Operation Reinhard (ii)

(German name)

This was a German and Croat operation against the partisan forces of Marshal Josip Broz Tito in and around Ljubija in the puppet state of Croatia within German-occupied Yugoslavia (8/9 May 1944).

The undertaking’s objective was to defeat the 4th Assault Division and reassume control of the iron ore mines in and around Ljubija, located 7.5 miles (12 km) to the south-west of Prijedor in western Bosnia, secure the area, and remove the stockpiled ore.

The German contribution was the 92nd Grenadierregiment (mot.), elements of the 383rd Regiment, the Panzergrenadiersturmbataillon of Generaloberst Dr Lothar Rendulic’s 2nd Panzerarmee with three Italian assault guns, and 18/999th Festungsinfanteriebataillon, while that of the Croats was General Mirko Gregurić’s 3rd Mountain Brigade, elements of the 13th Artillery Group/3rd Mountain Brigade, and two companies and one battery of Pukovnik Zvonimir Stimaković’s 4th Jäger Brigade.

The ore complex at Ljubija, captured by the partisans, was important to the German war effort, a fact which explains the large number of troops employed on this operation. The partisans withdrew as soon as they appreciated the Axis strength being deployed against them, and thereby avoided combat.