MPOAD), Light Artillery Battalion of Air Defense (LAD PVO) and 91st Background Base (PoB). The corps was supposed to have 8 379 men, but it had no more than 4 551 men. Specifically, the real versus prescribed numbers were: corps command – 442 (463), 54 pbr – 1320 (2069), 51 PBR – 1016 (2239), 98 PBR – 549 (1978), 59th detachment – 159 (603), 63rd detachment – 125 (603), 18 MAP – 267 (1005), MPOAD – 122 (283), LAD PVO – 131 (236), TG-1 – between 60 and 318 (459) and 91 PoB – 102 (97). Overall, it was the smallest and weakest of SVK’s corps. Note that “D” in some of the abbrevations stands for “divizijun“, which is actually a battalion-sized unit, as opposed to “divizija” which is a division. This confusion was carried over from the Soviet Army.

According to the war plan Gvozd from February 1995., 18th Corps of SVK was supposed to “by decisive and active defense prevent the penetration by Ustashi forces into their zone of defence, with emphasis on directions Novska – Okučani, Nova Gradiška – Okučani and Pakrac – Okučani, destroy the wedged forces and create conditions for the attack towards ethnic Serb areas, with focus on the Pakrac – Lipik – Daruvar”. Corps was supposed to defend for three to five days, thus enabling other Serb corps to carry out offensive actions with goal of conquering Croatian territories which would serve as a compensation for the eventual loss of Western Slavonia.

Operations in the West
According to a Directive for the Attack of the Chief of the General Headquarters from 1994., operation Flash was under authority of Command of Corps Area Bjelovar. In early 1995. this changed as new Forward Command Post of the General Headquarters of Croatian Army (IZM GS HV) in Garešnica was set up for the purpose of commanding the forces on the western (Novlja) and northern (Pakrac) fronts.

Croatian forces in the western direction were: 125th Home Guard regiment, 1st Battalion, Artillery and Missile Battalion (“divizijun”) as well as Armored-Mechanized Company of 3rd Guards Brigade, 2nd Battalion of 1st Guards Brigade, battery of 76 mm antitank guns and a platoon of 105 mm howitzers from 123rd Brigade, 13th Antitank Artillery and Missile Battalion (POTRD), platoon of self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery battery 57/2 mm and battery of anti-aircraft artillery from 4th Battalion of 202nd Artillery-Missile Brigade of Anti-Aircraft Defense.

Main forces were grouped on the direction of Novska – Okučani, while auxilliary directions of attack were Novska – Jasenovac and Pakrac – Lipik – Bijela Stijena. They had to fulfill the basic idea of the directive for attack, which was to achieve powerful opening artillery strike against vital objects of Serb forces and with concurrent energetic attack by infantry and armored-mechanized forces which, advancing from multiple directions, would break Serb forces and liberate the western and northern parts of western Slavonia.

Main direction of the attack Novska – Okučani was to be handled by the 1st Battalion and Armored-Mechanized Company (OMS) of the 3rd Guards Brigade of the Croatian Army (HV), Platoon of the Self-Propelled Artillery Battery of the Anti-Air Defense 57/2 mm and Infantry Company of 125th Home Guard Regiment (125.dp). Their task was to reach the line of Gornji Rajić railway – Gornji Rajić highway – Gložik forest, and then with reinforced forces continue the attack on the line of Gornji Rajić – Okučani, taking control of the line s. Bodegraj – s. Klenik. Task of the 2nd Battalion of 1st Guards Brigade (1.gbr), 1st Battalion of 125th Home Guard Regiment (125.dp) and special forces of the Ministry of Interior (MP) was taking control of the line Donji Rajić – Gornji Rajić – Roždanik and securing the advance of forces in the hinterland of the highway and the railway.

The auxiliary direction of attack Novska – Jasenovac and Novska – Mostine – Jablanac was assigned to the 125th dp without the 1st Battalion, with the task of blockading Jasenovac, taking control of Mostine, reaching the national border on Sava and preventing Serb reinforcements from BiH from crossing the river. Task of the forces of the Special Police was cutting the former UNPA sector West from two directions (West and East) and connecting in Trnakovac on the road Okučani – Pakrac. Artillery support to infantry and armored-mechanized forces was provided by the purpose-created Artillery-Rocket Group (TRS) West, consisting of the Artillery-Rocket Battalion (“divizijun”) of 3.gbr and a battery of 155 mm howitzers from 16th Artillery-Rocket Brigade of Croatian Army from Bjelovar. Anti-armor combat was carried out by the Antiarmor Detachment West, created from 13th Anti-Armor Artillery-Rocket Battalion and a mix of antitank forces from other units. Air support was provided by Croatian Air Force (HRZ). As a part of preparations, special police forces unit Ris (Lynx) from Kutina led other special police force units to starting positions.

Occupied area in the direction West was defended by the 98th Infantry Brigade of 18th Corps of Serb Army of Krajina (SVK). This unit consisted of four infantry battalions, logistics company, mortar battery, and additional reconnaissance-diversion platoon. Brigade had a command place in Rajić and area of responsibility Jasenovac – Mlaka – Paklenica – Rajčići. Command of brigade was colonel Milanko Babić. Immediate area of Jasenovac was defended by the Tactical Group 1 (TG-1) commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Borivoj Pavlović.

After, on the 1st May in 2:00 in the morning, UN had been notified of beginning of the combat operations by Croatian military, operation itself began at 5:21. In order to maintain the element of surprise, operation began by inserting small forces with no previous artillery support.

Tactical Group of 3rd Guards Brigade: Group consisted of the 1st Battalion of Brigade, reinforced with armored-mechanized company (consisting of 10 T-55 main battle tanks and 4 M-80 infantry fighting vehicles), communications platoon, engineering and reconnaissance platoon, electronic warfare squad, and platoon of twin-barreled 57 mm self-propelled anti-aircraft guns. Group was commanded by Colonel Marko Leko. First Battalion had during the night taken up starting positions near vollage of Stari Grabovac and Zelenika forest, while OMS (armored-mechanized company) was transported by train to Novska where it immediately commenced combat operations. Before beginning of the combat operations at 5:45, UNCRO forces near Grabovo canal were isolated and bypassed. Attack against fortified Serb positions at Paklenica canal commenced immediately afterwards, without artillery preparation or armored support. Heavy resistance – especially in the main direction where 2nd Infantry Company advanced – necessitated introduction of OMS into combat. With its help, Serb lines were penetrated at around 7:00, which allowed fast and unopposed drive into depth of Serb lines and following pursuit of broken forces while one platoon was separated to control the right flank and provide safety towards Sava river.

First Infantry Company advanced slightly slower along the secondary axis of advance on the railroad. Around 12 hours, TS (Tank Company) reached the line of Voćarica – Jazavica – Roždanik Channel. Around 16:00, Donji Rajić (Lower Rajić) and overpass Borovac were captured. Serb forces began to retreat towards Okučani, putting up only a sporadic and disorganized resistance. By 18 hours the area around the highway and the railroad had been put under control, and a defense line was established on the line s. Klenik – Sloboština canal.

2nd Battalion of 1st Guards Brigade: For participating in the operation Flash the 2nd Battalion was reinforced by addition of 30 troops from 3rd Battalion and 22 troops of the reconnaissance company, as well as reinforcements from the communications company, logistics company, engineering company, electronic warfare platoon and self-propelled anti-aircraft cannon platoon. In total, 329 members of the 1st Guards Brigade participated in the first day of the operation and 412 in the second day. It was commanded by Major Andrija Kolobarić.

2nd Battalion along with special forces of Ministry of Interior (MUP) and 1st Battalion of 125. dp were to be deployed at the area of Radanovo brdo – Roždanik – Donji Rajić and take control of said area, thus allowing a quick penetration of forces into rear area of the highway and the railway. After the signal and without artillery preparation, 2nd Battalion attacks from Kričko brdo (Krik hill) towards Kućerine and Roždanik. Having linked up with MUP Special Forces team Ajkule, 1st and 3rd infantry company advance towards Kućerine, losing one soldier in the process. After that, SF team destroys the bunker, while units of 2nd Battalion of 1.gbr continue towards Gornji Rajić where they link up with MUP Special Forces team Bak from Pula. The combined force then climbed down the Radan hill and around 16 hours liberated Gornji Rajić, setting up an active defense. At the same time, 2nd Infantry Company captured Roždanik. The battalion suffered 2 dead and 4 wounded.

During the day, as per command of the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Army, 1.gbr formed a mixed armored-mechanized unit consisting of four M-84 tanks and four M-80 IFVs which was sent to Garešnica, from where two tanks and two IFVs were sent to 105th Brigade of HV in Donji Čaglić.

Special Police of MUP RH: According to the plan, special police forces were divided between two sectors (A and B) with Forward Command Places (IZM) in villages of Cernička Šagovina and Kričke. Commander of the Group Forces of SJP (2160 members) in operation Flash was Mladen Markač while Chief of Staff, as well as the commander of IZM of Sector B – Sector West, was Željko Sačić. Participating in the attack as part of that sector were special police force units Omege (Omegas – 150 members), Alfe (Alphas – 180 members), Rode (Storks – 140 members), Ose (Wasps), Ajkule (Sharks) and part of Bak (150 members), Barun (Baron) and part of Grom (Thunder) (200 members – reserve forces).

Well-fortified rebel lines were penetrated with artillery support near village of Kričko and on Kričko hill. One members of Alphas died there, but with this, majority of Serb forces in the West had been broken, and further defense was organized in reatreat, by using villages as points of resistance. Around 19 hours, members of the Special Police unit Ris (Lynx) reached villange Benkovac Okučanski, which was captured by around 20 hours in the evening, thus taking control of the Lipik – Okučani road as well as joining forces with the forces advancing from the east.

125th Home Guard Regiment: Task of the 1st Battalion (minus its 1st Company) of the 125th Home Guard Regiment (125.dp) at the line Novska – Rajči was liberation of Paklenica, Voćarica and Jazovica. After artillery preparation, forces of the 1st Battalion, around 8:30 in Voćarica, reached the road Novska – Rajići. With this, Serb forces in Paklenica were surrounded. After several hours of combat, and despite significant reinforcements, Serb forces retreated towards Novska hill, allowing the 125.dp to liberate Kremenduk, Paklenica and Jazavica. Liberated area near the road Novska – Rajići was occupied by a company of 105th Brigade of HV Bjelovar (HV – Croatian Army).

Along the auxilliary line of the attack in the south was 2nd Battalion of the 125.dp which, along with the 1st Company of the 2nd Battalion was tasked with blockading Jasenovac from Drenov Bok and Bročice. Serb forces, few in number and broken by the artillery barrage, withdrew without resistance and Croatian forces entered Jasenovac already on the first day, much sooner than planned. After that the battalion shifted to defense of border on Sava. The battalion however lost its commander, captain Ivica Čajo, who was killed by a sniper soon after entering Jasenovac.

3rd Battalion of the 125.dp was securing the right flank of the tank company (TS) of the 3.gbr in the area of the highway, using a portion of its forces to blockade Košutarica and Mlaka on Sava, and reaching the road leading from Mlaka to village of Mostine, which was liberated at around 17 hours. During combat operations of the first day, the regiment suffered significant losses of nine dead and nine wounded members. Commander of the regiment during the Operation Flash was colonel Željko Perinović.

Overall, Croatian Army and Police forces had achieved their goals for the first day of the operation. Special Forces of the Ministry of the Interior from West and East, and their linking up near Benkovac Okučanski, had cut in half the 18th Corps of Serb Army of Krajina (SVK), while armored-mechanized and infantry forces from the direction of Novska penetrated to Vrbovljani. With this, that part of the highway had been taken and Okučani semi-surrounded, the road Stara Gradiška – Okučani had been cut off, and Jasenovac liberated. This meant that Serb reinforcements in Banovina, Kordun and BiH were helplessly cut off. Croatian forces did not enter Okučani this evening due to the chaos which ruled the city. Serb forces had also stubbornly defended the road Okučani – Stara Gradiška, as this was the only avenue of retreat into Bosnia that they had.

In order to keep up the successes and reinforce the forces for the second day of the operation, the General Headquarters ordered sending of new units onto to area of combat operations. As a result, battle group of the 1st Croatian Guards Brigade (1.HGZ) in strength of 220 – 250 men had been sent there, as well as one battalion of 104th Brigade of HV Varaždin. From 2nd Guards Brigade was sent an Armored-Mechanized Company (OMS) consisting of 3 T-55 and 3 M-84 main battle tanks as well as three M-80 infantry fighting vehicles. They were supposed to reinforce the tank company (TS) of 3.gbr, but due to delay in leaving the assembly area the OMS ended up reinforcing 1.HGZ instead.

Second Phase of the Operation
Command to carry out the second phase of the operation Flash was made in the early morning at the Forward Command Post (IZM) in Garešnica. Focus was on stopping any eventual attempts at lifting the blockade of the forces of the 18th Corps of SVK at area of Pakrac. This meant an energetic assault by the armored-mechanized and infantry forces in the area of the highway and the old road Rajići – Okučani with the goal of linking up with Croatian forces advancing from the East.

Plan was for the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Guards Brigade (1.gbr), with support of a tank platoon from the 3rd Guards Brigade (3.gbr), continue with the attack from direction of Rajići and take control of village Bodegraj on entrance to Okučani. At the same time, the battle group of 1st Croatian Guards Brigade (1.HGZ) reinforced with Armored-Mechanized Company (OMS) from 2.gbr was to attack along the line of Vrbovljani – Čovac – Dubovac – the loop, where it was to link up with Croatian Army (HV) forces advancing from the East.

Task of the tank company of 3.gbr (TS 3.gbr) and companies of 125.dp was to support the attack by 1.HGZ and be prepared for intervention. Battalion of the 104th Brigade was to attack on direction of Mostine – Jablanac and establish a defense on Sava, while 125.dp without one battalion was to attack on direction of Jasenovac – Košutarica – Mlaka and then establish defense on Sava. One company each from 125.dp and 104th Brigade was left as a reserve and intervention force.

Concurrent attack of all units along their assigned directions started at 6:00 in the morning with strong artillery support. Along the main direction of the attack in the area of the highway advanced the group of 1.HGZ. It had deployed on the highway in the night, and at that time also received OMS from 2.gbr. Battlegroup of 1.HGZ was commanded by Chief of Staff of 1.HGZ colonel Ante Šaškor. After breaking resistance of Serb forces in Vrbovljani with help of tanks and artillery, the group continued to advance, forcing Serb forces to retreat. By evening, villages Čovac and Grečane were liberated, followed by securing the area towards the Strug canal and Sava, as well as the road Okučani – Novi Varoš – Stara Gradiška.

Tactical group (TG) of 3.gbr was at reserve positions when the attack started, but later on supported the assault by 1.HGZ. Around 13 o’clock, TG 3.gbr, supported by a tank and an infantry company, entered Okučani and around 13:20 linked up with group of 3.gbr which had advanced from the East. 2nd Battalion of 1.gbr continued its advance along the main path of the attack north of the highway, liberating villages Borovac, Lađevac and Bodegraj, in which it also linked up with forces of 3.gbr advancing from the East. After this, they received the order to set up defences in Lađevac and Bodegraj against possible Serb attack from north.

Special Police left a portion of forces in Benkovac Okučanski, while special unit Ris from Kutina continued advancing towards Okučani. In morning hours the village of Cage is liberated, while two members of Ris unit were wounded. In the afternoon, Risovi reached the northern entrance to Okučani, where they linked up with members of the 1st Guards Brigade. Alphas (Alfe) meanwhile had taken control of the village of Trnakovac where they established control of the Pakrac – Okučani road in the length from Bijele Stijene (White Rocks) to Trnakovac, with the goal of preventing the escape of surrounded Serbian forces. Other units of the Special Police Forces linked up with their counterparts coming from East without much difficulty. Distance from the starting position to the meeting point was 16 kilometers from the western side, and from the eastern side six kilometers of a very difficult terrain. Along the direction of the attack of 125.dp and 3rd Battalion of 104th Brigade of HV, Mostine – Mlaka, members of 125.dp liberated Košutarica around noon, and around the evening village of Mlaka where they linked up with 104th Brigade of HV.

Organized Serb resistance was nearly nonexistent during the second day of the operation, as they had mounted a static defense along a single line of defensive positions on the border. The border defences were very solid, with strong points of resistance with good artillery support and extensive minefields. But there were no backup lines of defense, fortified strongpoints or mobile reserve. As a result, majority of Croatian losses happened on the first day. After Serb defences had been penetrated on the first day, there was no solid defense or even organized retreat. Instead, Serb forces ran away in blind panic, mixed within civilian columns, towards Okučani, and after that across Sava into Bosnia and Herzegovina. Later during the Operation Storm this habit of running away in blind panic will lead to tragedy as in several places Serb tanks ran over the columns of their own escaping civilians, crushing and killing tens in the process. Serb data for the zone of 98.pbr state that 70 soldiers were killed and 50 captured, while the rest managed to cross Sava into Bosnia, leaving behind all heavy weapons and equipment and escaping with small arms only.

End of Combat Operations in West
Ending with the 2nd May 1995., combat operations ended on the Western front. After this started efforts to organize the defense and reorganize forces, as well as keep Serb forces encircled in the northern area contained. 3rd Guards Brigade was redeployed to ZP (Zborno Područje – Corps Area) Osijek due to a possibility of Yugoslav Army offensive in Eastern Slavonia. OMS from 2.gbr was transferred to Jasenovac following the end of combat operations, while 2nd Battalion of 1.gbr was pulled back the next day and transferred to Headquarters reserve. 1.HGZ was, until 4th May, deployed as reserve in Vrbovljani, Čovac and Gređani.

While this was going on, Special Police Forces took care of the remains of broken Serb forces. In early morning of 3rd of May, police checkpoint in the area of Borovačka kosa was attacked, with one policeman being killed and another captured, tied up and then executed. Next day, forward command posts were shut down and replaced by the common Headquarters of Forces of Special Tasks Police at Bijele Stijene (White Rocks). During 3rd and 4th of May, Special Police helps in breaking the resistance of surrounded Serb forces at Omanovac, after which it is tasked with searching the area of the operation. In the process, police forces discovered 250 tons of various combat material. During the operation, police had lost eight killed and 36 wounded, having liberated 250 km2 of territory.

Area liberated in the operation was divided, on 2nd May 1995., onto two parts – the western and eastern. Western part was a responsibility of IZM GS HV (forward command post of General Headquarters of the Croatian Army), while the eastern part was a responsibility of the Command of the Corps Area (ZP) Bjelovar. IZM GS gave responsibility for defense of Sava (Jasenovac, Bročice, Mostine, Jablanac) to 125.dp and elements of 105th Brigade of HV. Five tanks and two IFVs were moved from Vrbovljane to Jasenovac as reinforcements. Serb pontoon bridge across Sava was captured and pulled to the right shore of Sava.

Particular attention was paid to area close to Sava in order to secure the border and prevent a potential counterattack from Bosnia. For this purpose, IZM GS (Forward Command Post of the General Headquarters), on 4th May 1995. founded the Second IZM GS, situated in Novska under command of Colonel Drago Matanović. It was comprised of 125.dp, 104th and 105th Brigade of HV, antitank and antiair unit, as well as one armored-mechanized platoon from 1.gbr. Main task was fortification of positions for the active defense, which had proven its utility after strong artillery bombardment from direction of Draksenić. This IZM GS was shut down on 9th May 1995., with plans to form the Tactical Group Jasenovac. This however was abandoned after the General Headquarters ordered ZP Bjelovar to, from 8th May, take command of all forces in Western Slavonia. This also led to shutdown of IZM GS in Garešnica.


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Operation on the direction North
In the North, which was an auxilliary direction of the attack, were 52.dp (52nd Home Guard Regiment) and 105th Brigade of Croatian Army (HV), reinforced with an artillery battery of antitank cannons 76 mm from 127th Brigade HV (127.br HV). On the first day of the operation in the direction Pakrac – Lipik – s. (village) Bijela Stijena, 1st Battalion of 105th Brigade of HV occupied the line Donja and Gornja Subocka – Bukovčanska Cesta – Gornje Kričke, and transitioned to an active defense. Along with advance of the Special Police of MUP RH along the direction of Donje and Gornje Kričke – Gornji Kovačevac – Trnakovac, 1st Company of the 1st Infantry Battalion and Saboteur Platoon of the 105th Brigade of the Croatian Army were sent to attack object Čardak (tt 319). Along with advance by the Special Police, to the attack were introduced 3rd Battalion of 105th Brigade of HV in direction of Brdo (tt 417) – Bjelanovac, as well as 2nd Battalion of 105th Brigade on direction s. Milisavci – s. Rađenovci – s. Bijela Stijena. After demobilization of of 52.dp it took over the line Lipik – Pakrac – s. Kusonje – s. Bjelajci, where it sets up an active defense.

Area of Pakrac was defended by the 51st Infantry Brigade commanded by the Lieutenant Colonel Stevo Harambašić, 59th Daruvar Detachment led by the Captain First Class Vlado Gatarić, and 63rd Podrava-Slatina detachment led by Major Bora Dobrić. On the first day of operation, forces of the Special Police of MUP RH that had been carrying out the attack from the direction of Novska and Nova Gradiška linked up on 1st May 1995. at around 23:00 in the area of Benkovac Okučanski. With this, they cut off rebel Serb the vital communications like of Pakrac – Okučani. As a result, northern part of the occupied area of Western Slavonia had been surrounded by Croatian forces, and forces of the 18th Corps of SVK (Serb Army of Krajina) had been split into two.

According to order of the commander of 18th Corps of SVK, Colonel Lazo Babić, which had been given at cca. 15:00 of 2nd May 1995. to commander of 51st Infantry Brigade, Lieutenant Colonel Stevo Harambašić, some 7 000 Serb soldiers and civilians which had been surrounded in the area of Pakrac, Govrinica, Šeovica and Omanovac, were supposed to – over the next two days – surrender their weapons to Argentinian battalion of UNCRO. This had been agreed with Croatian government, and 62 members of UN forces which had been in the area of Pakrac would serve as intermediaries in the surrender proceedings.

Unsuccessful Surrender Negotiations
Surrounded elements of the 18th Corps of SVK and Serb civilians in the area of Šumetlica – s. Brusnik – s. Kraguj – s. Japanga – s. Čaglić – Omanovac were called on to surrender on 3rd of May. Surrender negotiations between representatives of Serb rebels and the emissary of the Croatian government, dr. Ivica Kostović, lasted until 12:00 on 4th May, without success. During the night of 3rd onto 4th May, a group of Serb soldiers attempted an unsuccessful break through the lines of 3rd Battalion of 105th Brigade of HV near the village of Bjelanovac.

dr. Ivica Kostović
Serb forces that had been surrounded at wider area of Pakrac were delaying the surrender and there was a possibility of their breakthrough towards Bučja and then to Sava. Because of this, the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Army published an order for its destruction on 4th of May, or else forcing an unconditional surrender. Following this command, General Petar Stipetić gave order to begin the attack at 14:00. Croatian Air Force helicopters were ordered to transport the reinforced company of 81st Guards Battalion which was to land at village of Bjelajci and begin the attack. TRS (Artillery-Rocket Group) was ordered to prepare to provide artillery fire against targets in Šumetlica, Brusnik, Kraguje, Japage, Čaglić and Omanovac. To allow for efficient implementation of the order, high-ranking officers of GS HV (General Headquarters of the Croatian Army) led by General Petar Stipetić went to the command posts of 52.dp (52nd Home Guard Regiment), 81.gb (81st Guards Battalion) and 105th Brigade of HV.

Attack began at 14:00 with heavy artillery bombardment of assigned targets. Following the artillery preparation was the infantry assault. Around 17 hours the Serb forces started to surrender, and by 19 hours around 1500 Serb soldiers and several thousand civilians had surrendered. Task was carried out by 52.dp, 81.gb and 105th Brigade of HV, Special Police forces, and artillery support. Around 19 hours operations at direction North were finished and order was given for HV forces to start pulling out as the liberated area was to be turned over to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MUP) RH.

During the 4th of May 1995., majority of rebel Serbs had surrendered, with the exception of 500 soldiers and members of SUP Okučani, who continued guerilla warfare in the forests of Papuk and Psunj. Some of them had managed, through the next week or so, to retreat over Sava onto Serb-controlled areas in BiH, while the remainder surrendered to Croatian police on 20th May 1995.

Among the rebel Serbs in the area of Pakrac were captured president of the Pakrac municipality, Miroslav Gvozdanović; president of the Executive Council of the Pakrac municipality, Obrad Ivanković, and vice-president of the Executive Council, Veljko Džakula. Obrad Ivanković was left in the area of Pakrac to calm down the remaining Serb population, while Veljko Džakula was interrogated and given amnesty for participating in the aggression on Croatia.

According to the estimates, some 1500 rebel Serbs were captured, mostly members of the army, police and organs of government. They were taken to internment in Slavonska Požega, Bjelovar and Varaždin and, if they had not carried out any war crimes, allowed to go home upon being heard. Croatian government treated captured Serbs well and there was no physical abuse, which was confirmed by both captives themselves and various Red Cross, EU and UNCRO observers.

Operation in the Direction East
In the direction of Nova Gradiška, until operation Flash Croatian forces were holding the line s. Pivare – s. Gorice (eastern part) – s. Poljane – s. Mašić – Mašićko brdo – s. Mašićka Šagovina – s. Širinci. According to the Attack Directive of the Chief of the General Staff of HV, general Janko Bobetko, from 5th December 1994., on the direction East for the main line of advance the task was given to units of the 81st Guards Battalion Virovitica, on the line Mašićka Šagovina – Cage – Okučani, as well as the units of 4th Battalion of 5.gbr (5th Guards Brigade) and 121.dp (121st Home Guard Regiment) Nova Gradiška, reinforced by tanks of 105th Brigade of HV Bjelovar on the direction of Nova Gradiška – Okučani. Auxilliary line of advance at direction East was task of units of 8th Guards Battalion Nova Gradiška and 15th Antitank Artillery-Rocket Brigade. The plan remained fundamentally unchanged up until beginning of the operation in May 1995.

Main line of advance on direction of Gorica – Donji Bogićevci – new interchange – Okučani was a task of the units of 4th Battalion of 5.gbr, 121.dp and an armored-mechanized company (lightened by a platoon) of 105th Brigade of HV. These units were to break Serb forces in the area of Gornje brdo and Donji Bogićevci, and continue the attack in the area of the highway, linking up with new forces in the area of the interchange before proceeding to Donje Okučane. After that, they were to bring forces under cover of night through Prašnik forest and with a portion of forces capture Novi Varoš and Gređane. Portion of forces were to follow in step with the main force, but along the line of Medari – Trnava – Okučani road. In the next phase, these forces were to participate in the liberation of Okučani and reach the border. Members of the 265th Reconnaissance-Diversion Company were tasked with leading the 4th Battalion of 5.gbr towards Donji Bogićevci, as well as securing the left flank of the 4th Battalion by infiltrating between Serb forces into the Sjeverni Prašnik forest.

Task of the 81.gb was to execute a flanking maneuver along the direction of Šagovina Mašićka – Čelar hill – Okučani, penetrate Serb defenses and reach the line of s. (village) Cage – s. Gornji Bogićevci, which would cut off Okučani from the north. In the next phase, the battalion was to participate in the liberation of Okučani.

At the auxilliary line of the attack, units of 80.gb were to penetrate Serb defense line along the direction of Pivare – Stara Gradiška, cut the road Stara Gradiška – Okučani, reach Sava river as soon as possible and then organize defences towards Bosanska Gradiška and along the national border. Along with the 80.gb was saboteur unit of GS HV.

Task of the 1st Battalion of 123rd Brigade of HV from Požega was to defend the border at Sava in a stretch from village (s.) of Mačković to s. Davor, and to prevent any attempts by Serb forces at crossing from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tank platoon of 123rd brigade of HV was to reinforce the units of the 81.gb at direction of Međuvođe – s. Smirnić.

Special forces of the MUP RH were tasked with cutting area to the north of communication line (road) Novska – Nova Gradiška in the rear of Serb forces, so as to allow the advance of Serb forces towards Okučani. In the direction East (Sector A) the Special Police of MUP RH was to operate on the line of Kik (tt.820) – Čardak – s. Trnakovac and link up with the special forces of MUP RH which were to arrive from the direction of s. Kričke – s. Rajčići – s. Trnakovac, after which they were to begin clearing the liberated area of Psunj together with the 52nd Home Guard Regiment. Commander of the Forward Command Post (IZM) of the Sector A – Sector East was Zdravko Janić. In the sector East the task was to be carried out by the Special Unit of Police (SJP) of the Police Department (PU) of Brod-Posavina Šimini anđeli pakla (“Šime’s Hell Angels”) and part of SJP PU of Sisak-Moslavina Osa with 250 members, SJP PU Vukovar-Srijem Krpelj with 210 members, SJP PU of Osijek-Baranja Orao with 160 members, SJP PU of Požega-Slavonija Trenk with 100 members, Antiterrorist Unit Lučko and SJP PU of Požega-Slavonija Trenk (sic) with 160 members, and as reserve forces SJP PU Koprivnica-Križevci Ban and SJP PU Sisak-Moslavina Osa with 160 members.

Zdravko Janić
For the artillery support in the area of Nova Gradiška was formed TRS (Artillery – Rocket Group) East, consisting of two batteries of howitzers 152 mm and a platton of SVLR (Self-Propelled Multi-Tube Rocket Launcher) Grad from the 16th artillery-rocket brigade and a battery of T-130 cannons as well as a platoon of 152 mm howitzers from the 18th Artillery Battalion (“divizijun”). Artillery group was in the area: village Cernik (tt.189) – Bukovac – Bjelavine (tt.238) – s.Gunjavci (forest Kutnjak). For antitank warfare was formed the Antiarmor Detachment East from 2nd Antiarmor Artillery-Rocket Battalion of 15th Antiarmor Artillery-Rocket Brigade. The unit was located in the area of s. Visoka Greda – s. Prvča – Zukve (tt.97), and was to operate in the area Vujanovac – Zgonovi – Grabež and s.Gorice – Gornje brdo. Anti-air defense was provided by the elements of the 201st Artillery-Rocket Brigade of Anti-Air Defense Osijek. Electronic Warfare Platoon was tasked with tracking and jamming Serb communications, while the Unmanned Air Vehicle Platoon was tasked with tracking movements of Serb forces in real time. Engineering support was provided by the 34th Engineering Battalion Čakoves, logistics by 312th Logistics Base while communications were organized by the 255th Communications Company.

On the second day of operations in the direction East new units were included into offensive operations – 2nd Battalion of 3.gbr at direction of old road Nova Gradiška – Okučani, and reinforced 2nd Battalion of 5.gbr at direction s. Gorice – Pustara. Later, members of the military police were also included in the operation.

Arrayed against the Croatian forces was the 54th Infantry Brigade of 18th Corps of Serb Army of Krajina (SVK). 1st Infantry Battalion of the brigade was located in the area of Bobare, 2nd Infantry Battalion in the area of Ratkovac, 3rd Infantry Battalion in the area of Donji Bogićevci, and 4th Infantry Battalion in the area of Medare. Just before the Operation Flash the Brigade had 1320 soldiers or 64% of the planned strength. It had taken up positions at the line of river Sava – forest Prašnik – s. Donji Bogićevci – s. Dragalić – s. Medari – s. Trnava – forest Gaj – Prosjeka – Velika Gradina (point 681). Along with the Army, area was held by small forces of Police of RSK (Republic of Serb Krajina) and the Special Police Unit SAO Western Slavonia (SAO – Serb Autonomous Region). Artillery support was provided by the Howitzer Artillery Battalion and Mixed Antiarmor Artillery Battalion of the 18th Corps of SVK (Serb Army of Krajina), and artillery units of VRS (Army of Republic of Serbia) in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Heavy Fighting
First infantry battalion of 121.dp started the attack on the direction of Mašić – Medari. Around 8:00 the unit established contact with Serb forces in Medari, and after heavy fighting and with artillery support managed to reach the line before the crossroads in village of Medari. With this it had fulfilled its task for the first day, suffering one dead and 13 wounded. Second infantry battalion of 121.dp had, during the first day, reached the line Prašnik forest – pheasantry, but did not fully complete the task because Serb forces had focused their defences in that area.

Units of the 4th battalion of 5.gbr with armored-mechanized company of of 105th brigade of HV were attacking along the direction of Gorice – Donji Bogićevci. In the morning hours these units penetrated Serb defences and by 8:00 had taken control of the western part of village Gorice. Left flank of Croatian forces was secured by the 2nd platoon of 256.ids, which had infiltrated the area of Sjeverni Prašnik forest with the aim of preventing reinforcement of Serb forces in Donji Bogićevci from direction of Okučani. Members of 5.dpr had, after liberation of Gorice, continued the attack towards Donji Bogićevci but were halted in front of the village by heavy resistance of Serb forces. They had no armored support, as tanks had used up the ammunition available during conquest of western part of Gorice, and so capture of Donji Bogićevci was not possible. In these operations the battalion had two wounded and several dead. During the afternoon hours the 4th battalion of 5.gbr was pulled back for rest and reinforcement, and replaced by the 1st Company of 3rd Battalion of 121.dp, while the remainder of 3rd Battalion had remained in reserve. Units of 4th Battalion of 5.gbr had been commanded by colonel Marin Pišonić.

At direction of Šagovina Mašićka – Okučani units of 81.gb began the attack at around 8:00 from the starting line of Kajtazovac – Cerik – Rovišta. First Infantry Company with a saboteur platoon attacked along the auxilliary direction of Gajevi – s. Smrtić – s. Ratkovac. Company was reinforced with a tank platoon of 123rd Brigade of HV. First Serb resistance was encountered by 81.gb in the Gajevi forest, where they breached Serb defences by 11:45, suffering one dead and two wounded in the process. After that, Croatian units continued the attack towards Vunduk hill and area of Buban, where Serb forces attempted to organize the second line of defense, but by 13:30 Serb units had been broken, and Croatian forces continued the advance towards villages of Smrtić and Ratkovac. During the afternoon, with heavy artillery support, units of 81.gb had taken control of the Serb resistance point on Džakula Hill and pushed Serb forces south of village of Smrtić. By 19:30 they took the village, where they organized rest, reinforcement and preparation for continuation of combat operations. Diversant platoon of 81.gb continued activities in the area around cemetery in Smrtić with the aim of preventing consolidation of Serb forces.

Units of 2nd and 3rd company of 81.gb were attacking with a flanking maneuver at the main direction of the attack s. Šagovina Mašićka – forest Kresevac – s. Cage. Second Company with the reconnaissance platoon was attacking along the direction of s. Šagovina Mašićka – forest Lještara – Golo brdo (“Naked Hill”) – hill Čelar. After taking control of the Lještara forest, members of 81.gb had by 12:25 reached the road s. Širinci – s. Ratkovac. In these combat actions, during opening of passes through the minefields, two members of the reconnaissance platoon were wounded. Units of 81.gb kept advancing towards the Dabrovački put (Dabrovac Way), clashing along the way with smaller groups of Serb forces that were escaping Kresevac forest to the south. In these clashes Croatian forces had two wounded scouts, while Serb forces lost about a dozen soldiers. Around 19:00, members of 81.gb encountered resistance of Serb forces in reinforced platoon strength in the area of Dabrovac way, which was destroyed by 20:00 and Serbs forced to withdraw. Croatian forces lost two dead and four wounded Guards soldiers, while Serbs had lost around a dozen. In the area of Dabrovac way the members of 2nd Company of 81.gb organized defense and prepared for continuation of combat operations.

Third company of 81.gb was attacking along the direction of s. Širinci – Kresevac forest – s. Cage. First Serb resistance was encountered at the foot of the Lika hill and Stari gaj forest. After pushing back the Serb units, Croatian forces by 12:20 reached the road s. Širinci – s. Ratkovac. Advances had been slowed down by leftovers of Serb forces, with commander of fire support group of 3rd Company of 81.gb dying in one clash. Croatian forces continued the advance towards the Kresevac forest. There, they encountered strong resistance by Serb forces but managed to push them back with help of artillery support. Having pushed Serb forces back towards village of Cage they reached the Dabrovac road, where they organized defences and prepared for continuation of operations. After the first day, units of 81.gb had reached the line of graveyard in village of Smrtić – northern part of village of Ratkovac – Dabrovac way. Commander of 81.gb was colonel Renato Romić.

On the southern part of Nova Gradiška direction, units of 80.gb had at 5:00 taken the line s.Pivare – southern part of Prašnik forest. At 5:30 the unit started the attack. Units of the 1st Company of 80.gb had by 7:30 crossed the Nova Sava canal and destroyed the resistance point of Serb forces at the pumping station south of the Nova Sava canal. Destruction of this point prevented potential penetration of Serb forces from the direction of Donja Varoš and bridge over the Nova Sava canal towards Pivare.

Prašnik forest
Units of the 2nd Company of 80.gb with diversant group of GS HV had reached the edge of the Prašnik forest (cca. 300 meters from the bridge on the Nova Sava canal) where they encountered Serb resistance, reinforced by an M53/59 Praga self-propelled AA gun and a tank. These Serb forces managed to stop Croatian advance and prevent them from taking control of the bridge over Nova Sava canal. Serb positions were still difficult, as despite not having control of the bridge itself, Croatian forces still controlled the area around the bridge. Croatian artillery and air force prevented Serb attempts at bringing in reinforcements over the bridge.

Because the attack of Croatian forces towards Novi Varoš was not going on according to the plan, commander of the operation at the direction East, brigadier Luka Džanko, decided that 2nd Company of 80.gb along with units of 2nd Battalion of 121.dp will liberate Novi Varoš and cut off the communication Novi Varoš – Okučani. By 20:30 members of the 2nd Company of 80.gb entered into first houses in Novi Varoš from southern side, while the elements of 2nd Battalion of 121.dp entered the first houses in Novi Varoš from northern side. Due to strong resistance of Serb forces defending the communication line of Okučani – Stara Gradiška, Croatian units failed to link up in Novi Varoš and cut off the communication line. Units of 80.gb were commanded by Captain Nedjeljko Dujić.

To the left of the 80.gb was the 1st Company of 123rd Brigade of HV, which had in early morning hours come to the line s.Mačkovac – s.Davor near the river Sava in order to organize defense against eventual attack of Serb forces from BiH and allow the 1st Battalion 121.dp to regroup and engage in the attack along another direction.

Members of the Special Police units of MUP RH from Sector A (eastern direction) were attacking from the area Kik (tt 820) – Čadak – s.Širinci towards the Serb forces in the area of Ivanovac – s.Bobare – s.Čaprginci – s.Trnakovac. Members of the police units left for their starting positions at 3:00 on 1st May 1995. Around 6:00 in the morning, members of Special Police Forces units (SJP) Šimini anđeli pakla (“Šime’s Hell’s Angels”), Ose (“Wasps”), Krpelj (“Tick”) and Orao (“Eagle”), reinforced with artillery-rocket battery and anti-air defense of the Police Department (PU) of Brod-Posavina and escorted by medical teams, arrived north of village of Širinci from where they went to attack towards Gradina east of Čaprginci. Following the strong resistance by Serb forces from fortified bunkers in the area of Gradina and Golubovac, members of the special police units had pushed Serb forces back from that area and by 18:30 reached the village of Čaprginci from its eastern side. One member of SJP Šimini anđeli died in the combat.

At the achieved line, Croatian forces organized the defense and and prepared for following combat operations. Members of SJP Orao made camp near village of Bobare. Members of ATJ Lučko and SJP Trenk operated in the area of Kik (tt 820) towards the object Ivanovac. Ivanovac was the location of the Special Police unit of SAO Western Slavonia. Members of the Croatian police managed to establish a half-encirclement around Ivanovac, but could not capture it due to stiff resistance of Serb forces. In these operations three Croatian police officers died – two from SJP Trenk and one from ATJ Lučko. After this, members of the police retreated and attempted to break Serb resistance with artillery, but were not successful.

Significant role during the first day of operations had been played by the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) platoon. UAVs had spent hours in the air, observing Serb attempts at deployment of their artillery. This allowed Croatian artillery to disable Serb 105 mm howitzer battalion near Stara Gradiška.

After the first day of combat operations in the Operation Flash, Croatian forces in direction East had reached the line of Južni Prašnik – Gornje brdo – s.Dragalić – s.Medari – s.Smrtić – stream Dabovac – s.Čaprginci – Ivanovac. Units of the Special Police of MUP HR achieved a major success by linking up from the direction of Novska and Nova Gradiška in the area of village Benkovac Okučanski. With this, the occupied area had been cut, and forces of the 18th Corps of SVK split into two. Croatian Army (HV) had also gained control of the road Stara Gradiška – Okučani, which meant that Serb forces could not bring reinforcements from Bosnia and Herzegovina across Sava.

However, at the Nova Gradiška line of attack, Serb forces had managed to organize the second line of defense and stop the planned advance of Croatian forces at that area, and so Croatian command in Nova Gradiška decided to introduce new forces. At 19 hours the order was given to engage tactical group of 3.gbr for the attack the next day, in direction of Vunduk’s hill – Orašje – Gornji Bogićevci – Kosovac. The group consisted of 2nd Infantry Battalion reinforced with elements of 3rd Infantry Battalion, Reconnaissance Company, as well as elements of the logistics and communications units of 3.gbr. Units of 3.gbr in the direction East were commanded by brigadier Mladen Kruljac. During the night, this tactical group was brought to the area of Šagovina Cernička – Vunduk’s hill. Alongside this tactical group, at Novi Grad direction was also engaged 2nd Battalion of 5.gbr reinforced with tank platoon of armored battalion of 5.gbr, which was supposed to operate at the primary direction of the attack (village Gorice – forest Podložje – forest Prašnik – Pustara) alongside the already present units of 4th Battalion of 5.gbr and 121.dp. Commander of the 4th Battalion of 5.gbr was Colonel Mirko Brekalo, while tanks of 5.gbr were commanded by Major Dragon Salaj. These units of 5.gbr from 3:00 to 4:00 at 2nd May had carried out a march along the direction of Strmac – Nova Gradiška – s. Visoka Greda – s. Gorice, and arrived to the area predicted for the beginning of the attack.

At the second day of the Operation Flash, 2nd May 1995., Croatian forces continued attacking at direction East. Units of 1st Battalion of 121.dp began the attack from the crossroads in Medari towards Trnava, and from the village of Poljane towards Dragalić. By 10:00 members of the battalion had taken complete control of the villages of Medari, Dragalić and Trnava, and had linked up with the tactical group of 3.gbr before together reaching the canal Draževac and s.Smrtić. Soon after arrived OMS of the 105th Brigade of HV, although one platoon short. OMS joined the elements of 121.dp and units of the tactical group of 3.gbr in continuation of operations towards Okučani. Croatian forces had afterwards entered Gornji Bogićevci and Kosovac without resistance, before continuing towards Okučani which they entered at 13:20.

First Company of the 2nd Battalion and the reconnaissance platoon of the 121.dp captured phaesantry in the morning hours of 2nd May before linking up with units of 80.gb and entering northern part of the village of Novi Varoš. After Serb units began a breakthrough from Okučani towards Stara Gradiška, Croatian forces withdrew to the edge of the Prašnik forest from where they placed retreating Serb forces under infantry fire.

At the southern part of the Nova Gradiška direction the units of the 80.gb were reinforced during the night of 1st to 2nd May by 3rd Company of the 5th Battalion of 5..gbr and the pioneer platoon of the 34th Engineering Battalion which had the task of blocking the path between the bridge on the Nova Sava canal and village of Novi Varoš. Members of the 2nd Company of 80.gb and 5.gbr held the southern part of s.Novi Varoš, but because Serb forces had started pulling out in the early morning towards Stara Gradiška, Croatian forces were forced under heavy pressure to retreat to the edge of the Prašnik forest. Commander of the reconnaissance platoon and four scouts were killed in the attempt to stop the penetration of the armor and infantry of 18th Corps of SVK. After Croatian forces pulled back, retreating Serb troops were bombarded by Croatian artillery. However, as Serb army was followed by Serb civilians, no attempt was made to actually block its way so as not to endanger the civilians. After that, around 16:00, units of 80.gb had again entered Novi Varoš and cleared the terrain of the of Serb forces towards the bridge on the Nova Sava canal. After this, members of 2nd Company of 80.gb returned to s.Pivare. Members of 1st Company of 80.gb entered s.Donji Varoš and by 22:00 reached the bridge over river Sava. There, they linked up with units of 4th Battalion of 5.gbr, which were in front of Stara Gradiška, and with units of the 34th Engineering Battalion (inžb) which were blocking a bridge over Sava from the direction of Bosanska Gradiška. Reconnaissance platoon 121.dp entered the village of Uskoci and Stara Gradiška in the evening hours.

Units of the reinforced 2nd Battalion of the 5.gbr, around 6:00 with artillery support, began the attack in direction s.Gorice – forest Podložje – forest Prašnik – Pustara. After a minor pause due to encountering a minefield, in which four members of the unit had been wounded, members of 5.gbr continued the advance without encountering Serb resistance, and reached the line nadvožnjak – Pustara. After that units of 5.gbr continued the advance along the direction Pustara – s. Novi Varoš – bridge on Nova Sava canal. Croatian forces had two wounded, and by the nightfall they reached the line of Nova Sava canal where they organized defense.

Units of 4th Battalion of 5.gbr, one company short, that morning launched the attack from s. Gorica towards Donji Bogićevci. Having liberated Donji Bogićevci, units of 5.gbr linked up with units of 265.ids in the northern area of the Prašnik forest, and continued the attack in the area of the highway, reaching the area of the new loop and the toll booth. Following this the members of the 4th battalion of 5.gbr continued the advance towards Stara Gradiška, where they arrived in the afternoon hours and linked up with members of 80.gbr.

Tactical group of 3.gbr had on the second day of the operation begin the attack at 8:15 at direction of Vunduk’s hill – s.Orašje – s.Gornji Bogićevci – s.Kosovac. After 10 hours, units of 3.gbr entered the village of Trnava where they linked up with members of the 121st Brigade of HV, together reaching the Draževac canal. Afterwards, these units were joined by two tank platoons of the 105th Brigade of HV. These units continued advancing towards Okučani, entering the villages of Gornje Bogićevice and Kosovac around 12:00. Serb forces offered no resistance at the first line of defense, but instead were engaged in disorganized retreat, offering only sporadic resistance. After this, members of the 3.gbr, 121.dp and the 105th brigade of HV continued their advance towards Okučani, which they entered at around 13:20. At around 17:00 at 2nd May, forces of 3.gbr engaged in the operation Flash began to retreat from the western Slavonia into their native area.

During the 2nd May, units of 81.gb continued with their attack along the direction of hill Čelar – s.Cage – Okučani, while a part of the unit attacked on the direction of s.Smrtić – s.Orašje – s.Trnava. Along with this, units of the 81.gb were tasked with introducing the tactical group of 3.gbr into attack in a direction of s. Šagovina Cernička – s. Orašje – s. Gornji Bogićevci – Okučani. At 6:00 in the morning units of 81.gb, reinforced with a tank platoon of 123rd brigade of HV, penetrated from area of s. Smrtić to area of s. Orašje, after which at around 11:00 they entered s. Trnava where they linked up with forces of 3.gbr. After this the members of the 1st Company of 81.gb continued the attack along the right flank of the units of 3.gbr and 1st Company of 121.dp along the direction of Blatuše – hill Smiran, entering Okučane at 13:20 alongside units of 3.gbr. Croatian advance in this direction was quick as Serb forces were in a disarray.

Members of the 2nd Company and the reconnaissance platoon of 81.gb were attacking from the area of Dabrovac way along the line of Kesar’s house – Čelar hill – Devil’s hill, and reached the road Okučani – s. Cage. Serb resistance was sporadic and limited to small groups of soldiers. Having reached the road Okučani – s. Cage, members of 81.gb left a portion of forces to blockade it while the rest moved towards the center of Okučani where they linked up with units of 1st Company of 81.gb.

Members of the 3rd Company of 81.gb attacked from the area of Dabrovac way and towards Grad – southern slopes of Vinogradi – southern part of s.Cage. Part of the unit reached the road c.Cage – Okučani in the southern part of s.Cage, where they linked up with the members of Special Police of MUP RH. After this they searched the western slopes of the Čelar hill, and together with members of 2nd Company of 81.gb reached the road s. Cage – Okučani, cutting it off at the level of the economy road. During the search of Okučani, one member of the battalion was killed and one wounded in an ambush. Members of 81.gb spent the night at the reached positions.

Units of the Special Police of MUP RH continued combat operations at the line reached the previous day. Around 8:00 Croatian units achieved full control of Trnakovac village as well as the road Trnakovac – Donji Rogolji, as well as the village of Bobare. Around 12 hours members of the special police liberated the villages of Gornji and Donji Rogolji. During the afternoon the Combined forces of the Special Police took control of the northern part of fortified positions at Ivanovac with support of the artillery-rocket group of the Special Police. Wider area under control of special police forces was searched and cleaned of broken elements of Serb units.At 14:00 the forward command post (IZM) of the sector East was transferred from village of Šagovina Cernička to village of Šagovina Mašićka. Special police forces were gradually relieved by the regular police, and instead tasked with destroying Serb forces in the area of Ivanovci and Omanovci.

Cleanup of Liberated Area
Following the second day of the operation Flash, Croatian forces at the direction East had mostly finished their task. Serb forces still remained in the area of Ivanovci, as well as on the wider area of Omanovci in the direction North. Combined forces of the military police were introduced to the wider area of Okučani immediately after combat operations, as Croatian forces still had to clear the area from the remnants of Serb forces.

Minor combat operations continued in the direction East during 3rd May 1995. In morning hours, units of the 2nd Battalion of 5.gbr continued the attack towards Gornja Varoš and Stara Gradiška. Serb forces were offering no resistance in this area, and so by 9:00 units of the 5.gbr had reached Sava river along the line of Gornji Varoš – Stara Gradiška, establishing there the line of defense. Members of the 4th Battalion of 5.gbr entered Stara Gradiška during morning hours, and soon after the border defense was taken over by the units of 121.dp while units of 5.gbr were withdrawn to their barracks. At around 11:00 units of 81.gb were also withdrawn, turning their positions over to 121.dp. During the night from 3rd to 4th of May, members of the Saboteur Platoon of GS HV and the engineering platoon of 34.inžb prepared the bridge over Sava in Stara Gradiška for demolition should Serb forces from Bosnia and Herzegovina attack.

Units of the 81.gb were deployed in the wider area of Okučani, with the task of providing immediate security of the settlement itself as well as the road s. Borovac – s. Lađevac – Okučani – s. Kosovac, as well as discovering and destroying remaining Serb forces.

By around 9:00 of 3rd of May, units of the Special Police had taken control of all Serb resistance points at Ivanovac. After formation of the Common Headquarters of the Joint Forces of Special Police at Bijele Stijene, Special Police forces regrouped and organized an assault on Serb forces at Omanovac area. Main direction of the attack was towards Omanovac itself, while the secondary attack was aimed against Hajdučka kosa. By evening hours Croatian forces had reached the object of Omanovac, but the nightfall meant that the well-fortified object could not be taken, so the attack was put off for the next morning. Attacking at 5th of May at 6:00, Special Police forces took control of the object without much difficulty. Some of Serb troops ran away while the rest surrendered. With this, the last strongpoint of Serb forces in the western Slavonia had been taken.

Croatian Air Force had also participated in the Operation Flash, with its fixed and rotary wing aircraft carrying out a total of 71 flights from 1st to 4th May 1995. Primary targets were Serb command posts and fortified positions, as well as bridges over Nova Sava canal and the river of Sava in Stara Gradiška. During combat operations, one MiG-21 aircraft was shot down, while one MiG-21 fighter and two Mi-24 attack helicopters were damaged. Lost MiG-21 had been piloted by Rudolf Perešin and shot down at around 13 hours of 2nd May 1995. near Stara Gradiška by anti-aircraft artillery deployed in village of Kozinci, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Serb Rebels Refuse Croatian Rule
Croatian military-police operation Flash was one of the best and most humanely carried out operations of Croatian forces. There was no systematic and planned terror over civilian population during or after the operation, with only cases of violence towards civilians being a work of individuals. Both during and after the operation, Croatian military and civil authorities had taken measures to protect civilians and prevent any harm, and several Croatian soldiers were arrested by the Military Police for inappropriate behavior.

Majority of rebel Serbs left Western Slavonia before arrival of the Croatian Army (HV). Majority of Serbs from the area of Pakrac left self-initiatively during May and June of 1995. Rebel Serbs that were released from prison also overwhelmingly left Croatia for Serbia upon their release. Aside from the fear of Croatian government, which had been promoted by Belgrade with their myths about the Ustashi, dominant factor was in fact a simple refusal to live under any kind of Croatian government. This is best illustrated by Milan Martić, speaking in Knin in February 1994., about the Z-4 plan which had been proposed and basically gave Serbs everything they wanted except for the establishment of Greater Serbia: “Should we accept our own death? Life in Croatia would be worse than any war. Life in Croatia – that wouldn’t be life.”. By the end of May of 1995., some 1500 Serbs had remained in the liberated area.

Milan Martić
During June and July of 1995., UNCRO organized the operation “Safe Passage”, enabling Serbs to leave if they wished to.

Knowing that they cannot defend themselves, Serbs of Western Slavonia sought aid from Knin, Bosnian Serbs, and even the Yugoslav Army (JNA). Trying to help, Headquarters of SVK ordered mobilization, and at 1st May in 8:40 it ordered raising the combat readiness and deployment of help. According to the plan, 11th Corps was to send two battalions, while other corps of SVK (7th, 15th, 21st and 39th) were to send two companies (“četa”). As time was at premium, attack was ordered for 2nd May 1995. at 3:00, but it was abandoned due to the fact that insufficient number of troops had shown up and those that did were not combat capable. The only help that Serbs of Western Slavonia received was the arrival of small groups and units, such as “Cigina Grupa” (Roma’s Group) from Omarska which participated in fighting around Nova Varoš, “Minđušari” from Knin, unit headed by a secretary of SUP Glina and the unit “Ljute”. Assistance by military and police forces from other areas of RSK was minor, which negatively impacted morale of Serbs in Western Slavonia who had been promised the arrival of many thousands of troops.

Significant help was expected from Bosnian Serbs. In fact, it was believed that the unfavorable strategic position completely precluded defense of the Western Slavonia unless the Army of Republic of Serbia (VRS) actively participated in it. But the illusion of any assistance by VRS was shattered on 1st of May 1995. On that day, general Momir Talić, commander of the 1st Corps of VRS stated that the war in Croatia has nothing to do with them and so the 1st Corps will stand aside. In fact, VRS even reneged on providing the promised air support from air bases at Mahovljani and Udbina.

Another significant problem faced by the rebel Serbs was lack of artillery support. While there were some 155 mm pieces in Draksenić, a battery of 105 mm cannons in Rogolji and a battery in village of Bobare, the only regular artillery support was provided by a batters of 105 mm cannons which had disobeyed orders of BiH Serb command and provided support from the area of village of Lipovača in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Waiting for the assistance of the Army of Yugoslavia (JA) proved futile. The lack of help from Belgrade left rebel Serbs feeling betrayed and left out to hang by the government. They were also hurt by the fact that TV Belgrade focused on reporting about the celebrations of 1st May all across Yugoslavia instead o reporting on fighting in Croatia. Additional cause for consternation was FR Yugoslavia’s influence over the commander of 11th Corps of SVK, general Dušan Lončar. General Lončar refused to carry out the order of the commander of SVK, general Milan Čeleketić, to bombard Osijek and Vinkovci and also to carry out the attack in the direction of Mirkovci – Županja, both of which were major elements of Serb war plan.

After the significant military defeat suffered by RSK, president of RSK Milan Martić sent a letter on 4th May 1995. to president of Republic of Serbia, Slobodan Milošević. In it, he complained that the “tragedy which had hit Serb people with the newest aggression of Croatia against Western Slavonia has heavy and inconceivable consequences to the solution of the entire Serb question. Not only was the territory lost and hundreds of civilians died, thing that in this moment of horror makes uneasines even greater is the widespread belief that Serb question had been betrayed by Serbs themselves. All across Krajina there are rumors of its surrender, people with disbelief say that we had been forgotten by Serbia and Republika Srpska. In many villages and cities people are packing their things and preparing for an exodus.”.

Bombardment of Zagreb
Realizing that military assistance was not forthcoming, and faced with a major military defeat, rebel Serbs turned to terrorist methods. Over two days, 2nd and 3rd of May, they bombarded a number of cities across Croatia, with Zagreb being the most significant target, leading to 7 dead and 176 wounded in the city. Decision to bombard Zagreb was made by the General Headquarters in agreement with Milan Martić, and already on 1st May at 17:15 order was given to raise preparedness of the section “Orkan”. Martić had announced the possibility of bombardment already in his speech of 10th February 1995., saying that “Nobody can prevent us from bombarding Zagreb, Osijek, Vinkovci, Zadar, Karlovac, Split… to have the plan of action and prepare for its complete and certain realization”. Although bombardment of various civilian targets had been a key point of the Serb plan of active defense and the “revenge doctrine”, after their defeat and wanting to justify their crimes, rebel Serbs offered various explanations of “targeting military targets only”.

Parallel with the conflicts, and with help and intermediation of the members of UNCRO, were ongoing negotiations between the representatives of Republic of Croatia and Serb rebels. Croatia had accepted the negotiations due to a strong pressure of the international community, and negotiations began on 1st May 1995. around 16:15 on Pleso. Croatian delegation was comprised of Hrvoje Šarinić, general Zvonimir Červenko, Vesna Škare-Ožbolt and Smiljan Reljić. Serb delegation consisted of Borislav Mikelić, general Dušan Lončar and Ilija Prijić. Also present were representatives of UNCRO and the international community. Serb and UNCRO representatives requested cessation of combat operations and retreat of Croatian forces to their starting positions. Special delegate of the secretary of the UN for Yugoslavia, Yasushi Akashi, proposed an agreement of five points which essentially granted all of Serbs’ wishes. Serb delegation naturally accepted the proposal while Croatian delegation rejected it. After failure of the negotiations the Serb delegation left Zagreb, which allowed Serb forces to begin targeting “vital targets” all across Croatia. This prevented a ceasefire, and Croatian attack continued. As Serb delegation was not able to come to continuation of the negotiations which were supposed to happen on 2nd May at Pleso, a verbal agreement was instead made on 3rd may with the help of Akashi, which was to be signed later. According to it, combat operations were to cease by 3rd May 1995. at 16:00.

Croatian Forces at National Border
In the operation Flash, according to Croatian data, Croatian forces lost 42 dead and 162 wounded, while Serb losses were estimated at 350 to 450 dead and 1000 to 1200 wounded. According to the data of the Croatian Helsinki Committee (HHO) for human rights from 2002., all civilian victims had been killed or died during the operation itself, with a total of 83 dead Serb civilians. Serb documents are incomplete and basically useless in establishing any facts about casualties caused by the operation.

Having liberated the target area, Croatian forces shifted to a defensive posture. Based on the orders of the representative of the Chief of the General Staff of HV from 8th May, beginning with 10th May 1995. at 00:00, operational command of units from direction West and East in the zone right: s. Trebež – Kutina – Garešnica and left: s. Davor – s. Brestovac Požeški – Voćin – Virovitica, was taken over by the Command of the Operative Area (ZP) Bjelovar. Command itself was in Bjelovac while the Forward Command Post was in Okučani. Under its operational command were units: 125.dp, 3/104. br HV, 52. dp, 105. br HV, 3/123. br HV, 121. dp, TV from okmb/1.gbr in strength of 3 T-55 tanks, TS/123.br HV, TRS West comprised of: HB 2/16.trbr, 4 H-155, SVLR “Grad” from 16.trbr; and TRS East comprised of: tv/18td (3 T-130), Hv/18.td (3 H-155) and Potrb/13.POtrd.

Defense of the state border at Sava, now under authority of the Operative Area Bjelovar, was split into sectors West and East. Sector West stretched from Trebež to the mouth of the Veliki Strug canal into Sava, and in depth from Novska to Donji Rajić. Defense of the sector was the task of 125.dp and other units which had happened to be in the area, among whom was a tank platoon from 1.gbr which was returned to its parent unit on 15th May. Sector East, under command of 121.dp, covered the area from the mouth of Veliki Strug canal into river Sava to village of Davor, and in depth from Borovac to Petrovo Selo.

As the situation calmed down, by mid-May majority of the listed units were demobilized or pulled back to barracks, and their tasks taken over by the Ministry of the Interior.

Operation Flash had liberated 600 square kilometers of Croatian territory in Western Slavonia. Units of HV and SJP MUP under command of GS HV had shown a high degree of coordination, training and readiness for carrying out complex offensive actions. These capabilities will be utilized only a short while later in the Operation Storm and final liberation of majority of occupied areas of the Republic of Croatia.

Croatian forcesSerb forces
Total strength16 3744 770
Support Artillery
T-130 mm64
H-155 mm96
TH-152 mm12
H-122 mm12
LRL 128 mm20
MB-120 mm8115
ZIS 76 mm126
BI 76 mm56
SO 76 mm5
Antitank Artillery
POLK 9K1122
POLK 9K11110
POLO 9P1221
POLO 9P1331
Units that had participated in the operation:

  • 81. sgb
  • 80. sgb
  • 121. dp
  • 5. gbr (4. b)
  • 3. gbr (2. b)
  • 123. br (1. b)
  • 105. br (Oms)
  • 265. IDs
  • platoon bpl
  • 18. td
  • 34. inžb
  • 202. PZO br (4. trb PZO)
  • 256. s communications
  • 312. LoB
  • SS MUP
  • 125. dp
  • 3. gbr (1.b + OMs, battery n 122 mm, battery SV BR – platoon h 122 mm)
  • 1. gbrn (2.b)
  • 52. dp
  • 105. br HV
  • 2. gbr (OMs)
  • 1. HGZ
  • 13. potrd
  • 104. br
  • 16. trb (bat h 155 mm; 2. div)
  • 127. br (bat ZIS 76 mm)
  • 123. br (platoon h 105 mm; bat ZIS)
  • platoon bpl
  • 312. LoB
  • 202. br PZO (4. trb PZO)
  • 1. stb PZO 57/2 mm
  • SS MUP
List of abbreviations:

  • ATJ – antiterrorist unit
  • BiH – Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • br – brigade
  • BVP – Infantry Fighting Vehicle
  • dp – Home Guard Regiment
  • EU – European Union
  • gb – Guards Battalion
  • gbr – Guards Brigade
  • GS – General Headquarters
  • HGZ – Croatian Guards Corps
  • HHO – Croatian Helsinki Committee
  • HRZ – Croatian Air Force
  • HV – Croatian Army
  • HVO – Croatian Council of Defense
  • ids – Scout-Saboteur Company
  • inžb – Engineering Battalion
  • IZM – Forward Command Post
  • JNA – Yugoslav People’s Army
  • km – kilometre
  • LAD PVO – Light Artillery Battalion of Anti-Air Defense
  • map – Mixed Artillery Regiment
  • MTS – material-technical resources
  • MUP – Ministry of the Interior
  • okmb – Armored-Mechanized Battalion
  • OMS – Armored-Mechanized Company; Armored-Mechanized Forces
  • OZ – Operational Zone
  • pb – Infantry Battalion
  • pbr – Infantry Brigade
  • PoB – Logistics Base (literally: Background Base)
  • POtrd – Anti-Tank Artillery-Rocket Brigade
  • Ps – Infantry Company
  • PZO – Anti-Air Defense
  • RDB – State Security Service
  • RSK – Republic of Serbian Krajina
  • s. – village
  • SAO – Serb Autonomous Region (Oblast)
  • SFRJ – Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
  • SJP – Special Unit of Police
  • SUP – Secretariat of Internal Affairs
  • SVK – Serb Army of Krajina
  • SVLR – Self-Propelled Multi-Barrelled Rocket Launcher
  • td – Artillery Battalion
  • MPOAD – Mixed Antitank Artillery Battalion
  • TO – Territorial Defense
  • trbr – Artillery-Rocket Brigade
  • TRS – Artillery-Rocket Group
  • TS – Tactical Group
  • tt – trigonometric point
  • tv – Tank Platoon
  • UN – United Nations
  • UNCRO – United Nations Confidence Restoration Operation in Croatia
  • UNPA – United Nations Protected Area
  • VJ – Army of Yugoslavia
  • VRS – Army of Republika Srpska
  • ZP – Operative Area; Corps Area
  • ZZP – Command of Operative Area

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