Article from Gaston Besson
Website : http://www.usddr.net
USDDR VDO Channel :
Association of the foreign volunteers of the homeland war - Croatia / Bosnia - 1991 / 1995
447 Foreign Volunteers from 35 different countries.
Killed in action ( K.I.A. ) = 63
Wounded in action ( W.I.A.) = 74
England (139) = 15 killed , 20 wounded
Germany (53) = 14 killed , 8 wounded
France (67) = 8 killed , 20 wounded
USA (18) = 3 Killed , 1 wounded
Hungaria (33) = 2 killed , 5 wounded
Austria (10) = 2 killed , 1 wounded
Nederland (27) = 2 killed , 2 wounded
Italy (7) = 2 killed , 1 wounded
Canada (7) = 2 killed
Switzerland (4) = 2 killed
Belgium (4) = 1 killed , 1 wounded
Australia (15) = 1 killed , 2 wounded
Portugal (2) = 1 Killed
Ukraine (1) = 1 killed
Slovakia (4) = 1 killed , 1 wounded
Irish (10) = 1 killed , 2 wounded
Scotland (5) = 1 killed , 2 wounded
Bulgaria (2) = 1 killed
Rhodesia (1) = 1 Killed
Dannmark (4) = 1 Killed
Gambia (1) = 1 Killed
Finland (3) = 2 wounded
Chile (1) = 1 wounded
Spane (4) = 2 wounded
Poland (8) = 1 wounded
Sweden (3) = 1 wounded
Wales (4) = 1 wounded
About Foreign volunteers. Who are we ?
As the twentieth century drew to a close communist ideology finally collapsed, and countries that had spent half a century under oppressive dictatorships now emerged to take their rightful place in the free world.
Croatia was such a country, a nation and a people who had kept alive an unfulfilled dream of independence and freedom for hundreds of years. But unlike most of eastern europe, that long denied dream would still require years of struggle and sacrifice against a dictatorship that still held on to its past.
Croatia's towns, cities and villages were shelled relentlessly from air,land and sea. The county's religious and cultural symbols were slowly and deliberately being destroyed in the quest for a "Greater Serbia".
The International Community looked on and did nothing to halt the gross military imbalance, blatant Serbian aggression and the Armies advancing into Croatia, "cleansing" civilian areas as well as military targets as it went.
We watched those pictures on television and heard politicians talk of ceasefires whilst Serb paramilitaries marched through Croatian towns. Disgusted by the inability of the international community and our own governments to halt the slaughter, individuals rose to the challenge from every civilised nation, setting aside political, ideological and cultural differences.
Most protested, raised funds or conducted humanitarian operations. Many went further to help. Volunteering to fight for Croatia, bringing with them the will to fight for another county's freedom and the courage to stay and win it.
They were welded by a shared purpose; the prevention of murder, rape and the wholesale destruction of civilian property and cultural heritage. Individuals stood when their own countries turned their backs.
These individuals became known as the Foreign Volunteers.
Present in every front-line brigade, volunteers could be found on all of Croatia's five fronts as well as in the overcrowded hospitals of Zagreb. We were an enormous boost to civilian morale and our presence in battered front-line towns brought resolve to exhausted defenders. And a realisaton that Croatia did have its allies.We helped reorganise defensive positions and stiffened crumbling units. We fought as front-line infantry and taught on the job military skills to men who weeks before were ordinary civilians going about their business. In return we learned their language, received their hospitality and gained mutual respect.
When Bosnia became the next target of the Yugoslav Army and its Serb paramilitaries the Foreign Volunteers headed south in order to help the Forces of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) in defending its land.
Many volunteers paid the ultimate price and sacrificed their lives. 63 men were killed in action and 74 injured, a 30% casualty rate. Their sacrifice helped win independence and freedom for Croatia, after five years of war.
© Copyright Gaston Besson 2007
Futher articles of Interest
USDDR : Association of Foreign volunteers - Croatia / Bosnia - 1991/95 . Website : http://www.usddr.net - Forum : http://croatie.aceboard.fr
Fall of Laslovo ( Osijek ) Film "chico " ( 2001 ) by Eduardo Flores .
PIV - International Brigade led by Eduardo Flores
USDDR : Foreign volunteers association - Croatia / Bosnia - 1991 /95 .
website: http://www.usddr.net - http://croatie.aceboard.fr
Fall of Laslovo - Film " Chico " ( 2001 ) made by Eduardo Flores . PIV - International Brigade .