“Dawn Over the Drava” (1974) – the Bulgarian army during the battle of Drava

A review of the movie by Todor Nenov: “The film depicts the battle of Drava, fought in the beginning of March 1945, mainly on Hungarian soil. Elements of the 1st Bulgarian Army took defensive positions along the Drava river, which, in this sector, divides Serbia and Hungary. In march 1945 the German OKW launched a counter-offensive operation against the Soviet, the Bulgarian and the Yugoslav forces, concentrated to the north and to the south of the Balaton lake. The Bulgarians were entrusted with the defense of the Drava sector, which was in fact the extreme left flank of the Soviet front, and was attacked by vastly superior numbers of German troops. Furious fighting occurred in the small villages of Drava Sobolch, Drava Czehi and Drava Polkonha, which were passing from hands to hands for a week or so. The Germans advanced only 8 to 10 km in a narrow strip and were unable to go on with the onslaught. At the end, after repelling all the enemy thrusts, the Bulgarians, at the expense of the blood of many comrades in arms, launched a counter-offensive, which regained the lost ground and enabled them to secure the flank of the Soviets. The Bulgarian army went on, pursuing the Germans to Austria, where on the 8.05.1945 met the British forces near Volkermarkt and Klagenfurt.”

By Georgi Djulgerov: “This is a two-part film about the participation of the Bulgarian army in the Second World War. On the eve of September 9, 1944, insurgent masses liberate a large group of political prisoners from jail in Varna. Boyan Vasilev, the central character, is one of them. The joy of liberation, however, is overshadowed for him by the fact that his wife has not waited for him. He is dispatched to the front line as a political officer. In tracing his personal fate the authors have created an epic picture about the participation of Bulgarian army in the last stages of war and the final defeat of Nazi Germany on the battlefields of Yugoslavia and Hungary. Against the background of the impressive battle scenes the film focuses on the complex relationships between the numerous characters, reflecting the social and political contradiction in Bulgaria in the end of the war, we see former career officers who are attempting to sabotage the work of military command. There are also honest military officers who are experiencing an excruciating change of views (since 1941 till 9.09.1944 Bulgaria was on the side of union between Germany, Italy and Japan) and remain true to their patriotic duty.”

⇒ The movie on IMDB.

The move is available on numerous YouTube channels, however, it is in Bulgarian. There is no English translation:

⇒ For more details about the battle, please check the following article.

Pictures from the battle:


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