He gave his Life to save his wounded Comrades – The Death of Darko “Drc” Babić, War Hero

Darko Babić, a member of the 1st Infantry Battalion of the 2nd Guard “Black Mamba” Brigade and hero of the Homeland War was killed on 26 August 1992.

“Drc”, as he was known to his comrades mustered with his 3rd Company and set out on 25 August for the assembly point to prepare for one of the missions that would contribute to the liberation of the Dubrovnik hinterland. As if he had a premonition of what would happen the next day, Darko Babic wrote his farewell letter that evening.

Based upon suggestions that came from the field, general Janko Bobetko, commander of the Southern Battlefield issued an order for combat operations along the entire battlefront in order to cause confusion among the enemy. The ultimate goal was to liberate the dominant heights above Popovo Field and force the enemy across the Trebišnjica River. The operation was launched in the early morning hours of 26 August.

The objective of Combat Group 2 to which Babić’s company belonged was to liberate Timun Hill, a prominent and strategic highland that would place the Hum-Trebinje railway line in the hands of the Croatian forces. The “Black Mambas” took control of the hill and were greatly assisted by artillery and mortar support that threatened Serb positions.

Shortly afterwards, the forces of the Army of Republika Srpska from Bosnia-Herzegovina retaliated with a fierce attack as mortar shells rained down on Timun Hill. One of the most seriously wounded in the attack was Zlatko Ivić, now a retired colonel in the Croatian Army and a 100% war invalid. He described the chaos that followed:

It was as if the sky had fallen, you didn’t know from where or how they were hitting you.

Timun Hill was barren rock with no shelter and shrapnel flew everywhere. Ivić was hit with 47 fragments, one of which went through his head while his right kidney and right lung were also severely damaged. His lung was so bad that the smoke he inhaled exited through his open wounds.

Severely wounded Zlatko Ivić

At that moment, a group of Ivić’s comrades climbed up the hill to help him and the other wounded. Darko “Drc” Babić, who was killed by a grenade in a selfless attempt to save the lives of his comrades was also in that group. His death happened only two metres away from the severely wounded Ivić, who contemplated suicide so as not to fall into the hands of the aggressor. Before his death, Babić managed to call for help with his “Motorola” phone and thus saved Ivić’s life. Their fellow soldier “Vili”, also known as the “traveling ambulance” found Ivić and treated his injuries while “Dupli”, “Tanto” and other comrades arrived and pulled him to safety, recalled Ivić.

Darko Babić, a young man from Zagreb’s Trešnjevka quarter was 25 years old when he died.

Sources
Turić, Gordana. U viteza krunica (knjiga I). Zagreb: Udruga roditelja poginulih branitelja Domovinskog rata grada Zagreba, 2008.
Oral testimony of Zlatko Ivić, collected on August 25, 2015.

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