'Autumn shower' (Autumn Thunder)
Clearing of Peljesac peninsula by two reinforced battalions from 7th SS Division 'Prinz Eugen' landing at port Crkvice and nearby coves surprising 13th Dalmatian Brigade which was facing towards Ston and northern coast of peninsula.
Involved the clearing of the island of Korcula, off the Dalmatian Coast, an excellent waystation for bringing supplies in by sea from Italy. Operation started at before dawn on 22 December 1943 with two German detachment sailing out under rough sea from Peljesac ports and by evening cutting main road connecting western part of island to eastern.
Defense of Korcula island at the beginning of battle was made of two brigades and local partisan detachment. Most of the units were filled young inexperienced soldiers. Best battalions have left positions along the shore and were preparing for counter attack on Peljesac peninsula.
On 23 December, under cover of fog, Germans brought reinforcements to island and with tank support broken deep into Korcula defense what resulted in panic in NOVJ ranks which started disorganized retreat. At the same time in island commander observer post near Smokovica both commander of 26th Dalmatian Division of NOVJ Nikola Martinovic and political commissar of V Coastal Naval Sector Ratko Duzevic - commanders of Korcula island defense - were seriously wounded. In the evening courier from southern coast reported to wounded commander that Germans are landing in Karbuna which meant that enemy already is attacking from the rear. Decision to abandon Korcula was quickly reached.
All NOVJ units were ordered to move in defense of bridgehead around Vela Luka and Prigradice from where several thousand refugees will be evacuated first towards Hvar. At disposal was some forty ships for evacuation but panic decreased chances significantly. NOVJ brigades started abandoning theirs sectors on the bridgehead: men trying to reach decks of ships as soon as possible. Some ships captains were avoiding risk - and duty - to go to ordered coves to pick up men so at Hvar from Korcula arrived group of empty sailing boats which under escort of armed ship were returned to their task. Evacuation, under cover of Allied Air Force continued on the following day and night but large number of partisans and refugees still remained hidden on the island.
After the losses were counted, results was devastating: killed, captured or missing - 1150 soldiers, all guns lost and numerous other material. It was one of the worst failures NOVJ has suffered in Dalmatia during entire war.
- 13th Dalmatian Brigade - 600 (525?)
- 1st Overseas Brigade - 300
- Korčula partisan detachment - 250
- 1st Dalmatian Brigade - ?
Germans lost 8 ships during preparation for operation (cruiser Niobe, SF 193, Pašman, two landing crafts and motor sailboat sunk while HZ 8 and HZ 9 were captured) further 3 torpedo boats and 1 landing craft damageded.
However, perhaps more significant than this loss was the matter of a reprisal inflicted on the Partisan garrison. The C-in-C Southeast had received a report on the shooting of 3 German officers and 26 enlisted men captured by the 29th Partisan Division near Mostar.One of the officers was a holder of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (the German equivalent of the Distinguished Service Cross), which further incensed Marshal von Weichs. Accordingly, he ordered the execution of 220 prisoners from Korcula in reprisal, giving the Partisans additional ammunition for their propaganda campaign.
HERBSTGEWITTER III, IV, V and VI
Canceled - planed landings on Mljet, Hvar, Brac and Solta, Mljet was captured without resistance on 30/31 December 1943 and after change in plans new code names have been given to operations:
Operation Morgenwind II 12 January 1944 Landing on the Dalmatian island of Solta Operation Morgenwind I 13 January 1944 Landing on the Dalmatian island of Brac Operation WALZERTRAUM 19 January 1944 Landing on the Dalmatian island of Hvar
Order of Battle
- Axis Order of Battle
Following year same codename was used for German retreat from Dalmatian coastline.
Send in additions, new information's or corrections you have! If you have updates, new info, you have found factual error, error in translation, grammar error or only simple typing error. Please let us know! Fill in the form and send it back. Your help is greatly appreciated.