Yugoslav Armies 1941-45, Nigel Thomas

Yugoslav Armies 1941-45, Nigel Thomas

This book has a lot of ground to cover. We start with the pre-war Yugoslav Army, which was defeated in a very short campaign in April 1941. Next came the almost standard response to a German invasion – the flight into exile of the government and the formation of an army in exile fighting alongside the British – in this case King Peter fled to London, while a Royal Yugoslav army was formed in the Middle East. This was never large, and was eventually destroyed by the political in-fighting back in Yugoslavia. However we do learn about a Yugoslavian Troop in No.10 (Inter-Allied ) Commando and Yugoslavian manned units in the RAF and USAAF.

The picture gets more complex back in Yugoslavia, where Mihailovic’s Chetniks and Tito’s partisans soon ended up seeing each other as a bigger threat than the Germans. Despite a promising start to his resistance this eventually led Mihailovic into talks with the Germans (which failed). We get an account of the increasingly complex behaviour of the Chetniks, which included active acts of resistance against the Germans, open warfare with the Partisans, some cooperation with the Germans and Italians, then with the pro-Allied Italians against the Germans and Partisans, the eventual loss of British support in 1944, and the eventual collapse of the Chetniks. Tito’s partisans were more consistently anti-German (at least after the German invasion of the Soviet Union and the end of the Soviet veto on anti-German actions), but also fought against the Chetniks.

Despite the complexity of the picture and the short size of the book, we actually get a brief overview of the military operations of all four of these forces, which gives some idea of the complexity of the war in Yugoslavia, as well as the more normal structural histories and uniform guides.

The Yugoslav Army in 1941
The April War, 6-18 April 1941
Royal Yugoslav Forces in the Middle East, 1941-45
Yugoslav Army in the Homeland, 1941-45
Yugoslav People’s Liberation Army, 1941-45

Author: Nigel Thomas
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 48
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2022

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