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

Dates: 17 – 20 December 1942. (1)

Objective: To destroy Partisan groups totaling an estimated 1,000 men that were concentrated in the Majevica Mountains north of Tuzla in East Bosnia.

Enemy Forces
: 6th East Bosnian NOU Brigade, 3d Detachment/3d Operations Zone NOV and PO Croatia, and the Majevički NOP Detachment.

Axis Forces
Grenadier-Rgt. 737, 738 and 749 (elements)
Divisional support components of 718. Infanterie-Div.
Regimental staffs of 6th and 8th Infantry Regiments
I and V Bn./3d Infantry Rgt.
III Bn./6th Infantry Rgt.
IV and V Bn./8th Infantry Rgt.
VI and VII Artillery Groups (elements)
2 battalions from the I Ustasha Brigade

Conduct of Operations and Results: Under the command of Oberst Suschnig, the task group formed up at Bijeljina, Brčko, Tuzla and Zvornik and advanced toward the center hoping to force the Partisans into a smaller and smaller space where they could be more easily destroyed. On 17 December the Partisans attempted to break out toward the south where they ran into an Ustasha battalion and heavy fighting began. The Ustasha collapsed under increasing pressure and Partisan remnants broke free but were later dispersed by Moslem militia near Šekovići. Casualties were light, according to the German after-action report:
German losses – 2 killed and 3 wounded;
Croatian losses – 16 killed and 25 wounded;
Partisan losses – 271 killed, 43 wounded and 163 captured.

The Germans planned to use the prisoners for forced labor. Not mentioned in the after-action report was the massacre of approximately 250 men and women in several villages around Lopare/16 km NE of Tuzla, this probably being the handiwork of the Ustasha and/or the Moslem militia.

1. [Vojnoistorijski institute] - Hronologija oslobodilačke borbe naroda jugoslavije 1941-1945 (Belgrade, 1964), p.387; NARA WashDC: RG 242 (T-314 roll 554/282-92); (T-315 roll 2270/1022ff).