The Battle of Neretva ….

The battle @ River Neretva

The battle @ River Neretva

It was the winter of 1943….

Sounds of heavy artillery filled the air….,

tankers rolling closer and fighter planes roaring and swooped past above firing rapidly …

150 000 Nazi army was approaching, like an impenetrable wall slowly closing in on the 12,000 Partisan soldiers.

The Partisan soldiers were exhausted and many were wounded. In addition, typhoid disease struck, driving some to madness. Forced to the edge of this very area….

There was a bridge …. but opposite at the other end, 15,000 Chetniks and Fascists were approaching as well. The Partisan Army destroyed the bridge to prevent this force from approaching via this side.

With the bridge broken, the Fascists and Chetniks relaxed, thinking that it would be a matter of time as the Partisans were now surrounded by the Nazis with no other way out.

In the last moment of hope, a brilliant idea was hatched. To create diversions, many men were sent to battle with guns a blazing towards the Nazis, while a meager number of 250 men, including the wounded, clambered down the steep hill, built a makeshift bridge down the ravine.

The Chetniks and Fascists were caught by surprise. That day, 250 soldiers with many wounded amongst them were able to break through a strong force of 15,000.

One of the many factors which lead to the victory of the allies against the Nazis was that substantial manpower, i.e. 150 000, were used actually to try to take down this smaller Partisan force.

A moment of great ingenuity and heroism captured and frozen in time by this plaque that you will be able to see when you pass by. The inscription on the plaque translated means ” No wounded to be left behind – Tito”

Extreme courage and heroism, glimpse of this quality of humanity rare but when appear, shines through ages….


Nazis, Chetniks and Fascists are similar in that it is a propaganda with extremists view. Usually lead by a small group of intellectuals and followed by many people who were caught in the whirlpool of desperate situations, circumstances and promises of better economic times. Those who spread these ideas and hatred are dangerous, irregardless of race and nationality and it is extremely important to note that pegging these people as a nation because of a group would be like the kettle calling the pot black, in my humble opinion. It is with hope that education can elevate us above such archaic ideas, though not easy in difficult times. As you travel or wherever you live, one has to be vigilant and at the same time be open minded.

For those who are unfamiliar with the terms: ‘Chetniks’, ‘Ustasha’ or ‘Fascism” :

  • Chetniks was a movement started by Serbian leader, Steven Moljevic, believing that “Serbs should not repeat the mistakes of World War 1 by failing to define the borders of Serbia, proposed that at the end of World War II, Serbs should take control of all territories to which they lay claim, and from that position negotiate the form of federal organized Yugoslavia… plan required the relocation of non-Serbs from Serb-controlled territories and other shifts of populations. He produced a document, Homogeneous Serbia, which articulate these notions.” – Wikipedia.
  • Fascism is best describe by Merriam Webster as

” Philosophy of Government that stresses the primacy and glory of the state, unquestioning obedience to its leader, subordination of the individual’s will to the state’s authority, and harsh suppression of dissent. Martial virtues are celebrated, while liberal and democratic  values are disparaged.

Fascism arose during the 1920s and ’30s partly out of fear of the rising power of the working classes;

The leaders of the fascist governments of Italy (1922-43), Germany (1933-43), and Spain (1939-75)- Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler and Francisco Franco,-were portrayed to their publics as embodiment of the strength and resolve necessary to rescue their nations from political and economic chaos.

Japanese fascists (1936-45) fostered belief in the uniqueness of the Japanese spirit and taught subordination to the state and personal sacrifice”

  • “Ustaše, also known as ‘UStashe’, ‘Ustashas’, a Croatian Revolutionary Movement, between 1929 and 1945, … ideology blend of Fascism and Ultra-conservatism” – Wikipedia.

About Globalresidence

Hi, this site was created with friends in mind. Hope all will enjoy passing through it! :)

Posted on November 1, 2014, in Others and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Great insight into an important aspect of history in the Balkans. Many in Western countries do not know that the area of the Balkans was the most contested area in Western civilization and pivotal to the changes in culture where East met West.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Globalresidence

      Many many thanks, D! Feeling that every life is precious, I was much struck by the plaque that “No wounded should be left behind”. With my hubby’s help (him being a history buff of this region), I was able to understand and to picture it. Am touched and honoured with how you were able to hone in on the overview of the post.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sort of a military history buff myself. I studied military history from the Greeks to modern times. Long ago I realized that in our history there are several crossroads that were often in conflict because they were the best avenues of approach for Armies to follow. This led to a constant shift in cultures and societal evolutions. The Balkans were the gateway for European and Eastern Armies. The declaration of no wounded man left behind was a statement of their honor and courage in the face of overwhelming odds. It is the bond that gives every fighter the heart and strength of a lion to face his opponent. I saw this integrity as a natural trait in many of the people I met while I was there.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Fascinating article and so well written as it is not easy to express such complicated issues clearly. I studied history at university so I have some understanding of the background to both the 1st and 2nd World Wars but did not know about this particular battle. The Balkans were such a volatile area being on the cusp of both the west and the east. The bravery of the “Partisans” is astonishing and the glimpse of humanity amidst all the war and suffering “No wounded should be left behind” serves to remind us that every life is precious! Thanks for a great post! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Globalresidence

      Many, many thanks for your incisive input, Rosemary! 😃 The 1969 movie on the Battle of Netretva won the academy award for best foreign language film. Yes, most of the history written in English was not focused on these battles. In retrospect though, battles like these actually in a way helped the allies by keeping an army of 150, 000 occupied with just 12,000 soldiers. And yes, I, too love the idealogy behind the written words on the plaque! 😃.
      Ps- love your “Buda, Castle in the Air” post! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Globalresidence

      Many many thanks for the reblogging of this post, Sarah V. ! 🙂 and for the likes! Wishing you a great week ahead and happy autumn! 🙂


  3. A wonderfully interesting post, and a fascinating glimpse into a battle that highlights the utmost strength of virtue in mankind.
    And this is a most timely article as I just finished reading The Book Thief and I’m still swimming in details of WWII.
    Hoping to hunt down the film version of this battle. Cheers

    Liked by 2 people

    • Globalresidence

      Many, many thanks for your input, Shelley from Blue Ridge Mountain! 😃Great to have input from one whose quirky and whimsical writing style always makes me smile when visiting your site! Happy Autumn! 😉


  4. Wonderful, wise post!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hello I nominated you for the Liebster Award.!! You can read the post here – Congrats.!!!

    Liked by 2 people

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