Operation Waldteufel

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This was a German operation against the forces of Marshal Josip Broz Tito in Axis-occupied Yugoslavia (6/8 March 1945).

The operation was planned and controlled by General Werner von Erdmannsdorff’s LXXXXI Corps as part of the ‘Frühlingserwachen’ (ii) final German offensive in Hungary, and was intended to cross the Drava river and create bridgeheads on the river’s eastern side at Donji Miholjac and Valpovo, thereby opening the way for an advance toward Mohács in southern Hungary in support of the main effort farther to the north by General Otto Wöhler’s Heeresgruppe ‘Süd’.

The Yugoslav forces involved in this wholly German undertaking were the 12th, 16th, 36th and 51st Assault Divisions.

Generalleutnant Kohler’s 11th Felddivision (L) crossed the Drava river near Valpovo and together with Generalleutnant Hellmuth von Pannwitz’s 1st Kosaken-Kavalleriedivision advanced in the direction of Bolman and Torjanci. Near Donji Miholjac Generalleutnant Hartwig von Ludwiger’s 104th Jägerdivision and Generalleutnant Albrecht Baier’s 297th Division crossed the Drava river into Hungary and inflicted heavy losses on General Polkovnik Vladimir Dmitrov Stoychev’s Bulgarian 1st Army. Each of these bridgeheads had been extended to depth of up to 5 miles (8 km) before a counterattack by the Yugoslav 3rd Army drove the 1st Kosaken-Kavalleriedivision and 11th Felddivision (L) back across the Drava river, while a counter-offensive by elements of Marshal Sovetskogo Soyuza Fyedor I. Tolbukhin’s Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front similarly drove back the 104th Jägerdivision and 297th Division.