Unternehmen Illusion / Operation Illusion
2nd Panzer Army decided to included Pag and Rab (Arbe) island into its coastal defense system. German occupation of Rab island was given codename Operation ILLUSION.
Landing of units of 392nd Infantry Division together with 9th Ustasha Battalion (operation ?) secured Pag island. On 20 March, 2nd Battalion of the 847th Grenadier Regiment was to land on Rab island from Senj by landing crafts of 771st Landing Pioneer Battalion. 1st Battalion was tasked with landing on southern caped transported from Jablanac by 500th Landing unit. Shallows forced soldiers to walk signification distance through water.
Escort was task of 11th Flotilla after carrying out Operation BIBER which after escorting landing crafts would take blocking position between cape Kalifront on Rab and cap Lun on Pag islands to prevent Partisans escaping in direction of Dugi otok island. Loss of TA-36 in operation BIBER prevented naval blockade forcing Germans to relay on air power based on Zadar airfield.
German intelligence seems to have lacked information that most units of Partisan 2nd Coastal Naval Sector and Jews which stayed on the island (from Italian concentration camp Kampor) left Rab island already on 3 March with remaining Partisans leaving day before the landings although Germans were listing in to Partisan communications and were well aware of there decision not to defend islands except for Vis after heavy losses on Korčula during operation HERBSTGEWITTER II. Decision to reveal to Partisans exact date of the landings could have been deliberate in order to avoid losses which even small force could have inflicted on exposed soldiers during landings because German air and naval power at that time having absolute supremacy could inflict serious losses on Partisan navy with minimal risk.
From 19 to 23 March German aircraft made numerous attack on Partisan ships in Kornati archipelago and coves of Dugi otok sinking motor sailing boats "Bog s nama", "Divna" and "Ilirija" and armed ships NB-1, NB-6 and patrol boat PČ-5.
Orders of Battle
- Axis ORBAT
- 2nd Battalion/847th Regiment/392nd Infantry Division - landing in sandy cove south of Lopare during night of 18/19? March, secured Lopare and moved south over the hill towards Rab town
- 1st Battalion/847th Regiment/392nd Infantry Division - landing on SE cape of the island at 4:30
- 11th Flotilla
- 500th Landing
- NOVJ ORBAT
On 21 March took control leaving company in Rab and Lopare and begun fortifying Rab island which would remain in Germans hands until April 1945.
- Franz Schraml: Hrvatsko ratište : njemačko-hrvatske legijske divizije -369., 373., 392. pješ. div. (hrv.), Brkić i sin, Zaprešić, 1993, page 213
- Janez Tomšič: Narodnoosvobodilni boj na Jadranu in slovenski pomorščaki, page 364
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