Capture of Olovo
Part of World War II in Yugoslavia
Narrow-Gauge-Railway ZOK Olovo Panorama.jpg

Olovo in 1963
Date1 November — 17 December 1941
Location44°04′N 18°20′E / 44.07°N 18.34°E / 44.07; 18.34
Result

Chetnik-Partisan victory

  • Chetniks and Partisans captured Olovo
Belligerents
Independent State of Croatia Independent State of Croatia Chetniks
Democratic Federal Yugoslavia Yugoslav Partisans
Commanders and leaders
  • Radovan Trivun[1]

  • Democratic Federal Yugoslavia
Units involved
  • Independent State of Croatia Croatian Home Guard - 2 companies:
    • the 4th company of Sarajevo Reserve Battalion
    • the 17th company of the 6th Infantry Regiment
  • 180 Muslim militiamen
  • Independent State of Croatia 40 gendarmes
  • Independent State of Croatia a battery of mountain guns
  • 4 Chetnik companies

    • Democratic Federal Yugoslavia parts of Partisan Romanija Detachment
      • Knežina company
      • Bjelogoračka company
      • Crepoljska company
    • Democratic Federal Yugoslavia parts of Partisan Zvijezda Detachment
      • Nišić battalion
      • Crnovrška company
      • Vlahinjska company
    Strength
  • Independent State of Croatia 250 Croatian Home Guard members
  • 220 militiamen
  • 2 mountain guns
  • 2 machine guns
    • 400 Chetniks
    • Battery of unknown guns

    • Democratic Federal Yugoslavia 800 Partisans
    Casualties and losses
    • 13 Croatian Home Guards and 26 militiamen killed
    • 9 Croatian Home Guards and 30 militiamen wounded
    • 21 Croatian Home Guards imprisoned
    • 17 Croatian Home Guards and 45 militiamen missing
    At least 240 Chetniks according to Croatian sources
    Civilian victims of terror:
    Olovo is located in NDH
    Olovo
    Olovo
    Location of Olovo in the eastern NDH
    Olovo is located in Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Olovo
    Olovo
    Olovo (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

    The Capture of Olovo (1 November — 17 December 1941) was a battle fought between allied forces of Chetnik Detachments of the Yugoslav Army (Chetniks) and Yugoslav Partisans against the Axis forces of Independent State of Croatia garrisoned in Olovo in the first year of the World War II in Yugoslavia.

    Background

    On 21 September 1941 Chetniks attacked militia guards who protected a wooden bridge on the railway between Olovo and Kladanj. They killed one and imprisoned 9 militiamen, without damaging the bridge.[2] On 29 September Chetniks burned wooden bridge between Olovo and Zavidovići.[3]

    On 28 October parts of Partisan Romanija Detachment in cooperation with Chetniks captured village Knežina after three days of fighting. Croatian Home Guard and Muslim militiamen fled Knežina and retreated to Olovo.[4]

    On 14 November 1941 Captain Sreharski Janko was appointed as commander of Olovo garrison. The 4th company of Sarajevo Reserve Battalion was commanded by Lieutenant Ante Marinković.[5]

    Forces

    Four Chetnik companies with 400 Chetniks and parts of Partisan Romanija Detachment (Knežina, Bjelogoračka and Crepoljska companies) and Zvijezda Detachment (Nišić battalion and Crnovrška and Vlahinjska company) with total of 800 Partisans organized an unsuccessful attack on Olovo on 1 November 1941.[6][7]

    The Axis forces in Olovo belonged to the III Domobran Corps commanded by Mihajlo Lukić. In mid-December 1941 the garrison in Olovo consisted of 2 companies of Croatian Home Guard, 180 militiamen, 40 gendarmes and a battery of mountain guns.[8] The North-East positions around Olovo were defended by the 4th company of Sarajevo Reserve Battalion (166 members of Croatian Home Guards) enforced by 1 machine-gun. The South-East positions were held by the 17th company of the 6th Infantry Regiment (70 members of Croatian Home Guards, without one platoon). The West positions were defended by militia consisting of 130 and 40 militiamen. A battery of two mountain-guns operated from positions west of railway station in Olovo. One platoon of the 17th company of 6th Infantry Regiment was kept as reserve while flanks were protected by 50 militiamen in village Ponjerka.[9]

    Offensive

    Artillery preparation

    According to some contemporary Croatian reports, in period 1–24 November 1941 about 240 Chetniks were killed during their attacks on Axis controlled Olovo.[10] On 17 November in 7 a.m. insurgents attacked Olovo garrison.[11] The attack started by Chetnik artillery which destroyed militia guard post killing and wounding 24 militiamen, while remaining 6 of them fled.[12] The Chetnik artillery was then aimed against the most important position of Olovo garrison, so called "Stijena" which was defended by the 4th company of Sarajevo Reserve Battalion supported by one machine gun. The position of machine gun was quickly destroyed by Chetnik artillery. Another machine gun was sent as a replacement, but it was also quickly destroyed by Chetnik artillery.[13]

    Infantry assault and capture of Olovo

    Around 10 a.m. the insurgents stopped their artillery fire and replaced it with barrages of rifle fire of the infantry insurgent units. The commander of the 4th company of Sarajevo Reserve Battalion, Ante Marinković was wounded during this attack and his company had to retreat from "Stijena" in 12:30. After being inforced by one reserve platoon this company managed to recapture "Stijena" for short time only to retreat after being attacked by more numerous Chetnik forces. When Chetniks permanently captured "Stijena" they burned straws as signal to other insurgents about their success. This boosted morale of the insurgents to attack more fiercely the positions of Olovo garrison that began retreating from their positions. To avoid capture of his forces, garrison commander Streharski retreat to the positions west of the village Solun. On 17 December 1941 Olovo was recaptured by Chetnik and Partisan rebel units.[14]

    On 18 December Streharski continued his retreat under fire until his forces reached Careva Ćuprija.[15]

    Aftermath

    At the end of 1941 joint Partisan-Chetnik administration still existed in many Eastern Bosnian towns, including Olovo.[16]

    The post-war Yugoslav sources emphasize that on 21 January 1942 part of German 750 regiment from 718 Infantry Division recaptured Olovo after the weak resistance of Chetniks.[17] In 1943 Partisan 2nd Serbian brigade recaptured Olovo and burned its railway station and its wagons and equipment.

    Partisans burned railway station in Olovo after they captured it in 1943
    Partisans burned railway station in Olovo after they captured it in 1943

    References

    1. ^ (Institut 1953, p. 242): "pričao je istoj lično četnik to je njihov vođa Radovan Trivun iz Belih Voda,..."
    2. ^ (Institut 1953, p. 242): "Dana 21. rujna 1941. četnici su napali stražu — milicije na mostu šumsko državne željeznice na km 75-9 Olovo i Bjeliša, kotara Kladanj. Ovom prilikom poginuo je jedan milicioner a 9 ih je zarobljeno. "
    3. ^ (Institut 1953, p. 242): "Dana 29. rujna o.g. četnici su zapalili drveni most šumske željeznice na pruzi Zavidovići—Olovo."
    4. ^ (Institut 1953, p. 395): "Prema izvještaju zapovjednika oružničke postaje Knežina,poslije trodnevne borbe sa četnicima, 28.listopada oko 20 sati pošto je utrošio svo streljivo, sa svojim oružnicima i milicionerima probio je četnički obruč i povukao se u Olovo oko koga su sada skupljeni jači četnički odredi. Cine se napori, da se pomoću milicionera i vojske ovaj obruč probije i ponovno zauzme s.Knežina« .... Knežinu su oslobodile jedinice Romaniskog partizanskog odreda u saradnji sa četnicima. Dijelovi istog odreda blokirali su i Olovo."
    5. ^ (Institut 1953, p. 395): "Na 14. prosinca dužnost zapoviednika 4. sata i posade Olovo preuzeo je djel. satnik Sreharski Janko, iz Sarajevske doknadne bojne. ... tj. 4. sata Sarajevske doknadne bojne i nakon što je ranje n zapoviednik tog sata poručnik Ante Marinković, "
    6. ^ Hronologija narodnooslobodilačkog rata 1941-1945, Beograd: Vojnoizdavački zavod. 1964, p 147 " Delovi Romanijskog NOP odreda i NOP odreda -Zvijezda- i četiri četničke čete izvršili neuspeo napad na Olovo."
    7. ^ (Institut 1953, p. 121): "Olovo su opsjedale jedinice Romaniskog NOP odreda (Knežinska, Bieloeoračka i Crepoliska četa) i NOP odreda »Zvijezda« (Nišički bataljon, Crnovrška i Vlahinjska četa), ka 0 i oko četiri čete četnika. U svemu, Olovo je napalo oko 1.200 boraca, od kojih 800 partizana i 400 četnika."
    8. ^ Terzić, Velimir (1957). Oslobodilacki rat naroda Jugoslavije 1941-1945. Vojni istoriski Institut Jugoslovenske narodne armije. p. 145. Zbog toga, a i zbog priprema za oslobođenje Olova, obustavljeni su dalji napadi na Vareš. U Olovu su se ...
    9. ^ (Institut 1953, p. 466)
    10. ^ (Institut 1953, p. 466): "...borbama pri napadima na Olovo i okolini imali око 240 mrtvih i ranjenih cetnika i da se nisu nadali iz Olova takvog odpora."
    11. ^ (Institut 1953, p. 466)
    12. ^ (Institut 1953, p. 466): "...Četnici su otpočeli napada j oko 7 sati, topničkom vatrom- Prvo zrno udarilo je preciznim punim pogodkom u stražaru gdje se je nalazila milicija, stražaru uništila i tom prilikom je poginulo ili ranjeno oko 24 milicionera i tako ostalo svega 6 ljudi sposobnih na tome položaju za borbu. Ovaj ostatak se je odmah razbjegao."
    13. ^ (Institut 1953, p. 466)
    14. ^ Hercegovine, Društvo istoričara Bosne i (1962). Godišnjak Društva istoričara Bosne i Hercegovine: Annuaire de la Société historique de Bosnie et Herzégovine. Društvo istoričara Bosne i Hercegovine. p. 112. Приликом ослобођења Олова 17. де- пембра 1941. године и ликвидације појединих упоришта његове спољне ... Из сарајевске чете Одреда»Звијезда« један вод са четнички настројеним командиром напустио је положаје на ...
    15. ^ (Institut 1953, pp. 466, 467)
    16. ^ (Christia 2012, p. 204)
    17. ^ Hronologija narodnooslobodilačkog rata 1941-1945, Beograd: Vojnoizdavački zavod. 1964

    Sources