Operation Prijedor

(Yugoslav town)

This was a German and Croat operation against the partisan forces of Josip Broz Tito in the puppet state of Croatia in Axis-occupied Yugoslavia (18/27 February 1942).

The operation was intended to pin and then destroy the three battalions of the partisan 2nd ‘Krajiški’ Border Detachment in the area of Bosanska Dubica and Prijedor in western Bosnia, thus allowing the relief of a beleaguered German garrison. The Axis forces were, in the case of the Germans, the 1/738th Regiment and 2/738th Regiment and 1/750th Regiment and 2/750th Regiment of Generalleutnant Johann Fortner’s 718th Division, the 1/724th Regiment of Generalmajor Heinrich Borowski’s 704th Division, and a number of supporting units, and in the case of the Croats the Ustaše Obrana Battalion ‘Jasenovac’ and half of a battery of mountain artillery.

Sometime in mid-February, partisan units had attacked and isolated several companies of a German unit, the 923rd Landesschützenbataillon, near Prijedor in western Bosnia. General Paul Bader, the Befehlshaber Serbien (military commander in Serbia), ordered an immediate relief operation and a mainly German force was quickly assembled in the vicinity of Bosanska Dubica. The operation began on 18 February, but met stubborn resistance and the relief force did not reach the encircled Germans until 27 February. Casualties were relatively light, the Germans and Croats losing 34 men killed, 48 wounded and 15 missing. The German claims for partisan casualties comprised 189 counted dead, 13 wounded and 16 captured.