Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 02:02 AM UTC
75 years ago on this day (12th April 1941) on the 1287th kilometer of the navigable part of Danube river Yugoslav Royal Navy Ship „Drava“ was sunk. Exactly at 8:00 a.m. last words were written in ship’s journal, and the glorious history of the Drava“ and its brave crew has begun.
Special thanks to Rade Marjanović for sharing this story
River monitor „Drava“ had complement of 89 men. Vital ship parts had armor belt of 30 mm. Displacement of the ship was 536 tons, and it had a length of 80 m, beam of 12 and draft of 3 metres. It reached top speed of 24 km/h, and used oil for fuel. These characteristics made the ship one of the most advanced ships of the time. It was armed with powerful ship ordnance: three 120 mm howitzers, two-barreled 120 mm ship canon, two 66 mm AA guns and AA machine guns of 7,9 and 20 mm.
Monitor „Drava“ was commanded by Lieutenant Commander Aleksandar Berić. He was born on June 13th 1906 in Novi Bečej. Destiny saw him transferred closer to his home after years spent in service on the Adriatic Sea.
His awards and medals were Gold Medal for Devotion in Service, Medal for Military Virtue, and posthumously with two more medals: in July 1942 with Order of Karadjordje Star with Swords IV degree and in April 2002 with Medal of Honor.
This young officer of Yugoslav Royal Navy commanded his ship and its crew until the very last moment. He performed his duty of a commanding officer with honor! By saluting state flag and fulfilling his oath of not surrendering the ship to the enemy, he went down with his ship to the bottom of the river Danube. Lifeless body of April War hero was found in Belegiš, some 90 km downriver from the place of ship’s demise. He was buried there, on the village cemetery.
With the artillery fire from ship’s cannons and machine guns, crew of the monitor managed to down 14 enemy aircraft, while heavy damaging another 16 and 2 patrol boats of the Nazi Axis powers. After heavy combat against overwhelming enemy forces, even though the crew put up heroic resistance, monitor was sunk by the enemy air force.
At 8:00 a.m. on April 12th 1941 monitor “Drava” was sunk on the 1287th km of the navigable part of the Danube river. Ship shared the destiny of 76 of its crew members and went down to the bottom of the Danube river.
By remembering this heroic act of these outstanding individuals of our nation we give the due credit and honor to their sacrifice for country and glory. This fine example of bravery, sacrifice and patriotism must not be forgotten.
We pay our respect and gratitude to the Heroes of “Drava” for what they have done for their country and nation.
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