The Miraculous Battle of Novi Farkašić

The final battle for Novi Farkašić, a small town on the right bank of the Kupa River took place on 18 October 1991.

Thanks to the arrival of a platoon led by Slavko Franc and equipped with an OSA rocket launcher, the advance of tanks into Novi Farkašić was repelled already on the first day of the attack. After the clash, the guardsmen retreated to Dumače, where in the next three days they fought off two more tank advances and one infantry attack. Milan Rapljenović was killed in action in Dumače on 6 October.

In order to be certain about the situation in the field, members of the “Black Mambas” 1st Company went on a reconnaissance mission on their own initiative and realized that there were no enemies in the village of Novi Farkašić. With this information, thirty “Black Mambas” were immediately deployed in the village. After they had heard that the CNG was in Novi Farkašić, seventeen locals came to the village the next morning and offered any assistance they could provide.

As a backhoe was found in the village, it allowed for quicker digging of trenches along the road while anti-personnel and anti-tank mines were placed on other routes of approach. The commanders of the troops, who had already participated in many battles in the Banovina region, reached a mutual consensus that there would be no withdrawal from Novi Farkašić. In the following days, they experienced customary shelling by the aggressor until an intense cannonade took place in the morning of 17 October and then subsided. It was a sign that a much greater attack was being prepared.

A combined tank and infantry assault of the militarily superior enemy soon followed from the directions of Vratečki and Donji Mokrice. It lasted all day and despite having both artillery and air support, the aggressor was completely defeated. The YPA sustained heavy troop losses along with the loss of eight armoured vehicles as four tanks were destroyed while three tanks and one attack vehicle were captured. It should also be mentioned that three enemy soldiers were taken prisoner. The “Black Mambas” suffered a single fatality when Boris Crnković was killed in the village of Dumače.

It’s hard to describe it at all. There were about 25 of us. I think it was basically a battle of man against tank.

Ivica Mužić, member of the “Black Mambas”

The “Black Mambas” received reinforcements overnight on 17-18 October. It was only after daybreak that the Croatian soldiers saw what a successful defense really looked like as many disabled tanks and combat vehicles were found along the road and in nearby canals. Petar Bajan and six guardsmen went on a reconnaissance mission to determine where the enemy was located. 

As we came to the bend, to the cemetery, I said ‘Here is a tank’. Then another and another… six tanks in all. The six of them were behind me and I told them ‘don’t move, we are among them’. The enemy was in a line beside us, in a column, where they were given half a loaf of bread, some paté and tea was poured for them. When I looked at the field I saw that they had been digging all night. I was scared, so scared. The boys were also hit by panic and fear and I told them not to tell this to anyone. They said that they will take off in front of me but I said ‘stop’, that Dragutin Naglaš placed mines in the area two days ago and that they would fall upon a minefield. We fell back to our original positions and one guy hollered ‘Run, they have more tanks than we have men’. There was panic and fear but I said there will be no retreat, we are going to attack.

Petar Bajan, Deputy Commander of the 1st Company of the 1st Battalion of the 2nd A Brigade of the CNG

After withdrawing to their positions, the “Black Mambas” concluded that Novi Farkašić was impossible to defend because the next attack would be much stronger yet at the same time, they did not want to retreat because that would give the YPA an open path to the Kupa River. After some discussion, the courageous decision was made to launch a pre-emptive assault. A small group of soldiers surrounded the YPA camp and opened fire on the enemy who then fled in panic.

Two Croatian soldiers, Igor Andrijčić and Mladen Dananić were killed in action by fire from a retreating tank but the heroic battle for Novi Farkašić ended in an incredible victory for the Croatian Army. By 22 October, the “Black Mambas” pushed the aggressor all the way back to Glinska Poljana where the enemy defenses were reorganized and consolidated. Dražen Horvat and Mladen Šestić of the “Black Mambas” were killed in that battle. 

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