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The Battle of Vukovar, 1991

Davor Marijan

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 8.715 Kb

str. 367-402

preuzimanja: 13.318



This paper concerns the fighting around Vukovar in 1991. The focus is on the events around the city, that is on the endeavours of the Croatian forces to defend a city located on the very border between Croatia and Serbia and from 1 October to the fall of Vukovar the unavailing attempts to relieve it. The approach of the paper was determined by the quantity of original material available; for the units and establishments in the general area of the city, this is relatively copious, unlike that for the actual defence of the city of Vukovar. It is similar with the material of the assailants that is unavailable, and the account is principally of the military actions of the armed forces of the Republic of Croatia. The Battle of Vukovar was the most important military event not only of 1991, but in the whole of the Homeland War. In spite of the fall of the city, its defence had a direct effect on the course of the war and the overall outcome of it in 1991. In the period from May to the end of August 1991, the JNA, with the backing of the insurgent Serb population, gradually built up a circular base for the future attack upon the city. In the procedure, the lines of military doctrine laid down or signed in the mid-eighties can be discerned. In the military strategy of the armed forces of the SFRY the defence of the city had a strategic importance and was closely related to its operational situation in the immediate and broader area. In its approach to Vukovar, the JNA obviously set out from this stance. The vulnerable position of the city at the very border between the republics, the large percentage of ethnic Serbs in the city and in the surrounding countryside and the JNA garrison in the town theoretically reduced the chances of successfully defending Vukovar to a very low level. In May this level was additionally reduced by the deployment of small armoured and mechanised groups in the immediate and wider areas of the town. At the beginning of July, three mechanised brigades were brought into the general area of the city, suggesting a rapid solution of the Vukovar problem in favour of the Serbian side. From the end of September these forces grew into a strength equivalent to two mechanised corps, which in an attacking JNA operation should bring about a solution favourable to Serbia.
Attacks on the town began on 25 August and went on with great igour until 1 October, when Vukovar was cut off from Vinkovci. From then on the fate of the town was in the hands of the two JNA operational groups whose assignment was to take it, while a reinforced mechanised division foiled any attempt to lift the siege from the direction of Vinkovci. In this period the balance of forces was in the average range of about 30,000 men, 1,600 armoured combat vehicles and about 1,300 items of artillery of various calibres on the side of the JNA, and about 1,800 combatants in Vukovar and about 5,000 in the area of Vinkovci, with about 20 armoured vehicles and the same number of pieces of ordnance. Notwithstanding its superiority, it took the JNA a month and a half to take the town. After the fall of Vukovar, these forces were not capable of pressing home the attack in line with the plans of the Staff of the Supreme Command of the armed forces of the SFRY.

Ključne riječi

Croatia 1991, Vukovar, Yugoslav People's Army, Homeland War

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Podaci na drugim jezicima: hrvatski

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