The unsuccessful Battle of Korita

After the strategically important Trokut Motel was liberated on 19 November 1991, Croatian forces continued their efforts in the western Slavonija region. On 23 November 1991, seven Croatian national guardsmen were killed in an attempt to liberate the village of Korita during Operation “HURRICANE 91”.

The objective was to liberate the villages of Korita, Jagma and Subocka as well as cut links between Kukunjevac and Lipik near Dobrovac. On a foggy and rainy morning, the 151st Samobor Brigade and 1st Guard “Tigers” Brigade of the Croatian Army were to launch an attack towards Trokut – Korita – Jagma – Gornja Subocka, while the 56th Independent Kutina Battalion, reinforced by the 65th Independent Ivanić Battalion and “Merčep” units. The attack was initially successful but around noon the Yugoslav People’s Army (YPA) reorganized its forces and launched a strong infantry and tank counterattack supported by heavy mortar fire. Poor communications also contributed to the challenging situation.

The greatest sacrifice was made by the 56th Independent Kutina Battalion of the Croatian Army whose reconnaissance and sabotage platoon had already entered the western part of Korita and neutralized some enemy soldiers on guard duty. However, one survivor activated a fire siren which prompted a Serb counterattack.

Many were wounded during the retreat while the 65th Independent Battalion’s Josip Konečni along with Ivan Križak, Siniša Coha, Srećko Demeter, Krunoslav Rošin and Željko Kosović of the 56th Independent Battalion were all killed in action. Zvonko Liktar of the 151st Samobor Brigade died in neighbouring Livađani.

The counterattack was repelled thanks to the arrival of fresh reinforcements to positions in Lovska, the Trokut Motel, Brezovac, Subocka, Livađani and Donji Kričke. The strength of the counterattack showed that the Croatian forces, after the initial successes in this phase of Operation “HURRICANE 91” underestimated their opponent. In addition to the seven killed, the Croatian army suffered many wounded and the following few days were used to organize forces in order to continue the operation in which Korita was finally liberated on 7 December 1991.

Cover photo – Željko Gašparović

Sources
Literature
Monograph Otok Ivanić u Domovinskom ratu. Zagreb: Nova knjiga Rast, 2012
Marijan, Davor. Novska u Domovinskom ratu. Novska: HVIDRA, 2009

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