USTAŠA

This weblog is an online protest of Croatian patriots against the current Croatian government under the leadership of Dr. Ivo Sanader and Stipe Mesic who, in the name of democracy, wage a fruitless war against Croatian “fascists” by using the same fascist methods: police repression, destruction of monuments (Budak & Francetic), glorifying Tito’s butchers and curtailing the freedom of media.

nedjelja, rujna 26, 2004

Allen Milcic: CROATIAN WEHRMACHT VOLUNTEERS

CROATIAN WINNERS OF GERMAN DECORATIONS

1.Croatian Units on the Eastern Front:

1.1.: The 369th Reinforced (Croat) Infantry Regiment:

This Wehrmacht (Heer) unit of Croatian volunteers was raised in July, 1941, for combat on the Eastern Front. This was an infantry regiment with 3 infantry battalions and its own artillery attached (therefore “reinforced”). From October 9, 1941, the regiment was attached to the 100th Jaeger Division, and fought some major engagements at Harkov, Kalatch and Selivanov. The Croatians proved to be reliable and brave soldiers, and were held in high regard by both the German command and their German comrades in arms. On September 29, 1942, the Regiment entered Stalingrad, where they were destroyed after a long and heroic struggle (a few survivors surrendered to the Red Army on February 2, 1943).

Approximately 6,300 Croatian soldiers served in this unit through its ill-fated existence. Many were awarded various Croatian decorations, and a high number received German decorations. This is an incomplete list:

Iron Cross 1st Class:


- Colonel Viktor Vitez PAVIČIĆ, commander of the 369th Regiment from July 1, 1942 - January 20, 1943. Awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class by General Sanne on October 16, 1942, at Stalingrad. The award was received for “excellent leadership of the Croatian Legionnaire unit”. Colonel Pavicic was declared “missing and presumed dead” on January 21, 1943. It is presumed that the plane that he was being evacuated from Stalingrad on was shot down. He is pictured below in Colonel's uniform of the Army (Domobranstvo) of the Independent State of Croatia, while commanding the Croatian Military Academy (his post prior to taking over the 369th Regiment).


Colonel Viktor "Vitez" Pavičić

- Staff Sergeant Dragutin PODOBNIK, recieved the Iron Cross 2nd Class on September 24, 1942, for actions in the Ukraine, during the course of the Summer (specifically the "Proljet Kultura" Kolhoz battle, an all-night, hand-to-hand combat action). On September 27, 1942, the 369th entered Stalingrad.


Staff Sergeant PODOBNIK was further decorated on October 16, 1942 with the Iron Cross 1st Class by General Sanne (at Stalingrad). The award was recieved for an action on September 30, 1942, where Podobnik and 18 of his men infiltrated a fortified Soviet position in the “Red October” factory, destroyed the defenders(even though the Russians outnumbered them), and handed over the occupied building to the 54th German Regiment (that had been unsuccessfully attacking this position for several hours). Podobnik and his men also captured 3 enemy artillery pieces, 2 mortars, 1 “Maksim” machine-gun, and a large number of rifles, pistols, grenades and automatic weapons. All of this with only 3 lightly wounded men. Sergeant Podobnik would, unfortunately, not return from Stalingrad (his actual fate is unknown).




Staff Sergeant Dragutin Podobnik
(second from left with the Schmeiser sub-machine gun)



- Lt.-Colonel Marko MESIĆ, commander of the regimental artillery detachmen from July, 1941. Regimental commander from January 20, 1943 - February 2, 1943. Awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class in the last days of the Stalingrad pocket, when he took over the few surviving members of the regiment, and put up a tenacious defense. He entered Soviet captivity, where he survived years of hunger and abuse, only to be turned over to the post-war Yugoslavian Communist government, who tried and executed him in 1947.




Iron Cross 2nd Class:

- Lt. 1st Class BAKAREC received the German Iron Cross 2nd Class in October of 1941, while commanding the 11th (Bicycle) Company of the Regiment, attached to the Vorausabteilung of the 100th Jaeger Division.
- Sergeant Ivan GRBESA was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class during the course of the battle for Stalingrad.
- Captain Geza MAJBERGER, commander of the 1st Battalion, received the Iron Cross 2nd Class for leadership during the battles around Manojlin, summer of 1942. He was mortally wounded on July 30, 1942.
- Lt. Josip ZAMBATA was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class in September, 1942.
- Sergeant Dzafer BABOVIC,September, 1942.
[Note: this is an incomplete list of Iron Cross 2nd Class winners. As further information becomes available, the list will be updated].



The survivors of the Regiment (approximately 1000 men), that were evacuated from Stalingrad via air, formed the core of a new Croatian volunteer unit of the Wehrmacht - the 369th “Vrazja” (Devil’s) Infantry Division. These veterans were awarded a commemorative badge, the “Croatian Legion 1941” Linden Leaf in silver, worn on the right breast pocket.

The "Devil's" Division (the 369th Infantry Division) fought hard battles against the Communist Partisans throughout Croatia throughout '43, '44, and early '45. On May 10/11, 1945, it surrendered to British forces in Austria, and its men returned to "Yugoslavia" for trial. Most were killed.





1.2.: The Croatian Airforce Legion:



Croatian Airforce Legion Badge




This Luftwaffe unit of Croatian volunteers was formed on June 2, 1941, and had a fighter and a bomber squadron. The fighter squadron was designated ‘15.(Kroatische)/JG 52’, and served on the Eastern Front with great success from October 6, 1941 - July, 1944. The bomber squadrom was titled ‘15.(Kroatische)/KG 53’, and served on the Eastern Front from October 25, 1941 - December of 1942.

Decorations received by the Legion were as follows:

Fighter Squadron:

- Lt.-Colonel Mato CULINOVIC, Iron Cross 1st and Iron Cross 2nd Class;
- Lt. Cvitan GALIC, Iron Cross 1st and Iron Cross 2nd Class;
- Sergeant Veca MILKOVIC, Iron Cross 1st and Iron Cross 2nd Class;
- Sergeant Tomislav KAUZLARIC, Iron Cross 1st and Iron Cross 2nd Class;
- 40 other members of the Fighter Squadron received the Iron Cross 2nd Class.


Bomber Squadron:

- 150 members of the Bomber Squadron received the Iron Cross 1st and/or 2nd Class.


Croatian Airforce Legion Badge was worn by members of the Legion while on the Eastern Front. The pilots were allowed to continue wearing these badges upon the disbandment of their legions, and assignment to Croatian military units.



1.3. The Croatian Naval Legion:




Croatian Naval Legion Badge



This Kriegsmarine unit of Croatian volunteers was formed in July, 1941, and served in the Black Sea until October, 1943.

A total of 343 men served in this unit, performing security, minesweeping and small vessel combat missions. Frigate Captain Andro VRKLJAN (the Legion’s first commander) was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class. 50 other members of the Legion were decorated with the Iron Cross 2nd Class.

With the surrender of Italy in 1943, the Italian veto on a Croatian Navy in the Adriatic Sea became null and void, so the Croatian sailors were returned to Croatia for further service.

Croatian Naval Legion Badge was worn by members of the Legion while on the Eastern Front. The seamen, like their pilots counterparts, were allowed to continue wearing these badges upon the disbandment of their legions and assignment to Croatian military units.

By Allen Milcic

Source:
http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/axis_allies/croatian_volunteers.htm

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