Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Vesna Pusic has confirmed that Croatian mercenariesfight in Ukraine, but, as she says, ‘only within the regular army of Ukraine.’
“I am informed that there are Croatian soldiers in the Ukraine, who joined the Ukrainian army,” Pusic said in answer to questions from journalists before the meeting of the government, Tanjug reported yesterday.
“It goes through the Security and Intelligence Agency, and doesn’t have any connection to paramilitary units, and all the time we are in permanent contact with the agency,” said Pusic.
She stressed that the Croats are fighting on the Ukrainian (Kiev) side, and only as part of the regular Ukrainian army, but didn’t specify how many of mercenaries fight in behalf of neonazi Hunta. At the same time Croatian media have written that tens of Croats joined the notorious Azov battalion, volunteer paramilitary group based in Mariupol. This unit is under command of Ukrainian Ministry of Interior and it’s associated with the Ukrainian extreme right. Half of the mercenaries of Azov battalion are foreigners, reports HINA.
This is clearly history repeating, since in both world wars the ridiculous Serbian neighbors contributed first to Austrohungarian, and later to Nazi German eastern ‘expeditions’.
On the day of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, June 22, 1941, the “Poglavnik” (Leader) of the Independant State of Croatia, Ante Pavelic, met the military and civilian leadership of Croatia to decide what would be the best way to support their German ally. “Everyone was strongly in favour of the German attack, seeing the invasion as a battle between the progressive forces of Europe against the Communist forces in the East. All the present agreed that Croatia should participate in the invasion alongside Germany.” To this end the representative of the German military in Croatia, Edmund Glaise von Horstenau, was contacted.
Von Horstenau suggested that Pavelic prepare a letter to Adolf Hitler, offering the service of Croatian troops on the Eastern Front. Pavelic prepared this letter the following day, on June 23rd, 1941. In his letter,Pavelic explained to Hitler the wishes of the Croatian people to join the battle of “all freedom loving nations against Communism”. Pavelic offered ground, sea and air forces, to be committed “as soon as possible” to fight alongside Germany. Hitler responded to Pavelic’s letter on July 1st 1941, accepting the Croatian offer and thanking them for their service. Hitler was of the opinion that ground forces could be sent quickly, while air and sea forces would need a longer time to be properly trained and equiped. On July 2nd, 1941, Pavelic ordered that volunteers be called for from all branches of the Armed Forces of Croatia to join the struggle in the East.
The ground contingent of the planned Croatian formations was the first to be formed. The Croatians hoped for a total of 3,900 volunteers in order to form a regimental sized unit, but by the 15th of July 1941, 9,000 men had already stepped forward and volunteered for service! In light of such high numbers the criteria for acceptance was raised considerably.When finally organized on July 16th 1941, the Regiment was given the title Verstarken Kroatischen Infanterie-Regiment 369, or 369th Reinforced Croatian Infantry Regiment.
The Regiment had 3,895 officers, NCO’s and men. As part of the Wehrmacht the men of the unit were to wear German uniforms and use German rank insignia. A Croatian armshield consisting of 24 red and white checkers with the title Hrvatska (Croatia) above it was to be worn on the left arm and on the left side of the helmet.
The Regiment consisted of a regimental staff, 3 infantry battalions and an artillery staff company. Each infantry battalion had a battalion staff, 3 infantry companies, a machine-gun company, an anti-tank company, a supply company, and an artillery battery.
The Regiment was termed “reinforced” because of the attached artillery which was not normally organic in a unit of regimental size. The commander of the Regiment was Colonel Ivan Markulj.
A training battalion for the Regiment was also organized at this time. It was based in the town of Stokerau in Austria shortly after its formation. Its main function was to process replacements for the Regiment fighting on the front.The Regiment was transported to Dollersheim in Germany where it was equipped and the men gave their oath to the Fuhrer, the Poglavnik, and to Germany and Croatia. This was followed by three weeks of training after which the Regiment was sent by train through Hungary to Dongena in Bessarabia.
From there the Regiment set off on a 750km forced march through the Ukraine to reach the front lines. The march lasted 35 days with only one day of rest. After the 35 day march, the destination of Budniskaja in the Ukraine was reached and the Regiment received one week of respite.
During the forced march, 187 members of the Regiment were sent back to Croatia for various health related reasons and two soldiers were executed for leaving their sentry positions. In Budniskaja, a group of experienced German NCO’s joined the Regiment to assist in its final training and aclimatizing in the front lines.On October 9th 1941, the 369th Regiment was assigned to the 100.Jäger-Division. On the 13th of October the Regiment participated in its first battle east of the Dnjeper River. From here on in battles were fought around the villages and towns of Petrusani, Kremencuga, Poltava, Saroki, Balti, Pervomajsk, Kirovgrad, Petropavlovsk, Taranovka, Grisin, Stalino, Vasiljevka, Aleksandrovka, Ivanovka, and Garbatovo.What the documents reveal is that in July 1942, while the Regiment fought towards the northeast, and then turned to the southeast along the Don River, Croats suffered heavy losses in battles around the Collective Farm (Kolhoz) known as “Proljet Kultura” near the town of Selivanova.On September 24th 1942, Croatian FührerAnte Pavelic made a visit to the Regiment to bestowe decorations upon various men of the unit.
Finally, on September 26th 1942, the Regiment received orders to move out. After a 14 hour march, the Regiment arrived in the fateful suburbs of Stalingrad.
The 369th Regiment thus became the only unit of non-Germans to participate in the attack on Stalingrad. ‘This was actually viewed as a great honor’ – a reward for its hard fought battles and excellent successes to this point.
The Regiment’s men participated in aggression in an attempt to invade and occupy Stalingrad. A typical day of fighting in Stalingrad for the men of the Regiment was described by their Nazi Commander Lt. Bucar:”…When we entered Stalingrad, it was ruined and in flames. We took cover in trenches and bunkers, as the enemy was hitting us with artilley, Katusha rockets, and with aircraft. I was lucky not to lose any men, but the Second Platoon lost one man dead and 5 wounded, and the Third Platoon 13 dead and wounded. Around 6:00am, German Stuka aircraft bombed the area ahead of us, and an attack was ordered towards the northern part of the city. My platoon’s mission was to, in conjuction with a German unit, clear the Freight Station, and then the railroad dike, and reach the Volga River. Night fell under constant bombardment. I didn’t lose any men, but our transport unit was hit badly, and lost 10 men, 40 horses, and an equipment truck with ammunition…
”By the 13th of October the 369th Regiment was down to one weak battalion and 2 weak independent companies consisting of only 983 men total out of the original Regiment, including all reinforcements arrived from Stokerau. Still on this day, the Regiment managed to advance a further 800 meters into the northern sector of Stalingrad.
On the 16th of October 1942, Colonel-General Sanne decorated Croatian Sergeant Dragutin Podobnik with the Iron Cross 1st Class for extreme heroism during the taking of the Red October factory on the 30th of September. Colonel Pavicic is also decorated with this medal for his excellent leadership of the Regiment. On the 6th of November the remains of the Croatian unit were attached to the Nazi German 212th Infantry Regiment.
And finally, Nazi forces were defeated : “As December arrived, the few remaining Croatian soldiers were frozen, hungry and in the midst of a general lack of ammunition and weapons. The commanding officer, Colonel Pavicic, was by now living in his own world writing out irrelevant daily orders to troops and units that no longer existed. On the 17th of December, the Volga River froze over allowing the Soviets to open another front on that side of the city as well.On Catholic Christmas Day, 1942, Lt. Korobkin wrote:
(…) ” Today, December 25, 1942, around noon, the enemy (Russians) attacked … Our defenders are under constant fire from the ‘small white house’ accross from Building number 2. A cannon shot by the enemy has destroyed our heavy machine-gun. At the same time as this attack on our left flank, the enemy attacked our right flank. (…) Regiment are proud to have warriors like us Croats in their midst. Sergeants Ante Martinovic and Franjo Filcic were killed in this counter-attack. 12 men are wounded.“
On the 16th of January 1943, the Soviets launched an attack from three sides of the Croatian positions. They were pushed several streets back and a group led by Lt. Fiember was cut off. Under heavy attack, this group of Nazi collaborators ran out of ammunition and was later over-run. “. The German command then ordered that the last survivng Croats were to be pulled from the battle lines and employed in digging fortification lines around the former Soviet Airforce Academy, which would serve as the last defense point of the unit.”
On February 2, 1943, Stalingrad was free.
The 369th (Croat) Infantry Division –
In mid-1941, seeing the success of the Croatian soldiers on the Eastern Front, and begining to need as many men as possible for the ongoing war, the German Army decided to raise a Croatian Legion Division. The plan was to send this division to fight in Russia as well.
The men were organized into two Infanterie-Grenadier Regiments, the 369th and the 370th Croatian Regiments. Each consisted of three infantry battalions and a mortar company. An artillery regiment, the 369th Croatian Artillery Regiment, itself of two light battalions of three batteries and one heavy battalion of 2 batteries each, was also formed alongside various support units such an engineer battalion, a signals battalion, a supply troop, a maintenance company, three administration companies, a medical company, a veterinary company, and a military police detachment. The division received the title “369th (Croat) Infantry Division”, but was referred to by its members as the “Vrazja” (“Devil’s”) Division.
( The “Vrazja” name dates back to a Croatian division (the 42nd) of the Austro-Hungarian Army in WWI, known for the crimes commited in Macva, Serbia, where they massacred children, women and eldery. The Swiss forensic Archibal Reiss was shocked by what he saw in Serbia, such a brutality and bestiality is unimaginable to a sane person, what can be found in his reports.)
The Germans, on the other hand, preferred to call the division the “Schachbrett” or “Chessboard” Division, due to the distinctive armshield of the Croats. The Division wore German uniform and rank insignia, and only the Croat armshield to identify it as a unit of Croatian volunteers. Unlike the former 369th Regiment, the new 369th Division wore its armshield on the right sleeve. Note that, with the original 369th Regiment destroyed at Stalingrad, the new division titled one of its regiments “369” to ‘honor’ their fallen comrades on the Eastern Front.In January 1943 it was decided that the situation in Croatia was becoming critical due to the antifascist forces from Serbia and Montenegro, so the Division was instead sent to the Balkans. Upon arrival in Croatia, the Nazi Division had approximately 14,000 men in its ranks.The first operation it participated in was titled “Weiss” (White), in northern Bosnia. This battle is sometimes referred to as the Battle of the Neretva. Antifascists escaped the planned trap at the Neretva River, so Croats failed to destroy them.By November the military situation in Croatia had become critical for the Axis.
The 373rd (Croat) Infantry DivisionOn January 6th 1943, the German Army formed a second German-Croatian Division at Dollersheim (Germany), for service in Croatia on anti Serbian and anti-Partisan duties. Titled 373.Infanterie-Division (Kroat.) or 373rd Infantry Division (Croat), the Division was nicknamed “Tigar” (Tiger) by its men. The Commander was German Lt.-General Emil Zellner. Most of the officer cadre was German, as were a large number of NCO’s. Uniforms and rank insignia were German, with the Nazi Croatian armshield on the right sleeve.The Division was organized into 2 Infantry-Grenadier Regiments – the 383rd and the 384th Croatian Regiments (of 3 Infantry Battalions and a Mortar Company each), an Artillery Regiment – the 373rd Croatian Artillery Regiment (2 Light Battalions of 3 Batteries and 1 heavy Battalion of 2 Batteries), and support units (Pioneer Battalion, Signals Battalion, Supply Troop, Maintenance Company, 3 Administration Companies, Medical Company, Veterinary Company and a Military Police Detachment).
The Supply Company was horse-drawn.The 373rd Division was assigned an Area of Operation, reaching from Karlovac in the east, to Sarajevo in the west, and from the Adriatic coast of Croatia in the south, to the Sava River in the north. Most of thier ‘activities’ were in the Banja Luka – Bihac areas.In May of 1944, the 373rd participated in Operation “Rosselsprung” (Knight’s Move), the attempt to capture the Communist Partisan leader Tito. In the Fall of 1944, the Division absorbed the 2nd Jager Brigade of the Croatian Army as its 3rd Regiment (385th Croatian Infantry Regiment).
On December 6th 1944, the 373rd participated in the massacres in Knin area, where it was heavily mauled. Survivors retreated to the northwest towards Bihac. By January of 1945, the Division’s remnants were fighting in the Bihac area as part of German XVth Mountain Corps.
Battles continued with the Division moving to the Kostajnica region in late April of 1945.
Survivors surrendered to the Partisans west of Sisak in May of 1945, and joined Partisan resistance en masse.The 392nd (Croat) Infantry DivisionOn August 17th 1943, the German Army formed the last of the German-Croatian Divisions. Like the 373rd before it, the 392nd was founded at Dollersheim (Germany) for service in Croatia. Titled 392 Infanterie-Division (Kroat.) or 392nd Infantry Division (Croat), the Division was nicknamed “Plava” (Blue) by its men. The Commander was German Lt.-General Hans Mickl. Most of the officer cadre was German, as were a large number of NCO’s.Uniforms and rank insignia were German, with the Croatian armshield on the right sleeve.
The Division was organized into 2 Infantry-Grenadier Regiments – the 364th and the 365th Croatian Regiments (of 3 Infantry Battalions and a Mortar Company each), an Artillery Regiment – the 392nd Croatian Artillery Regiment (2 Battalions with 3 Light Batteries each), and support units (Pioneer Battalion, Signals Battalion, Supply Troop, Maintenance Company, 3 Administration Companies, Medical Company, Veterinary Company and a Military Police Detachment). The Supply Company was horse-drawn.The 392nd Division was assigned an Area of Operation, reaching from southern Slovenia, along the Croatian Adriatic coast, to the city of Knin. The Division fought mostly in the northern coastal area of Croatia, with its islands. It also took part in attempt to construct an ethnically clean line around the Otocac – Bihac area, in January, 1945.Under severe Serbian attack, the 392nd made withdrawal westward; On April 24th 1945 Nazi Croats of 392 surrendered to the Partisans. They later were rehabilited by Croat Tito.
When ‘poglavnik’ Ante Pavelic’s call on Croatian volunteers for the Eastern Front went out (July 2nd 1941), an airforce unit was quickly organized. –
Colonel Ivan Mrak was selected as the Commander of the Legion. The Legion itself was organized into a Fighter Squadron (commanded by Lt.Colonel Franjo Dzal) and a Bomber Squadron (commanded by Lt.Colonel Vjekoslav Vicevic). The Fighter Squadron was itself further divided into 2 Wings, as was the Bomber Squadron. The Air Legion departed from Croatia for training in Germany on July 15th 1941.
Luftwaffe photo from Stalingrad battle days visible signal flare could even be from Croat positions
The Fighter Squadron:One Wing of the Fighter Squadron was sent to the area of Furth, Germany, for training, the other to Herzogen Aurah Airfield, nearby. Training commenced on July 19th 1941, on Arado 96 and Me D aircraft, and lasted to the end of September 1941 at which time the Legionnaires were ready for the Eastern Front and received Messerschmitt Bf109 fighter planes.
During the course of their training, the men had been issued Luftwaffe uniforms adorned with the Croatian armshield and the Croatian Airforce Legion badge on the right breast pocket.The Squadron received the official designation’15.(Kroatische)/JG 52′, and arrived to its first Eastern Front airfield on October 6th 1941, near Poltava. On October 9th 1941, the Squadron has its first action in the Ahtijevka-Krasnograd area. The Squadron was transfered at the end of October 1941 to Taganrog, and stayed in this area till December 1st 1941.
The first kill by a Croatian pilot occured in this time period by Captain Ferencina, and the second by Lt.Colonel Dzal.“On December 1st 1941, the Croatian Squadron transfered to Marinpol. Attacks were made on Soviet armoured columns around Pokorovskoje, Matvejeva, Kurgan, Jeiska and Uspenskoje, and on the railway line Marinpol-Stalino. As well, the Squadron escorted German bombers on their missions.”
In April 1942, the Squadron flew escort missions for Stuka bombers, guarded the Marinpol airfield, and strafes Soviet troops in the Azov Sea area. Nine more Soviet airplanes were shot down in this period.”In May, the Squadron was transfered first to the Krimea, and shortly thereafter, to the Artemovka-Konstantinovka region.
From this base of operation, the Squadron flew escort missions for bombers attacking Sevastopol and patrolled the Azov Sea area. Four more Soviet planes were downed, and a Soviet patrol boat was also sunk. From the end of May, till June 21st 1942 (the date of the Squadron’s 1000 flight), 21 more Soviet planes were shot down. From this date till the end of July 1942, 69 more planes are shot down.In July 1944 the Squadron was returned to Croatia to combat the increasing anti fascist, Serbian led resistance. Their members participated in genocide against Serbs, Roma and Jews.
” By this time, the Squadron had tallied 283 kills, had 14 pilots with Ace status, and 4 pilots (Culinovic, Galic, Milkovic and Kauzlaric) that had been decorated with the EKI and EKII.”
The Bomber Squadron:Officially designated ’15.(Kroatische)/KG 53′., the bomber squadron was equipped with Dornier Do17 aircraft. It arrived on the Eastern Front on October 25th 1941, after training at the Grosse Kampfflieger Schule 3, in Greifswald, Germany. Their first area of operations was near Vitebsk.
The rest of the Bomber Squadron’s assignments were in the Northern Sector of the Eastern Front, including the bombing of Leningrad and Moscow. On November 9th 1941, the Squadron was congratulated by Fieldmarshall Kesselring for its actions thus far.
After flying 1247 sorties on the Eastern Front, the Squadron was disolved in December of 1942, and integrated into the Croatian Airforce for battle against the antifascists, Partisans.
Soon after Pavelic’s call for Croatian volunteers to fight on the Eastern Front went out on July 2nd 1941, enough naval officers and men came forward to form the Croatian Naval Brigade. This Brigade had all together 343 members, of which 23 were officers, 220 NCO’s and 100 sailors.Shortly after formation, the Brigade received the title “Croatian Naval Legion” (Hrvatska Pomorska Legija), and became a part of the German Navy (Kriegsmarine). The first commander was Frigate Captain Andro Vrkljan. He was later replaced by Battleship Captain Stjepan Rumenovic.The Naval Legion was sent for training to another German ally, Bulgaria, Varna on the Black Sea. Upon arrival to Varna on July 17th 1941, the Croatian Legionnaires received their uniforms and started with training on German minesweepers and submarines, as they were to be the future crews of these ships in the Black Sea. The training during this period, over and above the required naval training on the boats, consisted of infantry training, signals training, rowing, and German language instruction. German Admiral Schuster was one of the dignitaries that paid a visit to the Croatian Legionnaires during their training in Bulgaria.Training was completed on September 22nd 1941, and on the same day the Legion set off for the Soviet Union, where they arrived on the 30th of September 1941. The official military designation for the Legion was 23.Minesuch-Flottilla, or 23rd Minesweeping Flotilla.At the end of September 1941, the Legion was stationed in Geniscek. At the time only the Croatian Legion, a squad of Romanian cavalry and a small German garrison remain in the town.” It is interesting to note that, during their tour of duty in the Crimea, Sea of Azov and the Black Sea, the Croatians managed to recruit into their ranks several former Red Army sailors of Ukrainian nationality.”
A Croatian Coastal Artillery Battery was also attached to the Legion in the summer of 1943.
The Croatian Legionnaires wore regular Kriegsmarine uniforms with only the red-white checkerboard shield of Croatia on their left arm to distinguish them. The coastal artillery wore German field grey, with the arm-shield.The Light Transport Brigade (Italian-Croatian) – In July 1941, Italian General Antonio Oxilio requested an audience with Croatian Poglavnik Ante Pavelic. During their meeting, General Oxilio presented Pavelic with a letter from the Italian High Command, asking that a Legion, even a symbolic one, be formed by Croatia for service in the Italian Army, on the Eastern Front.
Therefore, on July 26th 1941, the Croatian Army Command issued the appropriate orders, and the “Light Transport Brigade” (Laki Prijevozni Zdrug) came into being. The majority of the troops for the unit came from a battalion of volunteers that were intended as reinforcements for the 369th Regiment in Russia.The Brigade was formed of 1100 soldiers, 70 NCO’s and 45 Officers (1215 total), divided into 3 Infantry Companies, 1 Machine-Gun Company, 1 (81mm) Mortar Company and 1 (65mm) Artillery Battery. The Commanding Officer was Lt.-Colonel Egon Zitnik (a Croat).The Brigade’s first posting was in the city of Varazdin, in Croatia, where they trained, and awaited the Italians to organize their expeditionary force. The Brigade performed sweeps in the Kordun, Banija and Bosanska Krajina, where they participated in executing Orthodox Serbian inhabitants from these regions, (” who were fighting against the new Croatian state.” )
On December 17th 1941, the Italians finally ordered the Brigade to travel to Italy where they received their full complement of weapons and transports. 3 Months of intense training exercises followed. At the end of the training schedule, the Legionnaires were visited by General Ugo Cavallerio of the Italian Headquarters Staff, and the Minister of Defense of Croatia, Slavko Kvaternik. The Brigades battle flag was presented at this ceremony, and the men took their oath to Italy, Croatia, the Duce, the Italian King, and the Poglavnik.The Brigade arrived at the Eastern Front on April 16th 1942, near the town of Harcjusk. Here they were attached to the Italian 3rd Rapid Division “Principe Amadeo Duca D’Aosta”, and received the remainder of their equipment and transports (44 trucks, 3 automobiles and 6 motorcycles). On the 11th of May, near the town of Pervomajska, these Fascists fought its first battle, alongside the 63rd Blackshirt “Tagliamento” unit.
The Brigade, during the next 10 months, fought around the towns of Stokovo, Greko-Timofejevka, and Veseli-Nikitovo.
On July 28th 1942 the Brigade crossed the Donjec River at Lubanskoje.
On December 19th 1942, the Brigade was holding Hills 210 and 168 near Hracin. After brutal killings they were surrounded during a massive Soviet attack.
There were no survivors and the unit was totally destroyed.Therefore no surprise Croats siding with Neonazi hunta in Ukraine. That’s their tradition and seems like they’re proud of it. What’s irony is that they, whose secession buried Yugoslavia and sparkled the civil war, now fight against the secession of Russian parts of Ukraine.
Moreover, the real nazi nature of Kiev junta indicates through one more similarity: They got as their war anthem, the nazi song by Tompson, notorious Croatian neo Ustashi ‘musician’ :