Battle of Zvornik

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Battle of Zvornik
Part of World War II in Yugoslavia
Date 4–5 July 1943
Location Zvornik, Independent State of Croatia
Result Successful liberation of Zvornik by Partisan forces[1]
1st Proletarian Brigade
Koča Popović
Nazi Germany Wehrmacht
 Independent State of Croatia
Commanders and leaders
Koča Popović (commander)
Filip Kljajić (political commissary)
Rudolf Lüters (general)
Casualties and losses
At least 2 450–2,000

The Battle of Zvornik (Bosnian: Bitka u Zvorniku) was the 1943 liberation by the 1st Proletarian Brigade of the occupied Bosnian town Zvornik from the Wehrmacht and the Ustasha troops of the occupying Independent State of Croatia.


Preparation for the offensive on the occupied town of Zvornik by the 1st Proletarian Brigade began in June 1943.[2] On the order of the brigades commander Koča Popović, the troops began their attack on the night of 4 July 1943.

The idea of the attack was that during the night the sudden, powerful onslaught could takeover the Zvornik Fortress (Kula grad) on Mount Mlađevac. Mlađevac and Zmajevac were also successfully liberated in the initial attack. The Ustasha troops, legionnaires and civilians fled across the Drina river into Serbia. Many people died crossing the Drina.

Filip Kljajić, the political commissary of the 1st Proletarian Brigade, was shot accidentally on a hill on the outskirts of Zvornik during withdrawal.[3][4][5] His body was taken to the Bosniak village Liplje on a mountain near Zvornik and buried. Kljajić's body was later taken from that spot by his family and reburied in a family plot elsewhere. A memorial was erected on the spot where his corpse was originally buried. Following the ethnic cleansing of Liplje in 1992 at the start of the Bosnian War, the memorial suffered and became overgrown with shrubbery.


Rodoljub Čolaković, who participated in the liberation on the Partisan side, wrote in his 1962 memoir Winning Freedom: "We had reached a grand and most significant victory in eastern Bosnia. We had liberated Zvornik, an important junction of communications along the Drina."[6]


  1. "The Bosnian Muslims in the Second World War; page 91". Google Books. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2016. 
  2. "From November 28, 1942, to September 10, 1943". Google Books. 15 August 1990. Retrieved 29 March 2016. 
  3. "Kako smo učili od Prve proleterske". E Novine. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  4. "Retracing Images: Visual Culture After Yugoslavia". Google Books. 5 January 1942. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  5. "Dokumenti centralnih organa KPJ NOR i revolucija (1941-1945): (16. septembar-31. decembar 1941)". Google Books. 1985. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  6. "Winning Freedom". Google Books. 1962. Retrieved 29 March 2016.