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Encyclopedia > Invasion of Yugoslavia
Invasion of Yugoslavia (Unternehmen 25)
Part of the Balkans Campaign of World War II

Map of the Axis attack
Date April 1941
Location Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Result Decisive Axis victory
Combatants
Allied Powers:

Yugoslavia Image File history File links Wiki_letter_w. ... The April War refers to: The 1941 Invasion of Yugoslavia, as called in Yugoslavia. ... Combatants Germany Italy Bulgaria Albania Greece United Kingdom Australia New Zealand Yugoslavia Commanders Maximilian von Weichs Giovanni Messe Alexander Papagos Henry Maitland Wilson The Balkans Campaign was the Italian and German invasion of Greece and Yugoslavia during World War II. It began with Italys annexation of Albania in April... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1775x1544, 451 KB) Unternhmen 25 Source: http://www. ... For the movie, see 1941 (film). ... Motto: One nation, one king, one country Anthem: Medley of Bože pravde, Lijepa naÅ¡a domovino, and Naprej zastava slave Capital Belgrade Language(s) Serbo-Croato-Slovenian (see: Serbo-Croat and Slovenian) [1] Government Value specified for government_type does not comply King  - 1918-1921 Peter I  - 1921-1934 Alexander... The Allies of World War II were the countries officially opposed to the Axis powers during the Second World War. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_Kingdom_of_Yugoslavia_(state). ... Motto: One nation, one king, one country Anthem: Medley of Bože pravde, Lijepa naÅ¡a domovino, and Naprej zastava slave Capital Belgrade Language(s) Serbo-Croato-Slovenian (see: Serbo-Croat and Slovenian) [1] Government Value specified for government_type does not comply King  - 1918-1921 Peter I  - 1921-1934 Alexander...

Axis Powers:

Germany
Italy
Bulgaria
Hungary
Romania Area under Axis control over the course of the war shown in black. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Germany_1933. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Italy_(1861-1946)_crowned. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Bulgaria_(1878-1944). ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Hungary_1940. ... File links The following pages link to this file: Axis Powers Flag of Romania Categories: Flag images ...

Commanders
Milorad Petrović
Milan Nedić
Dušan Trifunović
Maximilian von Weichs
Wilhelm List
Vittorio Ambrosio
Strength
850,000 700,000
Casualties
Thousands killed
254,000 captured
Germany: 151 killed
392 wounded
15 missing
Italy: 3,324 killed or wounded
Balkans Campaign
Greco-Italian War - Yugoslavia - Greece - Crete

The Invasion of Yugoslavia (code-name Operation 25), or the so-called April War, was the Axis Powers' attack on Yugoslavia on April 6, 1941 during World War II. The invasion ended with unconditional surrender of the Royal Yugoslav Army on April 17, 1941, the occupation of the region by the Axis and the creation of the Independent State of Croatia. Image File history File links Flag_of_the_Kingdom_of_Yugoslavia_(state). ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_Kingdom_of_Yugoslavia_(state). ... Milan Nedić Serbian Cyrillic Милан Недић (September 2, 1878 – 1946) was a Serbian soldier and politician who was a major collaborator during World War II. Nedić was born in Grocka, Serbia. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_Kingdom_of_Yugoslavia_(state). ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Germany_1933. ... Maximilian von Weichs Maximilian Maria Joseph Karl Gabriel Lamoral Reichsfreiherr von Weichs zu Glon (12 November 1881 - 27 September 1954) was a German Generalfeldmarschall and a military leader in World War II. He was born into a noble family at Dessau, a son of an Army colonel. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Germany_1933. ... Wilhelm List (Siegmund Wilhelm von List) (May 14, 1880 - August 17, 1971), was a German Field Marshal during World War II. He entered the Army in 1898 and served as a staff officer in the First World War. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Italy_(1861-1946)_crowned. ... Vittorio Ambrosio (1879-1958) was an Italian General who served in the Turco-Italian War, World War I, and World War II. He led the Italian offensive in Yugoslavia in 1941 and was appointed commander-in-chief of the Italian Army in 1943. ... Combatants Germany Italy Bulgaria Albania Greece United Kingdom Australia New Zealand Yugoslavia Commanders Maximilian von Weichs Giovanni Messe Alexander Papagos Henry Maitland Wilson The Balkans Campaign was the Italian and German invasion of Greece and Yugoslavia during World War II. It began with Italys annexation of Albania in April... Combatants Italy Greece Commanders Sebastiano Visconti Prasca Ubaldo Soddu Ugo Cavallero Giovanni Messe Alexander Papagos Strength 529,000 men Under 300,000 men Casualties 13,755 dead, 50,874 wounded, 25,067 missing, 12,368 incapacitated by frostbites, ca. ... Combatants Greece United Kingdom New Zealand Australia Germany Italy Commanders Bernard Freyberg Kurt Student Strength United Kingdom: 15,000 Greece: 11,000 Australia: 7,100 New Zealand: 6,700 Total: 40,000 (10,000 without fighting capability. ... Area under Axis control over the course of the war shown in black. ... Motto: One nation, one king, one country Anthem: Medley of Bože pravde, Lijepa naÅ¡a domovino, and Naprej zastava slave Capital Belgrade Language(s) Serbo-Croato-Slovenian (see: Serbo-Croat and Slovenian) [1] Government Value specified for government_type does not comply King  - 1918-1921 Peter I  - 1921-1934 Alexander... April 6 is the 96th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (97th in leap years). ... For the movie, see 1941 (film). ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... April 17 is the 107th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (108th in leap years). ... For the movie, see 1941 (film). ... Capital Zagreb Language(s) Croatian Religion Roman Catholicism Government Monarchy King  - 1941-1943 Tomislav II1 Poglavnik  - 1941-1945 Ante Pavelić Legislature Hrvatski državni Sabor NDH (briefly in 1942) Historical era World War II  - Invasion of Yugoslavia April 6, 1941  - Established April 10, 1941  - Roma Contract May 19, 1941  - Italy...

Contents

Background

Fascist Italy had attacked Greece in October 1940 and had been forced back into Albania. Adolf Hitler recognised the need to go to his ally's aid, not only to restore diminished Axis prestige, but also to prevent Great Britain from being able to bomb the Romanian oilfields from which Germany obtained most of her oil. Anthem Marcia Reale dOrdinanza (Royal March of Ordinance)¹ The Kingdom of Italy at the height of its power in 1940. ... Hitler redirects here. ...


Following agreements with Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria that they would join the Axis, Hitler put pressure on Yugoslavia to join the Tripartite Pact. The Regent, Prince Paul of Yugoslavia, succumbed to this pressure on March 25, 1941. However, this move was deeply unpopular amongst the anti-Axis Serbian public and military. A coup d'etat was launched on March 27, 1941, and King Peter II of Yugoslavia was placed on the throne to replace Prince Paul. The Tripartite Pact, also called the Three-Power Pact, Axis Pact, Three-way Pact or Tripartite Treaty was a pact signed in Berlin, Germany on September 27, 1940 by Saburo Kurusu of Imperial Japan, Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany, and Benito Mussolini of Fascist Italy entering as a military alliance... Image:Prince Pavle of Yugoslavia. ... King Peter II (Serbian Cyrillic: Краљ Петар II Карађорђевић) (6 September 1923 – 3 November 1970) was the last King of Yugoslavia. ...


This unexpected event caused Hitler to become enraged and he decided to postpone the attack on his Russian allies in order to punish Yugoslavia for its defiance. A statement from the new Yugoslavian rulers that they would after all adhere to the Axis did nothing to calm his anger.


On April 6, 1941, Axis armies invaded from all sides and the Luftwaffe bombed Belgrade. The Axis victory was swift, as Yugoslavia surrendered in only 11 days on April 17, 1941. The insistence of the Yugoslav Army on trying to defend all the borders did not help matters. Yugoslavia was subsequently divided amongst Germany, Hungary, Italy and Bulgaria, with most of Serbia being occupied by Germany. The Croatian fascist leader Ante Pavelić took the opportunity to declare an Independent State of Croatia. Location of Belgrade within Serbia Coordinates: Country Serbia District City of Belgrade Municipalities 17 Government  - Mayor Nenad Bogdanović (DS) (since 2004)  - Ruling parties DS/DSS/G17+ Area  - City 3,222. ... Anthem Serbia() on the European continent() Capital (and largest city) Belgrade Official languages Serbian language 1 Recognised regional languages Hungarian, Croatian, Slovak, Romanian, Rusyn 2 Albanian, English 3 Government Parliamentary republic  -  President Boris Tadić  -  Prime Minister Vojislav KoÅ¡tunica Establishment  -  Formation 8th century   -  First unified state c. ... Ante Pavelić (July 14, 1889 - December 28, 1959) was the leader and founding member of the Croatian national socialist/fascist UstaÅ¡e movement in the 1930s and later the leader of the Independent State of Croatia during World War II. // Pavelić was born north of Konjic in Bradina, a small... Capital Zagreb Language(s) Croatian Religion Roman Catholicism Government Monarchy King  - 1941-1943 Tomislav II1 Poglavnik  - 1941-1945 Ante Pavelić Legislature Hrvatski državni Sabor NDH (briefly in 1942) Historical era World War II  - Invasion of Yugoslavia April 6, 1941  - Established April 10, 1941  - Roma Contract May 19, 1941  - Italy...


The Royal Yugoslav Army

Formed after World War I, the Royal Yugoslav Army was still largely equipped with weapons and material from that era. Artillery pieces were aged and horse-drawn. Antitank and anti-aircraft weaponry were very scarce, and automatic weapons were not distributed to the infantry in adequate numbers. There were no motorized units and only two tank battalions equipped with 110 old tanks such as Renault FT-17s. The Yugoslav Air Force had 416 aircraft of domestic (notably the IK-3), German, Italian, French, and British origin, of which about half were modern types. “The Great War ” redirects here. ... The Renault FT-17 (Automitrailleuse à chenilles Renault FT modèle 1917) was a French light tank; it is among the most revolutionary and influential tank designs in history. ...


Fully mobilized, the Royal Yugoslav Army could have put 28 infantry divisions, 3 cavalry divisions, and 32 independent regiments in the field. The German attack, however, caught the army still mobilizing, and only some 11 divisions were in their planned defense positions at the start of the invasion. The units were filled to between 70 and 90 per cent of their strength as mobilization was not completed. The strength of the Royal Yugoslav Army was about 1,200,000 as the German invasion got underway.


The Royal Yugoslav Army was organized into three army groups and the coastal defense troops. The 3rd Army Group with the 3rd and 5th Armies defended the borders of Albania. The 2nd Army Group with the 1st, 2nd, and 6th Armies, defended the region between the Iron Gates and the Drava River. The 1st Army Group with the 4th and 7th Armies, composed mainly of Croatian troops, was in Croatia.[1] The Iron Gate upstream The Iron Gate (Romanian: Porţile de Fier, Serbian: Gvozdena Vrata, Hungarian: Vaskapu, German: Eisernes Tor) is a gorge on the Danube River. ... The Drave at Drávaszabolcs, Hungary The Drave at Vízvár, Hungary The Drave at Maribor, Slovenia The Drave (German: Drau, Slovenian, Croatian and Italian: Drava, Hungarian: Dráva) is a river in southern Central Europe, flowing East from South Tyrol, Italy through Carinthia, Austria, and Slovenia (145 km...


Beyond the problems of inadequate equipment and incomplete mobilization, the Royal Yugoslav Army suffered badly from the Serbo-Croat schism in Yugoslav politics. In its worst expression, Yugoslavia's defenses were badly compromised on April 10, 1941, when the Croatian-manned 4th and 7th Armies mutinied, and a newly-formed Croatian government hailed the entry of the Germans into Zagreb the same day.[2] Zagreb (pronounced ) is the capital and the largest city of Croatia. ...


Operations

The invasion of Yugoslavia.
The invasion of Yugoslavia.

(See map for unit locations and movements.) Image File history File links Size of this preview: 788 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1256 × 956 pixel, file size: 175 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Work done by Maps Department of the U.S. Military Academy, West Point. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 788 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1256 × 956 pixel, file size: 175 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Work done by Maps Department of the U.S. Military Academy, West Point. ...

The bombing of Belgrade

see: Bombing of Belgrade in World War II

The Luftwaffe opened the assault on Yugoslavia by conducting a saturation-type bombing raid on the capital in the early morning hours of 6 April. Flying in relays from airfields in Austria and Romania, 150 bombers and dive-bombers protected by a heavy fighter escort participated in the attack. The initial raid was carried out at fifteen-minute intervals in three distinct waves, each lasting for approximately twenty minutes. Thus, the city was subjected to a rain of bombs for almost one and a half hours. The German bombardiers directed their main effort against the center of the city, where the principal government buildings were located. he bombing of Belgrade occurred in the initial phases of World War II when German forces bombed the city in preperation for the invasion of Yugoslavia. ... This or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


The weak Yugoslav Air Force and the inadequate flak defenses were quickly wiped out by the first wave, permitting the dive-bombers to come down to roof-top levels. Against the loss of but two German fighters, twenty Yugoslav planes were shot down and forty-four were destroyed on the ground. When the attack was over, more than 17,000 inhabitants lay dead under the debris. This devastating blow virtually destroyed all means of communication between the Yugoslav high command and the forces in the field. Although some elements of the general staff managed to escape to one of the suburbs, coordination and control of the military operations in the field were rendered impossible from the outset. The Yugoslav Air Force may refer to: Yugoslav Royal Air Force, active from 1918 to 1941. ...


Having thus delivered the knockout blow to the enemy nerve center, the VIII Air Corps was able to devote its maximum effort to such targets of opportunity as Yugoslav airfields, routes of communication, and troop concentrations, and to the close support of German ground operations.

"Eleventh day" – Advancing German armored units - Niš, Serbia, April 17. 1941. Next to the advancing German column is a destroyed Yugoslav column.

Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ...

The Three-Pronged Drive on the Yugoslav Capital

Three separate ground forces converged on Belgrade from different directions. They were launched as follows:

1. First Panzer Group (Twelfth Army):

Early in the morning of April 8, the First Panzer Group jumped off from its assembly area northwest of Sofiya. Crossing the frontier near Pirot, the XIV Panzer Corps, spearheaded by the 11th Panzer Division, followed by the 5th Panzer, 294th Infantry, and 4th Mountain Divisions, advanced in a northwesterly direction toward Niš. Despite unfavorable weather, numerous road blocks, and tough resistance by the Yugoslav Fifth Army, the 11th Panzer Division, effectively supported by strong artillery and Luftwaffe forces, quickly gained ground and broke through the enemy lines on the first day of the attack. The Yugoslav army commander was so greatly impressed by this initial German success that he ordered his forces to withdraw behind the Morava. This maneuver could not be executed in time because, as early as April 9, the German lead tanks rumbled into Niš and immediately continued their drive toward Belgrade. From Niš northwestward the terrain became more favorable since the armored columns could follow the Morava valley all the way to the Yugoslav capital. April 8 is the 98th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (99th in leap years). ... NiÅ¡ or Nish (Serbian: Ниш / NiÅ¡,  , Latin: Naissus, Greek: Ναισσός Naissos) is a city in Serbia situated at 43. ... April 9 is the 99th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (100th in leap years). ...


South of Paraćin and southwest of Kragujevac Yugoslav Fifth Army units attempted to stem the tide of the advance but were quickly routed after some heavy fighting. More than 5,000 prisoners were taken in this one encounter. Paraćin (Параћин) is a city located in Serbia and Montenegro at 43. ... Location of Kragujevac within Serbia Coordinates: Country Serbia District Å umadija Municipalities 5 Founded 1476 Government  - Mayor Veroljub Stevanović (SDPO)  - Ruling parties SDPO Area  - City 865 km²  (334 sq mi) Population (2002)[1]  - City 175,802  - Density 203/km² (526/sq mi)  - Urban 146,373 Time zone CET (UTC+1)  - Summer...


Meanwhile, the 5th Panzer Division became temporarily stalled along the poor roads near Pirot. After the division got rolling again, it was ordered to turn southward just below Niš and cut off the enemy forces around Leskovac. When it became apparent that the Niš front was about to collapse, the 5th Panzer Division reverted to the direct control of Twelfth Army and joined the XL Panzer Corps for the Greek campaign. Leskovac (Serbian Cyrillic: Лесковац) is a city located in southern Serbia at 43. ...


On 10 April the XIV Panzer Corps forces were swiftly advancing through the Morava Valley in close pursuit of enemy units retreating toward their capital. On the next day the German spearheads suddenly drove into the southern wing of the withdrawing Yugoslav Sixth Army, which they overran during the early hours of 12 April. By the evening of that day the First Panzer Group tanks stood less than forty miles southeast of Belgrade. The two Yugoslav armies they had encountered were in such a state of confusion that they were no longer able to make any serious attempt to delay the German thrust or cut the German lines of communications that extended over a distance of roughly 125 miles from the point of entry into Yugoslav territory. April 10 is the 100th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (101st in leap years). ... Location of Belgrade within Serbia Coordinates: Country Serbia District City of Belgrade Municipalities 17 Government  - Mayor Nenad Bogdanović (DS) (since 2004)  - Ruling parties DS/DSS/G17+ Area  - City 3,222. ...

2. XLI Panzer Corps (Independent Force):

Timed to coincide with the armored thrust of the XIV Panzer Corps from the southeast, the XLI Panzer Corps drive led across the southeastern part of the Banat and toward the Yugoslav capital. This attack was spearheaded by the Motorized Infantry Regiment "Gross Deutschland," closely followed by the 2d SS Motorized Infantry Division. After crossing the frontier north of Vršac, advance elements entered Pančevo on 11 April. Having meanwhile advanced to within about forty-five miles north of Belgrade, the main body of XLI Panzer Corps met with only isolated resistance on the following day as it raced toward the enemy capital. Location of Banat in Europe Map of the Banat region with largest cities shown The Banat (Romanian: Banat, Serbian: Банат or Banat, Hungarian: Bánát or Bánság, German: Banat, Slovak: Banát, Bulgarian: Банат) is a geographical and historical region of Central Europe currently divided between three countries: the... Location in Serbia [[Image:|150px|center|Map of Serbia highlighting the settlement or municipality location]] General Information Mayor Jovica Zarkula Land area 10 km² Population (2002 census) 36,623 (54,369 municipality) Population density (2002) 5,437/km² Coordinates 45. ... Church of Assumption in Pančevo Pančevo Banatsko Novo Selo Kačarevo Jabuka Glogonj Dolovo Starčevo Omoljica Ivanovo Banatski Brestovac Municipality of Pančevo ● Pančevo (Панчево) is a city and municipality located in Serbia at 44. ... April 11 is the 101st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (102nd in leap years). ...

3. XLVI Panzer Corps (Second Army):

When the Luftwaffe launched its attacks on 6 April, the German Second Army was just beginning to assemble its attack forces along the northern Yugoslav frontier preparatory to its projected jumped on 10 April. In an effort to improve their lines of departure, some of the Second Army units took advantage of the interim period by launching limited-objective attacks all along the frontier zone. The troop commanders had to keep their forces in check to prevent major engagements from developing prematurely, which might subsequently have impaired the army's freedom of action and jeopardized the conduct of operations.


The Army High Command was determined to seize intact the principal bridges in the XLVI Panzer Corps zone. Therefore, as early as 1 April, corps elements were ordered to capture the bridge at Bares and the railroad bridge about ten miles northeast of Koprivoica by a coup de Ann. April 1 is the 91st day of the year (92nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 274 days remaining. ...


By early evening of 6 April, the lack of enemy resistance and the overall situation seemed to indicate that the Yugoslavs would not make a concerted stand along the border and the XLVI Panzer Corps was therefore ordered to establish bridgeheads across the Mura and Drava at Mursko Sredisce, Letenye, Zakany, and Barcs. The few local attacks carried out by the corps sufficed to create dissension in the enemy ranks. There was a high percentage of Croats in the Yugoslav Fourth Army units that were responsible for the defense of this area. Croat soldiers mutinied at several points of the Drava salient, refusing to resist the Germans whom they considered as their liberators from Serbian oppression. When strong German forces crossed the Drava bridge at Bares on the morning of 10 April and broke out of the previously established bridgeheads, the disintegration of the opposing Yugoslav forces had reached an advanced stage. Supported by strong air forces, the 8th Panzer Division, followed by the 16th Motorized infantry Division, launched the XLVI Panzer Corps thrust to Belgrade by driving southeastward between the Drava and Sava Rivers. By the evening of 10 April forward elements of the 8th Panzer Division, having met with virtually no resistance, reached Slating despite poor roads and unfavorable weather. Enemy pockets were quickly mopped up and the division drove on in the direction of the capital via Osijek, where the roads became even worse. April 6 is the 96th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (97th in leap years). ... The Drava at Drávaszabolcs, Hungary The Drava at Vízvár, Hungary The Drava at Maribor, Slovenia The Drava (German: Drau, Slovenian, Croatian and Italian: Drava, Hungarian: Dráva) is a river in southern Central Europe. ... Sava also Save (in Serbian: Сава; German: Save; Hungarian: Száva) is a river in Europe, a right side tributary of Danube at Belgrade. ... Osijek (pronounced: []) is the fourth largest city in Croatia with a population of 114,616 in 2001. ...


That the plight of the enemy was becoming more and more desperate could be gathered from the following appeal that General Dušan Simović broadcast to his troops:

"All troops must engage the enemy wherever encountered and with every means at their disposal. Don't wait for direct orders from above but act on your own and be guided by your judgment, initiative, and conscience."

On 11 April the 8th Panzer Division reached the Osijek region, while the 16th Motorized Infantry Division farther back was advancing beyond Našice. Numerous bridge demolitions and- poor roads retarded the progress of both divisions, whose mission it was to attack the rear of the Yugoslav forces that faced XIV Panzer Corps, and to establish early contact with the First Panzer Group. NaÅ¡ice is a town in the Osijek-Baranja county of Croatia, population 8,173 (2001), total municipality population 17,320 (2001). ...


At 0230 on 12 April, the 8th Panzer Division entered Mitrovica after two vital bridges across the Sava had been captured intact. The division continued its thrust with the main body advancing toward Lazarevac, about twenty miles south of Belgrade, which was the designated link-up point with First Panzer Group. Lazarevac (Лазаревац) is a city located in Serbia and Montenegro at 44. ...


On the afternoon of 12 April, the XLVI Panzer Corps received new orders. According to these, only elements of the 8th Panzer Division were to continue their eastward drive to seize and secure the Sava bridge near the western outskirts of Belgrade. At 1830 the main body of the division turned southeastward and moved in the direction of Valjevo to establish contact with the left wing of First Panzer Group southwest of Belgrade. Simultaneously, the 16th Motorized Infantry Division, which had been trailing behind the 8th Panzer Division, turned southward, crossed the Sava, and advanced toward Zvornik. Thus both divisions were diverted from their original objective, Belgrade, in order to participate in the subsequent drive on Sarajevo. Valjevo postcard Valjevo (Serbian Cyrillic: Ваљево) is a city located in Serbia and Montenegro at 44. ... Zvornik (Зворник) is a city on the Drina river in northeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, located southeast of Tuzla and north of Srebrenica. ...


Meanwhile, both the Second Army and the Army High Command were anxiously awaiting news of the fall of Belgrade. Of the three converging armored forces, XLI Panzer Corps was last reported closest to the capital, having reached Pancevo on the east bank of the Danube about ten miles east of the city. South of Belgrade resistance stiffened as the 11th Panzer Division, spearheading the First Panzer Group forces, neared the capital.


The fall of Belgrade

Since three separate attack forces were converging on Belgrade simultaneously, the Army High Command was not immediately able to determine which force was the first to reach the enemy capital. Toward early evening of 12 April, SS-Obersturmfuehrer Klingenberg of the 2d SS Motorized Infantry Division, finding all Danube bridges destroyed, took an SS patrol across the river in captured pneumatic rafts. The patrol entered the city unmolested, and at 1700 hoisted the Nazi flag atop the German legation. About two hours later the mayor of Belgrade officially handed over the city to Klingenberg who was accompanied by a representative of the German Foreign Ministry, previously interned by the Yugoslavs. April 12 is the 102nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (103rd in leap years). ... First Lieutenant is a military rank. ... SS-Standartenführer Fritz Klingenberg (1912 - 1945) was a legendary German Waffen-SS officer who served with the 2. ...


At Second Army headquarters, no word from the 8th Panzer Division elements, which were last reported approaching the western outskirts of Belgrade, had been received for twenty-four hours. Finally, at 1152 on 13 April the following radio message came through from the operations officer of the division:

During the night the 8th Panzer Division drove into Belgrade, occupied the center of the city, and hoisted the Swastika flag.

However, since better communications had existed between Second Army and First Panzer Group, the following flash was received shortly before the 8th Panzer Division message came in:

Panzer Group von Kleist has taken Belgrade from the south. Patrols of Motorized Infantry Regiment Gross Deutschland have entered the city from the north. With General von Kleist at the head, the 11th Panzer Division has been rolling into the capital since 0632.

Thus the race for Belgrade ended in a close finish with all three forces reaching their objective almost simultaneously. With the fall of the city, the First Panzer Group was transferred from the Twelfth to the Second Army, while the XLVI Panzer Corps was placed under the direct command of the panzer group for the next phase of the operation - the pursuit and final destruction of the remnants of the Yugoslav Army.


Losses

A destroyed Yugoslav Renault FT-17 or NC-27 tank
A destroyed Yugoslav Renault FT-17 or NC-27 tank

The losses sustained by the German attack forces were unexpectedly light. During the twelve days of combat the total casualty figures came to 558 men: 151 were listed as killed, 392 as wounded, and 15 as missing in action. During the XLI Panzer Corps drive on Belgrade, for example, the only officer killed in action fell victim to a civilian sniper's bullet. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... The Renault FT-17 (Automitrailleuse à chenilles Renault FT modèle 1917) was a French light tank; it is among the most revolutionary and influential tank designs in history. ...


The Germans took some 254,000 prisoners, excluding a considerable number of ethnic Croat, German, Hungarian, and Macedonians who had been conscripted into the Yugoslav Army and who were quickly released after screening.[3] Another source, however, claims the Germans took 345,000 Yugoslav prisoners, and the Italians took 30,000 more.[4]


Note

This article incorporates whole sections of text from the U.S. Government work The German Campaign in the Balkans (Spring 1941), U.S. Army Center of Military History Publication 104-4, 1986.


See also

he bombing of Belgrade occurred in the initial phases of World War II when German forces bombed the city in preperation for the invasion of Yugoslavia. ... Nedićs Serbia (Nedićeva Srbija) is the popular name for the Serbian nazi puppet state that existed between 1941 and 1944, on the teritory of parts of todays Serbia. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Geschichte, pp. 317-318
  2. ^ Times Atlas, p.54
  3. ^ US Govt History, p. 64
  4. ^ Geschichte, p. 325

Article Sources

  • History (US Govt)
  • Geschichte des Zweiten Weltkrieges Vol. 3, A. A. Gretschko, Berlin: Militärverlag der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, 1977.
  • The Times Atlas of the Second World War, John Keegan (ed.), New York: Harper and Row, 1989.

External links

  • History (US Govt)
  • Yugoslav Royal Army (Serbian)
  • March 27, 1941 (Serbian)
  • Invasion of Yugoslavia (Serbian)
  • The bombing of Belgrade (Serbian)
  • Invasion of Yugoslavia:Kosovo war 1941 (Serbian)
  • (Italian) ANPI Archives photos


 
 

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