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. During the last years of the war Podgorica was one of the bigger cities on the route of German troops withdrawing from Albania and Greece, so the decision was made to bomb the city.
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 Liberators 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.
The Allied bombing almost completely destroyed the city of Podgorica. Approximately 4,100 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.
- History of Podgorica
- U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II: Combat Chronology October 1943
- Kovačević, Branislav. Savezničko bombardovanje Crne Gore 1943. - 1944. godine. Svjedočanstvo. Podgorica, 2003. (pg. 34)
- Kovačević, Branislav. Savezničko bombardovanje Crne Gore 1943. - 1944. godine. Svjedočanstvo. Podgorica, 2003. (pg. 56)
- Kovačević, Branislav. Savezničko bombardovanje Crne Gore 1943. - 1944. godine. Svjedočanstvo. Podgorica, 2003. (pg. 57)
- Beograd, Niš and Podgorica on target, Glas Javnosti
- Timeline of History
- Bombing of the European Axis powers (pg 345)
- Op 30 - Podgorica Town
- Tuesday, 7 November, 1944
- Kovačević, Branislav. Savezničko bombardovanje Crne Gore 1943. - 1944. godine. Svjedočanstvo. Podgorica, 2003. (pg. 647)
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