Operation Winter Storm / Unternehmen Wintergewitter
Operation WINTERGEWITTER was major German counterattack in Syrmia from 17 to 19 January 1945. Germans used same codename for relief attempt of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad in 1942 and for limited German-Italian offensive on the Gothic Line in Italy in 1944.
During November and December 1944, after successful conclusion of Belgrade operation, Yugoslav partisans continued there advance through Syrmia with help of Bulgarian divisions and Soviet Air Force. Partisan division were hastily filled with fresh recruits and thrown into battle which resulted in heavy casualties while making frontal breakthroughs of prepared German position at Red and Nibelung line (Opatovac - Lovas - Tovarnik - Šid - Adaševac - Bosut) allowing German with newly arrived reinforcements to finally halt Yugoslavs at Green line (Sotin - Berak - Orolik - Otok - Bosut forest) and start launching counterattacks.
During middle of December, German 34th Army Corps replaced its exhausted 118th Jager division with fresh 117th which repulsed last Partisan breakthrough attempt from 22 to 23 December inflicting heavy casualties on Partisans finally halting there offensive. Partisans switched to defensive in order to rest and reequip with newly arrived Soviet weapons not expecting Germans being cable of launching counterattack. Further weakening of the front line was made by withdrawal of Bulgarian troops which showed poor performance during assaults making 1st Proletarian Corps and its exhausted units responsible for entire line.
First German attack (operation ?) was made on 3 January 1945 in area of Otok and Bosut against 21st Division which forced back suffering heavy losses. This attack warned Partisans of Germans plans and they began to fortify their positions but 10 days was too short period to properly train fresh recruits in anti-tank combat and coordination between infantry, artillery and anti-tanks guns.
After a week of respite, in order to stabilize and shorten the front line, German 34th Army Corps launched its counterattack with 41st Fortress, 117th Jager and 7th SS Prinz Eugen divisions successfully surprising Partisans.
Germans managed to advance all the way to Šid before Partisans managed to consolidated its line halting German advance. With advance halted 34th Army Corps officially concluded successful operation on 19 January and began to repair Nibelung line. Following day Partisans regrouped and carried out reconnaissance of German positions deciding to launch attack next day. Partisan counterattack managed to recapture Adaševac, Mala Vašica, Šid and Berkasovo, these success encouraged Partisans to commit 1st and 2nd Division, which were held in reserve, to full scale attack on 22 January in order to push Germans back to starting positions and possibly achieve breakthrough.
Attacks during 22 January as well as night attack of 22/23 by 5th Division all failed, 1st Army decided to use 23 January to rest its forces and launch fresh assault during night of 23/24 January but it also failed to achieve any success finally forcing Partisans to switch to defense.
Order of battle
- 7th SS Division
- 264th Infantry Division
- Yugoslav Partisans
- 1st Proletarian Corps
- Yugoslav Partisans
- 1232 killed
- 154 captured
- 3 guns 122mm
- 15 heavy anti-tank guns
- 10 medium anti-tank guns
- 5 light anti-tank guns
- 9 heavy machine guns
- 102 light machine guns
- 1268 rifles
- 3 medium mortars
- 18 anti-tank rifles
- 66 submachine guns
- 11 trucks
- 2 munition dumps with over 80 tons of ammo
First Proletarian division suffered casualties of 20% of its strength - 243 dead, 648 wounded and 1638 missing in two days of combat.
Fifth Proletarian suffered 434 dead, 727 wounded, 490 missing and 12 captured.
This page is also available in the following languages:
• Hrvatski •
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.