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[80 years ago today] "• Germany launches the invasion of Yugoslavia, though units invading from Romania and Hungary are not yet in position. Italian units will begin a drive from northern Italy, while forces in Albania are holding position. The Yugoslavian defense plan provides for the defense of the entire length of the border. Almost the whole Yugoslav army - 27 divisions or 88% of all its forces - are to be deployed in defensive operations, leaving only minimal reserves. Very few Yugoslav units are at full strength due to reservists still drawing equipment and being in transit. The dispersal of the Yugoslav forces along an extended border front limits their operational capability and greatly eases the Axis invasion. Lastly, many Croat formations will decline to resist, instead standing aside or actively helping as the Axis forces advance.

• The Germans launch the invasion with a saturation raid on Belgrade (Operation Punishment) despite Yugoslav declarations that it is an open city. 484 aircraft in three waves leave approximately 4,000 dead in the city. The raid also wreaks havoc with the ability of the Yugoslav high command to keep in contact with the armed forces.

- Yugoslavia has a little over a hundred modern fighters (Bf-109E, Hurricane, and Rogožarski IK-3).

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Rogožarski IK-3

 

- Yugoslav fighters down approximately 20 German aircraft while suffering similar losses, while Yugoslav airfields, including dispersal fields thought to be hidden, are hit by the Luftwaffe.

 

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Wrecked JKRV Blenheim on the ground"

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[80 years ago today] "• Continuous Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica attacks on Belgrade and Yugoslav airfields are at times being opposed by elderly planes like Hawker Furys and Ikarus IK-2s. "

 

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Ikarus IK-2

 

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35 Grupa Fury, No.53, lined up together with other aircraft at the cessation of hostilities.
No. 53 was the last licence-built Yugoslavian Fury to be manufactured.

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[80 years ago today] "• Additional German air raids on Belgrade kill an estimated 13,000 civilians.

- The National Library of Serbia is completely destroyed by bombing with the loss of more than half a million volumes, manuscripts, journals, and documents extending back thru Ottoman, Byzantine, and Roman times

 

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Site of the National Library in 2008.

 

- The Yugoslav Air Force has detailed a squadron of Breguet 19 light bombers to be on call to both Greek and Yugoslav units on the Albanian front.

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Bre-19s

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Posted (edited)

[80 years ago today] "• Modern Yugoslav destroyer Beograd, four old Austro-Hungarian torpedo boats, and six Uskok-class motor torpedo boats have been deployed to Šibenik in preparation for a bombardment mission against Italian units at Zara (modern Zadar) and attacks on Italian shipping when the flagship is damaged by Italian bombers and the mission called off.

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JRM Beograd. The 12th "Jadranska" Infantry Division will advance on Zara but not be able to take it from the Italian garrison.

- The remainder of the Yugoslav Navy stays in port for harbor defense, though Dornier-22 floatplanes will conduct minelaying missions against Italian ports in Albania and attacks on Italian convoys without results.

 

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• Yugoslav SM-79K bombers attack Italian positions in Albania, supporting the advance of 15th Infantry Division "Zetska" on Shkodër.

 

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Edited by cardboard_killer
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