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

Dates: 4 – 21 February 1945. (1)

Objective: To surround and destroy strong Partisan forces and their supply bases in the Papuk Mountains where they posed a direct threat to Zagreb and to smash Partisan divisions holding the so-called Virovitica Bridgehead between Virovitica and Podravska Slatina.

Enemy Forces
: 12th, 16th, 36th and 51st Assault Divisions NOVJ. Total Partisan strength deployed during the operation given as 49,000.

Axis Forces:
Approximately 60,000 German and Croatian troops.

German
1. Kosaken-Kav.Div.
2. Kosaken-Kav.Div.
7. SS-Freiwillige-Gebirgs-Div. “Prinz Eugen”
104. Jäger-Div.
297. Infanterie-Div.
Kampfgruppe Fischer (elements of 11. Feld-Div. (L))
Divisionsstab z.b.V. Stephan (10 to 12 police battalions)
Panzer-Abt. 202

Croatian
PTD
1st Croatian Assault Div.
5th Croatian Assault Div. (elements)
7th Croatian Mountain Div.

Conduct of Operations and Results: The large-scale operation began on 6 February and was divided into two battle groups: a western group under LXIX. Armeekorps z.b.V. with the Cossacks, the PTD and the 1st Croatian Assault Division, and a western group under XCI. Armeekorps with the remaining forces. Closing toward the center of the surrounded area from all sides, Podravska Slatina was taken on 8 February and Virovitica and Slavonska Požega on 9 February. The main assault was now over and the remainder of the operation took the form of a thorough mopping up of the Partisan redoubt in the Papuk Mountains. The German after-action reports speak of “Werwolf” as involving some very heavy fighting at times because the Partisans defended their positions to the last man. The operation was considered a success in that the enemy was broken up and temporarily chased out of the surrounded area and most of his supply camps were captured and a great deal of booty seized.

Losses (from German records)
Germans and Croatians: not reported.
Partisans: 1,988 counted dead.

Footnotes
1. [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Hronologija oslobodilačke borbe naroda jugoslavije 1941-1945 (Belgrade, 1964), pp.1071-72; [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Oslobodilački rat naroda Juooslavije 1941-1945, 2 Vols (Belgrade: 1965), p.513; Colić, Mladenko - Pregled Operacija na Jugoslovenskom Ratištu 1941-1945 (Belgrade: Vojnoistorijski Institut, 1988), pp.302-05; Kumm, Otto - ‘Vorwärts Prinz Eugen!’ (Osnabrück: Munin-Verlag GmbH, 1978), pp.357-62; Schramm, Percy E. (ed.) - Kriegstagebuch des Oberkommandos der Wehrmacht, 1940-1945, 4 vols., (Frankfurt: Bernard & Graefe Verlag für Wehrwesen, 1961-1963), 1944-1945 Teilband II, p.1074-1123.

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