Tuzla Brigade (Croatia)
- Published: 10 February 2013 10 February 2013
- Last Updated: 10 February 2013 10 February 2013
by H.L. deZeng IV
Formed during March or beginning of April 1943 with HQ in Tuzla by consolidating, reorganizing and strengthening a large number of scattered Moslem militia companies and detachments in the area around Tuzla, and particularly between the city and the Drina River to the east, that until then had been loosely known as the Hadžicfendić Volunteer (or Domdo) Regiment. Initially in a strength of three battalions of mostly overage men without heavy weapons, the Brigade was responsible for protecting the entire Tuzla Basin, especially the economically important salt and coal mines located there. By the end of August 1943 at least two more battalions had been added bringing the strength of the Brigade to approximately 6,000. (1)
5 Jul 43: together with elements of the German 369. Inf.Div. (kroat.) and 202. Panzer-Btl., Brigade elements attacked the 7th Division NOVJ around the village of Zivinice near Tuzla, dispersed it, and then took the town of Stupari which had falled into Partisan hands earlier.
20 Aug 43: German recruiting or attempted recruiting of the Brigade’s Moslem personnel for the German 13. SS-Div. “Handschar” prompted a sharp complaint this date from Croatian II Corps HQ to the effect that if all of the Moslems were taken, the Tuzla Brigade would be left with only 1,200 to 1,300 men and could no longer safeguard the Tuzla area.
21-22 Aug 43: 6th Co. of II Bn., that comprised the defense of the village of Povrsnica near Gornja Tuzla, surrendered to the Partisans en masse and took all of their weapons with them.
14-15 Sep 43: V Bn. lost 50 killed and wounded and 411 captured while defending the village of Capardi near Zvornik, which was taken with light losses by the 16th Assault Division NOVJ.
15 Sep 43: 3d Co. from I Bn. deserted to the Chetniks this date.
2-6 Oct 43: Tuzla and its outlying villages attacked and taken by the Partisan 1st Bosnian Assault Corps NOVJ. The defending German and Croatian forces in the strength of nearly a division, including the Tuzla Brigade, withdrew to Zvornik after putting up stiff resistance. The Partisans reported German-Croatian losses as 655 killed and wounded plus 2,174 captured, while their losses came to only 28 killed and 98 wounded. The victors also seized 1,910 rifles, 102 light machine guns, 24 heavy machine guns, 6 mortars, 25 field guns of various calibers, and tons of other materiel, equipment and food. The Tuzla Brigade was decimated. Nearly half of the Brigade was killed, wounded or taken prisoner, and many of the officers, including its commander, took the opportunity to desert to the Partisans after being captured. No further mention of the Brigade has been found and it is believed that its remaining personnel were parceled out to other formations as replacements.
Pukovnik Sulejman(?) Filipović (? Apr 1943 - ? Oct 1943)
II Corps (tactically under German 369. Inf.Div. (kroat.)) (Apr 1943 - Oct 1943)
Order of battle (14 Apr 1943)
Brigade HQ in Tuzla
I Bn. in Caparde
II Bn. in Gornja Tuzla
III Bn. in Tuzla
Order of battle (24 July 1943)
Brigade HQ, HQ Co. and Rations Section in Tuzla
I Bn. (no Moslems) in Tuzla
II Bn. (1/4th Moslem) in Gornja Tuzla
III Bn. (2/3rds Moslem) in Caparde
IV Bn. (all Moslem) in villages around Tuzla
V Bn. (all Moslem – formerly Domdo Bn. Kladanj) in Kladanj
Artillery Battery in Tuzla
1. [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Hronologija oslobodilačke borbe naroda jugoslavije 1941-1945, pp.507, 526, 544, 570; NARA WashDC: RG 242 (T-313 roll 189/8715; roll 193/3207); (T-314 roll 554/608); (T-315 roll 2154/1381; roll 2156/852; roll 2271/750).
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