The Syrmian Front (Serbo-Croatian : Sremski front, Сремски фронт) was an Axis line of defense during World War II. It was established as part of the Eastern Front in late October 1944 in Syrmia and east Slavonia, northwest of Belgrade.
The Axis powers, also known as "Rome–Berlin–Tokyo Axis", were the nations that fought in World War II against the Allies. The Axis powers agreed on their opposition to the Allies, but did not completely coordinate their activity.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of conflict between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.), Poland and other Allies, which encompassed Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe (Baltics), and Southeast Europe (Balkans) from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. It has been known as the Great Patriotic War in the former Soviet Union and modern Russia, while in Germany it was called the Eastern Front, or the German-Soviet War by outside parties.
After the Yugoslav Partisans and the Red Army expelled the Germans from Belgrade in the Belgrade Offensive, the retreating Wehrmacht and the Croatian Armed Forces used fortifications to protect the withdrawal of German Army Group E from the Balkans. With help from their Soviet allies, the Partisans (by then recognized as the Yugoslav army), joined by Bulgarian and Italian forces, fought a difficult winter campaign and finally broke through the front on 12 April 1945.
The Yugoslav Partisans, or the National Liberation Army, officially the National Liberation Army and Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia, was the Communist-led resistance to the Axis powers in occupied Yugoslavia during World War II.
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, frequently shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established immediately after the 1917 October Revolution. The Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; taking the official name of "Soviet Army", until its dissolution in December 1991.
The Belgrade Offensive or the Belgrade Strategic Offensive Operation was a military operation in which Belgrade was liberated from the German Wehrmacht through the joint efforts of the Soviet Red Army, Yugoslav Partisans, and the Bulgarian People's Army. Soviet forces and local militias launched separate but loosely cooperative operations that undermined German control of Belgrade and ultimately forced a retreat. Martial planning was coordinated evenly among command leaders, and the operation was largely enabled through tactical cooperation between Josip Broz Tito and Joseph Stalin that began in September 1944. These martial provisions allowed Bulgarian forces to engage in operations throughout Yugoslav territory, which furthered tactical success while increasing diplomatic friction.
After the Syrmian front was broken, occupied Yugoslavia was liberated.
After the September advance through Romania and Bulgaria in October 1944, The Red Army, together with Yugoslav forces, took Belgrade (central communication node of the Balkans) in the Belgrade Offensive. Due to Yugoslav partisan activity,the Yugoslav-Allied Operation Ratweek, and pressure from the Bulgarian Army, the Germans failed to prevent this while they awaited the redeployment of Army Group E troops from Greece. The Red Army decided to exploit this delay and continued to advance with the 3rd Ukrainian Front from Belgrade to south-west Hungary. The aim of the advance was to separate and protect their main attack in Hungary from attacks on the flank by Army Group E from the south.
The Balkans, also known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographic area in southeastern Europe with various definitions and meanings, including geopolitical and historical. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch throughout the whole of Bulgaria from the Serbian-Bulgarian border to the Black Sea coast. The Balkan Peninsula is bordered by the Adriatic Sea on the northwest, the Ionian Sea on the southwest, the Aegean Sea in the south and southeast, and the Black Sea on the east and northeast. The northern border of the peninsula is variously defined. The highest point of the Balkans is Mount Musala, 2,925 metres (9,596 ft), in the Rila mountain range.
Launched on 1 September 1944, Operation Ratweek was a series of coordinated attacks on the Axis lines of communication, principally the railways, by Yugoslav partisans, the combined operations units of Land Forces Adriatic, the heavy bombers of the 15th Air Force and the light and medium bombers of the Balkan Air Force.
Army Group E was a German Army Group active during World War II.
From September 1944 to January 1945, Army Group E pushed its way through Macedonia, Kosovo, Sanjak, and Bosnia, and soon their sole available escape route was in a line between Sarajevo and Slavonski Brod. For this reason, it was of vital significance for the Germans to defend the zone around Slavonski Brod, which was threatened by the Soviet-Yugoslav advance through Syrmia. To prevent Army Group E from being cut off, the German South-East command prepared seven successive fortified defense lines between the Danube and Sava river from Ruma to Vinkovci. The Syrmian Front campaign consisted of Yugoslavian attempts to break through these lines of defense.
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe. Its boundaries have changed considerably over time; however, it came to be defined as the modern geographical region by the mid 19th century. Today the region is considered to include parts of six Balkan countries: Greece, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, and Kosovo. It covers approximately 67,000 square kilometres (25,869 sq mi) and has a population of 4.76 million.
Kosovo, officially the Republic of Kosovo, is a partially recognized state and disputed territory in Southeastern Europe.
Sanjaks were administrative divisions of the Ottoman Empire. Sanjak, and the variant spellings sandjak, sanjaq, and sinjaq, are English transliterations of the Turkish word sancak, meaning district,banner, or flag. Sanjaks were also called by the Arabic word for banner or flag: لواء liwa.
The Syrmian Front saw some of the most difficult fighting in Yugoslavia in World War II. It lasted for almost six months. As the bulk of the Red Army involved in the Belgrade operation continued their offensive in Hungary, the Yugoslav Army, accustomed to guerrilla warfare in the mountainous terrain of the Dinaric Alps, remained to fight the entrenched front line heavily contested by the Axis on the flat ground of the Pannonian plain.Young men from Vojvodina and Central Serbia, many from freshly liberated regions, were drafted en masse and sent to the front, and the amount of training they received and their casualty levels remain in dispute.
The Budapest Offensive was the general attack by Soviet and Romanian armies against Nazi Germany and their Axis allies from Hungary. The offensive lasted from 29 October 1944 until the fall of Budapest on 13 February 1945. This was one of the most difficult and complicated offensives that the Soviet Army carried on in Central Europe. It resulted in a decisive victory for the USSR, as it disabled the last European political ally of Nazi Germany and greatly sped up the ending of World War II in Europe.
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare in which a small group of combatants, such as paramilitary personnel, armed civilians, or irregulars; use military tactics including ambushes, sabotage, raids, petty warfare, hit-and-run tactics, and mobility to fight a larger and less-mobile traditional military. Guerrilla groups are a type of violent non-state actor.
The Dinaric Alps, also commonly Dinarides, are a mountain range in Southern and Southeastern Europe, separating the continental Balkan Peninsula from the Adriatic Sea. They stretch from Italy in the northwest through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo to Albania in the southeast.
Although mostly stationary, the front moved several times, generally westward, as the Axis forces were pushed back. The fighting started east of Ruma and stabilized in January 1945 west of Šid after the town changed hands due to Axis counterattacks. In late March and early April 1945, Yugoslav Army units mounted a general offensive on all fronts. The Yugoslav First Army, commanded by Peko Dapčević, broke through German XXXIV Corps defenses in Syrmia on 12 April, quickly capturing the cities of Vukovar, Vinkovci, and Županja, and enabling further advances through Slavonia toward Slavonski Brod and Zagreb in the last month of the war.
The campaign can be divided into four distinct phases:
Sremski Karlovci is a town and municipality located in the South Bačka District of the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. It is situated on the bank of the river Danube, 8 kilometres from Novi Sad. According to the 2011 census results, it has a population of 8,750 inhabitants. The town has traditionally been known as the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the Habsburg Monarchy, as well as political and cultural capital of Serbian Vojvodina after the May Assembly and during the Revolution in 1848.
Petrovaradin is one of two city municipalities which constitute the city of Novi Sad. As of 2011, the urban area has 27,083 inhabitants, while the municipality has 33,865 people inhabitants. Lying across the river Danube from the main part of Novi Sad, it is built around the Petrovaradin Fortress, historical anchor of the modern city.
Syrmia is a fertile region of the Pannonian Plain in Europe, which lies between the Danube and Sava rivers. The majority of Syrmia is located in the Srem and South Bačka districts of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in Serbia. A smaller area around Novi Beograd, Zemun, and Surčin belongs to the City of Belgrade. The remaining part of Syrmia is divided between multiple municipalities in Serbia and Vukovar-Srijem County in Croatia.
The Srem District is one of seven administrative districts of the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. It lies in the geographical regions of Syrmia and Mačva. According to the 2011 census results, it has a population of 312,278 inhabitants. The administrative center is the city of Sremska Mitrovica.
Šid is a town and municipality located in the Srem District of the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. It has a population of 14,893, while the municipality has 34,188 inhabitants.
Radoslav Čelnik, known as Vojvoda Rajko, was a Serb general (vojvoda) in the army of Jovan Nenad, the titular Serbian Emperor who held present-day Vojvodina, who after the death of Jovan Nenad (1527) took part of the army from Bačka to Syrmia and acceded into Ottoman service. Radoslav then ruled over Syrmia as "Duke of Syrmia (Srem)", initially as an Ottoman vassal (1527–1530) and then as a Habsburg vassal (1530–1532), until the region was conquered by the Ottomans. His residence and capital was in Slankamen (sr).
The 1st Belgrade Special Combat detachment was a special police unit which was established by the German Gestapo in the Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia during World War II.
Nova Pazova is a settlement in Serbia. It is situated in the Stara Pazova municipality, in the region of Syrmia, in the autonomous province of Vojvodina. The settlement's population is currently 18,214, of which 17,421 are ethnic Serbs.
Military operations in World War II in Yugoslavia began on 6 April 1941, when the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was swiftly conquered by Axis forces and partitioned between Germany, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria and client regimes. Subsequently, a guerrilla liberation war was fought against the Axis occupying forces and their locally established puppet regimes, including the fascist Independent State of Croatia and the Government of National Salvation in the German-occupied territory of Serbia, by the Communist-led republican Yugoslav Partisans. Simultaneously, a multi-side civil war was waged between the Partisans, the Serbian monarchist Chetniks, the Croatian Ustashe and Home Guard, Serbian Volunteer Corps and State Guard, as well as Slovene Home Guard troops.
Konstantin "Kosta" Mušicki commanded the collaborationist Serbian Volunteer Corps during World War II. He was captured by the British Army at the end of the war, but was subsequently handed over to the Yugoslav authorities, who tried and executed him for war crimes.
Pavle Đurišić was a Montenegrin Serb regular officer of the Royal Yugoslav Army who became a Chetnik commander (vojvoda) and led a significant proportion of the Chetniks in Montenegro during World War II. He distinguished himself and became one of the main commanders during the popular uprising against the Italians in Montenegro in July 1941, but later collaborated with the Italians in actions against the Communist-led Yugoslav Partisans. In 1943, his troops carried out several massacres against the Muslim population of Bosnia, Herzegovina and the Sandžak, and participated in the anti-Partisan Case White offensive alongside Italian forces. Đurišić was captured by the Germans in May 1943, escaped and was recaptured.
Vojislav Lukačević was a Serbian Chetnik commander in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia during World War II. At the outbreak of war, he held the rank of captain of the reserves in the Royal Yugoslav Army.
Zaharije Ostojić was a Montenegrin Serb military officer who served as the chief of the operational, organisational and intelligence branches of the Chetnik Supreme Command led by Draža Mihailović in Yugoslavia during World War II. He was a major in the Royal Yugoslav Army Air Force prior to the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia, and was involved in the coup that deposed Prince Paul of Yugoslavia on 27 March 1941. After the coup, he escorted Prince Paul to exile in Greece, and was in Cairo at the time of the invasion in April. In September 1941, he was landed on the Italian-occupied Montenegrin coast along with a British Special Operations Executive (SOE) liaison officer and two companions. He escorted the SOE officer to the German-occupied territory of Serbia and introduced him to the Yugoslav Partisan leader Josip Broz Tito then Mihailović. Ostojić soon became Mihailović's chief of staff, and after the German attempt to capture the Chetnik leader during Operation Mihailović in December 1941, brought the Chetnik Supreme staff to Montenegro where they were re-united with Mihailović in June 1942. During the remainder of 1942, Ostojić launched a counter-attack against Ustaše troops of the Independent State of Croatia returning to the eastern Bosnian town of Foča where they were expected to continue their genocidal anti-Serb policies. As many as 2,000 local Muslims were subsequently killed in the town by forces under Ostojić's command. Ostojić later oversaw large-scale massacres of civilians and burning of Muslim villages in the border region between Montenegro and the Sandžak.
Milutin Nedić was a general and Chief of the General Staff of the Royal Yugoslav Army prior to the outbreak of World War II. He was replaced in late 1938, and later commanded the 2nd Army Group during the German-led Axis invasion of Yugoslavia of April 1941 during World War II. Nedić's command consisted of General Milan Rađenković's 1st Army, responsible for the area between the Danube and the Tisza, and the 2nd Army of General Dragoslav Miljković, responsible for the border from Slatina to the Danube. Nedić had no Army Group reserve, but the 2nd Army was to constitute a reserve of one infantry division deployed south of Slavonski Brod.
Rudolf Perhinek was Yugoslav military officer with the rank of Captain in the Royal Yugoslav Army who, soon after the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia, joined Chetniks of Dragoslav Mihailović. He was a member of the Supreme Command of Mihailović's Chetniks and received the rank of Major. Perhinek, also referred as Mihailović's right hand, organized Chetniks in Montenegro at the end of 1941. In period October 1941 — September 1943 he was a special envoy of Mihailovic's Chetnik staff for Montenegro who was also responsible for the intelligence service in Montenegro and Albania. Some sources describe him as an agent of Gestapo. For some time he was the Chief of Staff of Chetnik forces under command of Vojislav Lukačević. Perhinek was an ethnic Slovene. Yugoslav Government in Exile awarded him with Order of the Star of Karađorđe.
Dušan Letica was a Serbian lawyer, translator, and Axis Power collaborationist during World War II.
Ljubomir "Ljubo" Vuksanović was Montenegrin lawyer who was a chairman of the National Administrative Council established by Germany in October 1943 in German occupied territory of Montenegro and officially appointed on 10 November 1943. Vuksanović also held the position of the Minister of the Internal Affairs.
Ratko Parežanin was Austrian, Yugoslav, British and Western German writer and journalist of Serb ethnic origin.
The Central National Committee of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia known also by its Yugoslav abbreviation CNK was an advisory body of the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland established during the WWII in August 1941 by the group of political representatives of all prewar opposition parties.