|Born||January 25, 1905|
|Died||June 13, 1943(aged 38)|
|Place of birth||Nudo, Principality of Montenegro|
|Place of death||Krekovi, near Tjentište, Bosnia-Herzegovina|
|Years of service||1941–1943|
World War II|
Battle of Neretva
Battle of Sutjeska
Order of the People's Hero|
Order of Kutuzov
Kovačević was born in Nudo village, close to Nikšić, to a family of Montenegrin peasants. In his early age he worked as a blacksmith and adopted communism, becoming a member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in 1925. He gradually rose through the ranks of Party and became one of the Communist leaders in Montenegro. He was often arrested for his activities.
After the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia, Kovačević was one of the leading organizers of uprising against Italian occupation of Montenegro. He became commander of Nikšić Partisan Detachment, deputy commander of Main Headquarters of Montenegro and finally a member of Supreme Staff of the Yugoslav People's Liberation Army (YPLA).
In June 1942 he became first commander of 5th Montenegrin (Sandzak) Brigade of YPLA. His unit took part in 1942 Bosanska Krajina Campaign (Bosnian Frontier Campaign) - operation against Independent State of Croatia garrisons that brought large sections of Bosnia and Herzegovina under Partisan control. In February and March 1943, during the Battle of Neretva, (German operation Weiss) Kovačević commanded his brigade in attacks on Prozor against Italians and Konjic against joined Italian-Ustasha-German defenders. On June 6, during the Battle of Sutjeska (German operation Schwarz) he became commander of 3rd Assault Division of YPLA. His division covered the rear of other Partisan units while they successfully broke through German lines. 3rd Division, also encumbered with the wounded Partisans, was less successful in its attempt of breakthrough. On June 13, Sava Kovačević was killed while personally leading his men during the charge against fortified trenches of German 118th Division at Krekovi, on river Sutjeska.
Owing to his humble background and habit of disregarding any privileges of the rank, Kovačević was one of the most popular Partisan commanders. He was famous for his personal courage: one of the well known episodes happened on February 20, 1943 in Ostrožac on Neretva river when he, with his Brigade commissar Dragiša Ivanović, in an unexpected encounter with a group of Italian tanks, managed to jump on tank platform, Sava on the second and Dragiša on the third of three tanks, to destroy their crews and to capture one tank each. His heroic death made him into one of the Partisan icons.
He was posthumously proclaimed People's Hero of Yugoslavia.
In 1973 film Sutjeska he was played by renowned Serbian actor Ljuba Tadić.
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