UNEF: The Yugoslav Contingent

UNEF: The Yugoslav Contingent by Bojan Dimitrijevic


ISBN
9781912866410
Published
Binding
Paperback
Pages
72
Dimensions
210 x 297mm

Pursuing a policy of social revolution, national liberation, and non-alignment, Yugoslavia under Josip Broz Tito became involved in the Middle East in the mid-1950s.

Combined with some initial interest in economic and military assistance, this involvement found a positive reception among several Arab states, foremost Egypt under Gamal Abdel Nasser. Close personal ties between Tito and Nasser significantly contributed to the deployment of a contingent from the Yugoslav Popular Army (JNA) within the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) in Egypt, following the Suez War of 1956.

Established in a hurry and deployed to Egypt in late November 1956, the JNA's part of the UNEF consisted of a reinforced reconnaissance battalion. The unit was manned by conscript soldiers and equipped with vehicles provided by the USA within the frame of the Mutual Defence Assistance Program (MDAP).

The story of the unit's difficult task of entering the Sinai Peninsula right on the heels of withdrawing Israeli forces is the centrepiece of this book. While warmly welcomed by the local inhabitants, through late 1956 and all of 1957, the JNA contingent had the difficult task of reaching the demarcation lines, establishing observation posts, and making sure the cease-fire would be respected by all of the belligerents. For a force that understood itself to have a national-liberation and revolutionary role, rather than being an expeditionary military, the Yugoslav Popular Army thus went through a particularly unusual experience.

The mission of the JNA's contingent with the UNEF on the Sinai came to a sudden end during the crisis leading to the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War: squeezed between the advancing Israeli forces, it had to be quickly evacuated, leaving all its heavy equipment and vehicles behind.

Prepared with help of the original documentation from a host of archival sources of the former JNA, the book Yugoslav UNEF Contingent focuses foremost on the deployment immediately after the Suez Crisis of 1956. Providing detailed coverage of the much underreported closing chapter of that conflict, it is illustrated by more than 150 original photographs, most of which have never been published before.
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