At the beginning of October 1991, the Yugoslav People’s Army (YPA), with the help of insurgent Serbs launched a strong offensive on Novska from Okučani. After suffering heavy losses, Croatian defenders finally stopped the YPA on 6 October only a few kilometres from the center of Novska. Although the enemy’s advance was halted, it continued to attack along the Jasenovac – Paklenica – Bair – Bujavica axis. When the frontline was finally stabilized, the first counterattacks by the Croats began on 14 October 1992.
On that day, an attack was launched on the occupied town of Jasenovac in the southern part of the Novljan battlefield. With the support of two tanks, the “Ante Paradžik” 1st Company of the Croatian Defense Forces (CDF) crossed the Strug canal. Although Croatian forces reached Jasenovac’s town limits, the mission did not succeed as the Serbs reorganized, repelled the attack and held Jasenovac with the support of three YPA tanks. A Croatian tank was destroyed during the battle and a member of its crew, CDF volunteer Dino Simić was killed. His body remained in enemy occupied territory and all trace of his remains have been lost.
Dino Simić was born on 28 July 1966 in Zagreb. He was the only son of parents Petar and Đurđica. Simić finished primary and secondary school for construction where he graduated as a ceramicist. He was a sociable person, liked to play soccer and was calm by nature as recalled by his comrade Tomislav “Apple” (cro. Jabuka) Čaušić:
Dino joined the CDF unit between 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM the night before the attack. I immediately noticed him because he had the air of a fine gentleman from Zagreb. He was probably very nervous coming to a tough battlefront and was a bit tense. He did not chatter, shout or threaten anyone and was a little reserved. He was a likeable fellow and gentle, very gentle. He did not come across as part of the war crowd and all that, at least that is how it seemed to me at first glance.
Simić’s mother passed away in 2017 and never found her son’s remains.
Marijan, Davor. Novska u Domovinskom ratu. Novska: HVIDRA, 2009
Stipčić, Rudi. Napokon smo krenuli. Zagreb: Sveučilišna tiskara, 1996
Turić, Gordana. U viteza krunica (knjiga II). Zagreb: Udruga roditelja poginulih branitelja Domovinskog rata grada Zagreba, 2008
Romana Bilešić: “Upao u zasjedu četnika: Našeg Dinu tražit ćemo dok smo živi”, 24 sata, access achieved October 7, 1991, https://www.24sata.hr/news/upao-u-zasjedu-cetnika-naseg-dinu-trazit-cemo-dok-smo-zivi-643535
Graduated with a Master’s Degree in History from the University of Zagreb. He has worked at the Croatian History Museum and as a researcher for the popular TV Calendar program for Croatian Radio and Television. He has authored several books and documentaries about Croatia’s Homeland War and is the creator/producer of the immensely popular “It Happened on this Day – Homeland War” Facebook page as well as the online portal Domovinskirat.hr. Borna also edits the Braniteljski.hr portal and is the host and editor of the daily segment “Patriotic Minutes” on Croatian Catholic Radio. He created CroHis to promote the values of the Homeland War and ensure that the sacrifices of those who defended Croatia’s independence would not be forgotten.