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Serb Forces Surrender Croatia

December 10, 2009

Croatia (ENN) -- The following is a timeline of events that transpired during the last 10 days of the war in Croatia, based on information from war correspondents and press releases issued by both sides of the conflict.

Serb reserve brigade shown escaping Croat territory in November 26 photo

Serb reserve brigade shown escaping Croat territory in November 26 photo

Nov. 12 - 20: Serbia asks for a cease-fire and proposes terms for ending the conflict, which is accepted by NATO SACEUR.  Yugoslavia offers to pay for its share of the war damages and renounce all claim to Croatia except for the eastern end of the country where the steel mills are located, and the strategically important Prevlaka Peninsula, which controls Yugoslavian shipping from the port of Kotor.  Jovan Zebic, President of Serbia, made the following radio broadcast at that time:

"People of Greater Serbia and Yugoslavia,

It is my deepest regret to inform you that the attempt to unify and strengthen our nation has not turned to our necessary advantage. It is with a heavy heart that I have initiated cease-fire negotiations with the NATO powers via the UN. The past few weeks have taken a terrible toll of life and material in our unhappy region of the world. Whilst this venture may not have seen the realization of the re- unification of our great nation, it has shown the world that Serbia is not to be sidelined and isolated. I am proud of my generals, my soldiers and most of all, proud of the Serbian people, once again their resistance to adversity can be held up as an example to all of the world. The rights of our Serbian comrades in Croatia will be protected as will our national sovereignty. Our army, air force and navy stand ready to defend what is rightfully ours and will fight to the last man and last bullet if NATO attempt to take from us what is considered to be ours." 

NATO members consider the offer but the U.S. demanded that only an unconditional surrender will suffice, claiming that the cease-fire was just an excuse to buy time. 

Nov. 21: U.S. convinces NATO to end the cease-fire and finish what they started. Serbia is given 6 hours to comply with NATO demands for an unconditional surrender, to which there is no response.  By noon of that day the war resumes.  The U.S. relieves its commander of European forces (SACEUR, also top NATO commander) for agreeing to the cease-fire, replacing him with the commander of the U.S. V Corps, whose battle tactics and politics are known to be more aggressive.

UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) video image showing a B52 strike on Serbian positions

Nov. 22 - 25: NATO air power delivers devastating amounts of ordnance on Serbian positions running north-south about 50 miles from the Yugoslavian border.  B-1s, B-2s and B-52s dropped massive amounts of ordnance, including GBU-28 "bunker buster" munitions to destroy fortifications. EuroCorps then hit defenses with artillery prior to launching a probing attack to fix these forces. 

Meanwhile, V Corps and XVIII Airborne Corps swing south through Bosnia and envelope nearly all Serbian forces, with the exception of two reserve brigades about 15 miles from the border.  One of these brigades was smashed by a subsequent attack by 1st U.S. Mech and 3rd U.S. Mech Infantry Divisions, with air support from 3 fighter wings plus at least 1 regiment of attack helos.  The Serbian brigade was about 85% destroyed in less than 4 hours.  During this time 22 MEU and 24 MEU, which landed around Nov. 8, crush the remains of a tank brigade near the coast with assistance from their PHIBRON ACE and the carrier air wing.  24 MEU took a beating 2 weeks previous, but managed to crush Yugoslavian resistance and eventually link up with 22 MEU, cutting off half of the Serbian forces along the coast. 

Nov. 26: Eurocorps overruns Serbian positions along what is left of their main line of defense, while V and XVIII Corps traps them from behind as they try to flee to the Yugoslavian border.  The one remaining reserve brigade escaped to Yugoslavia.  Meanwhile, NATO air power unleashed its fury and virtually shut down most of the country of Yugoslavia, destroying 90-95% of its power and most of its C3 infrastructure. 

Nov. 27: The commander of the Serbian Army surrenders unconditionally to NATO forces.  NATO rounds up almost 10,000 prisoners in one day. 

Nov. 28 - 30: NATO discusses terms of the surrender and the future of the Balkans. The U.S. Secretary of State and the newly appointed SACEUR preside over the surrender ceremony. 

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