Operation Gorjanci

(Yugoslav town)

This 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 Kraš’ 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 57th Divisione ‘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. Ustaše Pukovnik Josip Metzger’s 3rd Ustaše Brigade (16th, 33rd and 35th Ustaše Battalions) was tasked with holding line linking Radušće, Tupčina, Brnadići, Kalje, Novo Selo, Vini Vrh and Stojdraga.

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

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