Diputación Foral de Guipúzcoa
July 14, 2024

The Auxiliary Navy of the Basque Country

The full list of auxiliary navies:

Croatian Navy & Croatian Naval Legion, 1941-45 Croatian Navy & Croatian Naval Legion, 1941-45
Croatian Navy & Croatian Naval Legion, 1941-45
Hrvatska Pomorska Legija & Hrvatska Ratna Mornarica

Upon creation of the Independent State of Croatia in April 1941 with German backing, the Italian government vetoed the use by the Croatian Navy of any warship of over 50 tonnes. The Croatian Navy (Hrvatska Ratna Mornarica) therefore organized a Customs and Coastguard service in small armed boats and fishing vessels, plus a riverine flotilla on the Danube with two monitors (Sava and Bosna) and some patrol boats under Rear Admiral Djuro Jakcin.

The Croatians managed to raise the Croatian Naval Legion (Hrvatska Pomorska Legija), a detachment which served under the German Navy in the Black Sea. They crewed a flotilla of minesweeping boats operating in Crimea and the Azov Sea in 1941-43, and later a submarine-chaser flotilla (23. U-Bootsjagdflottille) in the Black Sea during 1943-44. In 1943, a Coastal Artillery Battery was added. Almost 1000 men served with the Legion under Commander Andro Vrkljan and Captain Stjepan Rumenovic.

The Legion returned to Trieste in May 1944 to man the new Croatian Navy, reorganized following Italy’s surrender in September 1943. They received one Yugoslavian minesweeper (Pasman), two former Yugoslavian torpedo boats (T-7 and T-3), two Italian coasters armed as patrol boats (G-102 and G-104) and eight German motor torpedo boats (KS-1 to KS-8). Jakcin was succeeded by Rear Admiral Edgar Agnelli in 1943 and Vice Admiral Nikola Steinfel in 1944. In December 1944 some of the crew tried to mutiny and defect to the Allies but the Germans anticipated events and took over most of the ships. The remaining ships were sunk in the last days of the war and most of the sailors captured by the partisan forces in 1945.

Legion-Naval-Croata-en-el-Mar-Negro.jpg Monitor-croata-Sava.jpg Torpedero-croata-T3en-1944.jpg

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