Black Legion (military unit)

Black Legion (military unit)
Black Legion
Active September 3, 1941 - May 8, 1945
Country Independent State of Croatia Croatia
Allegiance Independent State of Croatia Croatia
Type Mechanized infantry
Role Anti-partisan operations
Size Regiment
Nickname Blacks (Crnci)
Motto Za poglavnika i za dom spremni! (Ready for Poglavnik and homeland)
Colors Black
Engagements Operation Ozren
Operation Trio
Battle of Kozara
Battle of Kupres
Operation Vlasenica
Operation Dinara
Disbanded May 8, 1945
Jure Francetić
Rafael Boban
Black uniform
Black Legion in Zagreb in 1944

The Black Legion (Crna Legija) was a militia unit active during World War II in Yugoslavia and later incorporated into the 5th division of the Croatian Armed Forces in December 1944.[1] The legion was formed near the end of 1941 and consisted largely of Muslim and Croatian refugees from eastern Bosnia, where large massacres were carried out by the Chetniks and to a small degree by the Yugoslav Partisans.[1] It became known for its fighting against the Chetniks and the Partisans and massacres against Serb civilians.[1] The legion's commanders were Colonel Jure Francetić and Major Rafael Boban and contained between 1,000 and 1,500 men.[1]

While Boban remained in command of the unit to the very end of the war, Francetić was killed in action in 1942 and was succeeded by Colonel Ivo Stipković and then Major Franjo Sudar. With the loss of its commander, the Legion was broken up. The main body became the I Pokretni Ustaški sdrug (I Mobile Ustaša Brigade), while the Boban Battalion was used to form the cadre for the newly formed V Ustaša Brigade in Podravina. Former members of the Black Legion continued to wear the black uniform right up to the end of the war, probably as a sort of honorary mark of distinction. Lastly, at least 120 former Black Legion men were executed by the Partisans at Sisak in May 1945.


  1. ^ a b c d Tomasevich, Jozo (2001). War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945: Occupation and Collaboration. Stanford University Press. p. 442. ISBN 0804708576. 

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