Black Legion (Ustaše militia)

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Black Legion
Active 3 September 1941 – 8 May 1945
Country  Independent State of Croatia
Branch Ustaše militia
Type Mechanized infantry
Role Anti-partisan operations
Size Regiment
Nickname Blacks (Crnci)
Motto Za poglavnika i za dom spremni! (Ready for Poglavnik and homeland)
Colors Black
Engagements Operation Ozren
Operation Trio
Battle of Kozara
Battle of Kupres
Operation Vlasenica
Operation Dinara
Disbanded 8 May 1945
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Jure Francetić
Rafael Boban
Insignia
Identification
symbol
Black uniform

The Black Legion (Crna Legija) was an Ustaše militia infantry unit active during World War II in Independent State of Croatia and later incorporated into the 5th division of the Croatian Armed Forces in December 1944.[1] The legion was formed in September 1941 as the 1st Ustaša Regiment. It consisted largely of Muslim and Croatian refugees from eastern Bosnia, where large massacres were carried out by Chetniks and to a small degree by the Yugoslav Partisans.[1] It became known for its fierce fighting against the Chetniks and the Partisans and massacres against Serb civilians.[1] The legion's commanders were Colonel Jure Francetić and Major Rafael Boban and it consisted of between 1,000 and 1,500 men.[1]

History[edit]

The Black Legion was formed in Sarajevo in April 1941 with 12 founding members of which 11 were Croat and one was Muslim. The force grew to be predominantly Muslim in response to the atrocities carried out against Muslims.[2] Its first official name was Sarajevo Ustaše Camp. The unit was formed by pre-war Ustaše members, Jozo Zubić, Drago Jilek and Bećir Lokmić. The unit commander was Lokmić, an Ustaše member stationed in Sarajevo before the war. The unit's first task was guarding of state buildings in Sarajevo.[3]

Its first armed conflict occurred on the railway in Pale, Sarajevo, against Chetniks who wanted to take over the water supply. Soon, they entered conflict with Chetniks on the wider area of Sarajevo, under mountains Igman, Trebević and Romanija. in April 1941.

While Boban remained in command of the unit to the very end of the war, Francetić was killed in action in 1942 and was succeeded by Colonel Ivo Stipković and then Major Franjo Sudar. With the loss of its commander, the Legion was broken up. The main body became the I Pokretni Ustaški sdrug (I Mobile Ustaša Brigade), while the Boban Battalion was used to form the cadre for the newly formed V Ustaša Brigade in Podravina. Former members of the Black Legion continued to wear the black uniform right up to the end of the war, probably as a sort of honorary mark of distinction. Lastly, at least 120 former Black Legion men were executed by the Partisans at Sisak in May 1945.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Tomasevich (2001), p. 422
  2. ^ Hoare (2006), p. 165
  3. ^ Marković 2003, p. 43.

References[edit]

External links[edit]