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PRESERVING THE ITEMS THAT WITNESSED HISTORY

Operation Una

Operation Una

Operation Una was the final offensive of the Croatian army during the Yugoslav civil war. The goal of this military operation was to secure the safe crossing of the Croatian army across the river Una into the territory of Republika Srpska.  

 

 

Operation Una started in September 1995, following the successful Operation Storm, during which Croatian forces took control over the Republic of Srpska Krajina. The Croatian offensive aimed to push the Serbian forces further into the Republika Srpska, and to connect with the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The final phase of the operation would involve conquering the town Prijedor, which would provide conditions to eventually attack Banja Luka, the capital city of the Bosnian Serb entity. Establishing a Croatian military presence in Republika Srpska would secure a better position of the Croatian side in the ongoing peace negotiations.

 

 

The attack started in the early morning of the 18th of September, with artillery shelling of several municipalities along the river Una, the border between the Republika Srpska and Croatia. The attack was mostly carried out by the First and The Second Guard Brigade (Tigers and Thunders), with the participation of the elite special forces unit ‘Crne Mambe’ (Black Mambas), Croatian airforce, and navy.


 

On the other side of the river, the Serbian defending forces have mainly consisted of police officers and army reservists, mostly older soldiers. The Croatian forces had initial success in municipalities Kozarska Dubica and Novi Grad, where they managed to enter the town areas and engage in heavy street fighting. However, they failed to secure the lodgement, and deploy the pontoon bridge, and therefore the remaining Croatian forces had to cross the river on boats, under heavy Serbian fire. After receiving reinforcement, the Army of the Serbian Republic managed to regroup and provide fierce resistance to the attackers. Croatian forces suffered heavy losses, especially the special unit ‘Crne Mambe', which was almost wiped out. Later that day, the Croatian forces were forced to retreat, and the offensive was stopped.


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