Ljubo Novaković

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Brigadier General
Ljubo Novaković
Native name Љубо Новаковић
Born 1883
Principality of Montenegro
Died Late 1943
German occupied territory of Montenegro
Allegiance Kingdom of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (–1941)
Chetniks (1941–43)
Years of service 1912–43
Rank Brigadier General
Battles/wars World War II in Yugoslavia
Relations Zaharije Ostojić (brother-in-law)

Ljubo Novaković (Serbian Cyrillic: Љубо Новаковић; 1883–1943) was a Montenegrin officer in the Royal Yugoslav Army who became a Chetnik commander during World War II. He initially fought for the Chetniks of Draža Mihailović and those of Kosta Pećanac, but became disillusioned with both movements. He went to eastern Bosnia in late 1941, and raised Chetnik bands to fight Yugoslav Partisans there. He was captured by the Partisans in January 1943 and taken to Foča, where he was kept under constant surveillance. Partisan leader Josip Broz Tito likely believed that Novaković could be used to counteract Mihailović's influence among Chetniks in eastern Bosnia. Novaković left Foča with a British mission in April 1942 and returned to Montenegro with the intention of reassembling the disorganized Chetnik formations there. He was killed in late 1942, by either the Partisans or Mihailović's Chetniks.

Early life[edit]

Ljubo Novaković was born in the Principality of Montenegro in 1883.[1] He was married to the sister of Major Zaharije Ostojić, an officer in the Royal Yugoslav Air Force.[2]

World War II[edit]

An artillery officer, Novaković held the rank of Brigadier General during the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941. He led the 3rd Army's Komski Cavalry Detachment, which consisted of the 48th Infantry Regiment and a mountain artillery division. Between 7 and 12 April, his forces engaged the Royal Italian Army on the Yugoslav–Albanian border near the town of Gusinje. Following the collapse of Yugoslavia, Novaković was captured by the Germans and detained inside a military hospital in Valjevo.[1]

Novaković was smuggled out of the Valjevo hospital by Chetnik sympathizers in late May 1941.[3] He then went to Ravna Gora, and arrived at the headquarters of Chetnik leader Draža Mihailović in June. Mihailović and his advisors were deeply suspicious of Novaković because of his high military rank and worried that he might wish to usurp Mihailović as commander of the Chetniks. Novaković soon left Ravna Gora and joined the Chetniks of Kosta Pećanac. Pećanac gave Novaković command over several detachments in Šumadija, in an area not far from Mihailović's headquarters. Novaković quickly realized that Pećanac was collaborating with the Germans and that Mihailović was not engaging in resistance, but merely waiting for an Allied invasion of Yugoslavia. On 18 September 1941, he issued an order explaining his objectives and calling on his commanders and their detachments to assemble for action against the Germans in four days' time. Very few commanders abided by the order.[4] In late September, Novaković and several other Chetnik commanders led an attack against the Germans in which about 3,000 under-equipped men participated, some armed only with scythes and picks.[5] When Pećanac heard about Novaković's actions, he relieved him of his command.[4]

Disillusioned with the Chetniks, Novaković left Serbia and went to eastern Bosnia and briefly fought against the communist Yugoslav Partisans there. In late January 1942, he was captured by some local Partisans and taken to their headquarters in Foča. He stayed there for some time and was kept under constant surveillance, likely because Partisan leader Josip Broz Tito believed that he could be used to counteract Mihailović's influence among Chetniks in eastern Bosnia. In March 1942, a British military mission stopped by the Partisan headquarters in Foča on its way to a meeting with Mihailović.[4] On 15 April 1942, the British left without telling Tito of their intention to meet with Mihailović and Novaković went along.[6] Before leaving, he left Tito a note in which he threatened to raise 5,000 Bosnian Serb Chetniks to fight the Partisans in eastern Bosnia. Furious, Tito became convinced that the British had devised an elaborate plot to disadvantage the Partisans by strengthening the Chetniks. He wrote to the League of Communists of Croatia: "We now have certain proof that the British, through their agents in Yugoslavia, are working not to remove but rather to intensify the differences between ourselves and other groups such as the Chetniks. England is supporting different Chetnik bands, just as the Germans are doing, and egging them on."[2]

Novaković appeared in Montenegro in 1943 and began reassembling the disorganized Chetnik formations there. He was killed in Montenegro in late 1943.[4] Author Marcia Kurapovna writes that he was shot and killed by the Chetnik 5th Mountain Brigade, on orders from Mihailović.[7] Historian Jozo Tomasevich states that he was captured by the Partisans, tried as an "enemy of the people" and shot.[4]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Terzić 1963, p. 599.
  2. ^ a b Kurapovna 2009, p. 91.
  3. ^ Milazzo 1975, p. 22.
  4. ^ a b c d e Tomasevich 1975, p. 129.
  5. ^ Ramet 2006, p. 143.
  6. ^ Kurapovna 2009, p. 90.
  7. ^ Kurapovna 2009, p. 92.

References[edit]