Part of the Anti-Partisan Operations in Croatia series by H.L. deZeng IV

Dates: 2 – 16 July 1944. (1)

Objective: To sweep and clear large Partisan concentrations from the Kalnik Mountains southwest of the line Ludbreg – Koprivnica.

Enemy Forces: elements of 6th Corps NOVJ (12th and 28th Divisions) and 10th Corps NOVJ (32d and 33d Divisions).

Axis Forces:
German
II./Polizei-Freiwillige-Rgt. 4 Kroatien
Hungarian
4 regiments (as a blocking force along the Drava River)
Croatian
HQ PTD
1st Infantry Rgt./PTD
2d Infantry Rgt./PTD
Armored Group/PTD
Artillery Bn./PTD
V Ustasha Brigade (3 Ustasha battalions)
One (1) battalion from the I Traffic Control Brigade Ustasha Militia
Ustasha NCO School
IV Mountain Brigade (2 battalions)
Reserve Group Kavalek

Conduct of Operations and Results: Although under the overall command of the German LXIX Armeekorps z.b.V., this large-scale operation was carried out almost entirely by Croatian forces. The fighting was very heavy at times, especially in and around the town of Ludbreg which was counterattacked during the night of 5/6 July by the 17th Assault Brigade/28th Assault Division NOVJ, which was thrown back with severe losses. The ring of advancing Croatian troops from Bjelovar, Novigrad Podravski, Koprivnica and Križevci finally closed on the center of the Kalnik redoubt on 13 July, but the Partisan main body slipped through the cordon (as usual) and escaped into the nearby Bilo gora Mountains. The Hungarian contingent of 4 regiments that was supposed to take part in “Rouen” was relegated to the Hungarian side of the Drava as a blocking force because of strenuous high level Croatian objections that considered their presence on the west side of the Drava an encroachment on the sovereign territory of the Croatian state. There is very little coverage of “Rouen” in the postwar Yugoslav literature.

Losses (from German records)
Croatian: 158 killed, 112 wounded and 23 missing.
Partisans: 1,017 counted dead, a further 50 estimated dead, and 13 captured.

Footnotes
1. [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Hronologija oslobodilačke borbe naroda jugoslavije 1941-1945 (Belgrade, 1964), pp.817-19; NARA WashDC: RG 242 (T-314 roll 1548/690-1092).

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