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Serbia River Flotilla - History

Following the split with Montenegro, Serbia became a landlocked country. All of the former navy of Serbia and Montenegro transferred to Montenegro in June 2006, except for the former Danuble Flotilla, which transferred to Serbian land forces.

Republic of Serbia has century-old tradition of seamanship and nautical activities, remarkable network of national and international inland waterways, too. Serbia has continuity of membership in the International Maritime Organization and all international laws and regulations have been adopted in maritime and inland navigation. Serbian Military Academy cherishes long history of maritime practice while the Nautical Department is in charge of education and training for Serbian Armed Forces, civilians from its own country, as well as from abroad.

In the XVI century. Austria formed the R. under the name Armada, and somewhat later they were founded by France, Russia, Italy, and Turkey. UI SR R. had a significant role, especially on the Danube, where there were strong and well-armed R. Austro-Hungarian and Romanian, and a small improvised R. Serbia, which by October 1915 had achieved notable results.

The River Flotilla celebrates 6 August as its day, which is also the Day of River Units, to commemorate the day when, in 1915, on the Sava River near Belgrade Cukarica the first Serbian warship “Jadar” was launched. By entering the newly built “Jadar” into the composition of the Belgrade Shipping Command and Defense Forces, the formation of the Serbian River Flotilla officially started. When he left for Belgrade on November 6, 1915, the Austrian field marshal August von Mackensen was sure that he would destroy the Serbian river flotilla formed on Ada Ciganlija, which had been formed only three months earlier, during the artillery preparations.

In addition to powerful and well armed Austro-Hungarian and Romanian made vessels, Serbian River Flotilla also had one armored ship, five motor boats - one of them an English torpedo boat and two Russian ones with Russian crew, two armored cargo ships, three auxiliary motor boats, one ship for medical assistance, three coast guard torpedo batteries and a significant number of boats.

The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (KSKhS) was formed on December 1, 1918 after the unification of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs (arising from the collapse of Auto-Hungary and the subsequent unification of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Dalmatia and Croatia into a single state on October 28, 1918) with the Kingdom of Serbia (which included the Kingdom of Montenegro on July 20, 1917). After the coup d'etat (dissolution of parliament, prohibition of political parties and the abolition of the current constitution) on January 6, 1929, King Alexander I Karageorgievich began to be called the Kingdom of Yugoslavia on October 3, 1929.

After the invasion of German troops in Yugoslavia on April 6, 1941, the king emigrated to Egypt and then to Great Britain, the act of surrender of Yugoslavia was signed on April 17, 1941. On April 10, 1941, after the German capture of Zagreb, the Independent State of Croatia was created, where, in addition to the Croatian lands (of which August 21, 1941, Dalmatia was captured by Italy from Croatia), all of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Sandzak (southern Serbia and northern Montenegro) entered. Northern Slovenia and most of Serbia occupied by Germany began to be called the Belgrade Governor General. Hungary received Vojvodina, Bulgaria - most of Vardar Macedonia, Italy - Montenegro, which became the governor of Montenegro, Dalmatia, Southern Slovenia, called the Ljubljana province.

A great act of heroism was demonstrated by the crew of the river monitor ship “Drava” that was sunk on 12 April 1941 after many days of uneven battle against German Luftwaffe. In the territory of occupied Yugoslavia, 2 different liberation movements operated - on May 10, 1941, the Chetnik detachments of the Yugoslav army were created, supported by the emigrant government in London, in January 1942 renamed the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland.

After the German attack on the USSR, the People’s Liberation Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia led by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, which were called the People’s Liberation Army of Yugoslavia from November 2, 1941, joined in the struggle against German occupation on July 4, 1941. The Chetnik detachments of the Yugoslav army and the People's Liberation partisan detachments of Yugoslavia from November 1941, in addition to fighting the German army, periodically fought with each other. In December 1943 Vis was occupied by parts of the NOAJ, in the port of Komiza, the Naval Forces of the English detachment of torpedo boats were created, in mid-October 1944 he relocated to about. East to support the Kvarner Naval Detachment NOAU. On January 8, 1944, Great Britain ceased to support the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland. The northeastern part of Yugoslavia was liberated in 1944 during the joint operations of the Soviet troops and the NOAA. On May 6, 1945, the Independent State of Croatia ceased to exist.

During WW2, from 25th October till 20th November 1944, the first navy company of the National Liberation Army of Yugoslavia, with the assistance of around 80 soldiers deployed on Fruska Gora Mountain, transported across the river Danube around 220,000 Russian soldiers, 2,000 cannons and more than 3,000 vehicles.

By May 15, 1945, the NOAA completed the liberation of Yugoslavia. On August 10, 1945, the state of Democratic Federated Yugoslavia was created. On November 29, 1945, the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia (FPRY) was proclaimed. After WW2, River Flotilla was mostly equipped with small, fast armed boats, minesweepers, assault and patrol boats.

On April 7, 1963 it was renamed the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). During the collapse of the SFRY, on June 25, 1991, the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia declared independence from the SFRY. On September 8, 1991, the Republic of Macedonia left the SFRY. On April 6, 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence. On April 27, 1992, the SFRY was renamed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

From June 15, 1993, to October 1, 1996, the Western European Union (WEU)and NATO mounted a joint naval embargo - Operation Sharp Guard - against Montenegro and Serbia, the two republics forming the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), to enforce the UN’s arms embargo and economic sanctions. The operationtook place in the Strait of Otranto and the Adriatic Sea. Over 74,000 ships were challenged; 6,000, inspected at sea; and more than 1,400, directed to port for inspection.

In the 1999 operation against FR Yugoslavia, 19 NATO members in the Mediterranean and the Adriatic Sea initially engaged 59 warships (2 aircraft carriers, 1 helicopter carrier, 1 missile cruiser, 32 missile destroyers, 3 missile gunboats, 3-4 submarines, 10 landing / auxiliary ships and two electronic reconnaissance ships, with a total of 250 cruise missile launchers), 14 auxiliary ships - with a total of 11,770 sailors and 2,200 members of the naval infantry. Serbian Navy forces acted on NATO aircraft (airplanes, cruise missiles, drones and guided bombs) every time they were within range of weapons.

The Serbian Navy forces were ready with all available combat potentials for a decisive battle at sea at the most critical moment for survival. No action was taken on NATO surface ships, because they maneuvered outside the range of missile weapons, thus showing respect for the strength of the weapons of Serbian ships. Whenever Serbian naval strike forces went to sea and moved away from the coast, the naval forces of NATO moved away by that much, always remaining out of range of Serbian missiles.

As of February 2003, the national name of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has been changed to Serbia and Montenegro. As successor government, maritime boundary agreements entered into by Yugoslavia were considered to be still in force for Serbia and Montenegro, unless repudiated or amended. In June 2006 Montenegro became the sixth Balkan country generated from the collapse of the SFRY, leaving Serbia again land-locked.

With the abolition of strategic-operational formations, the Navy Command was renamed the Navy Corps in 2002 (a unique example that a naval unit has a name intended for the Army), and then it became only the Navy of the Army of Serbia and Montenegro (April 1, 2005). ), losing the epithet "war".

After reorganization of the Military of Serbia, the River Flotilla was organizationally subordinated to Land Forces, as the military didn't have a Navy. The Flotilla is now organized as Brigade-size unit, and two pontoon battalions [pontonirskom bataljonu] - the 110th Pontoon Battalion and the 111th Pontoon Battalion - from 1st Land Force Brigade are subordinated to the River Flotilla.

The River flotilla was transformed into a brigade level unit on 02 October 2008, when the pontoon units became part of River flotilla, and were subsequently renumbered as 1st Pontoon Battalion and 2nd Pontoon Battalion. The Serbian River flotilla is intended for keeping the operative regime of sailing and protection of interests of Serbia on inner sailing corridors (ISC). Assignments execute independent, in cooperation with units of Land Forces, Air Forces and AD and in cooperation with forces of Police. It included a pair of 441 class ex-Yugoslav Assault ships: DJC-411 and DJC-412 [the later unit may no longer be in service].

As part of a comprehensive shipbuilding program, the auxiliary and accompanying ships were also trained on the strategically important Danube during World War II. All shipyards under the German influence from Regensburg to Budapest were involved in this program. Among other things, two type ships (Kriemhield, now Kozara and Brunnhild) were built to accompany and supply the German Danube fleet in the shipyard in Linz.

From May 1945 to June 1946 "Die Kriemhild" was used as a ship for living called "Oregon" in Regensburg. Afterwards the shipping company "Bayern Lloyd" took the lease out. The ship was then sold in 1948 and used as a hotel restaurant in Regensburg until October 1953. In September 1960 "Bayern Lloyd" gave the ship to the Yugoslav shipping company (Dunav Lloyd) as a replacement for a cargo ship.

The Yugoslav Navy took over the ship under the name "Kozara". The related ship "Die Brunnhild" began to sail under the German flag again in 1989, under the new name "Astoria". According to the latest information, the ship was used for tourist cruises along the Rhine. This ship, called “The Old Lady” by its users, is the most prestigious ship in the Navy today and is indispensable for preparing tactical exercises and cultural events.

In the period from 1944 to 1965, the River Flotilla was organized into several detachments of river ships, river armored assault ships, river auxiliary ships and minesweepers as part of the Yugoslav Navy (JRM). Since 1960, the River Flotilla was excluded from the Navy and subordinated to the command of the 1st Army, but later, after the reorganization, it became part of the Navy again. The period from 1965 to 1984 was characterized by technical modernization and improvement of tactics of the Russian Federation: minesweepers 319 and 307 and assault ship 401 were reconstructed, new minesweepers type 331 were built, ship demagnetization station and ships were armed with new weapons.

The last combat operation of the River Flotilla was on November 8, 1991 during the war in Croatia, when a minesweeper 308 was sent to Kopacki rit to intercept the Czechoslovak ship " Šariš ", which was smuggling weapons to Croatia. The minesweeper was ambushed by Croatian forces and attacked with rocket launchers and sniper shots. Ensign of the 1st class Stevan Markovic was killed when the missiles hit, and Ensign of the 1st class Kristijan Lampret was seriously wounded, but he soon succumbed to his injuries. The crew managed to run aground and save the damaged ship from sinking.

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Page last modified: 30-08-2021 18:17:00 ZULU