The legendary 5th Guards Brigade “Sokolovi“, marked its 25th anniversary
The 5th Guards Brigade “Slavonski Sokolovi ” marked 28th anniversary in the Barracks in Vinkovci on 7 October 2020.
A unit of experienced and brave combatants, veterans and volunteers who displayed strength and courage during 1991 and in early 1992 defending Vukovar, Vinkovci, Županja, Osijek, Đakovo, Slavonski Brod and other towns of Slavonia, the 5th Guards Brigade of the Croatian Army (“Sokolovi“) was founded on 5 October 1992. It comprised the defenders of Vukovar, the members of the 204th Brigade and members of other units from the region – the 2nd Infantry Battalion (Vinkovačka) of the 3rd Guards Brigade, the 3rd Company (Novogradiška Battalion) of the 3rd Guards Brigade, the 105th Brigade, the 106th HV Brigade, the 107th HV Brigade, 108th HV Brigade, the 109th Brigade, the 121st Brigade, the 123rd Brigade, the 124th Brigade, the 132nd Brigade, 157th Brigade, members of the police units, veterans and volunteers from other units.
Shortly after the establishment the members of the 5th Brigade were assigned to defend Zadar and the inland region in early 1993 (Operation “Maslenica“), and later to the Southern Battlefield (Mostar, Uskoplje and the Livno Battlefield).
The unit in peacetime
The Brigade had an important contribution in the Operation “Lightning“, converging the forces against the 18th Corps of the Army of Serbian Krajina, which enabled rapid liberation of western Slavonia.
In the military and police Operation “Storm“, “Sokolovi“ strongly defended the line of separation line, awaiting the order to liberate the remainder of the temporarily occupied territory of Croatia.
The Brigade had a total 7,000 of members during the Homeland War, 89 were killed and more than 300 injured. The war ended, the Brigade placed the focus on education and training and was converted from a combat unit into a well- trained peacetime unit of the Croatian Armed Forces. Within the major reorganisation and modernisation of the Croatian Armed Forces the 5th Guards Brigade ceased operations on 28 February 2003. The tradition of the legendary “Sokolovi“ passed on the 1st Armoured Mechanised Battalion “Sokolovi“ of the Guards Armoured Mechanised Brigade of the Croatian Army, based in Našice.
A lasting mark in the history of war
The marking of the 28th anniversary of the 5th Guards Brigade “Sokolovi“ in Vinkovci was attended the Envoy of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia Mario Banožić, by the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces Admiral Robert Hranj, by the Advisor to the Prime Minister Damir Krstičević, by the Deputy Chief of the General Staff Colonel Siniša Jurković, by the Commander of the Croatian Army Lieutenant General Boris Šerić, the Commander of the Guards Armoured Mechanised Brigade Brigadier General Mijo Validžić, the Envoy of the Minister of the Homeland War Veterans Stjepan Sučić and by representatives of the local authorities.
“The war history of the 5th Guards Brigade “Sokolovi“ left a lasting mark in the war history of the Croatian people. The Brigade fought the hardest battles, from the fierce Battle for Vukovar to the operations defending Vinkovci, Županja, Osijek, Đakovo and Slavonski Brod, fought in the Zadar hinterland to the Southern Battlefield”, said Minister Banožić. The Minister also emphasised that the defenders were a perennial example patriotism and: “We need to draw strength and motivation from their feats in to build Croatian society in all areas. For that sake we have made efforts to continue developing the Croatian Armed Forces, which guarantee the security and stability of the Republic of Croatia.
Congratulating the anniversary of the founding of the 5th Guards Brigade, Admiral Hranj emphasised that its members were engaged in hardest operations from the very start of the Homeland War, never growing tired and weary, with a strong faith in victory and ready to sacrifice everything for the freedom of the Croatian people and homeland.
“Their sacrifice made the dream of a free and independent homeland a reality. The Croatian Armed Forces became a military force whose members take part in operations and missions worldwide alongside the partner countries, and are ready to provide assistance to the citizens whenever necessary“, said Admiral Hranj.