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

Formed 1 December 1943 with HQ in Imotski in central Dalmatia from elements of the disbanded I Domobran Volunteer Regiment, the “cover” name of a formation exclusively comprised of Ustasha Obrana guard personnel from the Jasenovac concentration camp, and Ustasha militia recruited in central and south Dalmatia. At the time of its formation, it had few officers and NCOs and was very deficient in both weapons and equipment. (1)


Operational History

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


1943

Dec 43: Brigade “in formation” and not yet operational for other than limited defensive tasks.


1944

Feb 44: by February the Brigade’s strength had increased to around 2,200.
19-23 Mar 44: together with German 118. Jäger-Div. and 369. Inf.Div., Brigade took part in an operation to clear the Partisan South Dalmatian NOP Detachment out of the eastern part of the Biokovo mountains in the Vrgorac-Metković area.
26-27 May 44: II Bn. (450 Ustasha) was badly mauled in action with elements of 20th Division NOVJ in Aržano.
11 Sep 44: strong Partisan forces led by the 26th Division NOVJ commenced an offensive to clear German and Croatian troops from south and central Dalmatia, taking advantage of German measures already underway to evacuate the islands off the coast and much of the coastal area. The pullback from the coast resulted from Hitler’s decision to withdraw from Greece, Albania and much of the former Yugoslavia following Romania and Bulgaria’s change of sides. In the course of the 6-week operation, VI Ustasha Brigade was severely battered in frequent fighting and lost nearly 65% of its strength. Many of these losses were desertions by locals who did not want to leave their home villages and towns.
8-10 Oct 44: I Bn., Gendarmerie and some German troops from 369. Inf.Div. totaling around 750 men defended Livno, which was taken by 9th Division NOVJ on the 10th.
7 Nov 44: Brigade remnants, now reduced to just over 1,500 men, tactically under German XV. Gebirgskorps.
15 Nov 44: the morale and fighting value of VI Ustasha Brigade had fallen so low that 23 of its officers deserted in mid-November.
1 Dec 44: what was left of the Brigade (less III Bn.) was located around Široki Brijeg (today Lištica)/17 km WNW of Mostar and became a component of 9th Croatian Mountain Division this date. The exception, III Bn., became II Bn./VII Ustasha Brigade (10th Croatian Infantry Div.).


1945

Jan – May 45: Brigade’s activity inseparable from that of 9th Croatian Mountain Division (see there).


Commanders 

Pukovnik Franjo Šimić (1 Dec 1943 - 9 Aug 1944) KIA
Ust. Pukovnik Čiril Čudina (Aug 1944 - ?)


Subordination

III Domobran Corps (III Territorial Corps) (Dec 1943 - Nov 1944)


Order of battle (Dec 1943)

Brigade HQ and headquarters elements in Imotski
I Bn. in Imotski
II Bn. in Imotski
III Bn. in Livno
IV Bn. in Vrgorac/37 km WSW of Mostar

Order of battle (12 Apr 1944)

Brigade HQ and headquarters elements in Vitina/28 km WSW of Mostar
I Bn. in Mesihovina/50 km NW of Mostar
II Bn. in Aržano/71 km WNW of Mostar
III Bn. in Omiš/22 km ESE of Split
IV Bn. in Roški Polje
Attached: XVII Ustasha Bn. in Drniš/46 km NNW of Split (Bn. belonged to IV Ustasha Brig.)


Order of battle (4 Sep 1944)

Brigade HQ and headquarters elements in Imotski
HQ Co. in Šestanovac/39 km E of Split
Motor Transport Co./VI Ustasha Brig. in Imotski
I Bn. (1st – 4th Co.) in Livno
II Bn. (1st – 5th Co.) in Omiš (Bn. disbanded in Oct 44)
III Bn. (1st – 3d Co.) in Kaštel Novi/10 km NW of Split
IV Bn. (1st – 5th Co.) in Imotski
XXVI Ustasha Bn. (1st – 3d Co.) in Žrnovnica/10 km ENE of Split
Ustasha Garrison Co. Vrgorac
Total Brigade strength estimated at 4,500.


Footnotes

1. Arhiv VII Belgrade, kut. 134a, reg.br. 4/1; Colić 1977; Colić 1974; ; [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Zbornik dokumenata I podataka o narodnooslobodilačkom ratu jugoslovenskih naroda. Tom II/12, p.563; IV/29, pp.680-81; IV/31, p.11 and 454; V/24, p.488; V/36, p.530; V/38, p.201; [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Hronologija oslobodilačke borbe naroda jugoslavije 1941-1945, pp.707, 762, NARA WashDC: RG 226 (OSS intelligence reports No. 9611 and 110433); RG 242 (T-175 roll 120/5822, 5845; T-311 roll 184/1141; roll 185/330; roll 196/389; T-313 roll 192/783; T-315 roll 2156/1388 and 1468).


Reference material on this unit

- None known at this time -

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