Sava Kovačević (Yugoslav partisan)

Sava Kovačević (Yugoslav partisan)

Infobox Military Person
name= Sava Kovačević
lived= 1905 – June 13, 1943
placeofbirth= Nudo, Montenegro
placeofdeath= Sutjeska river, Kingdom of Yugoslavia

caption= Sava Kovačević
allegiance= People's Liberation Army and Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia
rank= Commander
battles= World War II, Yugoslav Front
awards= People's Hero of Yugoslavia

Sava Kovačević (Serbian: Сава Ковачевић) (1905 – June 13, 1943) was a Montenegrin partisan commander during World War II.

Kovačević was born in Nudo, close to Nikšić, to a family of Montenegrin peasants. In his early age he worked as a blacksmith and adopted Communism, becoming a member of Communist Party of Yugoslavia in 1925. He gradually rose through the ranks of Party and became one of the Communist leaders in Montenegro. He was often arrested for his Communist activities.

After the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia, Kovačević was one of the leading organisers of uprising against Italian occupation of Montenegro. He became commander of Nikšić Partisan Detachment, deputy commander of Main Headquarters of Montenegro and finally a member of Supreme Staff of the Yugoslav National Liberation Army (YNLA).

In June 1942 he became first commander of 5th Montenegrin Brigade of YNLA. His unit took part in 1942 Bosanska Krajina Campaign - operation against NDH garrisons that brought large sections of today's Bosnia-Herzegovina under Partisan control. In February and March 1943, during Battle of Neretva, (German operation Weiss) Kovačević commanded his brigade in attacks on Prozor against Italians and Konjic against joined Italian-Ustasha-German defenders. On June 6, during the Battle of Sutjeska (German operation Schwarz) he became commander of 3rd Assault Division of YNLA. His division covered the rear of other Partisan units while they successfully broke through German lines. 3rd Division, also encumbered with the wounded Partisans, was less successful in its attempt of breakthrough.

On June 13, Sava Kovačević was killed while personally leading his men during the charge against fortified trenches of German 118th Division at Krekovi, on river Sutjeska.

Due to his humble background and habit of disregarding any privileges of the rank, Kovačević was one of the most popular Partisan commanders. He was famous for his personal courage: one of the well known episodes happened on February 20 1943 in Ostrožac on Neretva river when he, with his Brigade commissar Dragiša Ivanović, in an unexpected encounter with a group of Italian tanks, managed to jump on tank platform, Sava on the second and Dragiša on the third of three tanks, to destroy their crews and to capture one tank each. His heroic death made him into one of the Partisan icons.

He was posthumously proclaimed People's Hero of Yugoslavia.

In 1973 film "Sutjeska" he was played by renowned Serbian actor Ljuba Tadić.

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