Part of the Anti-Partisan Operations in Croatia series by H.L. deZeng IV

Dates: 2 – 18 December 1943. (1)

Objective: To encircle and destroy an entire Partisan corps that was assembling in the area between Rogatica and Vlasenica in the southern part of East Bosnia for an advance into Serbia.

Enemy Forces: 3d Corps NOVJ (17th and 27th Divisions), 2d Proletarian Division NOVJ and 5th Krajiški Division NOVJ.

Axis Forces:
Approximately 70,000 troops under the overall command of V. SS-Gebirgskorps.
German
1. Gebirgs-Div.
7. SS-Freiwillge-Gebirgs-Div. “Prinz Eugen”
369. Infanterie-Div. (kroat.) (elements)
187. Reserve-Div. (elements)
Reserve-Jäger-Rgt. 1
Grenadier-Rgt. (mot.) 92
Panzergrenadier-Lehr-Rgt. 901
2. Regiment “Brandenburg” (mot.) (attached to 1. Geb.Div.)
Police and security units as a blocking force
Chetnik auxiliaries (from Sandjak)
Bulgarian
24th Infantry Div. (elements)
Croatian
- none -

Conduct of Operations and Results: “Kugelblitz”, and its second phase called “Schneesturm”, are collectively known as the 6th Enemy Offensive in the postwar Yugoslav literature. The initial fighting occurred in the Prijepolje – Pljevlja area in Sandjak and then gradually farther north into the area east of Sarajevo. The Partisans admit to very heavy losses in the first few days of the operation at the hands of the 1. Gebirgs-Division and the attached “Brandenburgers”. But after the initial clashes, the Partisans dispersed and moved to the flanks of the encirclement and thus avoided a frontal attack. The eventually passed through the cordon and escaped into the mountains. The second phase of the operation carried a different name: “Schneesturm”.

Losses (from German records)
German: unknown.
Bulgarian: unknown.
Partisan: 2,280 counted dead, plus another 2,000 estimated dead, 2,330 captured, plus 1,900 renegade Italian soldiers taken prisoner.

Footnotes
1. [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Hronologija oslobodilačke borbe naroda jugoslavije 1941-1945 (Belgrade, 1964), p.618-20; Colić, Mladenko - Pregled Operacija na Jugoslovenskom Ratištu 1941-1945 (Belgrade: Vojnoistorijski Institut, 1988), pp.157-60; [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Oslobodilački rat naroda Juooslavije 1941-1945, 2 Vols (Belgrade: 1965), Vol. II, pp.10-17; Schraml, Franz - Kriegsschauplatz Kroatien (Neckargemünd: Kurt Vowinckel Verlag , 1962), p.75; Tomasevich, Jozo - The Chetniks (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1975), p.398; Kumm, Otto - ‘Vorwärts Prinz Eugen!’ (Osnabrück: Munin-Verlag GmbH, 1978), pp.139-54.

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