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

Dates: 5 June – 17 July 1942. (1)

Objective: To bring to battle and thoroughly destroy Partisan forces in the Kozara Mountains between Banja Luka and Prijedor in West Bosnia.

Enemy Forces: 2d Krajiški (Border) NOP Detachment (5 battalions with 3,500 combatants).

Axis Forces
The total strength of Axis forces deployed for the operation fluctuated between 35,000 and 40,000 (15,000 Germans and 20,000 to 25,000 Croatians).
704. Infanterie-Div.
714. Infanterie-Div. (elements)
718. Infanterie-Div. (elements)
Nachrichten-Rgt. 521 (Army Signal Rgt.)
Panzer-Abt. 202 (elements)
Landesschützen-Btl. 924 (Territorial Defense Bn.)
Landesschützen-Bau-Btl. 8 (Territorial Construction Bn.)
Panzerzug 23 (Armored Train 23)
Danube Flotilla (4 river monitors, 4 cannon boats, 2 armored boats)
1st Mountain Division (with 1st and 2d Mountain Brigades)
3d and 4th Mountain Brigades
Banja Luka Brigade
I, II and III Bn./Petrinja Brigade
1st, 2d, 5th, 10th, 11th and 12th Infantry Regiments (elements)
I (Domobran) Assault Bn. (elements)
IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, XII, XIII and XVIII Ustasha Battalions (elements)
Volunteer Bn. Sanski Most
Volunteer Bn. Kotorište
Volunteer Bn. Brozani Majdan
Volunteer Bn. Banja Luka
Volunteer Co. Suhača
Volksdeutsch Bn. “Prinz Eugen”
Volksdeutsch Bn. “Ludwig von Baden”
I, VII, X and XI Recruit Battalions
I, III (elements), IV and VIII Artillery Groups
3d Co./I Engineer Bn.
3d Co./II Engineer Bn.
3d (Technical) Co./Railway Engineer Bn.
IV Motor Transport Bn.
II Gendarmerie Bn.
Chetnik Auxiliaries (c. 2,000)
Air Group Cenić (1 fighter sqdn., 1 bomber sqdn. and 1 mixed sqdn.)
1st Air Force Field Co.

Conduct of Operations and Results: Commencing on 5 June (10 June according to postwar Partisan accounts) under the overall command of German 714. Inf.Div. (commander General Friedrich Stahl), one of the largest, bloodiest and longest anti-Partisan operations carried out in the Independent State of Croatia during the war, “West-Bosnien” was considered a major success by the German and Croatian high commands. Only small numbers of Partisans managed to get away by burying their weapons, disguising themselves as civilian refugees, and infiltrating through the lines. According to the Germans, the results from 5 June to 31 July, which includes a two-week mopping up period after the main fighting concluded on 17 July, were 69 Germans killed, 160 wounded and 7 missing, 445 Croatians killed, 654 wounded and 498 missing, and 4,310 Partisans killed and 10,704 taken prisoner. Postwar Partisan accounts speak of only 1,700 killed, wounded and missing from the 2d Krajiški (Border) NOP Detachment. The huge difference is due to the several thousand civilians that were killed because the Germans and Croatians considered them “Partisan helpers.” Some 75,000 civilian refugees were drive out of the villages in the Kozara and many of these villages were then burned to the ground. Looting was common and atrocities numerous. Of the refugees, 68,000 were forced into transit and detention camps, and then “selections” made for slave labor in the Reich.

1. Hehn, Paul N. - The German struggle Against Yugoslav Guerrillas in World War II, East European Monograph No. LVII (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1979), pp.128-33; Colić, Mladenko - Pregled Operacija na Jugoslovenskom Ratištu 1941-1945 (Belgrade: Vojnoistorijski Institut, 1988), pp.55-60; Pekić, Mirko - Bitka na Kozari (Prijedor, 1976), pp.19-180; [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Hronologija oslobodilačke borbe naroda jugoslavije 1941-1945 (Belgrade, 1964), pp.282-84, 299-301; [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Oslobodilački rat naroda Juooslavije 1941-1945, 2 Vols (Belgrade: 1965), pp.238-42; NARA WashDC: RG 242 (T-501 roll 249/139-41, 1114, 1139, 1143-44, 1210, 1261, 1270, 1274; roll 250/009, 52 and 125).