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Encyclopedia > Operation Schwarz

The Sutjeska offensive (May-June 1943) was a failed attempt by the Axis forces to destroy the anti-occupation Yugoslav partisan force, marking a turning point for Yugoslavia during World War II. This action--codenamed Operation Schwarz ("Black") by the Germans--took place near the Sutjeska river, in Italian-occupied Yugoslavia.

Begun in May 1943, this offensive was the fifth attempt by the fascists to crush the resistance movement called the People's Liberation Army of Yugoslavia (Narodnooslobodilačka vojska Jugoslavije), and capture their leader, Josip Broz Tito (also known as "Walter").

127,000 fascist troops were sent to circle and isolate the partisans on Durmitor mountain between the Tara and Piva rivers. The fascist forces included German, Italian, Ustashe, Bulgarian and Chetnik troops. The partisans began to pull out over the Sutjeska River on May 26th or 27th, with the help of two British officers who had parachuted in to assist them: a mayor named Stuart and a Professor Deakin. The terrain conditions weren't suitable for crossing the river as one large group, so the partisans divided into two separate units: group north and group South. The groups continued on under constant bombardment.

Wounded Tito with Ivan Ribar during the Offensive on Sutjeska on June 13, 1943

On June 9th, a bomb fell near the leading group, killing Mayor Stuart and Tito's dog Luks, a German Shepherd, who jumped at Tito, saving his life, though he was wounded in his arm. The situation did not look good for the partisans, but, eager to defeat the fascists and bent on survival, they twice broke the enemy line during the following week. Eventually they made it through the line, though at the cost of 6391 partisan lives.

With Italian capitulation, the Axis was never again able to sum up enough troops to re-attack the partisans. The battle marked a turning point toward Allied control of Yugoslavia.

External links

  • Operation SCHWARZ - Sutjeska offensive  (http://www.vojska.net/ww2/battles/schwarz)
  • A History of Yugoslavian Reistance in WWII (http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/resistance_movement_in_yugoslavi.htm/)

  Results from FactBites:
Axis History Factbook: Operation Kitty's (1798 words)
Operation Kitty had been sparked off in 1939 by SS Gruppenf├╝hrer Reinhard Heydrich, later notorious as the Butcher of Prauge, but then the feared, ruthless, ambitious head of the Nazi SS network.
Schwarz was delighted with the success of the eavesdropping, even if he did have to arrange a court martial.
Schwarz threw a ring of soldiers round the street, removed any incriminating evidence of the bugging, and then set Kitty up again in the undamaged ground floor of the building.
Sutjeska offensive - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (485 words)
The operation immediately followed Fall Weiss which had failed in accomplishing the same objectives: to crush the Partisan army and capture their leader, Josip Broz Tito, also known as "Walter".
In post-war Yugoslavia the operation was known as the Fifth enemy offensive.
The battle marked a turning point toward Allied control of Yugoslavia, and became an integral part of the Yugoslav post-war mythology, celebrating the self-sacrifice and extreme suffering and moral firmness of the partisans.
  More results at FactBites »



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