Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dragoljub Mihailovich: Greatest Enemy of the Axis - By Robert Low / "Voices in Wartime"

From "VOICES" [Education Project]

Voices in Wartime

Draza Mihailovich

Hitler's No. 1 headache.

Russia’s millions have done things to the Nazis, but no one man has given them a fight like this!

By Robert Low

The six-wheeled patrol car flying a red-and-black swastika flag careened round a corner of the tiny Serbian village and skidded to a halt before a farmhouse. A squad of steel-helmeted German soldiers, led by an unsmiling young officer, jumped out and advanced toward four peasants standing before the house. While the soldiers searched their baggy clothes for concealed weapons, the officer snapped out questions:

“Where are your identification papers? What are you meeting here for? Where have you come from? Were you ever in the Yugoslav army?”

The peasants stared at him stupidly. “Would the officer please speak slowly,?” one of them mumbled. They could not understand him very well. The officer became very angry. This was an insult to the Reichswehrschule für Auslandischesprachen where he taken the special language course for officers of the German armies of occupation.

He repeated his questions, this time shouting them at a tall, auburn-haired yokel who seemed to look a little more intelligent than the others. The peasant replied for each of them in turn--carefully but not fawningly; in detail but not suspiciously pat. The officer checked the answers with certain known facts in his notebook. They tallied. He snapped his notebook shut and ordered the men back to the car. A final warning, carrying a full and open threat; then the car shot away, leaving a blast of winter mud in its wake. The peasants watched it in silence until it disappeared beyond the next bend.

Finally one of them smiled and said, “That was a fairly close one, Draja.” The tall, auburn-haired man nodded his head toward the woods a few hundred feet away. “Yes, it was close--but for them as for us, I should say.”

Hidden in the deep foliage of the copse he indicated was a machine gun with its crew. Its sights had been trained on the Germans throughout the interrogation. For General Dragoljub Mihailovich, Yugoslav Minister of War, is a practical man. He travels far and wide in the course of his duties. He travels wisely.

Mihailovich is no Scarlet Pimpernel carrying on a romantic single-handed battle of wits against the enemy. He is the commander in chief of an army many thousands strong engaged in serious military operations against the German and Italian armies of occupation.

To match the enemies’ superiority in men and equipment, he fights with guerrilla tactics, using his superior knowledge of terrain and mountain fighting. From the plains of Croatia to the mountains of Serbia, the “people’s war” he is waging never ceases.


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