7. Croatian Mountain Division
- Published: 09 February 2013 09 February 2013
- Last Updated: 09 February 2013 09 February 2013
(7. Hrvatska Gorska Divizija)
by H.L. deZeng IV
Ordered formed on or about 1 December 1944 with Division HQ in Nova Kapela and Batrina, but by 12 December its HQ is said to have moved to Nova Gradiška, but this needs to be confirmed. There was a small German liaison team (DVK 307) assigned to the Division for coordination purposes. It was considered by the Germans, Partisans and Allies as being well equipped, well armed and having high morale, but woefully under strength for a quality combat division. It maintained an average strength of around 4,000 – 4,500 during its existence. (1)
Dec 44 – Apr 45: the Division was responsible for the Sl. Brod area NNW to Kutjevo, WNW to Velika, W to Pakrac and then SSW to the Sava river. It was tactically under German LXIX. Armeekorps. One of its primary responsibilities was to protect an approximately 80 km section of main railway line that ran from around Novska to just west of Sl. Brod. It also defended several important towns and carried offensive sweeps into the Papuk mountains where many Partisan camps were located.
2 Dec 44: the Division’s II Bn./1st Mountain Brig. was forced out of Pleternica/11 km SE of Sl. Požega by elements of the 40th Division NOVJ.
5-6 Dec 44: continuing its offensive, 40th Division NOVJ attacked 7th Division’s elements defending Sl. Požega and forced them to withdraw from the town.
14 Jan 45: in sharp fighting around Pleternica, units from the Division killed 19 Partisans and captured 5 others from the 12th Assault Div. NOVJ while losing only one man WIA. The town was retaken and the Partisans evicted.
12-14 Feb 45: together with German 1. Kos.Kav.Div., 7th Mountain Div. cleared the 12th Assault Div. NOVJ from a large swath of mountainous terrain between Sl. Požega and Orahovica/26 km NNE of Sl. Požega and reopened the roads in that area.
8-17 Mar 45: Division elements, along with the German 1. Kos.Kav.Div., 1. HUD and the Pavelić PTS, opened an offensive on 32d and 33d Divisions JA in the area 15-20 km NW of Daruvar. The week-long fighting accomplished very little and cost each side between 500 and 1,000 casualties.
Apr 45: during the latter part of April the main body of the Div. began withdrawing west-northwest along the Sava valley through the Nova Gradiška – Okucani – Kutina area, and by 30 April it was located at Ivanić-Grad/35 km SE of Zagreb. Other elements of the Div. were caught up with German rear guard units trying to maintain a line between Garešnica and Banova Jaruga.
1-8 May 45: the Division, which by now was no longer intact as a unified formation, joined the general retreat toward Zagreb and from there north toward the Austrian border.
General Stjepan vitez Peričić (c. 1 Dec 1944 - May 1945?)
II Territorial Corps (c. 1 Dec 1944 - c. 15 Mar 1945)
III Ustasha Corps (c. 15 Mar 1945 - May 1945)
Order of battle (Dec 1944)
Div. HQ in Nova Kapela and Batrina
1st Mountain Brig. (4 battalions and an Engineer Co.)
4th Mountain Brig. (4 battalions and a Signal Co.)
I and VI Artillery Gp.
1. AVII Beograd, kut. 134a, reg.br. 3/1; [Vojnoistorijski institute]. Zbornik dokumenata I podataka o narodnooslobodilačkom ratu jugoslovenskih naroda, Tom IV/31, p.824; V/36, pp.646-52; [Vojnoistorijski institute]. Hronologija oslobodilačke borbe naroda jugoslavije 1941-1945, pp.1035, 1058, 1072, NARA WashDC: RG 226 (OSS intelligence documents Nos. 109636, 110433 and 126034); RG 242 (T-311 roll 189/898; Colić 1979, p.164; Schramm, Percy E. (ed.). Kriegstagebuch des Oberkommandos der Wehrmacht, 1940-1945, vol. IV, p.1312.
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