Operation Gorjanci

(Yugoslav town)

'Gorjanski' was an Italian and Croat anti-partisan operation in the Gorjanci and Zumberak region of Axis-occupied Yugoslavia against the 1st 'Croatia' Proletarian Battalion and 'Josip Kras' Battalion in Croatia, and the 'Gorjanski' Battalion and 'Belokranjski' Battalion in Slovenia (31 October 1942).

The task was entrusted to Generale di Divisione Giovanni Esposito’s 57a Divisione fanteria 'Lombardia, whose intelligence element mistakenly believed that one Slovenian brigade and other partisan units were present. The operation was a late component of a major and extended Italian offensive which began in Slovenia on 16 July 1942 and also embraced parts of Croatia. Ustase Pukovnik Josip Metzger’s 3rd Ustase Brigade (16th, 33rd and 35th Ustase Battalions) was tasked with holding line linking Radusće, Tupčina, Brnadići, Kalje, Novo Selo, Vini Vrh and Stojdraga.

Reinforced by elements of Generale di Brigata Luigi Maggiore-Perni’s 22a Divisione fanteria 'Cacciatori delle Alpi', the 57a Divisione was organised into two mobile columns: Colonnello Adabbo’s Colonna 'A' (staff of the 11o Reggimento bersaglieri, 27a Battaglione bersaglieri, 33a Battaglione 'Camicie Nere', and 3/13o Reggimento artigliera) and Generale di Brigata Pietro Scipioni’s Colonna 'B' (divisional staff, staff of the 73o Reggimento, 2 and 3/73o Reggimento, 2/74o Reggimento, 1/Reggimento granatieri, 1st, 5a and 9a Batterie of the 2/57o Reggimento artigliera, and 4/13o Reggimento artigliera).

On 31 October the 1st 'Croatia' Proletarian Battalion, 'Josip Kras' Battalion of the 'Zumberak-Pokuplje' Partisan Detachment, 'Gorjanski' Battalion and 'Belokranjski' Battalion managed to break through the positions of the 35th Ustaze Battalion between the villages of Budinjak and Glusinja. The 35th Ustase Battalion admitted at least eight men killed and three wounded, while the partisans claimed 15 Ustase killed and two captured, together with one mortar and eight rifles, while admitting to losses totalling a mere three men wounded.