FLAK IN YUGOSLAVIA
It should be borne in mind that the German forces in Yugoslavia's primary task was to preserve freedom of movement along the lines of communication, i.e. the main roads and railways, to keep open the ports and dock facilities, and to
maintain garrisons in the larger and more important towns and areas.
A high proportion of the flak defences (consisting largely of mobile guns), was concentrated around the main communications centres and at vulnerable points, such as bridges, viaducts etc., along the main line lines of communication. For example, the flak defences covering Zagreb were not there to protect the city, as was the case in major cities in Germany, but to defend the marshalling yards, roads and rail lines. The Adriatic ports, several of the larger airfields and a few important industrial facilities situated in open country were also relatively heavily defended, likewise the larger naval units and Siebel ferries. However, it was the mobile
batteries of light and medium guns placed along rail routes, and the concentrated light flak encountered from large motor transport convoys and trains that inflicted the majority of damage to BAF aircraft.
These mobile batteries were deployed rapidly along rail and road routes that were in heaviest use during periods of reinforcement or evacuation. Similarly, flak towers were occasionally set up along minor routes. A good example of that, was provided at the end of February 1945, when the hitherto unimportant Bihac-Kostajanica-Sunja railway was shown by photo reconnaissance to be defended by flak towers, plus numerous other flak positions. In March, the line was busily employed for the reinforcement of the 104th Division in it's positions covering Bihac.
Motor transport convoys, particularly when movement was on a divisional or larger scale, invariably produced strong light flak reaction to ground attack aircraft, such as rocket-firing Hurricanes, Mustangs and Beaufighters. On many occasions, reasonable conditions for their attacks could only be achieved by the employment of medium and light bomber missions to bring about disorganization and dispersal.
With rail interdiction becoming one of the chief objectives of air operations in support of the Partisan Army, traffic on the main rail lines was defended by the maximum available number of flak wagons, and were so effective, particularly against the Beaufighter. This effectiveness was a prime factor in the decision to re-equip 39 Squadron with the Martin Marauder in late 1945.
in the decision to re-equip 39 Squadron with the Martin Marauder in late 1945.
As the German Forces retreated to the North-West so the number of flak guns increased in proportion to the territory left to be defended, thereby increasing opposition to both ground attack and medium -level missions. The following table gives some indication of the flak strength and disposition in April 1945, the last full month of the fighting :-
From this table it can be seen that these targets were as heavily defended as ever, right up until the end of hostilities in Yugoslavia.
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