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German Army Foreign Combat Divisions
European Divisions in the German Army
255 pages; 15 chapters and 4 appendixes
Many European nations contributed entire divisions or corps to the Eastern
Front in the Axis fight against the USSR. German Army Foreign Combat
Divisions describes the organizations, tactics victories and defeats of
numerous European nations that contributed one to three divisions to the
combat on the Eastern Front. However, German Army Foreign Combat
Divisions is only an introduction to the stories of each European nation’s
contribution to the war on the Eastern Front. The Croatians Cossacks,
Calmucks, Turkomans, Dutch, Spanish, Slovakians and other European
nations committed many divisions to Eastern Front combat. German
Army Foreign Combat Divisions focuses on divisions from the above nations
who fought for the German Army. Many other foreign divisions fought as part
of the Waffen SS. Including entire corps of Latvians, Estonians, Hungarians,
Dutch, Belgians and Russians. In fact, there were over a million Russian and
Ukrainians who formed divisions, battalions and regiment that fought on the
German side in World War Two which are described in Quikmaneuvers.com’s
new book The Wehrmacht's Soviet Armies. German Army Foreign Combat
Divisions is an introduction to the foreign divisions that fought for the
German Army. Several books would be required to do that topic justice.
"The first major combat operation in which the Croatian 369th Infantry Division participated was, "Unternehmen Weiss"
(Operation White, known also as the “Battle of the Neretva” or the Fourth Axis Offensive). The operation was planned as a
three-phase attack which was aimed at seizing territories then under communist partisan control in western Bosnia and
parts of Croatia. The Axis commanders also wanted to destroy: the central command of the partisan movement, the Central
Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, the main partisan hospital, and main-force Partisan units defending the
communist-subjugated territories. For Operation White, the 369th Infantry Division had attached to it, the German 202nd
Panzer Battalion, to provide light armored support.
Operation White’s Phase 1, the attack on partisan-held areas from the west, commenced on January 20th 1943. The
369th Infantry Division attacked the communist controlled town of Cazin, which was taken in early February 1943. The
partisans resisted the Axis advance with the ferocity of cornered rabid dogs, but were ultimately forced to withdraw.
Operational Phase Two officially commenced on February 25, 1943, and soon the 369th Division was heavily committed.
The division advanced from Cazin moving towards the area of Sisak-Kostajnica. Then the division began fighting southeast
towards Prijedor. When that area was conquered the fast-moving infantry division turned south towards Bosanski Petrovac
Then the Croat division joined forces with the elite 7th SS "Prinz Eugen" Mountain Division (with whom it fought alongside
in many future operations and formed a close professional relationship) in the continued pursuit of the partisan main
forces. The reds were trying to escape in a southeastern direction towards Montenegro.
The partisans managed to crush a blocking force consisting of the poorly led Italian ‘Murge’ Infantry Division and reached
the area west of the Neretva River by the end of February, 1943. The 369th Infantry Division then became active west of
Ribinik and Mliniste, and then moved into the area of Glamoc, Malovan.
In early March 1943, the division advanced in multiple columns through the Duvno, Scit, Prozor, Rama and Jablanica
areas. They were part of the Axis attempt to squeeze the Partisans against the Neretva River where they could finally
destroy them in a head-to-head encounter. Unfortunately, the partisans held off further advances by successfully counter-
attacking in the Gornji Vakuf area. At the same time, the communists occupied the town of Konjic and securing a river
crossing at that location as well as at Jablanica. Once across the river, the partisans brushed away blocking forces
consisting of Italian and collaborationist Serb Cetnik forces. Then the reds made their way to temporary safety in northern
Montenegro. As a result, Phase Three of Operation White, the final destruction of the surrounded partisan forces, never
Excerpt from German Army Foreign Combat Divisions
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