Operation Napfküchen

pound cake

This was a German and Croat operation against the partisan forces of Marshal Josip Broz Tito in German-occupied Yugoslavia (3/6 January 1944).

The operation was designed to open the Axis southward lines of communication to the line linking Zenica, Travnik and Jajce by means of an advance from Derventa, Doboj and Teslić, and in the process to pin and destroy a number of partisan elements including the 11th Assault Division, 12th Division, ‘Prnjavor’ Partisan Detachment and ‘Doboj-Derventa’ Partisan Detachment.

The Axis force assembled for this undertaking included, as the German component, elements of Generalleutnant Josef Brauner von Haydringen’s 42nd Jägerdivision, 98th Gebirgsjägerregiment of Generalleutnant Walter Stettner Ritter von Grabenhofen’s 1st Gebirgsdivision, and the 2nd Reiterbrigade ‘Kaukasus’ of Generalleutnant Hellmuth von Pannwitz’s 1st Kosaken-Kavalleriedivision and, as its Croat component together with a number of Četnik auxiliary units, the 1st Jägerbrigade and the 5th Jägerregiment of Pukovnik Julije Fritz’s 3rd Jägerbrigade.

The undertaking was part of the larger ‘Waldrausch’ operation, and the Axis forces advanced rapidly toward their objectives. Prnjavor was taken on 4 January and the spearheads from Doboj quickly moved to the south along the Bosna river valley to Zenica and then to the west to Travnik and Jajce.