Croatian Defence Forces
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|Croatian Defence Forces
Hrvatske obrambene snage
Flag of the Croatian Defence Forces
|Active||22 January 1991–16 April 1993|
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ljubuški, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
|Motto||Za dom spremni|
|March||HOS - Za dom spremni|
|Engagements||Battle of the Barracks
Battle of Vukovar
Siege of Dubrovnik
Siege of Sarajevo
|Disbanded||September 1991 in Croatia
August 21, 1992 in Bosnia and Herzegovina
During the Croatian War of Independence, the HOS organized several early companies and actively participated in Croatia's defense. At the peak of the war in Croatia the HOS had grown to several battalions in size. The first HOS units were headed by Ante Paradžik, a prominent member of the HSP. However, he was killed by Croatian police officers in September 1991. After the November 1991 general mobilization in Croatia and then the January 1992 cease-fire, HOS was gradually absorbed into the Croatian Army.
The HOS units in Bosnia and Herzegovina consisted of Croats, Bosniaks and foreign volunteers led by Blaž Kraljević. On August 9, 1992, Kraljević and eight of his staff were assassinated by Croatian Defence Council (HVO) soldiers under the command of Mladen Naletilić. HOS was disbanded shortly afterwards and absorbed into the HVO and the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the beginning of the Croat-Bosniak War. The last HOS unit was dissolved on April 5, 1993 in central Bosnia.
The frequently used Croatian abbreviation of the organization, "HOS" (Hrvatske obrambene snage), is identical to the abbreviation for the military of the World War II Nazi puppet state, the Independent State of Croatia. The military of the Independent State of Croatia were the Croatian Armed Forces (Hrvatske oružane snage), also abbreviated "HOS" in Croatian.
Croatian Party of Rights was reestablished in Croatia on 26 February 1990, and Dobroslav Paraga became its first president. Ante Paradžik was named vice-president. Since Serbs of Croatia had revolted, Croatian civil population started to arm itself. On 21 December 1990 Serbs started to revolt and soon Yugoslav People's Army combined with revolted Serbs. Croatian Party of Rights started to consider formation of their own military wing.
Even though first squad of HOS was founded in January 1991, officially, HOS was founded on 25 June 1991 by Dobroslav Paraga, Ante Paradžik, Alija Šiljak and other leaders of HSP. Soon after they founded General Staff of HOS and Paradžik was named its chief. General Staff of HOS was in HSP's headquarters in Zagreb called Starčević's Center. At first, HOS was poorly armed, HOS soldiers procured weapons their self. However they became prominent in conflicts with Serb forces so they attracted the attention of Croatian public. Soon HSP got donations from Croat diaspora and branches of HSP in Australia and Canada so they had ability to buy more weapons and soon membership in HOS increased. However, not every member of HSP supported the idea of founding party's military wing, Krešimir Pavelić, party's secretary opposed, so as I sign of protest he left the party.
Soon many recruits of HOS came from diaspora, Bosnia and Herzegovina and overseas. Also HOS had many foreign volunteers, professional soldiers were leaving their homelands and trained HOS soldiers.
At the beginning of the Croatian War of Independence, HOS consisted of approximately 6,000 soldiers. Although being members of Croatian National Guard (ZNG), they obeyed only orders from HOS officers. Because of an unwritten rule that HOS members could only be members of HSP, HOS were considered a party paramilitary organization. At first, HOS, along with ZNG, were involved in the Battle of the Barracks and other minor battles within the whole of Croatia. HOS increased in popularity of HSP. Soon, HOS were to be found in almost every town where HSP were active. On 10 September 1991, Paraga and Paradžik organized a demonstration of one HOS company before 10,000 people on Jelačić Square. Immediately after the demonstration, this company were involved in the Battle of Vukovar under the command of Robert Šilić.
At the same time, HOS units were founded in Dalmatia. Until May 1991, Dalmatian HOS units were of company size. In an agreement between Paraga and the Slovene Minister of Defense Janez Janša, these units were sent to Slovenia for special training. Until October 1991, the unit grew to battalionsize, and were given the name of the 9th Battalion Rafael "The Knight" Boban, commanded by Jozo Radanović, a president of HSP's branch in Split. This unit became one of the most popular Croatian units. At the beginning of December 1991, Radanović was promoted to rank of Colonel within HOS.
Paradžik was gunned down at a police checkpoint near Zagreb on September 21, 1991, in what was described by the authorities as an accident.
On November 23, 1991, the Croatian Government started a general mobilization, and most of the militiamen of HOS joined the ranks of the regular Croatian Army units. Not long after the final cease-fire of January 1992, HOS were no longer active in Croatia.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Blaž Kraljević was a Croat paramilitary leader during the first few months of the Bosnian War who commanded the HOS. When the war began Kraljević began to position the HOS as the main Croat militia in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Unlike the other Croat militia, the HVO, the HOS opposed the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the creation of an ethnically cleansed Greater Croatia, instead he wanted to ally Bosnia and Herzegovina with Croatia.
After many early successes a large number of HVO soldiers defected and joined the HOS. In the summer of 1992 the HOS successfully defended Stolac, and launched an offensive into eastern Herzegovina which seized parts of the municipality of Trebinje. Much of the Serb population of Trebinje and Bileća had begun to pack up run. This went against the Graz agreement that Serbia and Croatia made regarding the division of the country.
The HOS used a black flag with the emblem in the middle, with a circle of triple-wattle within which is a chequy shield (with white first square) over a four-sided blue-white triple wattle symbol, above the inscription HOS, below HSP, Za dom spremni.
|1st Battalion Ivan "The Knight" Brdar
(1. bojna Ivan Vitez Brdar)
|Livno, Bosnia and Herzegovina||Mate Šukan|
|2nd Battalion Stojan Vujnović "The Serb"
(2. bojna Stojan Vujnović Srbin)
|Domaljevac, Bosnia and Herzegovina||Stojan Vujnović|
|4th HOS Battalion
(4. bojna HOS-a)
|6th Battalion Marijan Baotić
(6. bojna Marijan Baotić)
|9th Battalion Rafael "The Knight" Boban
(9. bojna Rafael vitez Boban)
|Split, Croatia||Marko Skejo|
|1st Company Ante Paradžik
(1. satnija Ante Paradžik)
|Vukovar HOS Company
(Vukovarska satnija HOS-a)
|Vukovar, Croatia||Robert Šilić|
|13th Battalion Jure "The Knight" Francetić
(13. bojna Jure vitez Francetić)
|Tomislavgrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina||Ivan Mamić|
|Vitez, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|101st Battalion To Drina
(101. bojna Do Drine)
|Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|19th Battalion "The Knight" Jure Francetić
(19. bojna Vitez Jure Francetić)
|Gospić, Croatia||Valentin Rajković|
|Kalesija, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Novi Travnik, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|The Hunters Company
||Ljubuški, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Autonomous Company of Security
(Samostalna satnija osiguranja)
|Mostar HOS Battalion
(Mostarska bojna HOS-a)
|Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Ljubuški HOS Company
(Ljubuška satnija HOS-a)
|Ljubuški, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Zenica HOS Company
(Zenička satnija HOS-a)
|Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Tuzla HOS Company
(Tuzlanska satnija HOS-a)
|Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Čapljina HOS Company
(Čapljinska satnija HOS-a)
|Čapljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
The Croatian Coat of Arms used by the soldiers of HOS.
Jozo Radanović, the founder and first commander of the HOS 9th battalion.
The Croatian flag used by the soldiers of HOS.
The patch of HOS-a from Prozor-Rama
The HOS patch for the Muslims
The HOS patch used by some HOS soldiers in Bosnia and Herzegovina
- "Politička ubojstva: Nedavno uhićenje Ivana Andabaka u žižu vraća ubojstvo Blaža Kraljevića, generala HOS-a, borca za BiH do Drine. I organizatori I ubojice na slobodi". Jutarnje novine (in Bosnian). 2000-12-01. Retrieved 2011-04-25.
- Absorbed into the Croatian ground army
- Absorbed into the Croatian Defence Council and Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Nigel Thomas, Nigel Thomas (2006). The Yugoslav Wars: Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia 1992-2001. Osprey Publishing. p. 21. ISBN 1-84176-964-9.
- Ramet, Sabrina P. (2006). The Three Yugoslavias: State-Building and Legitimation, 1918-2004. Indiana University Press. p. 343. ISBN 0-271-01629-9.
- Shrader, Charles R. (2003). The Muslim-Croat Civil War in Central Bosnia: A Military History, 1992-1994. Texas A&M University Press. p. 46. ISBN 1-58544-261-5.
- "IT-98-34-T, the Prosecutor versus Naletilic and Martinovic". ICTY. 17 July 2002. Retrieved 2007-09-25. "Q. Well, sir, during the time that you lived in Mostar, during these years, and in that region, did you ever -- did you understand that HOS was a unit that -- an organization that believed more in a multi-ethnic Bosnia of the Croats and Muslims working together? ... wasn't it because of the HDZ's conflict with that philosophy, that Mr. Kraljevic was ultimately murdered?"
- Pg 85 - "From Ottawa to Sarajevo: Canadian Peacekeepers in the Balkans" (PDF). Centre for International Relations, Queen's University Kingston, Ontario Canada. 1998. Retrieved 2007-09-25.ISBN 0889117888
- "HOS, Croatian Defence Forces". crwflags. 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-11. "The HOS used a black flag with the emblem in the middle, with a circle of triple-wattle within which is a chequy shield (with white first square) over a four-sided blue-white triple wattle (similar to the one used as Ustasha symbol, on flags of the Independent State of Croatia in World War II), above the inscription HOS, below HSP, ZA DOM SPREMNI (For Homeland. Ready!)."
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