Operation Kosovska Operacija

Kosovo operation

This was the Yugoslav final undertaking by the forces of Marshal Josip Broz Tito for the liberation of Kosovo and Metohija in Axis-occupied Yugoslavia (15 October/20 November 1944).

The main forces involved in this undertaking were the Yugoslav 24th and 26th Divisions and the 3rd, 4th and 5th ‘Kosovo-Metohija’ Brigades, the Albanian 3rd and 5th Brigades of the People’s Liberation Army of Albania, and parts of General Leytenant Kiril N. Stanchev’s Bulgarian 2nd Army (78,000 men, 895 pieces or artillery and mortars, and 85 tanks) against units of Generaloberst Alexander Löhr’s Heeresgruppe ‘E’ as the latter retreated from Greece. The Axis order of battle against the Yugoslavs in this operation comprised some 17,000 men including the Kampfgruppe ‘Langer’ (three infantry companies, one artillery battery and one platoon of tanks), Kampfgruppe ‘Bredow’ (six infantry battalions, three artillery battalions and 10 tanks), Kampfgruppe ‘Skanderbeg’ (about 7,000 men of SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS August Schmidhuber’s 21st SS Gebirgsdivision ‘Skanderbeg’ [albanische Nr 1], and about 4,000 German navy personnel making their way to the north from Greece.

The Germans were supported by some 10,000 men of the Balli Kombëtar (National Front), the Albanian nationalist, anti-communist and anti-monarchist organisation established in November 1942 and led by Ali Këlcyra and Midhat Frashëri.

The combined Yugoslav and Bulgarian operation resulted in the capture of Kosovo from the Germans.