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Rafael Boban
Born (1907-12-22)22 December 1907
Died 1946 or 47
Place of birth Sovići, Grude, Austria-Hungary
Place of death Yugoslavia
Allegiance  Independent State of Croatia (1941-1945)
Service/branch Ustaše militia
Croatian Armed Forces
Years of service 1941-1946
Rank Independent State of Croatia General
Commands held Black Legion
Battles/wars Velebit Rebellion
World War II

Rafael "Ranko" Boban (born December 22, 1907 - Unknown) was a member of the Croatian World War II Ustaše regime, and the commander of the Black Legion of the Ustaše militia.

Early life

Boban was born in Sovići near Grude, which was at that time part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Little is known of his early life prior to his Ustaše Service.

Ustaše Service

Rafael Boban became a member of the Ustaše (Croatian Revolutionary Movement) in 1932. Initially, the movement was based in Fascist Italy, as they were outlawed in Yugoslavia. He returned with the movement to Croatia in 1932 and took part in the unsuccessful Velebit Uprising. Following the unsuccessful rebellion, he became part of Ante Pavelić's inner circle. In November 1941, following the outbreak of war in the Balkans, Boban was promoted to Captain (Satnik). He later joined the Black Legion (Crna Legija), an elite Croatian unit. After the death of Jure Francetić, Boban became the sole commander of the Black Legion. Following the Legion's breakup, Boban became the commander of the 5th Ustaša Active Brigade. The unit served in Podravina until the end of the war, when they retreated to Bleiburg, in modern-day Austria. Boban and a group of his followers refused to surrender with the rest of the unit, and returned to Croatia. Here they joined the Crusaders, an anti-communist guerrilla group. His unit was known as the "Death Company" (Ceta Smrti). They continued to fight in the vicinity of Podravina until at least 1946. From then on, his fate becomes unclear. Some claim that he was killed in action here in late 1946. Others, such as Croatian historian Ante Vrban, claim that he was seen in Herzegovina in 1946, and was killed there.[1]

Boban was awarded the Order of the Iron Trefoil, which entitled him to use the title "vitez" (Knight).


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