Operation “BRĐANI ’91” – The Forgotten Battle between Sunja and Sisak

On this day in 1991 Croatian forces launched the first major offensive on the Sisak battlefront. The objective of Operation “BRĐANI ’91” was to unblock the road between Komarevo and Sunja, which could only be reached by ferry across the Sava River.

The action was led by soldiers of the 2nd Battalion of the 2nd A Brigade of the National Guard with assistance from volunteers of the 57th Independent Battalion and troops from the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia. Five Croatian guardsmen – Ivica Hrnčević, Ivan Devčić, Osman Muratagić, Žan Marot and Alen Glavan – were killed in a fierce battle near Brđani Road and 17 were wounded. Due to the enemy’s superior manpower and weapons Croatian forces were unsuccessful in reaching their objective.

Davor Smuđ, one of the commanders in the 2nd Battalion of the 2nd A Brigade recalled the tragic event:

We should have taken control of all lines of communications between Sisak and Sunja. We set off from Komarevo during the night and detoured through Madžari, Letovanci, Čakal and Trnjan to get onto the Brđani Kosa Road. We laterally entered enemy territory and aside from two wounded we got through everything without suffering any losses. Reinforcements should have awaited us once we reached the road but since nobody was there, after 10 minutes of waiting we received orders to move towards Sunja. On the plain about 200-300 metres ahead of us there was an enemy stronghold that we destroyed but they took up positions on the railway along our left flank and opened up with infantry fire. Of 86 or 87 of us, seventeen ‘Thunder’ unit troops were wounded, three severely and two were killed instantly. It was a tough battle as shots were fired in all directions but we nonetheless put up good resistance. We were exposed to enemy fire on the open road but thankfully, God brought the morning mist and we managed to get out.

The intensity of the battle was probably best described in a report by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the so-called “Serbian Autonomous Region of Krajina”:

At around 3:40 AM yesterday the ‘Ustashas’ (the derogatory Serbian term for Croatian forces) started attacking from the direction of Sisak towards Sunja. They passed through the villages of Mađari, Trnjanić and Kinjačka, and got behind our positions. Fighting lasted all day and we were informed that the advance of the troops of the Ministry of the Interior of Croatia was halted at 3:40 PM in the village of Brđani. Two of their transports were destroyed. According to unverified information, we suffered 12 dead and 16 seriously wounded.

On the same day, members of the 3rd Battalion of the 2nd A Brigade of the Croatian National Guard were ambushed near Gornji Taborište in the Pokula Forest on the road between Gornji Viduševac and Pokupsko. Damir Pintar, a 30-year-old volunteer from Karlovac was killed and two of his comrades were wounded. Pintar left behind a wife and two children.

Damir Pintar

Cover photo – Croatian soldiers on patrol, Sisak, September 1991 (photo by Boris Savić)

Rupić, Mate, ur. Republika Hrvatska i Domovinski rat 1990.-1995. Dokumenti – Oružana pobuna Srba u Hrvatskoj i agresija oružanih snaga SFRJ i srpskih paravojnih postrojbi na Republiku Hrvatsku (1990.-1991.), knj. 1. Zagreb: Hrvatski memorijalno-dokumentacijski centar Domovinskog rata, 2007.
Monograph 2. gardijska brigada Hrvatske vojske Gromovi. Zagreb : Ministarstvo obrane Republike Hrvatske, Glavni stožer Oružanih snaga RH, 2011.

Mateja Feljan: “28. godišnjica akcije “Brđani” u sunjskom naselju Brđani Cesta”, Radio Banovina, pristup ostvaren 16.8.2020., https://www.radio-banovina.hr/28-godisnjica-akcije-brdani-u-sunjskom-naselju-brdani-cesta/

Podijeli članak