The Establishment of the “Vipers”

On 15 October 1990, a Special Tasks Unit was established within the Zadar Police Administration which was the precursor to the “Vipers” Special Police Unit of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia.

The core of this first legal unit of the Croatian government in the Zadar area consisted of 30 members who completed the First Croatian Police Officer Course. As there was increased need for law enforcement, its membership grew and reorganized as a Special Police Unit. Its first clash with Serb terrorists occurred on 2 May 1991 when young police officer Franko Lisica was killed.

In the summer of 1991, the “Vipers” were sent to the most difficult crisis hotspots and took part in the defense of Lišane Ostrovičke and later Kruševo where they resisted enemy attacks alongside members of the 4th A Brigade of the Croatian National Guard (CNG) until September. A constant presence on the frontlines of the defense of Zadar, the “Vipers” also participated in battles for military facilities in the surrounding area.

“VIPERS” on Velebit Mountain

In May of 1992, they distinguished themselves in Operation “JAGUAR” when Križ Hill was liberated and took part in reconnaissance and preparations for Operation “MASLENICA” in January 1993 where they played a significant role. The “Vipers” also spent three years on Velebit Mountain in preparation for Operation “STORM”, as recalled by unit commander Svemir Vrsaljko in the film “Four Summers and Three Winters” televised on Croatian State Television:

I don’t think one needs to be militarily inclined to understand the strategic importance and role of this sacred mountain. No man has never lived in this area for four summers and three winters consecutively. It is strategically important because of its dominant elevation. We know that their plan was to sever Croatia into two parts. However, Ravni Kotari and all communications below Velebit are controlled from these positions and you can see half of Croatia when the weather is nice. This is one of the narrowest points that Croatia held in order to help southern Croatia survive.

“VIPERS” in Operation “STORM”

The “Vipers” also brought in Operation “STORM” while stationed on Velebit Mountain and as part of the joint forces of the special police of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia, they participated in the liberation of the Ćelavac radio relay station. Đuro Župan, Svemir Vrsaljko, Nikola Šindija and Anton Dražina were the commanders of the “Vipers” Special Police Unit.

Monograph Specijalna policija u Domovinskom ratu 1990.-1996. Zagreb: Udruga specijalne policije iz Domovinskog rata, 2017

Četiri ljeta i tri zime. Croatian Radio and Television. journalist and editor: Sanja Mikleušević Pavić

Podijeli članak