Operation "Ziethen" (1943-12-04)
- Published: 23 January 2011 23 January 2011
- Last Updated: 07 April 2012 07 April 2012
Dates: 4 – 23 December 1943. (1)
Objective: To retake the area bordered by Livno – Šuica – Duvno in Central Dalmatia, reopen the supply road between Sinj and Šuica, and to seize the Partisan airfield at Glamoc.
Enemy Forces: Elements of 1st Proletarian Division, 6th Lika Division, 9th, 19th, 20th and 26th Divisions NOVJ.
An estimated 11,000 troops divided into two combat groups.
114. Jäger-Div. (elements)
118. Jäger-Div. (elements)
SS-Korps-Aufklärungs-Abt. 105/V. SS-Gebirgskorps
SS-Korps-Panzer-Abt. 105/V. SS-Gebirgskorps
V Ustasha Brigade (one battalion)
I Domobran Volunteer Regiment
15th Infantry Rgt. (elements)
Conduct of Operations and Results: The operation began on schedule on 4 December with a northern combat group advancing from Knin and Sinj and a southern group advancing from around Posušje The important towns of Duvno and Livno were retaken of 5 and 6 December respectively. The German after-action report boasted of “complete success” claiming that the Partisan elite divisions (1st Proletarian and 6th Lika Division) were “smashed” in the Jajce – Bugojno area and the other four divisions were badly battered along the coastal stretch. A number of Partisan defectors were taken in and this raised the spirits of the local population who had begun to believe in an ultimate victory by the communists. A mass grave of 1,200 people who had been executed by the Partisans was uncovered in Livno. Finally, the success of the operation led to the inflow of over 1,000 new volunteers for the Croatian units.
Losses and Booty (from German records)
German: 39 killed and 173 wounded.
Croatian: not given.
Partisan: 750 counted dead plus an estimated 1,000 further dead and wounded, 50 prisoners, and 165 defectors. (According to the German report, the 9th Dalmatian Division alone had 387 dead and over 500 wounded).
Booty: 65 machine guns, 437 rifles, 1 truck.
1. [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Hronologija oslobodilačke borbe naroda jugoslavije 1941-1945 (Belgrade, 1964), p.624; NARA WashDC: RG 242 (T-314 roll 558/243 and 267-69).