I Domobran Volunteer Regiment (I. Domobranska Dobrovoljačka Pukovnija)
by H.L. deZeng IV

Formed September 1942 at Travnik by Vjekoslav “Maks” Luburić, the commander of the Ustasha Obrana organization and forces, on orders from Poglavnik Ante Pavelić. Immediately after forming, the Regiment moved its headquarters to Mostar where it was used to secure the eastern borders of Hercegovina between the NDH and Montenegro. Some of the personnel for this Regiment were recruited from the areas around Travnik, Livno, Duvno, Ljubuški, Posušje and Imotski, but the officers, except for the commander, most of the NCOs and many of the men were from Luburić's Obrana. Domobran uniforms were worn to disguise the real identity of these men, as the Italians would not at that time allow Ustasha into those areas of Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina occupied by them. During its year of existence, the Regiment was administratively under the Croatian 6th Infantry Division in Mostar and tactically under the Italian headquarters in Mostar and later the German V. SS-Gebirgskorps. However, the Regiment’s “real” orders came from the Obrana.

Operations from October 1942 to September 1943 included:
30 Sep – 6 Oct 42: two companies from the Regiment took part in Operation “Jajce I.”
19 Dec 42: participated in the defense of Duvno together with elements of the V Ustasha Brigade, but withdrew to Posušje as the 2d Proletarian Assault Division NOVJ took the town after a short fight.
17-23 Jan 43: the 4th Dalmatian Assault Brigade attacked the Regiment in the Imotski – Runović – Slivno area claiming 13 Domobrans and Ustasha killed, 20 wounded and 40 captured, while losing only two of its own, including a battalion commander.
15 Feb 43: the Regiment’s I Bn. was engaged in the Kočerin area/WSW of Mostar.
5 Jun 43: the Regiment’s garrison in Zagvozd near Makarska was attacked and routed by the Dalmatian partisans at a cost of 30 killed and 38 captured; Partisan losses were negligible.
21 Aug 43: II Bn. lost the village of Zadvarje near Omiš to elements of the Biokovo and Cetina NOP Detachments with losses of 15 killed and 308 captured while the Partisans reported just 2 killed and 3 wounded.

The Regiment was disbanded in October 1943, with all of the officers and the majority of the NCOs and men who had originally come from the Ustasha Obrana returning to Jasenovac, while the remainder of the personnel were used in the forming of the new VI and IX Ustasha Brigades in Hercegovina. During its existence the regiment was used to counter Chetnik terror against Roman Catholic villages in Hercegovina, and this is why Obrana personnel were used. Every Chetnik atrocity was answered with an Ustasha atrocity. Luburić was originally offered command of the regiment in September 1942, but declined because he apparently believed it would be too restricting in scope. Instead, a Domobran Pukovnik (Colonel) was appointed in his place. (1)

Commanders

Pukovnik Franjo Šimić (Sep 1942 - Oct 1943)

Subordination

?

Order of battle (1943)

HQ with Adjutant and Intendant/Paymaster Section in Mostar
HQ Co. in Posušje
Motor Transport Company under Ust. Satnik Josip Sudar in Posušje
I Bn. (1st – 4th Co.) under Ust. Satnik Stjepan Bosak in Posušje
II Bn. with 5th and 6th Co. under Ust. Bojnik Ante Vrban in the Imotski-Duvno-Omiš area and 7th and 8th Co. under Ust. Bojnik Mile Orešković in Zadvarje
III Bn. (9th – 12th Co.) under Ust. Bojnik Krešo Majić in Sinj
At peak strength, the Regiment had around 2,200 officers and men.


Footnotes

1. Lazić, Dusan. “Organizacija policijsko-obaveštajne službe ‘Nezavisne Države Hrvatske’”; in: Zbornik za istoriju (Matica Srpska, 1972-75); [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Zbornik dokumenata i podataka o narodnooslobodilačkom ratu jugoslovenskih naroda, Tom IV/10, p.664; [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Hronologija oslobodilačke borbe naroda jugoslavije 1941-1945, p.388, 496, 531; Drina (Madrid), br. 1-2/1954, p.30; br. 1/1963, pp.144-47; [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Zbornik VII Beograd (V/24, p.488); Gizdić, Drago. Dalmacija 1943, pp.66, 592; NARA WashDC: RG 242 (T-315 roll 2156/1388, 1468).

Reference material on this unit

- None known at this time -

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