Operation Kozara Gora

(Yugoslav mountain area)

German and Croat operation against the Yugoslav partisan forces of Josip Broz Tito in the Kozara mountain region (19/28 October 1942).

The objective was to comb the Kozara mountain area between Banja Luka and Prijedor and so pin and destroy the partisan bands of the 5th ‘Krajiški’ Brigade which had re-established themselves after the end of the ‘West-Bosnien’ operation during June and July.

The German contribution to the undertaking comprised elements of Generalleutnant Friedrich Stahl’s 714th Division including part of the 661st Artillerieabteilung, 714th Pionierkompanie, and 714th Nachrichtenkompanie, and that of the Croats the 4/3rd Mountain Brigade, 1/5th Regiment and 2/5th Regiment, elements of the 10th Regiment and 11th Regiment, 2nd Artillery Group and 4th Artillery Group, 4th Ustaše Battalion, Volksdeutschbataillon ‘Ludwig von Baden’, and a number of Četnik auxiliary elements.

The operation was undertaken and completed to plan, but most of the partisans managed to slip through the Axis net on 21 and 24 October with few losses. The Četnik and Ustaše units carried out reprisals on the civilian population: for example, in the villages of Palančište and Jelovac near Prijedor some 620 men, women and children were massacred.