- Posts: 3
- Joined: 10 May 2006 17:46
- Location: Serbia and Montenegro
-More then 50 years ago.
-One of the most daring OSS missions in history resulted in the rescue of more than 450 American airmen who had been shot down following air raids on oil installations and communications in Romania. Three waves of C-47's lifted the men to safety from a makeshift airfield only 90 miles from nazi occupied Belgrade, Yugoslavia. In subsequent missions, the total of rescued airmen reached 800.
During the first part of 1944, hundreds of Allied sorties were flown from Italian bases against the Ploesti oil complex in Romania, Hitler's most important source of oil during World War II. The losses were heavy. Since the route home led across Yugoslavia, and because the Serbian area was under the control of General Draja Mihailovich, Royal Yugoslav resistance leader, hundreds of American airmen who had to bailout over Yugoslavia were picked up by Mihailovich's fighters. The rescued airmen were thus saved from capture and imprisonment by German troops who occupied Yugoslavia.
Under cover of darkness, C-47's flew the men from the airfield. Within a radius of 20 to 30 miles from there were half a dozen German garrisons ranging in size from several hundred to several thousand men. A Luftwaffe unit was stationed at an airfield just 30 miles away.
It is believed the rescue--code named `Operation Halyard'--was one of the largest and most daring operation of its kind conducted anywhere in Axis-occupied Europe during World War II.
ww2 in Yugoslavia
In some ways the Axis victory remained a hollow one. For the writ of the Axis powers ran little beyond the towns and main roads. In the remote mountain regions, embryonic resistance forces soon emerged. But before the Germans could crush these nascent movements, their forces were redeployed from Yugoslavia to the east, in preparation for the now-imminent Operation Barbarossa.
Subsequently, those substantial Axis forces that did remain in the conquered Yugoslavia became locked in a protracted and appallingly brutal anti-partisan war, which raged across much of the territory. The resistance groups divided into two main movements - the Chetniks and the Partisans.
After the surrender of the Yugoslav royal army in April 1941, some of the remaining Yugoslav soldiers organized Yugoslav Royal Army in the Fatherland in the Ravna Gora district of western Serbia under Colonel Dragoljub (Draža) Mihailović to fight the German occupation. They were almost entirely ethnic Serbs. Mihailović directed his units to arm themselves and await his orders for the final push. He avoided actions which he judged were of low strategic importance. The reason behind his resolve was the fact that he had been a World War I officer.
Between 1941 and 1943, the Chetniks had the support of the Western Allies. TIME Magazine, in 1942, featured an article which boasted of the success of Mihailović's Chetniks, and heralded him as the sole defender of freedom in Nazi-occupied Europe. However, Tito's Partisans fought the Nazis as well during this time. Both Tito and Mihailović had a bounty of 100,000 Reichsmarks offered by Germans for their heads.
Consequently, at the Tehran Conference in November 1943, a decision was made by the Allies to cease their support of the Chetniks, and switch allegiances to Tito's Partisans who were the main anti-fascist resistance group in Yugoslavia.
Mihajlovich was executed together with nine other Royalist officers in the early hours of 18 July 1946, in Lisiciji Potok, about 200 meters from the former Royal Palace, and buried in an unmarked grave on the same spot.
His execution was a sticking point in Franco–Yugoslav relations and Charles de Gaulle, Mihailović's friend, refused to visit Yugoslavia due to what he viewed as Mihailović's murder by Marshal Tito's communist regime.
President Harry S. Truman, on the recommendation of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, posthumously awarded Mihailović the "Legion of Merit", for the rescue of American Airmens by Chetniks.
Almost sixty years later, on May 9, 2005, Draža Mihailović's daughter Gordana was presented with a decoration bestowed posthumously on Draža Mihailović by President Truman in 1948, for the assistance provided to the crews of US bombers that were gunned down on the territory under Chetnik control in World War II.
- Posts: 4656
- Joined: 13 Dec 2002 15:07
- Location: Coventry, West Midlands, the UK [it's one big roundabout]
The link is dead.cinoeye wrote: http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums...ad.php?t=80683
Anyway it's an interesting article, that I had read long time ago on MP.