II Ustasha Brigade (II. Stajači Djelatni Sdrug)
by H.L. deZeng IV

Formed between May and August 1942 with HQ in Hrv. Mitrovica (today Sr. Mitrovica). No definitive date has been found, but it is believed that the order to form 5 active Ustasha brigades dates from May 1942 and then gradually carried out over the course of the summer. In any event, all 5 were formed by 26 August. (1)


Operational History

(Also see the individual Ustasha battalions for additional details.)

1942

Sep – Nov 42: shortly after formation, the Brigade with XIII and XVI Ustasha Bn. was transferred into the area northwest of Zagreb and deployed along the line Krašić – Kostanjevica – Sošice as Grupa Žumberak. Zagreb had received intelligence reports that the Partisans were planning an attack on the capital from the direction of Slovenia. The attack never materialized and in late November or early December it returned to Hrv. Mitrovica in Syrmia.

1943

Generally small-scale offensive and defensive clashes with increasingly numerous Partisans in Syrmia and south Slavonia.
20 Aug 43: Brigade total strength return: 59 officers, 304 NCOs and 2,190 men = 2,553.
23 Sep 43: Brig. commander, Ust. Dopukovnik Ilik, was KIA this date together with 18 other Ustasha from the Brigade during a Partisan attack on an armored train en-route along the rail line between Našice and Osijek.
25-29 Sep 43: participated in Operation “Herbst I” along with strong elements of German 187. Reserve-Div. and other Croatian units. The objective was to surround and destroy Partisan 12th Division NOVJ and the Dilj NOP Detachment in the Dilj mountains in the vicinity of Našice – Djakovo – Andrijevci – Sl.Brod –Čaglin. The operation was considered a success and claims were made for 320 counted Partisan KIA, 540 probable and 710 estimated WIA, but the Partisans only admitted to 32 KIA and 89 WIA. German/Croatian losses were 21 KIA, 69 WIA and 25 MIA.
Nov 43: the commanding general of the German 187. Reserve-Div. (Gen. Brauner) filed the following interesting report on the Brigade: “The II Ustasha Brigade is for the most part stationary in its present security area and consists of reliable anti-communist Croatians from the large, wealthy Croatian villages of the Drava valley and the cities along the northeast slope of the Papuk mountains. The Brigade’s battalions have constructed good defensive positions in and around the Croatian-German towns of Našice and Podrav Slatina, as well as around the large and very valuable lumber industry and tanning factory at Djurdjenovac, and still have enough strength left over to actively carry out offensive operations in the area to the south of the Drava railway line and in the large, heavily wooded area south of the Drava. The battalions of the Brigade are adequate to this task, since they are in defense of their own families and homes. A transfer of the Brigade out of this area would have unknown consequences. Besides, the battalion and company commanders are untrained and unprepared for mobile employment. The new Brigade commander, Ust. Dopukovnik Štir, appears to be very energetic and has engaged in operations that meet with the full approval of the Division.”
10 Dec 43: HQ in Našice - tactically under German 187. Res.Div.

1944

Frequent company-level skirmishes with now sizeable Partisan units in Syrmia and south Slavonia, except as noted below.
22 Feb 44: 5 companies from the Brigade that were located in Našice attacked the Osijek NOP Detachment in the village of Podgorač with moderate casualties on both sides.
24 Apr – 8 May 44: participated in Operation “Ungewitter” together with major elements of German 42. Jäger-Div., II./Gren.Rgt.(mot) 92, German-Croatian Police Rgt. 1, Pz.-Kp.z.b.V. 12, Pz.Späh-Kp.z.b.V. 468, Croatian 4th Mountain Brig., II Bn./Croatian Mobile Brig. as well as other forces. The objective was to surround VI Corps NOVJ in the Papuk mountains in eastern Syrmia and destroy its forces and camps. It was deemed a success after it concluded, but the Partisan main force slipped through the ring and got away. Claimed were 417 counted KIA, plus 760 estimated KIA, 488 estimated and counted WIA and 141 captured. The combined German/Croatian losses were 63 dead, 134 wounded and 46 missing.
21 Jun 44: Brigade total strength return: 77 officers, 623 NCOs and 3,957 men = 4,657.
15 Aug 44: tactically subordinated to German 1. Kos.Kav.Div. and Befehlshaber Syrmien.
5 Oct 44: Brig. lost 270 men in the defense of Virovitica, which was taken by its old adversary the 12th Division NOVJ this date.
1 Dec 44: Brigade became a component of 3d Croatian Infantry Division this date and was evaluated as being up to strength with high morale.
23-27 Dec 44: XV Ustasha Bn. along with German units attacked a brigade of the 12th Assault Division NOVJ and captured the village of Levanjska Varoš near Djakovo.

1945

The Brigade’s operations now took on a decidedly defensive posture in the Našice – Osijek – Vukovar – Vinkovci area aa the Germans and Croatians tried to keep the Partisans and Russians from crossing the Danube and the Drava.
11-12 Mar 45: XV Ustasha Bn. and a large number of German troops were attacked by elements of the 40th Assault Division JA and forced out of several villages near Podr. Slatina.
11-14 Apr 45: Brigade with 5 battalions was holding a sector along the Drava in the vicinity of Osijek in company with the German 11. Lw.-Felddivision and Sicherungs-Rgt. 606 when 3d Army JA opened its spring offensive aimed at rapidly rolling up the Axis front in Syrmia and Slavonia. The German-Croatian defenders were quickly overwhelmed by the numerically superior, tank-supported forces of Marshal Tito and Osijek was taken on 14 April.
Apr 45: Brigade disbanded in the latter part of April after suffering heavy losses in the Osijek area. Remnants (mainly XV and XVIII Ustasha Bn.) used to form the new 25th Assault Regiment/5th Croatian Assault Division and to replenish the XIII Ustasha Brigade.

Commanders

Ust. Dopukovnik Antun Ilik (inception - 23 Sep 1943)
Ust. Dopukovnik Ivan Štir (Oct 1943 - May 1945)

Subordination

II Domobran Corps (II Territorial Corps) (Aug 1942 - Nov 1944)

Order of battle (26 Mar 1943)

Brigade HQ and support elements in Vinkovci
Ustasha battalions assigned: IV, VI, VIII, XV, XVI and XXXVI
I and II Recruit Battalions/II Ustasha Brigade

Order of battle (1 Mar 1944)

Brigade HQ, HQ Co., signal platoon and military court in Našice
VI Ustasha Bn. (1st – 3d and 5th Co.)
XV Ustasha Bn. (HQ Co. and 1st – 6th Co.)
XVI Ustasha Bn. (HQ Co. and 1st – 3d Co.)
XVIII Ustasha Bn. (HQ Co. and 1st – 4th Co.)
Brigade Engineer Co., Supply Co., Machine Gun Co., Defense Co., Antitank Gun Co. (2 x 37mm), 2d Motor Transport Co., Motor Transport Repair Platoon, Rations Section, Horse-drawn Column
Attached: one platoon from 5th Garrison Battery (2 x 105mm howitzers)

Order of battle (15 Aug 1944)

Brigade HQ, administrative section, intelligence section and military court in Donji Miholjac
VI Ustasha Bn. (HQ Co. and 1st – 6th Co.) in Ilok
XI Ustasha Bn. (HQ Co. and 9th – 12th Co.) in Daruvar
XV Ustasha Bn. (HQ Co. and 1st – 6th Co.) in Podr. Slatina (737)
XVI Ustasha Bn. (HQ Co. and 1st – 3d Co.) in Podr. Slatina (626)
XVIII Ustasha Bn. (HQ Co., 1st – 4th Co., and 1st Assault Co.) in Djurdjenovac (734)
Replacement Bn./II Ust. Brig. (1st – 3d Co.) in Donji Miholjac, Ust. Poručnik Ivan Knežević
Brigade HQ Co. in Osijek
Brigade Artillery Platoon in Podr. Slatina
Brigade Cadre Battery in Donji Miholjac
Brigade Motor Transport Co. in Donji Miholjac
Brigade Signal Platoon in Donji Miholjac
Brigade Supply Detachment in Donji Miholjac

Order of battle (1 Dec 1944)

Brigade HQ and headquarters elements in Osijek
II Ustasha Bn. (ex-XI Ust. Bn.?) in Gradište
III Ustasha Bn. (ex-XV Ust. Bn.) in Djurdjenovac
IV Ustasha Bn. (ex-XVIII Ust. Bn.) in Djurdjenovac
VII Ustasha Bn. (ex-Belišće Ust. Garrison Bn.) in Belišće
1st Artillery Battery

Footnotes

1. Strugar, Vlado - Jugoslavija 1941-1945; Colić 1974, p.353; Colić 1979, pp.160, 164; AVII kut. 60, reg.br. 32/2; [Vojnoistorijski institute]. Hronologija oslobodilačke borbe naroda jugoslavije 1941-1945, pp.552-53, 683, 735, 950, 1038, 1085; [Vojnoistorijski institute]. Zbornik dokumenata I podataka o narodnooslobodilačkom ratu jugoslovenskih naroda. Tom IV/31, p.824; NARA WashDC: RG 226 (OSS intelligence reports No. 9611, 110433); RG 242 (T-311 roll 184/1141; T-314 roll 1544/55, 251, roll 1546/421-40; T-315 roll 1555/517, 731-38, 989, roll 1556/554, roll 2270/1042-36; T-501 roll 267/299); Drina (Madrid), 1954 br. 3-5, pp.87-97; [ - ] - Gradja za povijest narodnooslobodilačke borbe u sjeverozapadnoj Hrvatsko 1941-1945, vol. III, p.312.


Reference material on this unit

Zvonko Springer - Outcast Without Guilt or My Way of the Cross: Four Months of Young Home Guard alias Domobran

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