Operation Alfa

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This was the Italian and Croat Četnik first operation within the ‘Dinara’ plan against the partisan forces of Josip Broz Tito in the area around Neretva in the central Bosnia region of Axis-occupied Yugoslavia (5/11 October 1942).

The object of the undertaking was the expulsion of the partisan forces from the Mostar bauxite basin and from the line of the railway linking Sarajevo and Mostar.

The offensive began on 5 October as 4,000 men of Generale do Corpo d’Armata Ugo Santovito’s Italian VI Corpo d’Armata and 5,000 men of the Četnik ‘Trebinje’ Detachment, ‘Nevesinje’ Detachment and ‘Romanija’ Detachment, operating in five columns, worked in conjunction with the 7th and 15th Domobran Regiments under an air support umbrella provided by the Italian air force. On 8 October the Italian 29o Battaglione di Bersaglieri and the 2/94o Reggimento of Generale di Divisione Guglielmo Spicacci’s 18a Divisione ‘Messina’ drove back units of the 10th ‘Herzegovina’ Brigade and captured Prozor.

The 10th ‘Herzegovina’ Brigade was extended across a distance of more than 37 miles (60 km), and therefore could achieve little in its attempts to check the Axis advance, so by 10 October the villages of Sovici, Scit and Ravno had been taken, villages on the Ljubusa, Vran, Paklina and Radusa mountains and along the line between Duvno and Gornji Vakuf via Sujica had been destroyed, and the hammer of the advancing Axis forces had met stationary Croat troops constituting the anvil on which the partisan forces were driven. The Četniks looted the entire area and burned dozens of villages: in the area of Prozor alone, 638 people were murdered and 656 houses burned.