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Streifkorps
Active
  • 1882—1891
  • 1908—1918
Disbanded 1918
Country  Austria-Hungary
Colors light-blue uniform
Engagements

The Streifkorps or Steifkorps or Streifenkorps or Štrafuni (Serbian language: Штрафуни)[1] were special counterinsurgency units in Austria-Hungarian controlled Bosnia and Herzegovina, composed by Muslims.[2][3] They were established to fight against the guerilla rebels using search and destroy tactics.[4] Among the population of the region where they were active Streifkorps were hated and had a very bad reputation.[5][6]

Equipment

The Streifkorps carried only personal arms and small amount of equipment in their backpack while reserves of ammunition and equipment were strategically placed in the guarded secret places in the wilderness.[7] They were the first military units in the world that carried backpack.[8] The color of their uniform was light-blue.[9]

Establishment during Herzegovina Uprising in 1882

The Streifkorps were established at the end of 1882, in the border region toward Montenegro, Sandžak and Serbia.[10][11] It was organized as soon as Herzegovina 1882 Uprising reached serious dimensions.[12] The proposal to establish Streifkorps came from the governor of Mostar in September 1882.[13] After the defeat of the uprising in 1881/82 the Streifkorps were engaged as mobile surveillance force[14] until 1888 when their number was first reduced and in 1891 they were completely dissolved, with the assigned soldiers returning to their regiments or to the Bosnian-Herzegovinian gendarmerie corps.[15]

Reestablishment during Anexation crisis in 1908

It was reestablished in October 1908, in context of demonstrations in Serbia and in Montenegro against Annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[16]

Before and during the World War I

In February 1912 each company of Austrian garrisons in Bosnia had to give up to 45 men to join Streifkorps, while each battalion had to give one officer.[17] At the beginning of the Battle of Cer units of Streifkorps crossed Drina and invaded Serbia, together with other units of Austria-Hungary.[18] They participated in looting of Belgrade and imprisoning its population when Austria-Hungary captured it in 1915.[19]

Legacy during the World War II

The punishment platoons established against the secret order of the Croatian government to slaughter, burn and exterminate all Serbs, and rebellious Croats and Muslims, were referred to as Štrafuni platoons.[20]

References

  1. (Sarajevo 1950, p. 234): "... у народу по злу познатих »Штрафуна«, ..."
  2. Velikonja 2003, p. 141: "Muslims were also drafted into special counterinsurgency units known as the Steifkorps."
  3. (Velikonja 1998, p. 177): "Muslimani so sestavljali tudi posebne protigverilske enote, »Steifkorps«."
  4. (Rothenberg 1998, p. 103)
  5. (Rothenberg 1998, p. 103)
  6. (Sarajevo 1950, p. 234): "... у народу по злу познатих »Штрафуна«, ..."
  7. (Ćemerlić 1983, p. 41)
  8. (Ćemerlić 1983, p. 41)
  9. (Ljubibratić 1959, p. 50): "... у свјетлоплавим мундирима, такозване „штрафуне", који су били једна врста аустриских комита. "
  10. (Društvo 1982, p. 123)
  11. (Hadžibegović 1991, p. 131)
  12. (Andrić 1988, p. 261)
  13. (Ćemerlić 1983, p. 41)
  14. (Rothenberg 1998, p. 104)
  15. (Pahl 2009, p. 86):"Die »Strafuni« wurden nach Niederwerfung des Aufstandes 1881/82 zunächst beibehalten, im Jahre 1888 reduziert und 1891 vollständig aufgelöst, wobei die eingeteilten Soldaten zu ihren Regimentern und die Gendarmen in das ."
  16. (Holbach 1910, p. 154): "The " Streifkorps " were disbanded many years ago, but reorganised in October, 1908, at the time of our second visit to Bosnia, on account of the demonstrations in Servia and Montenegro that followed the annexation,..."
  17. (akademija 1985, p. 520)
  18. (Pavlović 1924, p. 151)
  19. (Đurić 1987, p. 118)
  20. (Đurić 1987, p. 118) Jecre ли казали народу за пов}ерл>иву наредбу о организован^ „штрафунских водова" (казнених одреда) KOJH he клати, палити и истребл>ивати све Србе, поштене Хрвате и муслимане, „сав побутьени народ"?

Sources

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