(I. gorski zdrug) "Poglavnik Dr. Ante Pavelić"
by H.L. deZeng IV

Formed in April 1942 from men called up in August/September 1941 and trained by the Germans in Austria. Operated during 1942 and the first half of 1943 in a strength of four 1,000-man battalions under the lst Mountain Division, and then reorganized and expanded during the summer of 1943 beginning 15 June as an independent brigade under Croatian I Corps. A new headquarters was formed from the staff of the disbanded 1st Infantry Division, two mountain infantry regiments (the 1st and the 5th) were organized from the brigade’s old establishment and the disbanded V Mountain Brigade, and a German training staff and battalion (Deutsches Ausbildungs-Btl. 1 bei der 1. kroatischen Gebirgs-Brigade) was assigned to improve the brigade’s effectiveness and reliability. In August 1943, the 1st Mountain Rgt. was 70% Roman Catholic and 30% Moslem, and the 5th Mountain Rgt. was 40% Roman Catholic and 60% Moslem. On 1 December 1944 the brigade was incorporated into the new 7th Croatian Mountain Division, where it remained until the end of the war. In an evaluation given to the Allies in December 1944, the Partisans reported the brigade to be, “…..up to strength, well armed and equipped, and a first class fighting formation.” (1)


Operational History

1942

The brigade first entered major action during the Kozara Offensive (Operation “West-Bosnien”) in June – July 1942, fighting as part of the lst Mountain Division in the Bos. Dubica - Kostajnica area. In September it was transferred to the Žumberak region to the west of Zagreb where it engaged Partisan forces to the south and west of Samobor. On conclusion of the operation, the Brigade was redeployed in garrisons surrounding the Moslavačka Mountains to the southeast of Zagreb with HQ in Garešnica, remaining in this general area until the fall of 1944. Actions were fought in the Kutina area between 13 and 16 October, and in the Bilogora from 29 November to 12 December.

1943

In January the German 187. Reserve-Division assumed tactical responsibility for the area and the Brigade was used offensively in a number of anti-Partisan operations: “Windstoss” (6-8 February), “Moslavačka Gora” (12-13 February), “Bilo Gora” to the southwest of Virovitica {19-22 February), “Braun” in the Papuk Mtns. (19 March - 2 April), “Petrinja” in the Okučani – Lipik - Banova Jaruga area (22-26 June), and “Ivan” in the Moslavačka (4-6 July). On 13 September III Bn./5th Mountain Rgt. abandoned Popovaca wtthout a fight during a Partisan attack on the town, and on 29 November the same regiment lost Čazma to the Partisan 28th Division after putting up a stubborn defense. During November, the commanding general of the German 187. Res. Div. evaluated the Brigade and stated that in his opinion its combat value in mobile employment was very little due to the nature of its stationary security assignment and insufficient training. Brigade commanders at all levels lacked an understanding of how to plan and carry out offensive operations, use of heavy weapons, coordination of fire and concentration of force. Further, the German training battalion had only been with the Brigade since November and had not yet had time to have any positive effect. On the other hand, the Brigade commander (Pukovnik Peričić) and his operations officer were considered to be very good.

1944

The Brigade’s main assignment was area security and protection of the railway line between Ivanić Grad and Novska, and a number of defensive actions were fought with the Partisan 33d Division during the spring. The major offensive operations for the brigade during 1944 were “Bienenhaus” to the southwest of Bjelovar (24-28 June) and “Arras” in the Lipik – Novska - Okučani area (2-3 July). Transferred to the Nova Kapela area in the fall, the Brigade carried out an operation to relieve the Pleternica and Slavonska Požega garrisons during early December.

1945

As a component of the new 7th Croatian Mountain Division, the Brigade was engaged in defensive fighting in the Nova Kapela – Batrina - Staro Petrovo Selo area through March, and then with the opening of the Partisan final offensive on 12 April, withdrew along the Sava Valley to the northwest toward Zagreb.

Commanders

Pukovnik .Josip Šolc (Apr 1942 - Aug 1943)
Pukovnik Stjepan (vitez) Peričić (Aug 1943 - Dec 1944)
Podpukovnik Petar Gregurić (Dec 1944 - May 1945?)

Subordination

1st Mountain Division (Apr 1942 - Aug 1943)
I Domobran Corps (I Territorial Corps) (Aug 1943 - Dec 1944)
7th Croatian Mountain Division (Dec 1944 - May 1945)


Order of battle (Apr 1942)

Brigade HQ and support elements in Zagreb,
I Bn.
II Bn.
III Bn.
IV Bn.
Mountain artillery battery all in Zagreb.


Order of battle (Feb 1943)

Brigade HQ in Garešnica
I Bn. in Gojila
II Bn. in Poljana
III Bn. in Čazma
IV Bn. in Zdenci
HQ Co.
Engineer Co.
Medica1 Co.
Signal Platoon
1st Battery/II Artillery Group


Order of battle (Aug 1943)

Brigade HQ in Kutina
1st Mountain Rgt. HQ in Kutina
I Bn. (1st – 4th Co.) in Kutina
II Bn. (5th – 8th Co.) in Djulavec
III Bn. (9th – 12th Co.) in Garešnica
13th Co. in Gojilo
14th Co. in Kutina
5th Mountain Rgt. HQ in Glina
I Bn. (?)
II Bn. (?)
III Bn. (9th – 12th Co.) in Ludina
III Artillery Gp. In Petrinja
VI Artillery Gp. in Petrovaradin
1st Mountain Engineer Co. in Kutina
1st Mountain Signal Co. in Kutina
Armored Troop with 3 medium and 2 light tanks in Kutina
Medical Co. in Kutina
Veterinary Co. in Kutina
Other brigade support and service units in Kutina.
In August 1943 the Brigade reported its strength as 168 officers, 282 NCOs and 4,102 men for a total of 4,552.


Order of battle (Dec 1943)

Brigade HQ Kutina
lst Mountain Rgt. HQ Kutina
5th Mountain Rgt. HQ Križ
III Artillery Gp. Kutina
VI Artillery Gp. Kutina
Armored Troop Kutina
Brigade support and service units in Kutina.


Order of battle (Apr 1944)

Brigade HQ Kutina
1st Mountain Rgt. HQ Kutina
5th Mountain Rgt. HQ Križ
III Artillery Gp. Kutina
VI Artillery Gp.Vojni Križ
Armored Troop Kutina
Brigade support and service units Kutina.
In June 1944 the Brigade reported its strength as 195 officers, 705 NCOs and 4,858 men for a total of 5,758.


Order of battle (Oct 1944)

Brigade HQ Kutina
1st Mountain Rgt. HQ Kutina
5th Mountain Rgt. HQ Vojni Križ
III Artillery Gp. Kutina
VI Artillery Gp. Vojni Križ
Brigade support and service units Kutina.


Footnotes

1. Colić 1979; [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Hronologija oslobodilačke borbe naroda jugoslavije 1941-1945; [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Zbornik dokumenata I podataka o narodnooslobodilačkom ratu jugoslovenskih naroda; [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Oslobodilački rat naroda Juooslavije 1941-1945; NARA WashDC: RG 242 (T-314 roll 1544/598-99); (T-315 roll 1554/1067, 1122-24 and 1308; roll 1555/292-94); Strugar, Vlado - Jugoslavija 1941-1945.


Reference material on this unit

- None known at this time -

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