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

Dates: 28 Jan – 2 Feb 1942. (1)

Objective: “Süd-Kroatien I” had isolated a large force of Partisans and Chetniks in the Ozren Mountains east of the towns of Doboj and Maglaj, so a second anti-Partisan operation dubbed “Ozren” was mounted under the official designation “Süd-Kroatien II”.

Enemy Forces: Ozren NOP Detachment with an estimated 1,200 men in 5 battalions.

Axis Forces: An estimated force of 18,000 consisting of:
German
Inf.Rgt. 738/718. Infanterie-Division
Inf.Rgt. 750/718. Infanterie-Division
Inf.Rgt. 697/342. Inf.Div.
5 batteries of mountain guns
Croatian
HQ and staff of 3d and 4th Infantry Divisions
IV and V Bn./1st Infantry Rgt.
I, II (one company) and III Bn./5th Infantry Rgt.
III and IV Artillery Groups (elements)
Two (2) battalions from the 4th Infantry Division
III “Legionaire” Battalion
Ustasha “Black Legion” (half a battalion)
Hadžiefendić Moslem Militia (1 battalion)

Conduct of Operations and Results: A northern combat group of Croatian forces was assembled along the line Dobij – Maglaj, a second group to the northeast of Tuzla and a southern group, made up mainly of Ustasha, gathered around the village of Usora to the southeast of Maglaj. The German troops performed a stationary role as a blocking force along the line Zavidovići – Lukavac. The operation commenced on the morning of 28 January with an artillery barrage directed at a very surprised enemy. While advancing on 29 January, the Ustasha “Black Legion” troops burned down several Serbian villages in the Krivaja Valley. By 30 January, the Partisans and Chetniks had been forces out of their mountain positions and herded southwest against the German blocking group where they were either killed or captured.
“Süd-Kroatien” I and II cost the Partisans and Chetniks, mostly the former, 521 dead, an unknown number of wounded, and 1,331 taken prisoner. The combined German-Croatian force lost 25 dead, 131 wounded and 300 cases of frostbite. Although Partisan losses were relatively high, most were able to get away, either by moving south into the Italian zone of occupation or by hiding in the mountains.

Footnotes
1. [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Hronologija oslobodilačke borbe naroda jugoslavije 1941-1945 (Belgrade, 1964), p.195; [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Oslobodilački rat naroda Juooslavije 1941-1945, 2 Vols (Belgrade: 1965), pp.184-86; Aid, Matthew M. - The Croatian Armed Forced at War, 1941-1942, unpublished manuscript (Beloit (WI), 1976), pp.14-16.

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