History of Partisan Navy
On 1 December, Corvette Lieutenant Velimir Škorpik and two NCO's of the NDH Navy defected to the partisan battalion "Vid Mihaljevic" deployed in Biokovo mountains and went to meet Josip Broz Tito. On 18 December, the Supreme Headquarter issued the order to organize a First Navy Headquarters:
- Navy Section (Sekcija za ratnu mornaricu),
- Coastal platoon (Primorski vod)
- Naval Stations (Mornaričke stanice)
as part of 4th Operative Zone of Main HQ Croatia. The command was assumed by Lt. Škorpik and the base was established in the port of Podgora. In January 1943 First Naval detachment (Prvi Mornarički odred) was created with fleet of two ships. During September 1943 Naval Commands were formed. By the time Italy capitulated some 80 Italian vessels were attacked of which 32 were captured.
After Italy capitulation partisan naval forces were reorganized. On October 18th 1943, the Supreme Headquarter issued the order to create the NOVJ Navy (Mornarica Narodnooslobodilačke Vojske Jugoslavije - NOVJ), with Lt.Col. Josip Cerni as Commander, Lt.Col Srecko Manola as deputy Commander, Captain Velimir Škorpik as Chief of Staff and Sergije Makiedo as Political Commissar. At that time NOVJ Navy had 9 or 10 armed ships, 30 patrol boats and close to 200 support ships, six coastal batteries and several partisan detachments on the islands, around 3000 men.
The Navy was organized first into four on October 26th 1943 and later six Maritime Costal Sectors (Pomorsko Obalskih Sektora - POS):
- I Trst (Istra?) POS - activated in October 1944 - from March Naval Costal Command Trst
- II Kvarner POS - activated on November 10th 1943
- III Zadar-Šibenik POS - activated on November 10th 1943
- IV Split POS - activated on November 10th 1943
- V Pelješac POS - activated on November 10th 1943
- VI Boka Kotorska POS - activated in October 1944
POS task was to secure supremacy at sea, organize defense of coast and islands, attack enemy sea traffic and forces on island and along the coast. Under it control was fleet of armed ships (patrol boats), island partisan detachments, coastal artillery, mining detachment, observation posts, port master's offices and naval yards. Number of soldiers was between 400 to 1500.
III POS had Naval Police unit which controlled sea traffic around Kornat islands.
On March 1st 1945, NOVJ Navy was renamed Yugoslav Navy (Jugoslavenska Mornarica) and a fortnight after, the six POS were replaced by three Maritime Commands (Pomorske Komande) each with three Maritime Costal Commands:
- Naval Command of North Adriatic (Pomorska komanda severnog Jadrana)
- Naval Command of Central Adriatic (Pomorska komanda srednjeg Jadrana)
- Naval Command of South Adriatic (Pomorska komanda južnog Jadrana)
At the end of the war Navy had 11 warships and tugboats, 8 armed ships, 66 (51?) patrol boats, 24 steamships, 19 rescue boats and 159 (269?) motor sail boats and smaller support ships and 9 naval infantry battalion - some 14000 men. During the course of the war 65 enemy ships were captured and 70 damaged.
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