On this day, 27 years ago, the 1st of October 1991 at 6.00am Dubrovnik was attacked from the land, the sea and the air by the Yugoslav National Army (JNA). It is a day etched in the memories of the citizens of the city as they were awoken by the Homeland War. The Yugoslav National Army started their offensive on the south of Croatia and Dubrovnik on this day 27 years ago.
The first shells were fired from artillery units of the JNA from positions around Trebinje and from mortar units just across the border in Ivanica in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These first mortars landed on the village of Bosanka on the Srđ Mountain and in Mokošica. Within a few hours of the attack the JNA air force had taken out the electrical substation in Komolac leaving Dubrovnik without electricity and water. Later the communications centre and antenna on top of the Srđ Mountain was bombed and destroyed leaving the city without communications to the outside world. This was the beginning of a three-month blockade of Dubrovnik.
More than 10,000 enemy soldiers, around 100 tanks, heavy artillery, navy warships and MIGs opened a frontline of up to 200 kilometres and on the other side of the battlefield were only 750 poorly armed Croatian defenders, police and volunteers.
Dubrovnik under attack - Photos Wikipedia
The heaviest attacks on Dubrovnik in its history occurred from the 8th to the 14th of November when more than 5,000 missiles were fired into the city area and then again on the 6th of December when over 600 artillery missiles landed inside the UNESCO World Heritage Site. In that attack, nine buildings inside the Dubrovnik walls were completely burnt out, 456 were severely damaged, and 45 grenades landed directly on the Stradun.
During the attack and occupation of the Dubrovnik area more than 33,000 people were evicted, 184 Croatian defenders and 92 civilians were killed died and more than 1,500 people were wounded. In concentration camps in in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Montenegro 423 people were detained. From Ston to Konavle a total of 2,127 houses were burnt to their foundations.