By dr. Peter Anthony Ercegovac, PhD
Autor posvećuje ovaj rad svim pripadnicima HOS-a iz Vinkovaca i Nuštra koji su branili Nuštar, a time Vinkovce i Hrvatsku
Nuštar from the very beginning of the war found itself in an awkward strategic position, being a Croatian village surrounded by villages with majority ethnic Serbian populations. Already as hostilities began in July 1991 throughout Eastern Slavonia and Baranja local authorities began to reorganise civil defence along military lines. Volunteers were sought from the local community to man guard posts along major traffic routes and the periphery of the town in order to scout the activities of the JNA. Most were young people in their late teens and early twenties. Though young they came from many forms of life: students, agricultural workers, labourers as well as doctors and schoolteachers. Whilst the first initial defence positions were established the population of the village slowly withered away as families and elderly people left to more secure Croatian cities behind the front lines.
With the front lines between ethnically divided villages solidifying the rebel Serbs with assistance of the JNA began 24 hour bombing of the village in July. This followed the classic tactics of the JNA based on the Ottoman-Turkish concept of Akrim or scorched earth policy. First, the JNA would surround a town, then evacuate as many members of Serbian ethnicity as possible, once it was established that all “friendlies” had left then they would proceed with grid based artillery (both heavy and light) carpet bombing of a town until it was left as rubble. All this was designed to lay waste to defensive positions of enemy combatants in order to allow for open space for a full frontal ground force attack accompanied by tanks.
Why Nuštar was of strategic importance for the JNA was that it was a strategic logistics point for the ZNG to replenish supplies in manpower, food and medicines for the city of Vukovar, which was one of the more important goals of JNA strategists. Essentially, JNA strategists believed that if the ethnically mixed city of Vukovar along the Danube would quickly fall then JNA forces would have open tank land before them all the way to Osijek, the regional capital of Slavonia and eventually Zagreb the Croatian capital. Much of these plans were based upon the routes of the Srijem Front, which the Soviet Red Army followed in its conquest of the German and her allied armies whilst retreating through the former Yugoslavia from 1944 to 1945. In fact during the 1980s many war games had been played by the JNA using the very same lines of attack in case of a foreign incursion from the West by NATO forces. All aggressive defensive strategies played out during these war games were done so from east to west- from the Socialist Republic of Serbia through the SR Croatia and SR Slovenia to the Austrian and Italian borders. Nastavi čitati The Battle of Nuštar: The First and Last Line of Defence of the City of Vinkovci