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Anglo-American air strikes on Slavonski Brod and Bosanski Brod areas during the Second World War

Marica Karakaš Obradov

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 2.277 Kb

str. 469-496

preuzimanja: 2.744



The air raids on the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) began with the settlement of the Anglo-American forces in the southern part of Italy. The very fist targets were on the Adriatic coast, which was connected with the Allies’ plans to land on that area. The attacks on the northern part of NDH became more frequent since spring 1944.
There were a number of causes why Slavonski Brod and the surrounding area were frequently targeted by allied aircrafts. One of them was the geographical and strategic position on the main railway Zagreb-Belgrade route. The second reason was the bridge between Slavonski Brod and Bosanski Brod. In addition, most Adriatic harbours were damaged in allied bombings, which increased significantly the importance of Slavonski Brod as a place of transit for bauxite from Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Third Reich. The last reason, but not less important, was that the only ammunition factory in the whole NDH was situated in Slavonski Brod. From the very beginning, the bombings were seriously affecting the everyday life in Slavonski Brod and Bosanski Brod. The population was leaving the city in large numbers, some temporarily and some permanently.
The Civil Protection (Narodna zaštita) played an important role in carrying out passive protection against air raids, as well as in mitigating the consequences of air strikes. By educating population on proper conduct during air alert and bombing, as well as by constructing and adapting shelters, Civil Protection contributed significantly to saving civilians’ lives.
During the Second World War, the Allies bombed the city of Slavonski Brod 28 times and the city of Bosanski Brod 21 times. According to the literature published, 1219 people were killed and 787 were wounded in the two cities. In the post-war census, the casualties in the bombings were treated as victims of fascist terror. In the 1964 census, only 7 persons born in Slavonski Brod were registered as the victims of bombings, one of them 1941, meaning by the Luftwaffe aircrafts. According to the same source, only 4 persons born in Bosanski Brod were registered as victims of bombings. Such discrepancies in the numbers of the killed make the 1964 census results unreliable, as concerns the victims of the allied bombings. According to the documents analysed, 897 civilians and 244 soldiers were killed, while 708 civilians and 28 soldiers were wounded.
Such ratio of civilian and military casualties, as well as the dimensions of destruction without military purpose, serve as an incentive for the reconsideration the attitude of historiography and victimology, as well as of the general public, towards the phenomena of collateral victims and collateral damage.

Ključne riječi

Second World War; allied air bombing; Civil protection; human losses; material damages; Slavonski Brod; Bosanski Brod

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