Operation Rabauke


'Rabauke' was a German operation against the partisan forces of Marshal Josip Broz Tito on the islands of Ugljan and Iz, off the Dalmatian coast of the puppet state of Croatia within German-occupied Yugoslavia, by Generalleutnant Martin Gareis’s 264th Division (10/13 July 1944).

Undertaken under the supervision of General Ernst von Leyser’s XV Gebirgskorps, the operation included a number of elements, but was centred on the severance of the numerous supply lines which delivered matériel from the island of Vis, to which it was delivered from Italy, for onward transmission to partisan units inland.

During night of 10/11 July elements of the 891st Grenadierregiment were ferried in two landing barges, escorted by a harbour protection boat, from Zadar to land on the island of Iz and then set about the destruction of the fishing boats used to move supplies for the partisans. At the same time elements of the garrison of Preko on the island of Ugljan undertook a sweep of harbours on the neighbouring islands and destroyed all the fishing boats they found.

The local partisan forces reacted swiftly to the information they received of the German action, and asked the British intelligence team on Dugi island to request an air attack on the German landing barges in the harbour of Veli Iz, and during the afternoon British fighter-bombers attacked and destroyed at least one such barge. Fearing a night attack in the between the islands and the coast if they attempted to return to Zadar, the Germans left Iz and concealed themselves in coves on the southern coast of Ugljan. This movement passed undetected by the partisans, who had despatched two patrol boats and a platoon of naval infantry to Iz in an attempt to locate and pin the Germans.

By the end of the operation, the Germans had destroyed 114 miscellaneous boats, including 42 on Iz.