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Ten-Day War

Ten-Day War

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The Ten-Day War or the Slovenian Independence War was a military conflict between the Slovenian Territorial Defence
Slovenian Territorial Defence
The Territorial Defence of the Republic of Slovenia, also the Territorial Defence of Slovenia was the predecessor of the Slovenian Armed Forces.- History :...

  and the Yugoslav People's Army
Yugoslav People's Army
The Yugoslav People's Army , also referred to as the Yugoslav National Army , was the military of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.-Origins:The origins of the JNA can...

 (JNA) in 1991 following Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

's declaration of independence.

Background


See also: Breakup of Yugoslavia, Contributions for the Slovenian National Program, JBTZ trial, Slovenian Territorial Defence
Slovenian Territorial Defence
The Territorial Defence of the Republic of Slovenia, also the Territorial Defence of Slovenia was the predecessor of the Slovenian Armed Forces.- History :...



Following the death of Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito
Josip Broz Tito
Marshal Josip Broz Tito – 4 May 1980) was a Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman. While his presidency has been criticized as authoritarian, Tito was a popular public figure both in Yugoslavia and abroad, viewed as a unifying symbol for the nations of the Yugoslav federation...

 in 1980, underlying political, ethnic, religious, and economic tensions within Yugoslavia surfaced. In 1989 Slobodan Milošević
Slobodan Milošević
Slobodan Milošević was President of Serbia and Yugoslavia. He served as the President of Socialist Republic of Serbia and Republic of Serbia from 1989 until 1997 in three terms and as President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000...

, Chairman of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia
League of Communists of Serbia
The League of Communists of Serbia was the Serbian branch of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, the sole legal party of Yugoslavia from 1945 to 1990. Under a new constitution ratified in 1974, greater power was devolved to the various republic level branches. In the late 1980s, the party was...

 since 1986, became president of Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, the largest and most populous of the six Yugoslav republics. In April 1990, Slovenia held its first democratic multi-party elections, won by the DEMOS coalition.

Preparations for war



On 23 December 1990, Slovenia held a referendum
Slovenian independence referendum, 1990
The Slovenian independence referendum about the Slovenian independence from Yugoslavia was held on December 23, 1990. It was summoned by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, then a federal unit of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia...

, which passed with 95% votes in favor of independence, with a turnout of 93.2%. The Slovenian government was well aware that the federal government in Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

 might seek to use military force to quash Slovenia's move towards independence. Immediately after the Slovenian elections, the Yugoslav People's Army
Yugoslav People's Army
The Yugoslav People's Army , also referred to as the Yugoslav National Army , was the military of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.-Origins:The origins of the JNA can...

 (JNA) announced a new defence doctrine that would apply across the country. The Tito-era doctrine of "General People's Defence", in which each republic maintained a Territorial Defence Force (Teritorialna obramba or TO), was to be replaced by a centrally directed system of defence. The republics would lose their role in defence matters, and their TOs would be disarmed and subordinated to JNA headquarters in Belgrade.

The Slovenian government resisted these moves, and successfully ensured that the majority of Slovenian Territorial Defence
Slovenian Territorial Defence
The Territorial Defence of the Republic of Slovenia, also the Territorial Defence of Slovenia was the predecessor of the Slovenian Armed Forces.- History :...

 equipment was kept out of the hands of the JNA. It also declared in a constitutional amendment passed on 28 September 1990 that its TO would be under the sole command of the Slovenian government. At the same time, the Slovenian government set up a secret alternative command structure, known as the Manoeuvre Structures of National Protection (Manevrska struktura narodne zaščite, or MSNZ). This was an existing but antiquated institution, unique to Slovenia, which was intended to enable the republic to form an ad hoc defence structure, akin to a Home Guard
Militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

. It was of negligible importance prior to 1990, with antiquated weapons and few members. However, the DEMOS-led government realised that the MSNZ could be adapted to provide a parallel organisation to the TO that would be entirely in the hands of the Slovenian government.

When the JNA tried to take control of the Slovenian Territorial Defence (TO), the TO's command structure was simply replaced by that of the parallel MSNZ. Between May and October 1990, some 21,000 Slovenian Territorial Defence and police personnel were secretly mobilised into the MSNZ command structure, of which the federal government was wholly unaware. The Slovenian government also undertook detailed planning of a military campaign against the JNA, which resulted in the production of an operational and tactical plan by November 1990 — over seven months before the conflict actually began.

The Slovenes were aware that they would not be able to deter the JNA forces for an extended period of time. Under Defence Minister Janez Janša
Janez Janša
Janez Janša is a Slovenian politician who was Prime Minister of Slovenia from November 2004 to November 2008. He has also been President of the Slovenian Democratic Party since 1993...

, they adopted a strategy based on an asymmetric warfare
Asymmetric warfare
Asymmetric warfare is war between belligerents whose relative military power differs significantly, or whose strategy or tactics differ significantly....

 approach. TO units would carry out a guerrilla
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 campaign, using anti-tank weapons and anti-aircraft missiles to ambush JNA units. Tank columns could be trapped by destroying the lead and rear vehicles in favourable terrain — for instance, on a narrow mountain road where room for manoeuvre was limited – enabling the rest to be tackled more easily. In preparation for this, the Slovenian government covertly bought lightweight missile systems from foreign suppliers, notably the SA-7 Grail (Strela) anti-aircraft missile and the German-designed Armbrust
Armbrust
Armbrust is a lightweight unguided anti-tank weapon designed and developed by Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm of Germany, who later sold its manufacturing rights to Chartered Industries of Singapore ....

 anti-tank system. Hit-and-run and delaying tactics were to be preferred and frontal clashes were to be avoided since in such situations the JNA's superior firepower would have been very difficult to overcome.

On the diplomatic front, neither the European Community nor the United States were willing to recognise the independence of Slovenia and strongly advocated the continuation of a unified Yugoslavia. The Slovenian government sought international assistance in negotiating a peaceful breakup of Yugoslavia but was rebuffed by Western countries that said they preferred to deal with a single federation rather than numerous small states. However, the Slovenes contended that they had no choice in pushing for independence, given a perceived lack of commitment to democratic values on the part of the Belgrade authorities.

Conflict



Slovenia and Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

 passed the acts about their independence on 25 June 1991. This "advance" on the date of independence was a critical element of the Slovenian plan to gain an early advantage in the expected conflict. The Slovenian government fully expected the Yugoslav military to respond with force on the day of the declaration of independence or shortly afterwards. By secretly advancing the date by 24 hours, the Slovenians wrongfooted the Yugoslav government, which had set 26 June as the date for its move.

Although the Yugoslav army was adamantly opposed to Slovenian independence, it was divided about what to do. The JNA Chief of Staff, Colonel-General Blagoje Adžić
Blagoje Adžic
Blagoje Adžić was the acting minister of defence in the Yugoslav government. He is of Serbian ethnicity. Although his rank was Colonel General, he was in charge of the Yugoslav People's Army after the resignation of general Veljko Kadijević in 1992...

, advocated a large-scale military operation to remove the Slovenian government and bring "healthy forces" to power in the republic. His political superior, the Yugoslav Defence Minister General of the Army Veljko Kadijević
Veljko Kadijevic
Veljko Kadijević is a former General of the Yugoslav People's Army . He was the Minister of Defence in the Yugoslav government from 1988 until his resignation in 1992, which made him de facto commander of JNA during the Ten-Day War in Slovenia and the initial stages of the War in...

, insisted on a more cautious approach – essentially a show of force that would convince the Slovenian government to back down on its declaration of independence. After some debate, Kadijević got his way.

It is unclear how much the civilian members of the Yugoslav government were involved in the decision to resort to force in Slovenia. Ante Marković
Ante Markovic
Ante Marković was a statesman of the former Yugoslavia. He was the last prime minister of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.- Early life :...

, the President of the Federal Executive Council (equivalent to Prime Minister) is reported to have said that the federal government had not been informed of the Army's actions.

26 June 1991


On the morning of 26 June, units of the Yugoslav People's Army's 13th Corps left their barracks in Rijeka
Rijeka
Rijeka is the principal seaport and the third largest city in Croatia . It is located on Kvarner Bay, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea and has a population of 128,735 inhabitants...

, Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, to move towards Slovenia's borders with Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. The move immediately led to a strong reaction from local Slovenians, who organized spontaneous barricades and demonstrations against the JNA's actions. There was, as of yet, no fighting, and both sides appeared to have an unofficial policy of not being the first to open fire.

By this time, the Slovenian government had already put into action its plan to seize control of the republic's border posts and the international airport at Brnik. The personnel manning the border posts were, in most cases, already Slovenians, so the Slovenian take-over mostly simply amounted to changing of uniforms and insignia, without any fighting. This was undertaken, in the words of Janez Janša, to "establish our sovereignty in the key triangle, border-customs-air control." It also had important practical effects. The border crossings were a major source of revenue. In addition, by taking control of the borders, the Slovenians were able to establish defensive positions against an expected JNA attack.

27 June 1991


Further JNA troop movements took place in the early hours of 27 June. A unit of the JNA's 306th Anti-Aircraft Regiment, based in Karlovac
Karlovac
Karlovac is a city and municipality in central Croatia. The city proper has a population of 49,082, while the municipality has a population of 59,395 inhabitants .Karlovac is the administrative centre of Karlovac County...

, Croatia, crossed the Slovenian border at Metlika
Metlika
Metlika is a town and municipality in the southeastern Slovenia. It lies on the left bank of the river Kolpa on the border with Croatia. The municipality is at the heart of the area of Bela Krajina, the southeastern part of the traditional region of Lower Carniola. It is now included in the...

. A few hours later, a column of tanks and armoured personnel carriers of the JNA 1st Armoured Brigade left their barracks at Vrhnika
Vrhnika
Vrhnika is a town and a municipality in Slovenia. It is situated on the Ljubljanica River, 21 km from Ljubljana along the A1 motorway.-History:...

 near the Slovenian capital Ljubljana
Ljubljana
Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and its largest city. It is the centre of the City Municipality of Ljubljana. It is located in the centre of the country in the Ljubljana Basin, and is a mid-sized city of some 270,000 inhabitants...

, heading for the airport at Brnik
Brnik Airport
Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport , also known by its previous name Brnik Airport, is the international airport of Ljubljana, Slovenia. The airport is located near the village of Brnik, north of Ljubljana and south of Kranj on the road between Kranj and Mengeš. It has a paved runway...

. They arrived a few hours later and took control of the facilities. As the JNA was the federal army, its forces were customarily deployed in various places within the federal republics including Slovenia. To the east, JNA units left Maribor
Maribor
Maribor is the second largest city in Slovenia with 157,947 inhabitants . Maribor is also the largest and the capital city of Slovenian region Lower Styria and the seat of the Municipality of Maribor....

 heading for the nearby border crossing at Šentilj
Šentilj
Šentilj is a municipality in Slovenia. The seat of the municipality is the town of Šentilj v Slovenskih goricah . This town was an Austria-Slovenia border crossing checkpoint until December 21, 2007, when all immigration and customs checks ended after Slovenia joined the Schengen Area...

 and the border town of Dravograd
Dravograd
Dravograd is a small town and a municipality in northern Slovenia, close to the border with Austria. It lies on the Drava River at the confluence with the Meža and the Mislinja. It is part of the traditional Slovenian province of Carinthia)....

 further west. The Yugoslav Air Force aircraft dropped leaflets
Airborne leaflet propaganda
Airborne leaflet propaganda is a form of psychological warfare in which leaflets are scattered in the air. Military forces have used aircraft to drop leaflets to alter the behavior of people in enemy-controlled territory, sometimes in conjunction with air strikes...

 over various parts of Slovenia bearing the messages "We invite you to peace and cooperation!" and "All resistance will be crushed."

In the early hours of 27 June the Slovenian leadership was told of the movements of the JNA. The military leadership of the Fifth Military District, which included Slovenia, was in telephone contact with Slovenian president Milan Kučan
Milan Kucan
Milan Kučan is a Slovenian politician and statesman. He was the first President of Slovenia.-Early life and political beginnings:...

, telling him that the troops' mission was limited to taking over the border crossings and airport. A meeting of the Slovene presidency was hastily convened at which Kučan and the rest of the members decided on armed resistance.

The Slovenian government had received warnings that the JNA would use helicopters to ferry special forces
Special forces
Special forces, or special operations forces are terms used to describe elite military tactical teams trained to perform high-risk dangerous missions that conventional units cannot perform...

 troops to strategic locations. It issued a warning to the JNA's 5th Military Command District in Zagreb
Zagreb
Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. It is in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately above sea level. According to the last official census, Zagreb's city...

 that if helicopters continued to be used they would be shot down. The warning was disregarded by the JNA leadership, which still believed that the Slovenians would back down rather than fight. This was, however, a disastrous miscalculation. In the afternoon of 27 June, the Slovenian TO (Slovenian Territorial Defence) shot down two JNA helicopters with SA-7 missiles, one of them a Gazelle
Aérospatiale Gazelle
The Aérospatiale Gazelle is a five-seat light helicopter, powered by a single turbine engine. It was designed and manufactured in France by Sud Aviation . It was also manufactured under licence by Westland Aircraft in the United Kingdom , by SOKO in Yugoslavia and ABHCO in Egypt...

 over Ljubljana, killing the occupants (one of whom was a Slovenian pilot, as JNA's forces consisted of nationals from all the republics).
The Slovenian Territorial Defence
Slovenian Territorial Defence
The Territorial Defence of the Republic of Slovenia, also the Territorial Defence of Slovenia was the predecessor of the Slovenian Armed Forces.- History :...

 also took up position around JNA barracks in various locations, effectively besieging them, and launched a series of attacks on JNA forces across Slovenia. At Brnik, a Slovenian TO unit attacked the JNA troops holding the airport, and at Trzin
Trzin
Trzin is district of Domžale and municipality in the eastern part of the Upper Carniola region of Slovenia.The Parish Church in the settlement is dedicated to Saint Florian and was built in the mid 14th century....

 a firefight developed in which four JNA soldiers and one Slovenian TO soldier were killed and the remainder of the JNA unit was forced to surrender. Attacks were also launched by Slovenian TO units on JNA tank columns at Pesnica
Pesnica
Pesnica is a municipality in northeastern Slovenia and administrative unit Upravna enota Pesnica. The center of municipality is a suburbia near Maribor, Pesnica pri Mariboru. It lies at the western end of the Slovenske Gorice hills at the upper valley of the eponymous river. The area was part of...

, Ormož
Ormož
Ormož is a town and municipality in northeastern Slovenia. It lies on the left bank of the Drava River and borders with Croatia on the opposite bank of the river....

 and Koseze, near Ilirska Bistrica
Ilirska Bistrica
Ilirska Bistrica is a town and a municipality in Slovenia. It belongs to the traditional region of Primorska.The town of Ilirska Bistrica is the major economic centre of the district of the same name...

. A tank column from the JNA's 32nd Mechanised Brigade, advancing from Varaždin
Varaždin
Varaždin is a city in north Croatia, north of Zagreb on the highway A4. The total population is 47,055, with 38,746 on of the city settlement itself . The centre of Varaždin county is located near the Drava river, at...

 in Croatia, was blocked at Ormož
Ormož
Ormož is a town and municipality in northeastern Slovenia. It lies on the left bank of the Drava River and borders with Croatia on the opposite bank of the river....

 near the Slovenian border and found itself unable to break through a Slovenian barricade.

Despite the confusion and fighting, the JNA nonetheless successfully accomplished much of its military mission. By midnight on 27 June it had captured all of the crossings along the Italian border, all but three crossings on the Austrian border and several of the new crossing points established along Slovenia's border with Croatia. However, many of its units were still stuck in vulnerable positions across Slovenia.

28 June 1991


During the night of 27–28 June, Slovenian TO units were ordered to undertake a general offensive against the JNA. The Slovenian defence ministry ordered:

At all locations where RS (Republic of Slovenia) armed forces (Slovenian Territorial Defence
Slovenian Territorial Defence
The Territorial Defence of the Republic of Slovenia, also the Territorial Defence of Slovenia was the predecessor of the Slovenian Armed Forces.- History :...

) have the tactical advantage, offensive actions against enemy units and facilities will be carried out. The enemy will be summoned to surrender, the shortest deadline possible for surrender given and action taken using all available weapons. While in action, any necessary arrangements will be made to evacuate and protect the civilians.


Additional fighting took place throughout the day. The JNA tank column that had been attacked at Pesnica the previous day was blocked by impromptu barricades of Slovenian trucks at Štrihovec
Štrihovec
Štrihovec is a settlement in the Slovenske gorice hills in the Šentilj Municipality in northeastern Slovenia.-External links:*...

, a few miles short of the border with Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, where it again came under attack by Slovenian TO personnel and Slovenian police. The SFR Yugoslav Air Force
SFR Yugoslav Air Force
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Yugoslav Air Force , was the air force of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia . Formed in 1945, it was preceded by the Yugoslav Royal Air Force which was disbanded in 1941, following the German occupation of Yugoslavia...

 mounted two attacks in support of the JNA forces at Strihovec, killing four truck drivers. At Medvedjek
Medvedjek, Trebnje
Medvedjek is a settlement to the east of Veliki Gaber in the Trebnje municipality in eastern Slovenia. The area is part of the historical region of Lower Carniola. The municipality is now included in the Southeast Slovenia statistical region....

 in central Slovenia, another JNA tank column came under attack at a truck barricade, where air raids killed six truck drivers. Heavy fighting broke out at Nova Gorica
Nova Gorica
Nova Gorica ; 21,082 ; 31,000 ) is a town and a municipality in western Slovenia, on the border with Italy...

 on the border with Italy, where the Slovenian Special Forces destroyed three JNA T-55
T-55
The T-54 and T-55 tanks were a series of main battle tanks designed in the Soviet Union. The first T-54 prototype appeared in March 1945, just before the end of the Second World War. The T-54 entered full production in 1947 and became the main tank for armored units of the Soviet Army, armies of...

 tanks and captured an additional three. Four JNA soldiers were killed, among them the commander of the armored column, and nearly 100 more surrendered. Some sources claim that this was the decisive battle of the war.

The border crossing at Holmec was captured by Slovenian TO forces. Two Slovenian and three JNA soldiers were killed, and 91 JNA soldiers captured. The JNA barracks at Bukovje near Dravograd were attacked by Slovenian TO units and a JNA weapons depot at Borovnica
Borovnica, Slovenia
Borovnica is a settlement and municipality in the Inner Carniola region of Slovenia. It is situated about 20 km southwest of the national capital Ljubljana....

 fell to the Slovenian TO, significantly improving the Slovenians' supply of weapons. The Yugoslav Air Force carried out attacks at a number of locations across the country, most notably at Brnik Airport
Brnik Airport
Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport , also known by its previous name Brnik Airport, is the international airport of Ljubljana, Slovenia. The airport is located near the village of Brnik, north of Ljubljana and south of Kranj on the road between Kranj and Mengeš. It has a paved runway...

, where two Austrian journalists were killed and four Adria Airways
Adria Airways
Adria Airways d.d. is the Slovenian national airline. Today, the majority of Adria Airways business is in scheduled flights. Adria operates to 16 cities throughout Europe this winter and offers excellent connections to South East Europe. It is a Star Alliance member since 2004 and a Lufthansa...

 airliners were seriously damaged. The Yugoslav Air Force also attacked the Slovenian TO military headquarters at Kočevska Reka
Kočevska Reka
Kočevska Reka is a settlement in the Kočevje municipality in southern Slovenia. It was a village settled by Gottschee Germans. A major fire destroyed most of the village in 1929, but it was restored. During the Second World War its original population was expelled...

 and flew sorties against radio and television transmitters at Krim, Kum, Trdinov vrh
Trdinov vrh
With its height of , Sveta Gera or Trdinov vrh along the border between Slovenia and Croatia is the highest peak of the Žumberak/Gorjanci mountains....

 and Nanos
Nanos, Slovenia
Nanos is a karst limestone plateau in Slovenia that divides the continental part of Slovenia from the Littoral Region. It is about 6 km wide and 12 km long in the northern extension of the Dinaric Alps. The highest point of the plateau is Suhi vrh...

 in an attempt to silence the Slovenian government broadcasts.

By the end of the day, the JNA still held many of its positions but was rapidly losing ground. JNA was beginning to experience problems with desertions — many Slovenian members of the JNA quit their units or simply changed sides - and both the troops on the ground and the leadership in Belgrade appeared to have little idea of what to do next.

29 June 1991


The outbreak of the war galvanised diplomatic efforts by the European Community to find an end to the crisis. Three EC foreign ministers met with Slovenian and Yugoslav government representatives in Zagreb during the night of 28 June-29 June and agreed on a ceasefire plan, but this was not put into practice. In the morning, the Slovenians achieved several significant military successes. The JNA troops at Ljubljana Airport near Brnik surrendered to Slovenian TO forces, who had surrounded the facility overnight. In the north, several JNA tanks were captured near Strihovec and later reorganised into a TO tank company. JNA special forces attempted a maritime landing at Hrvatini
Hrvatini
-Overview:For centuries Hrvatini belonged to the municipality of Muggia . After the dissolution of the Free Territory of Trieste in 1954, it was annexed to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Since then, it has been gravitating towards Koper...

 but were ambushed and repulsed by the Slovenians. The JNA-held border crossings at Vrtojba
Šempeter-Vrtojba
Šempeter-Vrtojba is a municipality in Slovenia. The municipality comprises the town of Šempeter pri Gorici and the adjacent village of Vrtojba....

 and Šentilj
Šentilj
Šentilj is a municipality in Slovenia. The seat of the municipality is the town of Šentilj v Slovenskih goricah . This town was an Austria-Slovenia border crossing checkpoint until December 21, 2007, when all immigration and customs checks ended after Slovenia joined the Schengen Area...

 also fell to the Slovenian TO, who seized the federal troops' weapons and tanks, providing a much-needed boost to their arsenal.

The JNA issued an ultimatum to Slovenia, demanding an immediate cessation of hostilities by 09:00 on 30 June. In response, the Slovenian Assembly adopted a resolution calling for a peaceful solution to the crisis that did not jeopardise Slovenian independence, and rejected the JNA ultimatum.

30 June 1991


Skirmishing continued in several places during the day. Slovenian forces captured the strategic Karawanken Tunnel
Karawanken Tunnel (motorway)
The Karawanken Tunnel is a motorway tunnel crossing the Alpine Karavanke mountain range between Austria and Slovenia, with a total length of , enclosure between the portals.Its construction began in 1986 and it opened on June 1, 1991...

 under the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

 on the border with Austria and captured nine JNA tanks near Nova Gorica
Nova Gorica
Nova Gorica ; 21,082 ; 31,000 ) is a town and a municipality in western Slovenia, on the border with Italy...

. The entire JNA garrison at Dravograd - 16 officers and 400 men, plus equipment — surrendered, and the garrisons at Tolmin
Tolmin
Tolmin is a small town and municipality in the Littoral region of Slovenia.-Geography:Tolmin, the old town that gave the name to the entire area , is the largest settlement in the Upper Soča Valley , as well as its economic, cultural and administrative centre. It is located on a terrace above the...

 and Bovec
Bovec
Bovec is a small city and municipality in northwestern Slovenia. The city of Bovec lies in the Bovec Basin in the Soča Valley below the Kanin mountain in the Julian Alps.-Geographical location:...

 also fell to the Slovenians. The weapons captured from the garrisons were quickly re-issued to the Slovenian forces.

1 July 1991


More skirmishes took place, with Slovenian TO forces capturing a JNA facility at Nova Vas
Nova Vas
Nova Vas may refer to*Nova Vas, Brtonigla, village in the Brtonigla municipality in Croatia*Nova Vas, Kršan, village in the Kršan municipality in Croatia*Nova Vas, Poreč, settlement within the town of Poreč in Croatia...

, south of Ljubljana. The JNA's ammunition dump at Črni Vrh
Črni Vrh
Črni Vrh means "black peak" in Slovenian language. It can refer to the following toponyms:-Populated places:* Črni Vrh, Dobrova – Polhov Gradec* Črni Vrh v Tuhinju* Črni Vrh, Idrija** Črni Vrh Observatory, astronomical observatory-Mountains:...

 caught fire and was destroyed in a massive explosion, damaging much of the town. However, the Slovenians successfully captured depots at Pečovnik
Pecovnik
Pečovnik is a settlement on the left bank of the river Savinja in the Celje municipality in eastern Slovenia. The area was traditionally part of the Lower Styria region. It is now included with the rest of the municipality into the Savinja statistical region....

, Bukovžlak
Bukovžlak
Bukovžlak is a settlement in the Celje municipality in eastern Slovenia. It lies on the eastern outskirts of Celje, just north of Teharje. The area was traditionally part of the Lower Styria region. It is now included with the rest of the municipality into the Savinja statistical region.-External...

, and Zaloška Gorica
Zaloška Gorica
Zaloška Gorica is a settlement in the Žalec municipality in east-central Slovenia. The area is part of the traditional region of Lower Styria. The municipality is now included in the Savinja statistical region....

, taking possession of some 70 truckloads of ammunition and explosives.

The JNA 306th Light Air Defence Artillery Regiment's column retreated from its exposed position at Medvedjek and headed into the Krakovo forest (Krakovski gozd) near the Croatian border. It ran into a blockade near the town of Krško
Krško
Krško is a town and municipality in eastern Slovenia. The town lies on the Sava River. The area is traditionally divided between Lower Styria and Lower Carniola...

 and was surrounded by Slovenian forces, but refused to surrender, probably hoping for help from a relief column.

In the meantime, the JNA's leadership sought permission to change the tempo of its operations. Defence Minister Veljko Kadijević
Veljko Kadijevic
Veljko Kadijević is a former General of the Yugoslav People's Army . He was the Minister of Defence in the Yugoslav government from 1988 until his resignation in 1992, which made him de facto commander of JNA during the Ten-Day War in Slovenia and the initial stages of the War in...

 informed the Yugoslav cabinet that the JNA's first plan - a limited operation to secure Slovenia's border crossings had failed, and that it was time to put into operation the backup plan of a full-scale invasion and imposition of military rule in Slovenia. However, the cabinet — headed at the time by Serbia's Borisav Jović
Borisav Jovic
Borisav Jović is a former Serbian communist politician, who served as the Serbian member of the collective presidency of Yugoslavia during the late 1980s and early 1990s...

 — refused to authorise such an operation. The JNA Chief of Staff, General Blagoje Adzić, was furious and publicly denounced "the federal organs [which] continually hampered us, demanding negotiations while they [the Slovenians] were attacking us with all means."

2 July 1991


The heaviest fighting of the war to date took place during 2 July, which proved a day of major set-backs for the JNA. The JNA convoy in the Krakovski forest came under sustained attack from TO units, forcing it to surrender. Units from the JNA's Fourth Armoured Corps attempted to move up from Jastrebarsko
Jastrebarsko
- Antiquity :In 1865, remnants of a Roman settlement were uncovered in Repišće, Klinča Sela, a village in Jastrebarsko metropolitan area. Further archeological investigation in the late 20th century classified them as a villa rustica and a necropolis consisting of six tumuli, both dating to...

 in Croatia but were beaten back near the border town of Bregana
Bregana
Bregana is a settlement in the Town of Samobor, Zagreb County, Croatia. According to the 2001 census, the town has 2,518 residents living in an area of . Together with the nearby settlements of Podvrh and Klokočevec Samoborski, the town's micropolitan area has 3,450 inhabitants.Together with...

. The Slovenian TO mounted successful attacks on border crossings at Šentilj
Šentilj
Šentilj is a municipality in Slovenia. The seat of the municipality is the town of Šentilj v Slovenskih goricah . This town was an Austria-Slovenia border crossing checkpoint until December 21, 2007, when all immigration and customs checks ended after Slovenia joined the Schengen Area...

, Gornja Radgona
Gornja Radgona
Gornja Radgona is one of the municipalities and a town in Slovenia. Once it was a defensive stronghold for today's regional centre and its twin city, Bad Radkersburg, on the other side of the river Mura in Austria. The towns were split in 1919 when the state of Styria was divided between Austria...

, Fernetiči and Gorjansko
Gorjansko
Gorjansko is a village in the southwestern part of the Municipality of Komen in the Littoral region of Slovenia on the border with Italy.The parish church in the settlement is dedicated to Saint Andrew and belongs to the Diocese of Koper. It was built in 1896 on top of the ruins of a smaller Gothic...

, capturing them and taking a number of JNA troops prisoner. A lengthy engagement between JNA and Slovenian TO forces took place during the afternoon and evening at Dravograd, and a number of JNA facilities around the country fell to Slovenian forces.

At 2100, the Slovenian Presidency announced a unilateral ceasefire. However, this was rejected by the JNA leadership, which vowed to "take control" and crush Slovenian resistance.

3 July 1991


A large JNA armoured convoy set off from Belgrade on the morning of 3 July, ostensibly to go to Slovenia. It never arrived; according to the official account, this was due to mechanical breakdowns.

Fighting continued in Slovenia, with a JNA relief force heading for the Gornja Radgona
Gornja Radgona
Gornja Radgona is one of the municipalities and a town in Slovenia. Once it was a defensive stronghold for today's regional centre and its twin city, Bad Radkersburg, on the other side of the river Mura in Austria. The towns were split in 1919 when the state of Styria was divided between Austria...

 border crossing being halted near Radenci
Radenci
Radenci is a town and a municipality on the right bank of the Mura River in the Mura statistical region of northeastern Slovenia. It is a well-known spa town and was first mentioned in written documents dating to 1436. After 1833, when a new source of mineral water was discovered, it developed...

. JNA forces at the Kog
Kog
Kog is a settlement in the hills to the northeast of Ormož in northeastern Slovenia, right on the border with Croatia. The area traditionally belonged to the Styria region and is now included in the Podravska statistical region....

 border crossing were also attacked by TO units. In the evening, the JNA agreed to a ceasefire and a withdrawal to barracks. In a separate incident not far from Radenci, in the village of Hrastje-Mota
Hrastje-Mota
Hrastje-Mota is a settlement in the Radenci Municipality in northeastern Slovenia. As its double-barrelled name suggests, it is made up of two settlemets: Hrastje and Mota, both lying on the right bank of the river Mura....

, a Yugoslav Mi-8
Mil Mi-8
The Mil Mi-8 is a medium twin-turbine transport helicopter that can also act as a gunship. The Mi-8 is the world's most-produced helicopter, and is used by over 50 countries. Russia is the largest operator of the Mi-8/Mi-17 helicopter....

 helicopter developed mechanical problems and was forced to land. The helicopter was seized by the Slovene military, but was deemed not suitable for the newly born air force and handed back to Belgrade on 13 August.

4–6 July 1991


With a ceasefire now in force, the two sides disengaged. Slovenian forces took control of all of the country's border crossings, and JNA units were allowed to withdraw peacefully to barracks and to cross the border to Croatia.

7 July 1991 and afterwards


The Ten-Day War was formally ended with the Brioni Accord, signed on the Croatian Brioni Islands. Slovenian and Croatian independence were agreed to. The terms were distinctly favourable to Slovenia; it was agreed that Slovenia and Croatia would postpone their independence for three months — which in practical terms had little real impact — and the Slovenian police and armed forces (Slovenian Territorial Defence
Slovenian Territorial Defence
The Territorial Defence of the Republic of Slovenia, also the Territorial Defence of Slovenia was the predecessor of the Slovenian Armed Forces.- History :...

) were recognised as sovereign on their territory.

It was agreed that all Yugoslav military units would leave Slovenia, with the Yugoslav government setting a deadline of the end of October to complete the process. The Slovenian government insisted that the withdrawal should proceed on its terms; the JNA was not allowed to take much of its heavy weaponry and equipment, which was later either deployed locally or sold to other Yugoslav republics. The withdrawal began about ten days later and was completed by 26 October.

Casualties


Due to the short duration and low intensity of the war, casualties were not high. According to Slovenian estimates, the JNA suffered 44 fatalities and 146 wounded, while the Slovenians had 18 killed and 182 wounded. Twelve foreign nationals were killed in the conflict, principally journalists and Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

n truck drivers who had strayed into the line of fire. 4,692 JNA soldiers and 252 federal police officers were captured by the Slovenian side. According to post-war assessments made by the JNA, its material losses amounted to 31 tanks, 22 armoured personnel carriers, 6 helicopters, 6,787 infantry weapons, 87 artillery pieces and 124 air defence weapons damaged, destroyed or confiscated. Property damage was not heavy, due to the scattered and short-term nature of the fighting.

Holmec incident


The border station at Holmec was the location of an alleged war crime perpetrated by Slovenian TO forces, filmed by the Austrian public broadcasting station ORF
ORF (broadcaster)
Österreichischer Rundfunk, ORF, is the Austrian national public service broadcaster.Funded from a combination of a television licence fees and revenue from limited on-air advertising, ORF is the dominant player in the Austrian broadcast media...

. Video footage shows a small group of JNA soldiers standing or walking slowly with raised hands, holding up a white sheet in an apparent attempt to surrender. Moments later, gunfire is heard and the soldiers fall or jump to the ground. Neither the origin of the gunfire nor its exact effect are clearly visible on the video segment. Slovene officials maintain that the JNA soldiers jumped for cover and were not hit, and that the matter was thoroughly investigated years ago. However, the incident sparked renewed public debate after the footage was shown on Serbian TV station B92
B92
B92 is a radio and television broadcaster with national coverage headquartered in Belgrade, Serbia. The network's key demographic is chiefly urban and young audience. Its programs, including the news cover topics with fairly liberal political painted attitudes...

 in 2006, with many claiming that the soldiers were shot and killed by Slovenian TO troops and that Slovenia is trying to cover up the affair. The fate of the JNA soldiers identified on the footage has been tracked, however, and they were all reported alive 15 years after the conflict.

Strategic aspects of the war


The actions of Slovenia's forces were largely dictated by the military strategy devised some months before and were tightly integrated with an equally detailed media management plan. An international media centre was established prior to the outbreak of conflict with Jelko Kacin
Jelko Kacin
Jelko Kacin is a Slovenian politician and Member of the European Parliament. During the Slovenian Independence War he was the Secretary of Information of Slovenia. He founded the Slovenian Press Agency on 3 June 1991 and the war started on 27 June 1991...

 designated to act as information minister and Slovenia's public face to the world. The Slovenian government and media successfully presented the conflict to Western European audiences as a case of a "David versus Goliath" struggle between an emerging democracy and an authoritarian communist state, and the columns of Yugoslav tanks brought to mind the events of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident in Chinese , were a series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing in the People's Republic of China beginning on 15 April 1989...

 two years earlier. This won considerable international sympathy and favourable media coverage for the cause of independent Slovenia.

The Slovenians had the advantage of superior morale, compared to their adversaries in the Yugoslav army. Many of the Yugoslav soldiers did not realise they were taking part in a real military operation, rather than an exercise, until they came under attack. The officer corps was dominated by Serbs
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 and Montenegrins
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

 and in many cases ideologically committed to Yugoslav unity. The rank and file troops however were conscripts, many of whom had no strong motivation in fighting against the Slovenes. Of the soldiers of the 5th Military District, which was in action in Slovenia, in 1990 30% were Albanians
Albanians
Albanians are a nation and ethnic group native to Albania and neighbouring countries. They speak the Albanian language. More than half of all Albanians live in Albania and Kosovo...

, 20% Croats
Croats
Croats are a South Slavic ethnic group mostly living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby countries. There are around 4 million Croats living inside Croatia and up to 4.5 million throughout the rest of the world. Responding to political, social and economic pressure, many Croats have...

, 15 to 20% Serbs
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

 and Montenegrins, 10% Bosniaks
Bosniaks
The Bosniaks or Bosniacs are a South Slavic ethnic group, living mainly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a smaller minority also present in other lands of the Balkan Peninsula especially in Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia...

, and 8% Slovenes.

The Slovenian strategy relied on a number of risky gambles. Slovenia could not have resisted the JNA for long had the full weight of the federal army been brought into action, but its leaders had gambled on the JNA leadership's unwillingness to risk mass civilian casualties. In the diplomatic arena, the Slovenian government had gambled that the international community would step in to press the Yugoslavs to desist — in both suppositions they were proven correct.

The Slovenians were also well aware that the Serbian government of Slobodan Milošević was not particularly concerned about Slovenia's independence, given the lack of any significant Serbian minority in the country. On 30 June, Defence Minister General Kadijević suggested to the Yugoslav federal presidency a massive attack on Slovenia to break down the unexpectedly heavy resistance. But the Serb representative, Borisav Jović
Borisav Jovic
Borisav Jović is a former Serbian communist politician, who served as the Serbian member of the collective presidency of Yugoslavia during the late 1980s and early 1990s...

, shocked the military establishment by declaring that Serbia did not support further military action against Slovenia. Serbia was at this point more concerned with the situation in Croatia; even before the war had ended, JNA troops were already repositioning themselves for the imminent war in Croatia
Croatian War of Independence
The Croatian War of Independence was fought from 1991 to 1995 between forces loyal to the government of Croatia—which had declared independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia —and the Serb-controlled Yugoslav People's Army and local Serb forces, with the JNA ending its combat...

.

Consequences of the war


For Slovenia, the war marked the decisive defence of its independence in regard to Yugoslavia. It was officially recognised by all European Community member states on 15 January 1992 and joined the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 on 22 May.

With Croatia as a buffer between Slovenia and Serbia, Slovenia was able to maintain its independence and position as the most stable and prosperous of the former Yugoslav republics and joined the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 on 1 May 2004.

The war led to a series of major shifts on the Yugoslav side. The JNA eventually lost nearly all of its Slovenian and Croat personnel, becoming an almost entirely Serbian and Montenegrin force. Its poor performance in Slovenia and later in Croatia discredited its leadership — Kadijević resigned as defence minister in January 1992, and Adžić was forced into medical retirement shortly afterwards.

The Slovenian and Croatian governments were urged by the European Commission
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

 to freeze their declaration of independence
Brioni Agreement
The Brijuni Agreement is a document signed on the Brijuni islands near Pula, Croatia, on 7 July 1991 by representatives of the Republic of Slovenia, Republic of Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under the political sponsorship of the European Community...

 for a period of three months, hoping to ease tension, to which Slovenia and Croatia agreed. Slovenia used the period to consolidate its institutions, deliver some of the most urgent economic reforms and prepare for international recognition of the country.

See also

  • Statehood Day (Slovenia)
    Statehood Day (Slovenia)
    Statehood Day is a holiday that occurs on every 25 June in Slovenia to commemorate the country's declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Although the official declaration of independence did not come until 26 June 1991, Statehood Day is considered to be June 25 since that was the...

  • History of Slovenia
    History of Slovenia
    The history of Slovenia chronicles the period of the Slovene territory from the 5th Century BC to the present times. In the Early Bronze Age, Proto-Illyrian tribes settled an area stretching from present-day Albania to the city of Trieste. The Holy Roman Empire controlled the land for nearly 1,000...

  • Orders of Freedom of the Republic of Slovenia — Decorations given to heroes of the Ten-Day War in Slovenia