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Has a film of Operation Halyard been made?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: May 21, 2012 
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Has there ever been a motion picture depicting Operation Halyard produced?

L.T. Ricamore



Dear Mr. Ricamore,

Operation Halyard, the evacuation of as many as 512 downed Allied aircrewmen from behind German lines with the aid of Dragoljub Mihailovic's Serbian Royalist Chetniks between August 9 and December 27, 1944, was long kept a repressed secret, more as a diplomatic sop to Mihailovic's rival in the area, Josip Broz, aka Marshal Tito, to whom the Allies ultimately committed themselves, than against the Germans. In the wake of the disintegration of Yugoslavia, surviving participants in the operation unveiled a commemorative plague at Pranjani, the principal town from which the vast majority of evaders were airlifted, on September 12, 2004. To the best of my knowledge, however, there has yet to be any film, American, Serbian or otherwise, that has been released on the subject.




Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group

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3 Responses to “Has a film of Operation Halyard been made?”

  1. 1
    Robert Kapanjie says:

    One of the great betrayals of W W 2, Milhailovic and his Chetniks were responsible for the rescue of hundreds of downed allied airmen. They were shot down by the Luftwaffe returning home to base in Italy following the bombing of the Ploesti oil fields in Roumania.. The allies had initially supported Milhailovic until Tito managed to implant moles who relayed false intelligence that the Chetniks were collaborating with the Germans. The Brits were duped and repudiated Milhailovic. He was captured by the Partisans ( Tito's group )given a rigged trial and executed after the war. Many of the rescued airmen and their supporters held rallies on Milhailovic's behalf, wrote letters to the Yugoslav government pleading for mercy–to no avail.
    The partisans attacked the Germans wherever the opportunity presented itself often near towns and villages which then paid a terrible price from German retributions. Milhailovic on the other hand was more cautious and attacked the enemy away from population centers in order to minimize German reprisals. An excellent book to read on the subject is Gregory Freeman's The Forgotten 500.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Herb Harper says:

    If memory serves correctly, I believe I remember seeing a movie in the 1940s depicting the Germans, burning a village and killing all the residents, because they would NOT reveal details of Allied airmen being hidden in Yugoslavia during the war. I must admit I was a teenager at the time, however DID see a lot of wartime movies. I cannot recall the name or much of the details of the movie.

    Herb Harper, Historian, 98th Bomb Group Vets. Association

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