After months of anti-partisan operation east of Zagreb, the 1st Light Infantry Parachute Battalion had finally returned to its home barracks in the Zagreb neighborhood of Maksimir. The writing had been on the wall for a while, but word had finally come down that Croatian armed forces should head for Austria to surrender to the Western Allies. On May 6th the battalion left Zagreb as the rearguard of a large, mixed-Axis retreating force headed for Dravograd and Austria. Despite repeated air attacks on the column, the paratroopers stayed together until reaching Celje, halfway to Dravograd. Slovenian partisans had set up blocking positions along the roads to keep the retreating fascists from reaching Austria. Captain Ivan Simek divided the battalion into small groups with orders to infiltrate past Celje and on to Austria. . . .