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

Dates: 5 – 12 May 1942. (1)

Objective: Engage and destroy Partisan and Chetnik forces in East Bosnia that had been forced into the Foča area by Operation “Trio”.

Enemy Forces: 1st Proletarian Brigade, 2d Proletarian Brigade, 18 Partisan NOP Detachments and two independent Partisan battalions for a total of some 18,000 combatants.

Axis Forces:
718. Infanterie-Div.
III./Inf.Rgt. 737/717. Infanterie-Div.
1st Alpine Div. “Taurinense” (elements)
5th Mountain Div. “Pusteria” (elements)
22d Infantry Div. “Cacciatore di Alpi” (elements)
1st Alpine Group “Valle”
II Light Tank Group “San Marco”
XII Artillery Group (105/28)
Several sections of armored cars
Zagreb Cavalry Rgt.
IX Artillery Group
II, III and IV Military Frontier Battalions

Conduct of Operations and Results: By the end of April, additional Italian forces had become available so it was now possible to mount a substantial effort against the Partisans who had withdrawn into the Italian zone, and were concentrated around Tito’s headquarters at Foča. The German and Croatian units began pushing south from around Goražade on 5 May, supported by artillery and air strikes, while the Italian divisions fought their way toward Foča from the east, west and south. On 9 May, Tito’s forward positions were overrun and the next day the combined forces prepared to assault the town. Tito ordered his 3,500 or so battered Partisans to evacuate, taking their estimated 600 wounded with them, and move northwest toward West Bosnia. These forces broke through the encirclement between the Italian “Taurinense” and “Cacciatori di Alpi” Divisions on 12 May and made good their escape. Operation “Foča” was deemed relatively successful, costing the Partisans 168 killed and 1,309 captured, according to Axis figures. German, Croatian and Italian casualties were light.

1. Aid, Matthew M. - The Croatian Armed Forced at War, 1941-1942, unpublished manuscript (Beloit (WI), 1976), pp.21-23; [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Oslobodilački rat naroda Juooslavije 1941-1945, 2 Vols (Belgrade: 1965), pp.207-12; Colić, Mladenko - Pregled Operacija na Jugoslovenskom Ratištu 1941-1945 (Belgrade: Vojnoistorijski Institut, 1988), pp 53-55; NARA WashDC: RG 242 (T-501 roll 250/361-69).