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Mile Dedaković (born 4 July 1951) is a retired Croatian Army colonel. Also known by his nom de guerre Jastreb ("Hawk"), Dedaković is best known for commanding the 204th Vukovar Brigade and the city of Vukovar's defenses in during the 1991 Battle of Vukovar in the early stages of the Croatian War of Independence.


Originally from the village of Nijemci in Syrmia in eastern Croatia, Dedaković had graduated from the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) Air Force Academy and its Officer Academy before the events which led to the breakup of Yugoslavia began to unfold in 1990.[1] Formerly a lieutenant colonel in command of a JNA military airbase near Zagreb, he joined the newly formed Croatian National Guard (ZNG) in the summer of 1991. Due to a lack of schooled officers available to the Croatian military at the time, Dedaković, an air force officer, was immediately posted to command the ZNG's brigade stationed in Vukovar, a town in eastern Croatia in his native region,[2] which soon fell under a full-scale attack of the JNA and Serbian nationalist paramilitaries.[citation needed]

He assumed command of the 204th Vukovar Brigade upon its formation in September 1991. At the time of its founding, the brigade roster included 1,803 men,[3] and was assigned to cover the area of the former municipality of Vukovar, which included the cities of Vukovar and Ilok as well as numerous surrounding villages.[4] Dedaković commanded the brigade during the first phase of the siege of Vukovar until early October when he was reassigned to nearby Vinkovci and the command passed on to Branko Borković.[citation needed]

In mid-October Dedaković was put in charge of a breakthrough operation to relieve the Vukovar which was in the meantime cut off from the rest of the Croatian-held territory. Although initially successful, the counter-offensive was called off by Croatian President Franjo Tuđman, reportedly under pressure from the European Community for a ceasefire. This enabled the JNA to retake the ground that it had lost and from then on the town was completely surrounded until it eventually fell on 18 November 1991.[citation needed]

Both Mile Dedaković and Branko Borković survived the battle and spoke out publicly against the Croatian Government's actions. In an apparent attempt to silence them, both men were briefly detained by Croatian military police,[5] and the Croatian government suppressed an issue of the newspaper Slobodni tjednik that published a transcript of a telephone call from Vukovar, in which Dedaković had pleaded with an evasive Tuđman for military assistance. The revelations caused public outrage and reinforced perceptions that the defenders had been betrayed.[6]

Dedaković was charged together with the leaders of the Croatian Party of Rights for an alleged preparation to attack Banski dvori, but the case was rejected at the Croatian Supreme Court.[7]

In 1996, he published a book Bitka za Vukovar ("Battle of Vukovar"), co-authored with Radio Vukovar journalist Alenka Mirković Nađ.[8]

In November 2005, Dedaković worked with the Ministry of Defence under Berislav Rončević to consolidate official records of the 204th Brigade.[4] On September 25, 2006, Dedaković ceremonially reported in Vukovar, under the brigade's now-official banners, before the Commander-in-Chief President of Croatia Stjepan Mesić.[3]


  • Dedaković-Jastreb, Mile; Mirković-Nađ, Alenka; Runtić, Davor (2000). Bitka za Vukovar (2nd amended ed.). Vinkovci, Croatia: Neobična naklada. ISBN 953-6708-06-X. 


  1. Bajruši, Robert (9 December 2003). "General Rahim Ademi među deset najvećih Hrvata" (in Croatian). Nacional (weekly). Archived from the original on 4 July 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  2. Vurušić, Vlado (18 November 2006). "Mile Dedaković Jastreb: Vukovar nije dobio oružje plaćeno s tajnih računa" (in Croatian). Jutarnji list. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "U Vukovaru svečano obilježena 15. obljetnica 204. brigade HV-a - Prvi put službeno postrojeni i odlikovani vukovarski branitelji" (in Croatian). Ministry of Defence (Croatia). September 2006. ISSN 1333-9036. Retrieved 2011-01-04.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "hv-2006" defined multiple times with different content
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Riješen status 204. brigade" (in Croatian) (PDF). 2005-11-09. Retrieved 2011-01-04.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "vjesnik-status-2005" defined multiple times with different content
  5. Central Intelligence Agency Office of Russian and European Analysis 2000, p. 100
  6. Malović & Selnow 2001, p. 134
  7. Orhidea Gaura (2010-01-26). "Ljudi koje je 90-ih trebalo ukloniti" (in Croatian). People who had to be dealt with in the 1990s. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 2011-11-19. 
  8. Helena Sablić Tomić (2011-11-17). "Istina i pamćenje pisaca čuvaju Grad uz Dunav i Vuku" (in Croatian). Truth and memory of writers preserve the city by the Danube and the Vuka. Archived from the original on 14 June 2012. Retrieved 2011-11-19. 


  • Central Intelligence Agency Office of Russian and European Analysis (2000). Balkan Battlegrounds: A Military History of the Yugoslav Conflict, 1990–1995: Volume 1. Washington, D.C.: Central Intelligence Agency. ISBN 978-0-16-066472-4. 
  • Malović, Stjepan; Selnow, Gary W. (2001). The People, Press, and Politics of Croatia. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-275-96543-3. 

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