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intense bombing

Bombing of Podgorica in World War II

The bombing of Podgorica in World War II was carried out by the Allies from 1943 until 1944 at the request of the Yugoslav Partisans.

Background

Between the two World Wars, the city of Podgorica had a population of 13,000.

On April 6, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis powers. The state was de facto dissolved and Montenegro, in which Podgorica was the largest city, became independent as a protectorate of the Kingdom of Italy. This arrangement lasted until the Italian armistice on September 8, 1943, in which the fascist Italian forces capitulated. Germany then occupied Montenegro. Not until Germany's involvement was the city bombed.

Initial stage of bombing

The Podgorica airfield was bombed by P-39 Airacobras of the USAAF's Twelfth Air Force on October 25, 1943. By December, the German troops began setting off bomb sirens in the city, resulting in many citizens taking shelter in nearby caves.

Bombing of May 5 1944

The most intense bombing of Podgorica occurred on May 5, 1944. 116 USAAF B-24 Liberator's participated in the attack, which dropped 270 tonnes of bombs on the city. The attack resulted in only four German casualties and approximately 100 Chetnik deaths, while 400 Montenegrin civilians were killed. Chetnik casualties included major Đorđije Lašić. During the course of the bombing a Catholic church and an Orthodox cemetery were damaged and the Glavatović mosque was destroyed.

The bombing by the Allies was of questionable legality. International law dictates that a country’s recognized government has the right to bombard any of its cities occupied by enemy forces. However at the time Anglo-American forces bombed the city, they still officially recognized the Yugoslav royal government-in-exile as the legitimate national government and not Josip Broz's, who ordered the bombings.

Final stage of bombing

On November 6, 72 RAF planes bombed the city. It was reported that 700 German troops were killed in the attack. On November 7, 124 P-38s strafed Axis troop concentrations in and around the city.

Aftermath

The Allied bombing almost completely destroyed the city of Podgorica. Approximately 4100 people died in the attacks. Partisans took over the city on December 19, 1944. Damages were estimated in 1946 as 1.06 billion Yugoslav dinars.

References

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