(11. Hrvatska Pješačka Divizija)
by H.L. deZeng IV

Ordered formed on or about 1 December 1944 with Division HQ in Gospić. The Div. HQ and staff were the former Operations District Velebit in Gospić. There was a small German liaison team (DVK 311) assigned to the Division for coordination purposes. It was considered by the Germans, Partisans and Allies as being up to strength, well armed and equipped, and a good fighting formation. The average strength in December was around 8,000, but by February this had declined to approximately 7,000. (1)


Operational History

Dec 44 – Mar 45: Division responsible for the Ogulin – Brinje – Senj – Otočac – Gospić – Karlobag area of Lika and the north Dalmatian coast. It was tactically under the German XV. Gebirgskorps. This relatively large division garrisoned numerous towns in its area and actively patrolled the smaller villages in search of Partisans. Clashes were frequent but these were rarely at more than battalion-strength, and most normally were at company-level. The Division’s relationship to the German 392. Inf. Div. was very close and most operations were carried out jointly. Some of these lesser combats are described in the histories for the individual brigades.
4 Apr 45: the date Partisan 4th Army launched its major offensive to clear northern Dalmatia with 5 divisions leading the attack on towns and villages occupied by 11th Croatian Inf. Div. and the German 392. Inf. Div. Within a week the defenders had been overwhelmed and largely destroyed. The remnants of the Croatian Division had been reduced to around 2,000 men and these beat a hasty retreat to the north toward Rijeka and Karlovac, disintegrating along the way. There may have been an attempt to reassemble and rebuild the Division (one source claims it had been strengthened to around 6,000 men by early May), but this cannot be confirmed. In any event, it is very doubtful if it ever fought again as a division.

Commanders

Pukovnik Josip Aleksić (c. 1 Dec 1944 - Feb 1945?)
Ust. Pukovnik Jučo Rukavina (c. Feb 1945 - May 1945)

Subordination

I Territorial Corps (c. 1 Dec 1944 - c. 15 Mar 1945)
V Ustasha Corps (c. 15 Mar 1945 - May 1945)

Order of battle (Dec 1944)

Div. HQ in Gospić
IV Ustasha Brigade (8 battalions)
XVIII Ustasha Brigade (4 battalions)
13th Domobran Brigade (7 battalions)
11th (divisional) Reconnaissance Bn.
Artillery Gp. (4 x 100mm, 4 x 75mm and 2 x 65mm guns)
Armored Co. (8 x 3.5-ton Italian L33 tankettes)

Later, the 13th Domobran Brig. was dissolved and in March 1945 the XXIII Ustasha Brigade joined the Division.


Footnotes

1. AVII Beograd, kut. 134a, reg.br. 3/1; [Vojnoistorijski institute]. Zbornik dokumenata I podataka o narodnooslobodilačkom ratu jugoslovenskih naroda, Tom V/37, p.593; V/38, pp.686-96; XI/4, pp.60, 315-18, 344-49 and 816-18; Colić, Mladenko. Pregled Operacija na Jugoslovenskom Ratištu 1941-1945, pp.328-32; [Vojnoistorijski institute]. Oslobodilački rat naroda Juooslavije 1941-1945, vol. 2, p.570; NARA WashDC: RG 226 (OSS intelligence documents Nos. 109636, 110433 and 126034); RG 242 (T-311 roll 184/1141); Schramm, Percy E. (ed.). Kriegstagebuch des Oberkommandos der Wehrmacht, 1940-1945, vol. IV, p.1312.


Reference material on this unit

- None known at this time -

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