Operation Rübezahl III

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This was a German and Croat offensive against the Yugoslav forces of Marshal Josip Broz Tito in German-occupied Yugoslavia with the purpose of driving the 3rd and 18th ‘Slovenia’ Brigades of the 30th ‘Slovenia’ Division farther from the important port city of Trieste (3/6 March 1945).

The German force comprised the 4,000 to 5,000 men of SS-Sturmbannführer Gustav Zuschneid’s Kampfgruppe ‘Zuschneid’ (three SS police battalions, units of the Croat home army’s 1st Domobran Assault Regiment, two battalions of Kosta Mušicki’s 1st Srpski Dobrovoljački Korpus (1st Serb Volunteer Corps) and one battalion of ex-Soviet prisoners), and the 2,500 men of the Kampfgruppe ‘Kesterman’ (two battalions of the 730th Grenadierregiment [kroatisch], one company of the 3/10th SS Polizeiregiment with one battery of artillery, parts of the 182nd Polizei-Gebirgsaufklärungskompanie, and pioneer and artillery units).