Operation 'Rodent exterminator'
In the middle of the march of 1944, 2nd Proletarian and 5th Assault Division of NOVJ tried to enter Serbia from Sandžak. Their goal was to cross Ibar and Kopaonik into South-East Serbia were they would connect with local Partisan units (NOV i POJ), largest and best organized units of NOP in Serbia, and form basis for expansion of resistance across entire Serbia.
Simultaneously Partisan 3rd Corps was to advance into western Serbia but their attempt was foiled by operation MAIBUM.
Tito and his staff believed Germans were unaware of their plan but Partisan radio communication was monitored by Germans and Partisan codes easily broken giving German commanders details on Partisan plans and allowed them to make preparations.
Initially Germans ordered only Bulgarian 24th Infantry Division together with Chetniks and Serbian quisling forces to halt Partisan advance but they proved inadequate so general Felber begun preparation for large scale operation.
Partisan divisions meet with strong defense of German, Bulgarian, Serbian Quisling and Chetnik forces and were forced to turn to North-West. After two months of heavy fighting's and heavy losses both divisions were forced to retreat back to Sandžak.
Order of Battle
- 2nd Proletarian Brigade
- 44 killed
- 101 wounded
- 60 missing
- Partisan 5th Division
- 106 killed
- 324 wounded
- 15 died from wounds and disease
- 27 missing
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