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Code: 335946 Available

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Number: 1302
Value: 3.10 HRK
Design: Dean Roksandić, designer, Zagreb
Photo: redakcija časopisa Hrvatski vojnik, Odjel hrvatskih vojnih glasila i izdavaštva, MORH
Size: 29.82 x 35.50 mm
Paper: white 102 g, gummed
Perforation: Comb,14
Technique: Multicolored Offsetprint
Printed by: AKD d.o.o., Zagreb
Date of issue: 3/8/2020
Quantity: 250,000

MILITARY AND POLICE OPERATION LIGHTNING In the morning of 1 May 1995, Croatian armed and police forces launched a swift offensive to liberate the occupied territory in western Slavonia. In just thirty hours, Croatian forces, 7200 soldiers and police officers strong, liberated 500 square kilometres of the previously occupied area of western Slavonia. MILITARY AND POLICE OPERATION STORM Poslije početnog djelovanja snaga Hrvatskog ratnog zrakoplovstva i uništenih neprijateljskih sustava veze te topničke pripreme po vojnim ciljevima hrvatske oružane snage krenule su u akciju istodobno iz 30 smjerova na bojišnici dugoj 700 kilometara. Udarnu snagu na glavnim smjerovima napada činile su gardijske brigade potpomognute specijalnom policijom MUP-a i 1. hrvatskim gardijskim zdrugom te domobranskim i pričuvnim postrojbama.

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MILITARY AND POLICE OPERATION LIGHTNING In the villages of western Slavonia, the wartime autumn of 1991 saw Croats being forced to flee their homes with heavy hearts and tears in their eyes. Enemy shellfire was getting more ferocious and days they spent as refugees seemed to grow longer, but the hope of return never left them. That autumn, the enemy blocked all traffic on the motorway connecting the eastern and central Croatia, threatening from the occupied town of Okučani. For months, Croatian authorities sought to find a solution through negotiations and achieve peace in the region, but their appeals fell on deaf ears. Liberation through combat operations seemed more and more probable. Croatian armed forces had become better organised, better equipped, better trained and more ready to put an end to this desperate situation. Incidents culminated at the end of April 1995, after a series of terrorist attacks on the vehicles driving along the motorway and abductions of Croatian people. Croatian Government no longer had a choice. In the morning of 1 May 1995, Croatian armed and police forces launched a swift offensive to liberate the occupied territory in western Slavonia. The operation was launched at dawn. Croatian forces attacked the southern and central part of the occupied territory from the direction of Novska and Nova Gradiška, their end objective being the retaking of Okučani, the centre of the insurgency and terrorist attacks in western Slavonia. The 81st Guards Battalion, 5th Guards Brigade and the components of the 1st and 3rd Guards Brigades were engaged in the main attack routes, augmented by the reserve and the Home Guard units, and supported by the artillery and missile units, the Croatian Air Force and the Special Police units. The Croatian Air Force delivered its first massive strikes in the Operation Lightning, and the tanks were delivered to the frontline by railway and immediately engaged in combat, as an additional tactical surprise for the enemy. In just thirty hours, Croatian forces, 7200 soldiers and police officers strong, liberated 500 square kilometres of the previously occupied area of western Slavonia and regained control over the Zagreb – Lipovac motorway and the railway line towards the eastern Slavonia. After nearly four years of occupation, the town of Okučani was liberated. In their powerlessness and defeat, the aggressors once again responded beyond all reason. At the order of the Knin leader of the rebel terrorists, cluster bombs flooded Croatian cities. Deadly missiles hit the centre of Zagreb, resulting in dozens of civilian casualties. Karlovac, Sisak, Novska, Kutina and other cities were shelled from long-range artillery. Those were just the last senseless moves by the losers whose end was nearing. Operation Lightning was the last warning and an appeal for a peaceful resolution, which was declined. It showed Croatia’s strength to liberate its occupied territory with its own forces. Just three months later, there was no more doubt. It was a flash of Lightning which heralded the glorious Storm that was soon to follow. MILITARY AND POLICE OPERATION STORM For four years, almost a third of Croatian territory was occupied, with many Croatians living in exile, always in fear of enemy retaliation, the threat of shellfire hanging over their heads night and day. After a number of failed negotiation attempts and other peace initiatives, there was nothing left for Croatia to do but liberate the lands that had always belonged to it using armed force. Croatian Armed Forces had grown into a power capable of accomplishing this mission without any outside help. At the break of dawn on 4 August 1995, time had come to launch Operation Storm. Following the initial successful strikes by the Croatian Air Force against enemy signal centres and artillery preparation targeting military objectives, Croatian forces advanced from 30 directions simultaneously along a 700-km battlefield. The main force on the main attack routes from Mount Dinara and Mount Velebit towards Knin was composed of Guards brigades, augmented by the Special Police of the Ministry of the Interior, Croatian Guards Division, the Home Guard and reserve forces. The conditions required for the 4th and 7th Guards Brigades to move from the peaks of Mount Dinara toward Knin were established during Operation Summer 95. Special forces of the Ministry of the Interior advanced rapidly towards Knin via Sveti Rok from the other side, from Mount Velebit. The Croatian Guards Division infiltrated deep behind enemy lines by helicopter. The 1st Guards Brigade advanced in the north, from Kapela via Slunj and Rakovica on one side and Korenica and Plitvice on the other, aiming to converge with the forces of the 5th Corps of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The 9th Guards Brigade was entrusted with seizing the Ljubovo Pass and neutralising the enemy air base in Udbina. Banija was surrounded from several directions. The 2nd Guards Brigade was the main force on the route towards Petrinja, where the enemy mounted fierce resistance, and further towards Glina. Meanwhile the units of the 3rd and 5th Guards Brigades were on high alert in easternmost Croatia to counter any enemy manoeuvres. On the first day of the operation, Croatian Armed Forces penetrated 5-15 km into enemy territory, surrounding enemy strongholds fully or partially. Eighty percent of the planned combat missions were accomplished on the second day of the operation. Most occupied Croatian cities were free again. Kostajnica, Petrinja, Glina, Slunj, Gračac, Obrovac, Drniš and Knin, the seat of ancient Croatian kings, were all celebrating, and entire Croatia joined in. The most important strategic, political and military goal, not only of Military and Police Operation Storm, but of the entire Homeland War, was accomplished with the liberation of Knin, the centre of the insurgency in Croatia. Days later, enemy forces of the 21st Kordun Corps were forced to surrender in the northern section of the battlefield. In only 84 hours of Military and Police Operation Storm, Croatian Armed Forces accomplished everything they set out to do, liberating more than 10,000 km2 of occupied territories. Almost 200,000 Croatian soldiers participated in the operation. There was no room in city squares to accommodate everyone who wanted to welcome the victors with pride, elation, togetherness, smiles and tears of joy the magnitude and the sincerity of which Croatia had never seen before. Nothing would ever be the same again after these fateful days. Vesna Pintarić, BA Journalism Hrvatski vojnik, Department of Croatian Military Journals and Publishing, Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia

Type: C
Description:   Motif: Croatian flag, jets in flight The stamp was issued in a Croatian sheet of 25 with five labels in 30 fields. Croatian Post also issued a First Day Cover (FDC) and commemorative album.
Date: 3/8/2020

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