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Inconclusive

Axis failure despite heavy Partisan casualties

Belligerents

Axis:  Italy  Germany  Independent State of Croatia  Bulgaria[1][2][3] Allies: Partisans

Commanders and leaders

Alexander Löhr Rudolf Lüters Josip Broz Tito

Strength

127,000 men 300+ aircraft 22,148 men

Casualties and losses

German casualties: 583 killed, 1,760 wounded, 425 missing[4][5] Italian casualties: 290 killed, 541 wounded, 1,502 missing[6] Croatian casualties: 40 killed, 166 wounded, 205 missing[4][5] Total Axis casualties: 913 killed, 2,467 wounded, 2,132 missing[4][6] 2/3 killed and wounded[7] (6,391[7]–7,543[8][9] killed)

2,537 pro-Partisan civilian sympathizers executed[10][11]

v t e

World War II in Yugoslavia

Axis invasion June 1941 uprising in eastern Herzegovina Uprising in Serbia

Loznica Banja Koviljača

Uzice (1st Offensive) Novi Pazar Mihailovic Sjenica

Uprising in Montenegro

Pljevlja

Southeast Croatia (2nd Offensive) Prijedor Nanos Trio (3rd Offensive) 1942 Montenegro offensive (3rd Offensive) Kozara Kupres Alfa Dražgoše Livno Kočevje Case White
Case White
(4th Offensive) Delphin Otto Halyard Case Black
Case Black
(5th Offensive) Zvornik Turjak Castle Ožbalt Kugelblitz (6th Offensive) Maibaum Rösselsprung (7th Offensive) Andrijevica Belgrade Offensive Kosovo Syrmian Front Knin Mostar Lijevče Field Odžak Nagykanizsa–Körmend Poljana Niš

Hungarian occupation Allied bombing campaign

Partisan column during the Battle of the Sutjeska

Case Black
Case Black
(German: Fall Schwarz), also known as the Fifth Enemy Offensive (Serbo-Croatian: Peta neprijateljska ofanziva) in Yugoslav historiography and often identified with its final phase, the Battle of the Sutjeska (Serbo-Croatian: Bitka na Sutjesci pronounced [bîtka na sûtjɛst͡si]) was a joint attack by the Axis taking place from 15 May to 16 June 1943, which aimed to destroy the main Yugoslav Partisan
Yugoslav Partisan
force, near the Sutjeska river
Sutjeska river
in south-eastern Bosnia. The failure of the offensive marked a turning point for Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
during World War II. The operation immediately followed Case White
Case White
which had failed in accomplishing the same objectives: to eliminate the central Partisan formations and capture their commander, Marshal Josip Broz Tito.

Contents

1 Operation 2 Order of battle

2.1 Allied order of battle 2.2 Axis order of battle

3 In Film 4 In song 5 Memorial complex 6 See also 7 Citations 8 References

8.1 Books 8.2 Journals

9 External links

Operation[edit] The Axis rallied 127,000 land troops for the offensive, including German, Italian, NDH, Bulgarian, and over 300 airplanes. The Yugoslav National Liberation Army had 22,148 soldiers in 16 brigades.[8] After a period of troop concentration, the offensive started on 15 May 1943. The Axis troops used the advantage of better starting positions to encircle and isolate the partisans on the Durmitor
Durmitor
mountain area, located between the Tara and Piva rivers in the mountainous areas of northern Montenegro
Montenegro
and forced them to engage in a fierce month-long battle on waste territory. On 9 June Tito was nearly killed when a bomb fell near the leading group, wounding him in the arm. The popular post-war report of the event credited Tito's German shepherd
German shepherd
dog Luks, for sacrificing his life to save Tito's.[12] Captain William F. Stuart, a Special Operations Executive operative who was parachuted into Tito's headquarters alongside Captain William Deakin
William Deakin
during May,[13] was killed by the explosion, as well.[14] Facing almost exclusively German troops, the Yugoslav National Liberation Army (YNLA) finally succeeded in breaking out across the Sutjeska river
Sutjeska river
through the lines of the German 118th and 104th Jäger and 369th (Croatian) Infantry divisions in the northwestern direction, towards eastern Bosnia. Three brigades and the central hospital with over 2000 wounded were surrounded. Following Hitler's instructions, German commander in chief Generaloberst Alexander Löhr
Alexander Löhr
ordered their annihilation, including the wounded and the unarmed medical personnel. In addition, YNLA
YNLA
troops suffered from severe lack of food and medical supplies, and many were struck down by typhoid. In total there were 7,543 partisan casualties, more than a third of the initial force.[8] The German field commander, General Rudolf Lüters in his final report described the so-called "communist rebels" as "well organized, skillfully led and with combat morale unbelievably high". The successful Partisan breakout helped their reputation as a viable fighting force with the local populace. Consequently, they were able to replenish their losses with new recruits, regroup, and mount a series of counterattacks in eastern Bosnia, clearing Axis garrisons of Vlasenica, Srebrenica, Olovo, Kladanj
Kladanj
and Zvornik
Zvornik
in the following 20 days. The battle marked a turning point toward Partisan control of Yugoslavia, and became an integral part of the Yugoslav post-war mythology, celebrating the self-sacrifice, extreme suffering and moral firmness of the partisans. Order of battle[edit]

Liberated territory in Yugoslavia, May 1943.

Allied order of battle[edit]

Partisan commander Josip Broz Tito
Josip Broz Tito
and Ivan Ribar
Ivan Ribar
during the Battle of the Sutjeska.

Yugoslav Partisans
Yugoslav Partisans
(Partisans Main Operational Group)

1st Proletarian Division 2nd Proletarian Division 3rd Assault Division 7th Banija Division 6th Proletarian Brigade 15th Majevica Brigade

Axis order of battle[edit]  Germany

7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen 1st Mountain Division 118th Jäger Division 369th (Croatian) Infantry Division Regiment 4 Brandenburg reinforced 724th Infantry Regiment (104th Jäger Division)

 Italy

1 Alpine Division Taurinense 19 Infantry (Mountain) Division Venezia 23 Infantry Division Ferrara 32 Infantry Division Marche 151 Infantry Division Perugia 154 Infantry Division Murge forces of Sector Podgorica

 Independent State of Croatia

4th Home Guard Jäger Brigade

 Bulgaria

63rd Infantry Regiment 61st Infantry Regiment also in the area (both units under the command of the 369th (Croatian) Infantry Division)

In Film[edit] Battle of Sutjeska was made into a movie in 1973, Sutjeska, with Richard Burton
Richard Burton
playing the lead as Josip Broz Tito, leader of the partisan forces. In song[edit] There are several songs about the Battle of Sutjeska. One of the more popular is called "Sivi Sokole" which translates to peregrine falcon. It mentions the death of Commander Sava Kovačević.

Serbian English

Sivi sokole, prijatelju stari, Daj mi krila, sokole da preletim planine. Visoka je planina, nebo iznad nje, A na nebu sivi soko, gleda na mene. Duboka je Sutjeska, kanjon iznad nje Na kanjonu Tito stoji, gleda ranjene Na kanjonu Tito stoji i poručuje Sutjeska se mora proći, da spasimo ranjene Sivi sokole... Sutjeska je probijena, ranjeni su spašeni A naš stari heroj Sava osta mrtav da leži Sivi sokole... Radili smo, radimo, radit ćemo još Druže Tito, kunemo se, pobijedit ćemo

Peregrine falcon, old friend of mine, Give me wings, falcon, that I may fly over the mountains. The mountain is high, the sky above it, And in the sky the peregrine falcon, looking down upon me. Sutjeska is deep, the canyon above it Above the canyon stands Tito, watches over the wounded Above the canyon stands Tito and commands, The Sutjeska must be crossed to save the wounded, Peregrine falcon... Sutjeska is breached, the wounded are saved But our old hero Sava remained lying dead Peregrine falcon... We have toiled, we toil, we will toil still Comrade Tito, we pledge, we will triumph.

Memorial complex[edit] Sculptor Miodrag Živković designed the memorial complex, dedicating to the Battle of the Sutjeska in the 1970s.[15] The complex contains frescoes by the Croatian artist Krsto Hegedušić.[16] See also[edit]

Seven anti-Partisan offensives Resistance during World War II Anti-partisan operations in World War II

Citations[edit]

^ J. B. Tito, The Yugoslav Road, 99 ^ Slobodan Nešović, Yugoslav-Bulgarian Relations, 1941-1945, 95 ^ Jozo Tomašević, The Chetniks, 199 ^ a b c Report of the commander of German troops in Croatia from the 20th of june 1943 (in Croatian), Collection of Documents and Information on the National Liberation War of the Peoples of Yugoslavia, Volume XII (german documents), book 3, page 94 ^ a b Report of the commander of German troops in Croatien (Befehlshaber der Deutschen Truppen in Kroatien), June 20th 43, National Archive Washington T314, roll 560, frames 750-751 ^ a b Cloutier, Patrick (2013). Regio Esercito: The Italian Royal Army in Mussolini's Wars, 1935-1943. lulu.com. p. 182. ISBN 1105074013.  ^ a b Ante Cuvalo, The A to Z of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 237 ^ a b c Hoare, Marko Attila (2006). Genocide and Resistance in Hitler's Bosnia: The Partisans and the Chetniks. Oxford University Press. p. 341. ISBN 0-19-726380-1.  ^ Кучан, Виктор (1996). Борци Сутјеске. Завод за уџбенике и наставна средства: Београд. ISBN 978-86-17-04984-1.  ^ Andric, Milan (1964). Hronologija oslobodilačke borbe naroda jugoslavije. Beograd: Vojnoistorijski institut. p. 471.  ^ National Archive Washington T315, roll 1294, frames 537-545 ^ Doder, Duško (1979). The Yugoslavs. Vintage Books. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-394-74158-1.  ^ Gilbert, Martin (1971). Winston S. Churchill: Challenge of War 1914-1916. Houghton Mifflin. p. 319. ISBN 978-0-395-13153-4.  ^ Ritchie, Sebastian (2004). Our Man In Yugoslavia: The Story of A Secret Service Operative. Routledge. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-7146-5559-8.  ^ Miodrag Živković ^ Renata Jambrešić Kirin. The Politics of Memory in Croatian Socialist Culture: Some Remarks

References[edit] Books[edit]

Deakin, Frederick William (1971). The embattled mountain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  Maclean, Fitzroy (1949). Eastern Approaches. Penguin Group.  Schmider, Klaus (2002). Partisanenkrieg in Jugoslawien 1941–1944 [Partisan war in Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
1941–1944] (in German). Hamburg: Mittler. ISBN 978-3-8132-0794-1.  Tomasevich, Jozo (1975). The Chetniks. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0804708576.  Tomasevich, Jozo (2001). War and Revolution in Yugoslavia: 1941 - 1945. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0804779244. 

Journals[edit]

Trifkovic, Gaj. "A Case of Failed Counter-Insurgency: Anti-Partisan Operations in Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
1943". The Journal of Slavic Military Studies. Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. 24 (4): 314–336. doi:10.1080/13518046.2011.572733. ISSN 1556-3006. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Battle of the Sutjeska.

A History of Yugoslavian Resistance in World War II

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Seven Enemy Offensives

First Enemy Offensive Second Enemy Offensive Third Enemy Offensive Fourth Enemy Offensive Fifth Enemy Offensive Sixth Enemy Offensive Seventh Enemy Offensive

v t e

World War II in Yugoslavia

1941

Invasion of Yugoslavia Uprising in Bosnia and Herzegovina

May 1941 Sanski Most revolt June uprising in eastern Herzegovina Siege of Rogatica Olovo

Uprising in Serbia

Battle of Loznica Battle of Banja Koviljača Operation Uzice
Operation Uzice
(First Enemy Offensive) Operation Mihailovic Novi Pazar Sjenica

Uprising in Montenegro

Battle of Pljevlja

1942

Operations Southeast Croatia and Ozren (Second Enemy Offensive) Operation Trio
Operation Trio
(Third Enemy Offensive) Kozara Offensive Operation Alfa

1943

Case White
Case White
(Fourth Enemy Offensive) Case Black
Case Black
(Fifth Enemy Offensive)

1944

Operations Kugelblitz and Schneesturm (Sixth Enemy Offensive) Operation Rösselsprung (Seventh Enemy Offensive) Belgrade Offensive Kosovo Operation

1945

Syrmian Front Battle of Lijevče Field Bar massacre Battle of Poljana Battle of Odžak

Macedonia

World War II in Yugoslav Macedonia

Slovenia

Slovene Lands in World War II

Strategic bombing

Belgrade Podgorica Zadar Zagreb

see also Factions in the Yugoslav Front People of the Yugoslav Front

Coordinates: 43°20′46″N 18°41′16″E / 43.34611°N 18.68778°E /

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