The Liberation of Konavle

In July 1992, Croatian forces carried out the liberation Operation “TIGER” on the Dubrovnik battlefront. It provided the preconditions for the final liberation of southern Croatia, that is, breaking through through towards the Konavle region over the mountainous hinterland of Dubrovnik. After lengthy preparations, the Southern Battlefield Command issued an order on 14 October for offensive action with specific orders for all units participating the final push to enter Konavle.

Due to unfavourable weather conditions caused by storms common to the area, implementation of the order was delayed for several days before it finally began early in the early morning of 21 October 1992. The “Pelješčanka” ferry departed the port of Gruž in Dubrovnik at 12:45 AM and arrived at Cavtat at 2:38 AM with members of the 1st Guard “Tigers” Brigade, including the 5th Battalion and part of the command, as well as communications equipment and artillery. The “Tigers” occupied positions under cover of darkness and prevented the enemy from possibly threatening further amphibious landings by ferries after 6:00 AM. Immediately after disembarking and taking up battle formation, the “Tigers” began to break through towards Uskoplje and Jasenica. The first battalion had the task of breaking through the enemy line all the way to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina via Zvekovica, Uskoplje Brotnica, Stravče and Baletina.

“Tigers” in Konavle

The first clash with the enemy took place when the enemy opened fire with a “three-barrel” anti-aircraft cannon on Croat forces as they arrived at the foot of the fortified hill of Gradina. After these weapons were neutralized by Fagot anti-tank missiles, the “Tigers” continued to advance towards the village of Jasenice which they entered in the afternoon. Before that, they heard gunfire on their right which meant that the “Konavle” battle group was also involved in the conflict. Croatian defender Mato Golubić was killed while liberating his native Konavle in the battles at Vojski Do. In smashing the inserted enemy formations, this combat group made up of locals successfully executed the planned break through towards the villages of Šilješki and further to Duba and Stravča.

Forces of the “Count” Special Police Unit of the Dubrovnik Police Department, “Thunder” Special Police Unit of the Karlovac Police Department and the Lučko Anti-terrorist Unit entered Konavle territory prior to the operation to protect the civilian population and deter the incursion of enemy forces from eastern Herzegovina. With the arrival of the rest of the Croatian forces, they advanced towards Dubravka and Debeli Brijeg to Cape Kobila.

The concurrent execution of Operations “KONAVLE” and “VLAŠTICA” liberated over 1200 km2 after a year of enemy occupation and enabled the return of more than 20 thousand displaced persons and refugees. The Municipality of Konavle Day is also celebrated today and accordingly we congratulate all inhabitants of this beautiful Croatian region.

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