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

Dates: 3 July – 3 August 1942. (1)

Objective: To destroy a large Partisan force in the vicinity of Trnovo – Treskavica Mtns. – Bjelasnica Mtn. – Igman Mtn. – Lepenica in the area to the south and east of Sarajevo.

Enemy Forces: 2d and 4th Proletarian Assault Brigades.

Axis Forces:
German
Inf.Rgt. 738/718. Infanterie-Div.
Panzerzug 103 (Armored Train 103)
Croatian
I Bn./5th Infantry Rgt.
3d Mountain Gun Battery/IX Artillery Group
Two (2) Ustasha companies
One (1) Motorized Air Force company
One (1) Combined Air Force company

Conduct of Operations and Results: This operation was prompted by an attack on the 176-man Croatian Ustasha, Gendarmerie and Militia garrison in the village of Kreševo/30 km west of Sarajevo by strong Partisan forces on 5 July. Prior to taking the village, this same Partisan group had been sabotaging railway lines and attacking isolated outposts around Sarajevo for several weeks. But the German-Croatian reaction was too slow and by the time they had assembled their forces the Partisan brigades had moved off toward the northwest in the direction of Bugojno and Donji Vakuf. Most of what limited fighting occurred took place on and around Bitovnja Mountain/40 km west of Sarajevo. The Germans later reported just 9 Germans and Croatians killed plus 7 wounded, while claiming 970 Partisans killed and 450 wounded. There is no explanation for these large Partisan losses, but they may represent hundreds of civilian Partisan “suspects” liquidated as the Axis troops swept through the villages in the area.

Footnotes
1. [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Oslobodilački rat naroda Juooslavije 1941-1945, 2 Vols (Belgrade: 1965), pp.273-74; [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Hronologija oslobodilačke borbe naroda jugoslavije 1941-1945 (Belgrade, 1964), p.299; Colić, Mladenko - Pregled Operacija na Jugoslovenskom Ratištu 1941-1945 (Belgrade: Vojnoistorijski Institut, 1988), p.63; NARA WashDC: RG 242 (T-315 roll 2270/334-39.

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