Looking Back at Tango 23

9. května 2023

There are things that are difficult to describe, they have to be experienced. And that is exactly what our journey with the veterans of the Tango 23 - Repetitor observation post was like, going directly to the place where their comrades and comrades-in-arms Sergeant Petr Valeš and Staff Sergeant Luděk Zeman died during the Croatian offensive on 5 August 1995.

The Tango 23 observation post was part of a long line of UNCRO observation and control posts between the hostile Croatia and the Republic of Srpska Krajina. In 1995, after a relatively long period of calm, Croatia launched Operation Bijesak (Lightning) in May and Operation Oluja (Storm) in August, which pushed the Serbs out of western Slavonia and liquidated Republika Srpska Krajina, from where all the Serb inhabitants had been expelled. During Operation Oluja, a mortar shell landed on an observation post, killing both of our soldiers and injuring three others.

One of the objectives of the trip was to hand over Repetitor knives with their names and ranks on the spot to the soldiers who served at the post. This was done on Saturday, May 6, during a ceremony at a memorial plaque placed directly at the site of the tragedy by former UNCRO soldiers.

The purpose of the plaque and the whole ceremony was to honour the fallen soldiers. Yet Repetitor Hill should not become a tourist spot for military history buffs. The breathtaking views, beautiful scenery, and minimal tourists could, of course, tempt one to do so. But the place is not safe even nearly 30 years after the crossing of the front. In the bushes and in the rocks near the road still lurk the invisible killers to the eye - landmines - all functional and hidden in the ground. Should anyone still wish to venture there, it is essential to secure an experienced local guide for the journey and as a matter of principle not to leave the beaten or rutted path.

You can therefore pay your respects to the heroes, perhaps on your way to the sea or to the nearby Plitvice Lakes, safely at the official memorial, which can be found at the foot of Repetitor Hill on the road from Korenice to Lički Osik.

Such an occasion naturally stirs up emotions, in which the joy of the encounter is mixed with sadness and memories. It is not easy to describe it in a few lines, so we are preparing a documentary film and an exhibition about the whole expedition and the story of the soldiers, which we will present to you before the holidays.

The Repetitor knife belongs to the War Veteran Project, which commemorates the foreign missions of our army, and Mikov donates 300 CZK from every knife sold to the Military Solidarity Fund. In addition to the Repetitor knife, the Storm knife is also on sale.