Barkov Vangel

On 22 December 1949 the detachments of the 18th brigade of DAG, of which a large number were Macedonian, carried out a diversionary manoeuvre and entered Negosh once they cut the telephone lines, destroyed some machine gun stations on the north side of the town and took the hill Ajlia. All that was achieved by two battalions, because the third one had become lost and did not arrive until the following night. Even though the enemy had the substantial forces of the regular army, the police and MAI, it lost the threads because of the surprise. But toward the afternoon it gained confidence and decided to move so that it could shut down and destroy the battalion, which had already taken over the town.

A major at the head of one of the 'elite' groups (commandos) attacked our weaker posts. For a short while, our side moved to new positions. The positions were difficult for us. They were just short of closing our only road that linked us to the other detachments. A special messenger arrived to inform us about the difficult position we were in. Apart from three to four messengers, we had no other reserves.

"Comrades," the encouraging voice of the commander, "the fascists are trying to close our road. All to the tanks!"

They launched themselves, one by one. Vangel was at the lead. A modest, poor village boy from Crebreno. At first glance Vangel would not make a big impression; you would not notice him, as is usual about people who you do not recognize well. Quiet - he would not harm a fly. But you had to see him at a critical moment to understand the heart of this young man. In the battles, he was a real hero. With full knowledge of his mission as a fighter of an army fighting to free its people, he was always where he felt there was a danger for the unit. He had already been in DAG for three years. In those three years he gave a large number of examples of self sacrifice and heroism. Now as a lieutenant and a special messenger for the commander of the brigade, he treated every word of the commander as law that had to be complied with. Once he heard that we were in danger of isolation, and he set off. Four other fighters set off after him quietly and cautiously. They got to the river. The water was up to their knees.

"Be careful that the grenades and automatic weapons do not get wet," commanded Vangel.

"We are already close," says one of the comrades and points with his finger, "You see the bend in the road; that is where the position is, the position they took. They wounded one of our comrades."

"Prepare your automatics," commanded Vangel. Once I throw the first grenade, everyone attack."

The monarcho-fascist officer did not manage to finish giving the orders when he heard the whistle of the first grenade… and then a second followed… a third… the enemy post was lost in black clouds of smoke. The light machine guns penetrated their midst. The post was taken with an assault. The penetration widened. Our position in the town improved. Our group returned to the position that it had been forced to leave. Our fighters with Vangel at the head counted their trophies. Among the dead monarcho-fascists there was a major from the march. Vangel with a new Thompson [submachine gun] on his shoulder and a heavy machine gun returned to the brigade.

"We gave them a few knocks, comrade commander," he reported. They planned to imprison us and that is why the major himself came. If they liked that, they should come back for more. I can see that I will not be carrying a Stajger light machine gun, a Thompson is all I need and they fall in our hands.

"Bravo Vangel!" answered his commander. "Go get changed. You are all wet."

"No comrade commander, first I will go to the high school, to major Pero to see what he is doing and then I will take care of myself.

That is what Vangel was like. He did not fight just by following commands; he did not know what fear is.

The battle continued all day. It was very late into the night before we left the town. Vangel was one of the last. He wanted to make sure everyone did as they should.

It was 2am. The December night was icy. Our detachments pulled out; one by one they took their position in line and started to march. The command left last but last of all was Vangel. "I am reporting, comrade commander, that all detachments left as ordered. We are the last."

That was the way that Vangel operated in all the battles of the 18th Brigade of DAG. In one battle in May 1949 he gave his life. He fell heroically. He was awarded a bravery medal for his bravery and abilities. The fighters and the officers of the 18th Brigade will never forget the hero messenger Vangel.

All of Vangel's family was involved in the fight for freedom. His old father, Naum, lay in prison for many many years. His mother, baba Marija, was persecuted by the monarch-fascist forces. His older brother Kuzma fell as a lieutenant of DAG in 1947 - and his sister, Athina, died in the big battles of Maki-Madi on 21 September 1948.


From: For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters

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For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters