(II. gorski zdrug)
by H.L. deZeng IV

Formed in April 1942 in Bjelovar 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 in Sarajevo as an independent brigade under Croatian III Corps. The reorganized Brigade used its old headquarters and staff reinforced with personnel from the HQ of the Croatian 5th Infantry Division, along with two mountain infantry regiments (the 2d and the 6th) plus other assets, mainly from the 9th and 15th Infantry Rgt. Although 7. SS-Freiw.Geb.Div. “Prinz Eugen” was assigned overall responsibility for the reorganization, a German army training staff and battalion (Deutsches Ausbildungs-Btl. 2 bei der 2. kroatischen Gebirgs-Brigade) was assigned to improve the brigade’s effectiveness and reliability. It was reorganized yet a third time on 21 November 1944 as part of the completed reorganizing of the Croatian armed forces, but in practice this involved no more than the disbanding of the HQ and staffs of the 2d and 9th Mountain Regiments and the renumbering of their battalions. On 1 December 1944 the Brigade was incorporated into the new 9th Croatian Mountain Division, where it remained until the end of the war. (1)


Operational History

1942

Jun – Jul 42: took part in the Kozara Offensive (Operation “West-Bosnien”) in the area to the north of Banja Luka.
14-15 Jun 42: II Bn. destroyed in heavy fighting with the Partisan 2d Krajina NOP Detachment near Bos. Kostajnica.
20 Oct 42: a detachment of 30 men belonging to 2d Co./I Bn. were ambushed by Partisans 6 km southwest of Sunja while on their way back to Petrinja after helping local farmers bring in the corn harvest, losing 3 killed and 20 missing.
6 Nov 42: II Bn. HQ in Glina.
7 Nov 42: I Bn. suffered light losses in an engagement with elements of the Partisan 5th Croatian NO Brigade near Petrinja.
8 Dec 42: fought a brief skirmish with elements of 8th Croatian NO Brigade in the Kostajnica area.

1943

Jan 43: Brigade HQ in Kostajnica and IV Bn. HQ in Rajić.
3-5 Jan 43: took part in Operation “Una – Sava Bend” in the Bos. Novi – Prijedor area, followed by Operation “Berta” in the same area from 6-8 Jan 43.
20 Jan 43: Brigade assembled in Sanski Most and participated in Operation “Weiss” under the tactical control of German 717. Inf.Div. (later 714. Inf.Div.) and sustained heavy losses in that area over the following weeks. In fact, its losses were so high that General Prpić, the chief of the Croatian general staff, asked the Germans on 1 March for permission to relieve it because its continued usefulness was in question. His request was rejected.
28 Jan 43: III Bn. in Bos. Dubica and carried out a battalion-size sweep 12 km to the southwest of the town without making contact with the enemy.
21 Feb 43: II Bn. in Dvor.
15-17 Apr 43: elements of the Brigade participated in Operation “Ostern” in the Sunja area to the north of Kostajnica.
19-21 Apr 43: III Bn. too part in Operation “Otto” in the Bos. Novi – Prijedor area.
25 Apr 43: released from the tactical control of the German 114. Jäg.Div. and transferred to the area southwest of Sarajevo for employment under German 118. Jäg.Div.
6 May 43: Brigade HQ now at Travnik.
8-12 May 43: II Bn. employed in Operation “Ulrich” in the Kozara Mountains north of Banja Luka.
20-22 Jun 43: II Bn. participated in Operation “Klara” in the Velika Kladuša area.
1 Aug 43: Brigade reorganized in Sarajevo.
17-18 Sep 43: lost most of one company (12 killed and 41 captured) when Ostrožac near Konjic was taken by elements of 10th Assault Division NOVJ.
27 Sep 43: following reorganization, the Brigade was used to guard the railway tracks in the vicinity of Ivan Sedlo, Čapljina, Podgrab and Višegrad.
13-14 Oct 43: engaged in heavy defensive fighting against the 5th Assault Division NOVJ, which was destroying bridges, railway stations and locomotives along the Mostar – Sarajevo railway line.
20 Oct 43: in a comprehensive return for this date, the Brigade reported its authorized (“Soll”) strength as 241 officers, 1,023 NCOs and 6,955 men totaling 8,219, and a present for duty (“Ist”) strength of 205 officers, 404 NCOs and 5,235 men totaling 5,844.
25 Oct 43: 2d Mountain Rgt. HQ in Jablanica, I Bn. in Konjic, II Bn. in Drežnica and III Bn. in Jablanica; 6th Mountain Rgt. HQ in Rogatica, I Bn. in Praća, II Bn. in Pale and III Bn. in Višegrad.
29 Oct 43: now under the tactical control of German V. SS-Gebirgskorps.
12-15 Dec 43: fought a limited action with the Mostar Partisan Bn. near Konjic with light losses on both sides.

1944

1 Mar 44: Brigade HQ in Konjic. During March, the 6th Mountain Rgt. with HQ in Hadžići was renamed the 9th Mountain Rgt., which was reorganized into two battalions (I and II Bn.).
19-22 Apr 44: took part in a sweep of the Konjic area for the purpose of destroying formations of the 27th and 29th Assault Divisions NOVJ, but most of the Partisans got away.
1 Jul 44: Brigade still guarding the railway line between Sarajevo and Mostar. In a report this date, SS-Obergruppenführer Phleps, commanding general of the German V. SS-Gebirgskorps, stated that the Brigade was a “good unit.”
19 Jul 44: one of the Brigade’s battalions participated in the retaking of Prozor from elements of the 10th Assault Div. NOVJ.
1 Sep 44: HQ still in Konjic.
2 Sep 44: 9 officers and 126 men from I Bn./9th Mountain Rgt. deserted to the Partisans in Tarčin.
4 Sep 44: 2d Mountain Rgt. HQ in Konjic: I Bn. in Rama, II Bn. in Konjic and III Bn. in Drežnica; 9th Mountain Rgt. HQ in Ivan Sedlo: I Bn. in Ivan Sedlo and II Bn. in Bradina.
21 Nov 44: Brigade reorganized.
1 Dec 44: Brigade HQ still in Konjic - primary mission was to protect the railway line between Sarajevo and Jablanica. Estimated strength figures were 165 officers, 200 NCOs and 3,600 men totaling 3,965.

1945

(See 9th Croatian Mountain Division for further details on the Brigade after 1 December 1944).
Feb 45: Konjic - mission unchanged from 1 December.
Apr – May 45: together with the rest of the 9th Croatian Mountain Division, carried out a fighting withdrawal along the Bosna Valley to the Sava where it fragmented and lost it unified identity.

Commanders

Pukovnik Božidar Zorn, acting? (Apr 1942? - ? Aug 1942)
Pukovnik Arnold Redelstein (? Aug 1942 - ?) Oct 1942
Pukovnik Bogdan Majetić (? - ?) Sep 1943, Oct 1943
Pukovnik Božidar Zorn (? - ? Jan 45) Feb 1944, May 1944, July 1944, Nov 1944
Pukovnik Pletikoš (or Pletikose?) (? Feb 45 - ? May 45)

Subordination

1st Mountain Division (Apr 1942 - Aug 1943)
III Domobran Corps (III Territorial Corps) (Aug 1943 - Nov 1944)
9th Croatian Mountain Division (Dec 1944 - May 1945)


Order of battle (Apr 1942)

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


Order of battle (Aug 1943)

Brigade HQ, HQ Co. and support elements in Sarajevo
2d Mountain Rgt. with HQ in Sarajevo (I – III Bn.)
6th Mountain Rgt. with HQ in Rogatica (I – III Bn.)
IX Artillery Gp.
XX Artillery Gp.
Engineer Co.
Signal Co.
Medical Co.


Order of battle (Apr 1944)

Brigade HQ
HQ Co.
support elements
2d Mountain Rgt.
9th Mountain Rgt.
IX Artillery Gp.
XX Artillery Gp.
Engineer Co.
Signal Co.
Medical Co.


Order of battle (Dec 1944)

Brigade HQ, HQ Co. and support elements in Konjic
I Bn. in Rama
II Bn. in Konjic
III Bn. in Ostrožac
IV Bn. in Tarčin
V Bn. in Ivan Sedlo
VI Bn. (militia – ex-VIII Bn./18th Inf. Brig.) in Ostrožac
IX Artillery Gp.
XX Artillery Gp.


Order of battle (11 Mar 1945)

Brigade HQ, HQ Co. and support elements now in Grivici/19.5 km W of Sarajevo
I Bn. in Kucice
II Bn. in Gradac
III Bn. in Mancici
IV Bn. in Vrancici
V Bn. in Batalovo Brdo
VI Bn. ?
IX Artillery Gp.
XX Artillery Gp.


Footnotes

1. Colić 1974, pp.347-49; Colić 1979; [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Hronologija oslobodilačke borbe naroda jugoslavije 1941-1945, pp.283, 374, 390, 407-08, 545, 571, 619, 725, 814; [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Zbornik dokumenata I podataka o narodnooslobodilačkom ratu jugoslovenskih naroda, Tom IV/9, p.451; IV/26, pp.507-13; IV/29, pp.677-78, 688; IV/30, p.146; IV/31, p.454; IV/35, pp.840-43; Tom V/8, p.495; V/12, p.522; [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Oslobodilački rat naroda Juooslavije 1941-1945; NARA WashDC: RG 242 (T-314 roll 558/1147, 1279; roll 559/208); (T-315 roll 1301/439; roll 2155/519; roll 2170/113-14); RG 331 (roll 447-B); Strugar, Vlado - Jugoslavija 1941-1945; Dragojlov, Fedor - Der Krieg 1941-1945 auf dem Gebiete des ‘unabhängigen Staates Kroatien’, in: Allgemeine Schweizer Militärzeitschrift, 1956, pp.436; Narodne novine, issues 10 Jan 43, 28 Jan 43 and 12 Feb 43; Drina (Madrid), br. 3-4 (1953), p.9.


Reference material on this unit

- None known at this time -

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