NEW - UPDATE JANUARY 2018
o „The Partisans’ Lost Victories: Operations in Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina 1944-1945“ in: Journal of Military History Vol. 82/No. 1 (2018), pp. 95-124.
The essay at hand covers the operations on the southern flank of the German front in Yugoslavia from October 1944 to April 1945. During this period, the Germans managed to extricate their 21st Mountain Corps from virtual encirclement on two occasions (in Montenegro and the Bosna River Valley) and ultimately reinforce their hard-pressed main line in the Balkans with this battered, but still battle-worthy formation. This article will provide the reader with a brief description of this little-known campaign and explain the reasons behind what was probably the Yugoslav Partisans’ greatest “lost victory” of the war. The main argument is that such an outcome was largely the result of the Yugoslav leadership’s refusal to award sufficient attention to this sector of the front and the internal political considerations, but also of the German army’s skillfully conducted defense. The article will also dwell on the battlefield effectiveness of both sides, and the Partisans’ efforts to become a regular army in both their outlook and operational manner.
o „The German ‚Ultra‘: Signals Intelligence in Yugoslavia 1943-1944“ in: Journal of Intelligence History, January 2018, pp. 1-17.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------This article deals with the extensive signals surveillance program operated by the Wehrmacht and directed at their most dangerous enemy in the Balkans, the Yugoslav Partisans. This subject has so far received surprisingly little attention in academic circles despite the fact that it was one of the crucial pillars of the entire Axis counter-insurgency effort in Yugoslavia, and that it was one of the most successful actions of its kind conducted by the German intelligence. Based largely on previously unpublished primary sources, as well as post-war literature, this article will outline the workings of the program during its heyday in the years 1943–1944, and seek to establish its impact on the battlefield. As such, it will hopefully prove to be useful to both students of wartime events in the Western Balkans, and to researchers of intelligence services during the Second World War in general
o „In a Search for a Good German“ in: Journal of Intelligence, Propaganda and Security Studies, Vol.5/No.1 (2011), pp. 77-86.
This article will examine the portrayal of the “other side” in socialist Yugoslavia’s war movies from 1945 to 1990. We shall see how these movies reflected social changes in the country, evolving from simple propaganda glorifying the heroic struggle against the German invader to more sophisticated artistic products with a nuanced picture of both the good and the bad guys. The portrayal of the Germans was also influenced by the changes in foreign policy of the socialist state. Until the Sixties, the depiction of the Germans was mostly based on war-time memoirs, and was correspondingly negative. As Yugoslavia's relations with the Federal Republic of Germany improved, and as the country began opening up to the world, a new and positive picture of Germany and its people emerged. Internal difficulties of the Eighties left their mark on war movies. The “Bad German” seemed a distant memory in the face of evil coming from within.
o „A Case of Failed Counterinsurgency” in: The Journal for Slavic Military Studies, Vol.24/No.2 (2011), pp. 314-336.
(see also related discussion with Klaus Schmider [UK Military Academy Sandhurst] in: The Journal for Slavic Military Studies, Vol.24/Nr.4 (2011), pp. 718-725; http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13518046.2011.624878, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13518046.2011.624879)This article examines operations “Weiss” and “Schwarz,” two of the largest anti-guerrilla sweeps conducted by the German Wehrmacht during the entire Second World War. Four reinforced divisions with ca. 65,000 German soldiers and up to 100 aircraft took part in what is regarded as the most ferocious fighting of the whole war in Yugoslavia. Although conducted with maximum effort in material terms, they were doomed to failure because of the Third Reich's neglect of guerrilla warfare and the resulting lack of a sound counter-insurgency doctrine. Remarkably, operations “Weiss” and “Schwarz” are almost unknown to the public in the West, despite their sheer size. As the founding myths of socialist Yugoslavia, they were extensively written about, almost always from a Partisan perspective. This is the first article to describe the events from the German point of view, and to analyze the Wehrmacht's conduct of these operations in some depth. With the ongoing COIN campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, examining the lessons from the past can prove enlightening.
o „Making Deals with the Enemy: Partisan‐ German Contacts and Prisoner Exchanges in Yugoslavia 1941‐1945” in: Global War Studies, Vol. 10/No. 2 (2013), pp. 6-37.
The prospect of prisoner exchange was often the only reason for sparing captives in irregular warfare fought on the edges of international law. During World War II, such prisoner exchanges were few, due to the totality of the war and the irreconcilable attitudes of the warring parties. Yugoslavia was an exception, as it witnessed massive and frequent exchanges of able-bodied prisoners between the communist-led Partisans and the Germans. What started as isolated cases, motivated by a spontaneous desire to save captured compatriots, soon evolved into a complex affair involving propaganda and intelligence issues, as well as political talks between two ideological arch-enemies. This article is the first attempt to provide a comprehensive, non-ideological survey of the topic, which is neglected in former Yugoslav historiography and is virtually unknown to the public in the West.
o „The Key to the Balkans: The Battle for Serbia 1944” in: The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, Vol.28/No. 3 (2015), pp. 524-555.
o "Carnage in the Land of Three Rivers: The Syrmian Front 1944-1945" in: Militärgeschichtliche Zeitschrift, Bd. 75/Nr. 1 (2016), pp. 94-122.The aim of this article is to analyze the operations in Western Serbia and the neighboring regions conducted from March through September 1944 by the Yugoslav Partisans on one side and the Germans and collaborationist troops on the other. Knowledge of these operations is important for understanding subsequent military and political developments, namely the joint Soviet-Partisan offensive on Belgrade and the establishment of the Communist-dominated government in Yugoslavia. Little is known about these events in the West, in particular the details of the military co-operation between the Germans and the Serbian Chetniks, which developed to its full extent during this period. By relying on a wide array of primary sources, the article will hopefully shed some light on these complex issues, as well as help settle the still-existing controversies surrounding the Serbian nationalist guerrillas’ role in the last year of the war.
o “’Damned Good Amateurs’: Yugoslav Partisans in the Belgrade Operation 1944” in: The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, Vol. 29/No. 2 (2016), pp. 253-278.The aim of this article will be to examine the operations of the Yugoslav Partisans and German armed forces in northern parts of Yugoslavia in late 1944 and early 1945. Since the summer of 1941, the communist-led guerrilla movement had conducted a massive guerrilla campaign against Axis forces, at the same time striving to build a regular army and thus gain recognition as a full-time member of the anti-Hitler coalition. The arrival of the Red Army and liberation of country’s eastern parts in September and October 1944 secured material foundations for a creation of a regular field force. Whether this nascent army would be capable of defeating its retreating, but still dangerous German foe remained to be seen.
On 16 October 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin attended a parade in Belgrade marking the 70th anniversary of its liberation by the Red Army and the Communist-led Yugoslav Partisans. In addition to being a public display of the historic bonds and mutual friendship between the two states, the event also symbolically reaffirmed the role of the Yugoslav Partisans in these operations by parading their old battle flags. In light of strong revisionist tendencies in the past 25 years that sought to diminish or even deny the Partisans’ contribution to the liberation of the country, this represents a small but important gesture. The aim of this article will be to provide an overview of operations in Serbia from late September to late October 1944, to quantify the Partisans’ contribution to the campaign, and to briefly discuss Soviet-Yugoslav cooperation during this period.
o "The Forgotten Surrender: the End of the Second World War in Yugoslavia" in: International Journal of Military History and Historiography, Vol.37/No.2 (2017), pp. 147-172.
English-language historiography has paid scant attention to the events in Yugoslavia in spring 1945, despite the fact that the combined strength of the armies pitted against each other amounted to around 800,000 men, and that it was the only front in Europe which was held independently by a junior member of the anti-Hitler coalition. This article provides an analysis of both the capitulation of the German Army Group E, and the widely diverging descriptions of the same event offered by German and Yugoslav authors. The main argument presented here is that the Yugoslav leadership, prompted by both internal and foreign policy considerations, did not shirk from using less-than-honourable methods to achieve its aims. In doing this, the article will also provide insights into the functioning of the historiography of the socialist era when dealing with potentially embarrassing issues.
o "’The German Anabasis’: The Breakthrough of Army Group E from Eastern Yugoslavia 1944", in: The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, Vol.30/No.4 (2017), pp. 602-629.
The eastern parts of Yugoslavia were the site of savage fighting between October and December 1944, as the German Army Group E tried to force its way out of an almost desperate situation it had found itself in following the evacuation of Greece. Against all odds, this huge German formation managed to best three Allied armies, rugged terrain, and autumn rains and reach the relative safety of the Independent State of Croatia, where it joined the remainder of the Axis front in the Balkans. Although this dramatic episode had been extensively written about in the former Yugoslavia and Germany, it received next to no attention in the English-speaking academic community. The article at hand will provide an overview and an analysis of military operations based on a wide plethora of primary and secondary sources of all sides. It will also argue that the ultimate success of the breakthrough was as much due to the unwillingness of the Soviet high command to devote more resources to the Balkan Front, and the structural weaknesses of the Bulgarian and Yugoslav Partisans’ armies, as it was to the battlefield prowess of the Wehrmacht.