The Croatian Army launches an Attack on Serb-Occupied Baranja

On 30 November 1991, the 107th Valpovo Brigade of the Croatian Army (CA) attacked the enemy in the occupied Baranja region by forcing an assault via the Drava River.

The task was to push the enemy back as far as possible from the north riverbank of the Drava and destroy the hunting lodges along the river so that they could not be used to attack the south bank or territory under the Croatian control.

The attack was launched in the early morning hours and was directed primarily towards the village of Torjanci. The lead unit was the reconnaissance and sabotage company under the command of Ivica Matković, who knew the terrain very well. Upon entering the village, open struggle ensued with local Serbs who were soon reinforced by troops from Beli Manastir, most likely drawn from the “White Eagles” paramilitary units. Despite receiving artillery support, the scouts had to withdraw and four Croatian soldiers, Pavo Horvat, Marko Pavlović, Darko Drevenšek and Damir Banović were killed during the fierce battle.

The 1st Battalion of the 107th CA Brigade were in action on the auxiliary line of attack towards ​​Židopustara and Medrovići. At dawn, they crossed the Drava by boat and made it through the forest belt along the bank that was flooded due to high water levels. There was a fortified bunker every 300 metres along the bank, each contained a crew of 5 to 8 enemy soldiers and the bunkers were connected by dug pathways to another line of trenches. Realizing that they had been attacked, local Serb territorial units opened up with random fire towards the forest.

Some of the Croatian forces managed to reach the bank but were unable to cross it due to strong resistance. Five soldiers were wounded in these battles, including Commander Tomislav Ivić of the 1st Battalion.

Despite having to withdraw to the south side of the Drava, Croatian forces achieved some operational objectives. Significant losses were inflicted upon Serbian forces, both in Torjanci and on the bank and the 107th Valpovo Brigade “Wolves from Drava” (cro. “Vukovi s Drave”) of the Croatian Army proved that it possessed the strength, courage and knowledge to respond to the Serbs’ daily provocations.

Martinić Jerčić, Natko; Ružić Slaven. 107. Vukovi s Drave. Belišće: Slog, 2017

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