The Battle of Đulovac

On 15 December 1991, Croatian forces liberated the villages of Nova Krivaja, Puklica, Donje Cjepidlake, Gornje Cjepidlake and Đulovac in the Daruvar area.

The main precondition for this success was achieved two days earlier when Stara Krivaja was captured  by the 3rd Company, 1st Battalion of the 127th Virovitica Brigade. Securing that village severed all links between rebel Serbs in ​​Đulovac with those in Voćin which was simultaneously liberated by the forces of the 136th Slatina Brigade. On 14 December, there was a fierce battle for Donje Cjepidlake in which “A” Company of the 127th Brigade, with the help of a tank platoon, attacked fortified Serb positions at the entrance to the village. Two tanks were directly involved in the attack while a third provided artillery support. With sub-zero temperatures, battle conditions were difficult. The command of the 127th Brigade had information that local Serb rebels were abandoning their positions and any remaining resistance was offered mostly by “fortified groups of Šešelj’s volunteers despite having suffered heavy losses a few days earlier,” stated historian Natko Martinić Jerčić in “War Journey of the 127th Brigade of the Croatian Army from its Establishment to the Sarajevo Armistice.”

In the morning of 15 December 1991, units of the 127th Brigade continued their operations against Serb forces as “A” Company of the 1st Company of the 1st Battalion, together with the tank platoon, liberated Donje and Gornje Cjepidlake. Units from the 3rd Battalion mastered all links between Gornja Cjepidlaka and Đulovac while units of the 2nd Battalion advanced west of that position along the railway and links between Pivnica and Đulovac. South of Đulovac, members of the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 127th Brigade, with the help of a tank platoon of the 117th Koprivnica Brigade, captured the villages of Nova Krivaja and Puklica. As a result, Serb forces in Đulovac were surrounded and after a short battle, the village was liberated and forces from the Virovitica area at Katinac merged with the forces operating out of Grubišno Polje and Daruvar.

Croatian soldiers Vladimir Horvatinović from Korija and Drago Klarić and Miodrag Vlaškić from Budakovac were killed in the Battle of Đulovac. Upon entering the village (then known as Miokovićevo), Croatian forces discovered a series of crimes committed by rebel Serbs against Croatian civilians who remained in their homes when the uprising began. No one has been held accountable for the crimes in Đulovac as of yet. Although he was obliged to do so, former local police commander Veljko Stjepanović failed to prevent illegal imprisonment, torture and physical abuse of Croatian civilians and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in 2018.

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