( ? - ? )
Major Arthur Strecker was captured in the Battle of Neretva during operation WEISS. He was also the first high ranking German officer captured by Yugoslav Partisans.
Major Strecker battalion was defending road Gornji Vakuf - Prozor on 4 March 1943 during Partisan counterattack, with Partisan advance on his left flank Strecker visited regimental commander colonel Vogel in Gornji Vakuf, leaving lt. Wiesner, 12th Company commander, in command of the battalion. In HQ he was told that this attack was repulsed but then he received notification from his battalion that Partisans captured hill 1188 on his right flank. Major Strecker immediately begun his ride back to his battalion accompanied by four horse riders-couriers through Uričaj and Jelače.
During Strecker absence situation changed drastically, renewed Partisan attack against German flanks with 1st Dalmatian brigade forcing 737th Grenadier Regiment to retreat leaving 3rd Battalion right flank exposed. To make things worse on battalions left flank 2nd Proletarian Brigade pushed back elements of 750th Grenadier Regiment forcing lt. Wiesner to order exposed battalion to retreat back to line Mračaja - hill 957 - hill 903. Report of battalion retreat missed major Strecker who already left regimental HQ.
Arriving to location where he left his battalion HQ, Strecker found location empty and decided to move towards hill 952 with one courier as escort. Moving through a small thickly grown valley, soon found himself surrounded by 40-50 Partisans without possibility to escape Strecker decided to surrender.
Strecker was escorted to staff of the 2nd Proletarian Brigade which was located on a hill northwest of Makljen. Attempts to question him on German strength quickly failed due to his refusal to give any information. After being informed Tito immediately give order for prisoner to be escorted to his Supreme Headquarters (Vrhovni štab) and was taken during the night by car to Tito's HQ some 10 kilometers from Prozor. Here by his own words he was given ample dinner and given apology for having his hands tied. Attempts by Partisans to use more relaxed condition to gain some intelligence but failed again. Strecker was also told on the goals of Partisan struggle.
Interested in resuming negotiation on prisoner exchange from previous year and possibly receiving recognition as legit armed formation subject to Geneva convention when it come to captured Partisans which were usually shot by Germans, Strecker was asked to write letter to German command which he agreed. Letter was for general Edmund Glaise-Horstenau and addressed to staff of his 718th Infantry Division in Sarajevo, it was probably sent by courier which was captured together with Strecker.
Strecker was released on 20 March together with 20 other Germans soldiers captured earlier on recommendation of Milovan Đilas and agreed by Tito as a show of good will despite the fact that Germans were still gathering prisoners which were suppose to be released in return. During his debriefing major Strecker give detailed account on what he witnessed while being Partisan prisoner. Partisans still had around 100 NDH personnel, 15 Italian officers and around 600 soldiers.
- commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 738th Grenadier Regiment of the 718th Infantry Division
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