15. Croatian Infantry Division
- Published: 09 February 2013 09 February 2013
- Last Updated: 09 February 2013 09 February 2013
(15. Hrvatska Pješačka Divizija)
by H.L. deZeng IV
Ordered formed on or about 1 December 1944 with Division HQ in Doboj. There was a small German liaison team (DVK 315) assigned to the Division for coordination purposes. It was considered by the Germans, Partisans and Allies as being second rate in every respect made up of lightly armed, over-age railway guards. Division strength was estimated to be around 3,000. (1)
Dec 44 – Apr 45: the Division’s sole responsibility was to protect the railway line between Slavonska Brod and Sarajevo. It was under the operational control of the German Eisenbahnsicherungsstab Kroatien (Railway Security Staff) with HQ in Sl. Brod, but in April it came under German XXI. Gebirgskorps. Additional information can be found in the histories for the individual brigades.
19-23 Mar 45: Div. elements and local militia attached to German 22. Inf.Div. and 117. Jäg.Div. supported a clearing operation in the Trebovac mountains between Doboj and Gračanica, but the Partisans slipped away and there was little contact.
5-7 Apr 45: in the opening phase of the liberation of eastern Bosnia by 2d Army JA, Partisan 23d and 45th Divisions attacked and smashed 3 battalions of the 15th Croatian Inf. Div. in sharp fighting in and around Gračanica, which fell to the victors on the 7th.
10 Apr 45: after the Partisans took Sarajevo on 10 April, the Division’s railway guard battalions deployed along the tracks to the north of Zenica gradually carried out a fighting withdrawal along the Bosna valley by way of Doboj toward Sl. Brod.
11-15 Apr 45: the retreating components of the Division, now in the company of elements of German 181. Inf.Div., were attacked by Partisan 27th Division and driven out of Zavidovići back toward Maglaj, just 28 km south of Doboj.
18-19 Apr 45: Sl. Brod came under attack by 5 Partisan divisions and the German-Croatian defenders, including the remnants of 15th Croatian Inf. Div., were forced west along the Sava valley toward Nova Gradiška and then on to the Zagreb area. It is not identified after this date and it is believed that the survivors were used as replacements to fill up other units.
Pukovnik Zorko Čudina (c. 1 Dec 1944 - May 1945)
II Territorial Corps (c. 1 Dec 1944 - c. 15 Mar 1945)
II Ustasha Corps (c. 15 Mar 1945 - c. 15 Apr 1945)
IV Ustasha Corps (c. 15 Apr 1945 - May 1945)
Order of battle (Dec 44)
Div. HQ in Doboj
XVI Ustasha Brigade (I – III Bn.)
16th Domobran Brigade (I – IV Bn., with V Bn. added in Apr 45)
1. AVII Beograd, kut. 134a, reg.br. 3/1; [Vojnoistorijski institute]. Zbornik dokumenata I podataka o narodnooslobodilačkom ratu jugoslovenskih naroda, Tom IV/31, pp.824-26; [Vojnoistorijski institute]. Oslobodilački rat naroda Juooslavije 1941-1945, vol 2, pp.522-23, 586-87; 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.
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