Introduction to the Domobran Volunteer Militia (Croatia)
- Published: 19 February 2013 19 February 2013
- Last Updated: 19 February 2013 19 February 2013
(also Army Volunteer Militia (Domobranska dobrovoljačka vojnica or Domdo), Local Militia (Mjesna vojnica), Moslem Militia (Muslimanska vojnica))
by H.L. deZeng IV
The volunteer militia units were formed in individual. communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina beginning in June 1941 as a local garrison and defense force against Chetnik arid Partisan attacks, and to guard roads and railways in the immediate vicinity of their respective towns and villages. All of these formations were made up of volunteers from the surrounding area and led by Gendarmerie officers and NCOs from the local Gendarmerie station or command. Later, in 1942 and 1943, many of the formations were organized into large companies or battalions, taken over by reserve army officers, and placed under the authority of the local Croatian division command. (1)
There was constant friction between the Germans and Croatians over these formations. The German military authorities in Zagreb considered them worthless because they were generally overage personnel without much training, lacked equipment and adequate supplies, including uniforms in many cases, and were poorly led. Beginning in early 1943 the Croatians were repeatedly asked to disband the units and incorporate the men who were fit for service into their regular military formations, but these requests were stubbornly rejected for political and other reasons. In East Bosnia, the German SS and Police establishment in Croatia (the so-called Kammerhofer Police) attempted to assert control over the units beginning in late 1943, but this too failed.
By September 1943 the various Domdo and militia formations totaled 7500 officers and men and were mainly concentrated in battalion-size units in Herzegovina and East Bosnia. In early 1944 the great majority of these formations were incorporated into the garrison brigades that were formed around 1 April or, in a few cases, taken into the Ustasha.
1. Colić, Mladen - Takozvana Nezavisna Država Hrvatska 1941 (Belgrade: Delta-pres, 1973), pp.292-94; Colić, Mladen - Oružane snage NDH u Bosni i Hercegovini 1942-1943, in: AVNOJ i narodnooslobodilačka borba u Bosni i Hercegovini 1942-1943 (Belgrade, 1974), pp.346; Vrančić, Vjekoslav - Postrojenje i Brojčano Stanje Hrvatskih Oružanih Snaga u Godinama 1941-1945, in: Godišnjak hrvatsko domobrana 1953 (Buenos Aires: 1953); NARA WashDC: RG 242 (T-821 roll 448/682).