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Guerrilla Nightmare

Guerrilla Nightmare Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review June 2019 Title Guerrilla Nightmare
Author Lovro Persen, Mario Raguz Publisher Kagero
Published 2018 ISBN 9788365437785
Format 152 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $39.95


The subtitle says it all.

Guerrilla Nightmare by Lovro Persen and Mario Raguz chronicles “Luftwaffe Stukas at War Against Tito’s Partisans in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945”.

And what an illuminating effort it is.

Yugoslavia capitulated 17 April 1941. Just over two months later, Croatian anti-fascists launched an uprising – the first of its kind in occupied Europe. And that ignited four years of fighting in the fragmented Balkan state.

Available in North America from Casemate, Kagero’s authoritative, annotated, 152-page study taps archival and personal sources to chart combat. Logbooks, for instance, reveal specific aircraft, personnel, targets, and dates. And all help authors “reconstruct the path of the Stuka equipped units flying against Tito’s Partisans”.

Second-line machines initially bore the brunt of Luftwaffe counterinsurgency missions. But Soviet battlefield victories soon emboldened Tito’s forces. And Fascist Italy’s 1943 collapse let Partisans capture “vast stocks of arms, clothes, fuel and food”.

That led Stuka units to dominate Axis air actions. No other German warplane, authors aver, “could deliver a stronger or a more precise punch against the guerrillas as the old Ju 87, nor any other that could make a comparable psychological and tactical impact on Tito’s forces”.

While Ju 87s naturally take center stage, a miscellaneous assortment of obsolete, training, and captured aircraft also play supporting roles. Heinkel He 46. Henschel Hs 126. Caproni Ca.310. Even Potez XXV and Breguet XIX. They’re all here.

The lavishly illustrated effort sports hundreds of rare, period photos and 20 beautifully executed color profiles by Goran Sudar.

You’ll find plenty of potent project potential here. How about that gaudy Bulgarian Stuka camouflage? And how about that captured Partisan Air Force Ju 87B-2?

But that looks like an Avia Bk.534 on page 108. And is that really a Ju 87D on page 103?

English diction occasionally sounds awkward, too. What do “six more Ju 87Rs were boosted by Regia Aeronautica” and “a waste free territory”, for instance, mean? And that should be “prey” – not “pray” – on page 101.

Still, technical pedantry can’t detract from the glowing, glittering historical nuggets Persen and Raguz unearth.

A Yugoslav source, for instance, claims that “the last known Ju 87 combat sortie in the biggest human conflict in history” occurred 28 May 1945 – against diehard “German and Chetnik forces refusing to surrender”. That’s a full 20 days after Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender.

Interesting! Find this – and much more amazing stuff – in Guerrilla Nightmare.


My sincere thanks to Casemate for this review sample!