An Act of Courage – Croatian Soldiers capture a Transport Train with Yugoslav People’s Army Weapons

Members of the 108th Slavonian-Brod Brigade and the 3rd Battalion of the 3rd A Brigade of the National Guard Corps achieved a major accomplishment in stopping a train carrying weapons for the Yugoslav Peoples’ Army (YPA) on 21 August 1991.

It was one of many YPA transports that traveled through Croatia as the disintegrating army began to withdraw troops from Slovenia in July. Although they intended move all personnel and equipment to Bosnia-Herzegovina, this did not actually take place as described by Croatian soldier Stanislav Sorić in the book “Graničari” about the 108th Brigade of the Croatian Army:

Pavo Sočković and I found ourselves at the train station before the arrival of the 108th Brigade of the Croatian Army. I had a Motorola phone in my hands and contacted headquarters because a decision had to be made whether or not to remove ordnance from the train. We waited at the station for 35 minutes because it was very difficult to make such a decision at the time. It was simple to wait at the train station either as we fully expected an air attack because of what we were doing. We can say that intercepting that train was crucial for the war effort in our region and beyond.

Croatian soldiers from Slavonski Brod stripped the train and seized about 50 mountain cannons, eighty large calibre mortars, dozens of anti-aircraft guns, ammunition and about a hundred anti-tank weapons. It was actually a self-initiated effort because the official order of the Croatian leadership was that, in the interest of preserving peace, transports should not be obstructed in any manner. This bold endeavour and subsequent surrender of the military base in Slavonski Brod provided weapons for the domestic brigade as well as the defense of Slavonia. Some of the equipment captured on this day in 1991 was immediately forwarded to troops for the defense of Nova Gradiška, Osijek, Vukovar, Vinkovci, Slatina and other areas in Slavonia.

There were similar cases of trains being stopped in western Slavonia and they continued in Slavonski Brod and its vicinity as well. A train with logistics equipment was commandeered in Sibinj on 1 September 1991 and the same day, 90 guardsmen and police officers planned to takeover a train passing through in the late afternoon on its way to Banja Luka. According to intelligence, that train contained extremely valuable equipment because the 5th Army District of the YPA closely monitored the train’s progress several times on its journey. A locomotive from Slavonski Brod was prepared to hook the train and redirect it to Nova Kapela and from there to Požega however a high-level order to leave it untouched was received at the last moment.

Sources
Literature
Marijan, Davor. Graničari : prilog za ratni put 108. brigade Zbora narodne garde Republike Hrvatske : (lipanj 1991. – studeni 1992.). Slavonski Brod: Hrvatski institut za povijest, Podružnica za povijest Slavonije, Srijema i Baranje, 2006.

TV
TV Kalendar (2016.) Croatian Radio and Television. author Tomislav Šulj, editor Vladimir Brnardić, August 21, 2016.

Internet
„DA SE NE ZABORAVI Dan kada su Brođani rekli: “Neće proći!”“, 035portal.hr, accessed on August 21, 2020., www.035portal.hr/vijest/zivot/da-se-ne-zaboravi-dan-kada-su-brodani-rekli:-nece-proci-7838

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