Operation Risnjak

(Croat mountain)

'Risnjak' was an Italian operation against the partisan forces of Josip Broz Tito in the coastal regions of Croatia and Montenegro within the Italian-occupied part of Yugoslavia (12 July/7 August 1942).

This was the Yugoslav designation of the major undertaking known to the Italians as 'Provincia di Lubiana', and involving some 12,000 men of Generale di Corpo d’Armata Renato Corturri’s V Corpo d’Armata against the Yugoslav 2nd Partisan Detachment and partisan-dominated 'liberated' areas of the Croat coast and Gorski Kotar. The object of the undertaking was either to destroy or to capture all unprotected Croat villages in order to cut the partisans' lines of supply and also remove their sources of manpower and local support. Several hundred houses where burned and several thousand people where either killed or sent to interment camps.

Unlike their standard practice of moving along roads using heavy equipment and aircraft to support their advance, with the aid of collaborators and deserters from partisan units, in this instance the Italian troops started their offensive through rough terrain (rocky and forested areas on and around Mt Risnjak), and so managed to secure tactical as well as operational surprise in their attacks on partisan camps and combat units, the latter including the 1st Proletarian Battalion.