Operation Herbst I

autumn 1

This was a German and Croat operation against the partisan forces of Josip Broz Tito in the puppet state of Croatia in German-occupied Yugoslavia (25/29 September 1943).

The objective was the destruction of the partisan forces (12th Division and ‘Dilj’ Partisan Detachment) in the Dilj mountain region within the area bounded by Našice, Djakovo, Donji Andrijevci and Slavonski Brod.

The German contribution took the form of major elements of Generalleutnant Josef Brauner von Haydringen’s 187th Reserve-Division, 939th Infanteriebataillon (kroatisch), and 6/Polizeiregiment ‘Kroatien’, while that of the Croats was the headquarters of Ustaše Dopukovnik Antun Ilik’s 2nd Ustaše Brigade with the 16th and 18th Ustaše Battalions and half a battery of artillery, 6th Ustaše Battalion, 2nd Bicycle Battalion, and three platoons of Croat military police from Slavonski Brod.

The partisans in the Dilj mountain region had been causing the Germans and Croats a great deal of trouble by sabotaging the main railway lines and derailing trains in South Slavonia. The operation was successfully concluded after five days of heavy fighting, and the Germans admitted Axis losses of 21 men killed, 69 wounded and 25 missing, while claiming 320 partisans counted dead plus an estimated 540 probably killed, and 710 estimated wounded.