The Liberation of Knin

The city of Knin, the centre and symbol of Serbian rebellion in Croatia, was liberated on this day in 1995. That proud and triumphant day of Croatian victory was declared a national holiday by the Croatian Parliament as the Day of Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving (Thanksgiving for the Homeland).

The primary forces in the liberation of Knin were the 7th Guard “Puma” Brigade and the 4th Guard “Spider” Brigade. As such, the command of the Split Military District prepared 2 twenty metre flags especially made to be raised on the Knin fortress as a symbol of military victory.

There was a friendly rivalry between the “Pumas” and “Spiders” as to which brigade would be the first to raise their flag. Captain Branko Žeželj of the “Puma” Brigade took possession of the flag in the village of Rujani and upon entering Knin was escorted to the fortress to hoist the flag by General Ivan Korade and the recon unit of the 2nd Battalion. Upon arriving at the fortress, the flag of the so-called “Republic of Serbian Krajina”, which had no business being there, was first removed with some minor difficulty. As it was taken down, the pole’s chain broke and the “Pumas” could not place the Croatian flag on the mast. Instead, the decision was made to place the flag on the fortress at 10:15 AM. After the mast was repaired, the Croatian flag was finally raised the next day by Dr. Franjo Tuđman, President of the Republic of Croatia, who kissed it during its release.

Photo for history – First “Pumas” on Knin fortress

Along with Knin on 5 August 1995, Croatian forces also liberated Žitnić, Drniš, Kijevo, Vrlika, Lovinac, Gračac, Ljubovo, Plaški, Saborsko, Lička Jasenica, Obrovac, Benkovac and Škabrnja.

Marijan, Davor. Oluja. Zagreb: Hrvatski memorijalno-dokumentacijski centar Domovinskog rata, 2007.
Monograph 7. gardijska brigada Hrvatske vojske Puma. Zagreb: Despot infinitus, 2012.

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