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LIBRARY
US ARMY CARLISLE WAR C0UEt.T~ BARRACKS PA.

. .

s Etd.kans oampaign, invasion of Yugoavia, by v. Groiffenberg. SUSA Historic vision. 1947.

This Document
IS A HOLDING OF THE

ARCHIVES

SECTION
COPY NO. -!!

LIBRARY SERVICES FORT LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS

,ir .‘. .:

. .. ,.

-z.

Y MILITMY HISTORV IN

v. Greiffenberg General der Infanterie

Foa I!nLITARY
PEEiSOi\iML OijLY

NOT T0 BE aPUBLIS.kED

LlBF?ARY US ARMY WAR CQL?JE& CARLISLE BARRACKS, PA,

Supplemmtary

to the Study ht5tlsd

The Balkan Campaign (The Invasion of Yugoslavia)

F'ORMILITUY PE%SONhELOkLY NOT TO BE P.EPUBLISiUD

Supplementary

to the Study &titled Ccvnpai.gn Yugoslavia) Remark is intended contained to supplement the chapter "The Balkan

The Balkan (The Invasion Preliminary The following "3he Invasion elaboration
of

of Yugoslavia"

in tho study entitled Division.

Campaign" submittad The content -i;l;e ;lap;ienings

by the Eistoricsl

of the study was checked by those who had taken part wherever necessary and the course of the

in

and corrected

campaign then compiled The more important Frhr von Weichs, at the time, oberst

by me in the form of a new study. records were supplied by Generaffeldmarschall of the 2. firr!ty, participating by Generalas Generals the zone then

the then Commander in Chief further contributions

whilst

were supplied Heinhardt

von Vietinghoff

and Generaloberst who were troop and further

as well

Brandenberger

and Reinhard, time,

commanders within by Colonel Division 1.G. Crist,

of the 2. Army at that General All Staff Officer

of the Operational is given

of the Luftwaffe. of those involved maps or anything 'particularly as I but

information

to the best knowledge No documents, diaries,

is given purely similar myself

from memory.

'JTere available. did not personally

Hence errors take part

are excepted, in this part

of the Balkan Campaign.

Annex 1: Review of the forces

of the 2. Army

Annex 2:

Traced map:

concentration Ger7nan forces.

and chief

marchins

route

of the

Signed:

V. Greiffenberg. Gen. Inf.

Study approved Nuernberg, 9.5.47 Signed: Frhr. V. %eichs

Generalfeldxmrschall

?dsf B-525
Background to the Balkan Campaign written in the winter was described particu-

In 194-O the Germans in France found a treatise

1939/40 by the French Generel Staff.
as inadvisable larly to make a frontal attack

In this

document it

on the German Westwall, equipment outflanking either

because of the insufficient reason a wideflung was advised,

artillery

of the ?rench Army. of the Central European

For this region

Strategical

which was to take place

by way of Norway or document had it proof is true

the Balkans. no bearing that a role

In view of what occurred *atever on later events,

in 194.0, this

but is nevertheless

of the fact played

Norway as well

as the Balkans had at an early deliberations

stage already powera.

in the strategical

of the belligerent

For the German command, to become involved only be most undesireable Bu the basic for the following principle

in a Balkan campaign could reasons: that the bulk of the forces it should be avoided un-

strategical

should be concentrated necessarily provided to split warning

at the decisive up forces

point,

on subsidiary this.

fronts.

The war 191418

examples for

Eventa in Africa military efficiency

and AlbGhad

dissipated ally.

al.1 confidence

in the , that she also up

of our Itslisn

It was to be foreseen the Balkans

would not alone need German help in conquering in holding there them, hence, that German troops

but rather tied

would be permanently

which could be far

better

used elsewhere.

bnd by the time the had already difficulties made itfor the

Albanian self felt.

War had come to its

end, this

disadvantage

The Allies

understood

how to increase

us # B-525 German Command by later tance movements that bably done with marry forces endeavoured despite vigorously developed supporting with materiels the resis-

-4-

later

in the Balkans.

This was pro-

the intention

of forcing

the German Command to use as The Germans, on the other on this subsidiary from there hand, front ever and,

as possible

in the Balkans.

to manage with

a minimum of forcea

the increasing

resistance for other

movements, to release fronts. disadvantages for

more end more divisions Tbia gave rise

to serious

the German command. thrift was observed, hand

On

the one hand the Balkans, detracted certain forces

even though the strictest from more important in ever increasing fronts.

On the other

the Command in the Balkans to fulfill its assigned these

measure had too few troops

missions. could not be perceived in their full

Although

circumstances

scope at the beginning anticipated
-

of the Balkan Campaign in 1941, it

was nevertheless in-its

that

a commitment in these territories of an additional against

must bring front.

train

all

the disadvantages

subsidiary

If approaching at the time this up force8

operations

Russia must be taken into of having

account to split

csmpaign commenced, the disadvantage worse effects. German, forces that

must have still Army s&

In view of the known strength could possibly be made avail-

of the~Ruasi.sn

able must be concentrated. Tbe Hitler that out, Directive “Merita” No. 20 of 13.12.40 (Offensive against therefore also determined

once operation all troops

Greece) had been carried for new commitment. against Russia,

employed there

were to be withdrawn for

Hence, aa these troops

were necessary

any operation

it

resulted

that

comencament

of any operation duration this

in the East had to be of the Balkan Campaign.

postponed

according

to the uncertain Eastern winter

In view of the Early detrimental. delayed In fact

must needs be particularly

the opening

of the campaign in Russia was actually The winter this loss campaign 1941of time had

6 - 8 weeks by events

in the Balkans. course if

1942 would perhaps have taken another not occurred In spite driven at the outset of all

of the offensive. disadvantages the German Command was

these obvious

by events The failure

to take part

in the Balkan Campaign. by Italy not slone in Africa without but also and

of the war action

in the Albanian without

Campaign - which was undertaken

the knowledge crisis

the consent

of the German Command, led to a serious to overcome. collapse Rather, this crisis

which

the Italians

were unable

also brought

on the danger of a complete However, for political,

of the Italian

Armed Forces. this had to be averted. had forced Greece

military

and moral reasons on Albany,

firthermore,

as, by her attack

Italy

to give up her neutrality, the English.

the door to the Balkans had been opened for establishment of an English air-base in

But the possible a serious

Greece constituted

menace to the Rumanian oil German forces.

territories. (For furalready

This menace could only be removed by using ther particulars

see my study on the NCempaign in Greece",

submitted). The Yugoslav Belgrade declared nation its having in the coup de etat to fight, the necessity of 27 Mar 41 at arose for the aimed

intention

German Command to extend its solely at occupying

plan of operation,

which originally Basin

the Aegean north

coast and the Saloniki

(3itler

Directive attack

X0. 20 of 13 i)ec 40). on Yugoslavia (I-iitler

T!nis plan was newI extended Directive joining

to

a concentric

Ko. 2J? of 271 Uar 41). the war not alone by strategic against and the gave outthe

This became necessary rise to the danger that but rather

because Yugoslavia’s the Italian front

be destroyed

flanking

alao'made

the planned

German operation to the flanks

Aegean coast impossible rear.

because of the threat

!&us the use of German forces able in the sense of the conduct brought inferior about. military This development qualities

against

Greece and Yugoslavia,

undesir-

of the war on the whole,

waa compulsorily of

illustrates about,

the grave dangers an ally especially when such ally, risky actions. to a

can bring

overestimating Such an ally direotion

his own powers inclines forces the stronger ally

to be independent perpetually

to divert

forces This

which is unimportant became evident

in regard

to deciding

the war.

disadvantage the Balkans.

both in the conduct

of the war in Africa

and in

The causes which led up to the opening have proved that it had purely a footing defensive in a region Judging that this it

of the campaign in the Balkans namely prevent-

aims in view,

ing an enemy gaining our own conduct the presumption

where he would have endangered situation alone

of the war. might arise whether

by the geographical was intended
Africa,

to make an offensive
against the

use of the Balkans,

be against

Suez

Canal or to gain control Such strategical practicable

of the Mediterranean. use of the Balkens forces could, however, never become

as the necessary

could never have been made available

either

on lend or at seaThe Balkan Campaign can also not be viewed as en intended "strate-

gicel

feint

against

the Suez Canal to cover up Hitler's In weighing the opposing forces

real

plan the could to

the invasion costs

of Russia."

neither

and the use of the necessary

forces

nor the risk while. It

involved

have made such an enterprise judge a feint from the Germsn side, attack

seem worth

is impossible

however,

whether
brought

the secondary about.

success of

was unintentionally

I&s # &525 Operations by the 2. Army

-8-

Concentration The concentration disadvantages of the 2. Army showed all improvisation. up to then, the marks and the in

of an over-hasty situation

This was because, neither practical Yugoslavia.

view of the political retical events preparations

nor theeThe

had been made for war against instantaneously

of 27 Mar changed the position about Hitler directed Directive solely

and on the same

day brought eration,

No. 25, by which the plans of opagainst Greece, had to be extended. Frhr. attack von Weichs from the in

hitherto Accordingly

the 2. Army under Generslfeldmarschell up for the intended with

was to be newly formed and brought region Styria, of Graz. conaistiig

This army was to concentrate of: Mountain Division

the main forces

the XVIII

Corps (GenKueUer) and the Border with

with 1. Mountain

Troops. the 132. Div, the 101.

the LX. Corps (Gen. Reinhard) and the 183. Div. Ihe "General Further concentration van Driesen"

Corps, which did not arrive regions with

in time.

in the Western Hungarian

the XXXXVI. Arm. Corps (Gen. V. Vietinghoff) Div., Hence the opinion concentrated expressed the 14th Arm Div. in the "Study" that

the 8. Arm.

and the 26. met. Div. the ensire 2. Army was

in Western Hungary is erroneous.

Iifs # B-525 Simultaneously near Sofia (described the Timisul in Bulgaria Arm. Group 1 (Gen. Oberst v. Kleiat)

-9.

was concentrated

and the XXXXI. Arm. Corps (General Reinhard) Corps" in the Study) with - was concentrated the 2. Army. At first in these

as the Yimisul Valley for later

cooperation

two groups were under the immediate concentrating crossed AOK 2. in Bulgaria against

commandof the AOK 12 which was
Greece. that It was only after they had

the border

a few days later

they came under command of

The main body of the XXXXVLArm. crosscountry the three ticularly parent, marching,

Corps reached Western Hungary by On the other by rail. hand

only the tanks being railed. traveled

corps to be assembled in Styria the difficulties as the divisions

Here parbecame ap-

of the improvised had to be brought

concentration in over great

distances,

some

from the middle

of the Reich and some from France.

Thus, for of Dijon.

instance, The developed. No.

the 8. Arm Biv of the Arm. Corps came from the region railway Although system in the region transport was ordered of concentration ismediately

was only slightly after issue

of Directive

2!i and began at once, the concentration ever, contrary to the wishes

took some time,

which was, howthe speediest sucof

of the Command to obtain that

cess possible. the troops 6. Apr.

It was to be anticipated for could arrive

only a minor fraction

provided

in the concentration

area by the

and not more than half commitment sooner.

by the 10 Apr.,

Only the Arm. Corps could

be ready for

And actually

only 3 Divisions

of the Graz Group went into (18. Mountain Corps).

action,

these being one of the Corps Kuebler

two of the

MS if B-53 Corps Reinhard (II. Corps) while the Corps Rrieaen was not used at all.

-lo-

The divisions

which were not required

any longer

because of the rapid part of the trans-

course events had taken were transported ports by rail being diverted en route.

away again,

The Commander in Chief personally took control

of the Army, Field

Marshall

von Rrauchitsch to

of the operations,

moving his headquarters

Wienerneustadt. . was being

Thus, similarly against

as in the case of the 12th Army which Greece, the appointment of an Amy Group

concentrated

Command was not considered

necessary.

MS # B-525 The In order lease troops
AIWY'S

-11. Akisaion and Plan of Operation advantage of the time gained and also to reSupreme Command demanded a sPeedy of the offensive. the mission direction of adto Bel-

to take full

as speedily

as possible, possible attack

success,

hence earliest

launching planned

In the concentric vancing from the region

on Yugoslavia

around Graz in southeasterly the Arm. Group van Kleist, as well as the Timiaul off

grade end from there tacking

joining

which was atfrom

from South to North

Corps advancing

Rumenia (both

of the 12. Army), an annihilating

cutting

the Yugoslav upon it, fell

Army from its to the 2. Army. of of

base and inflicting

defeat

In terms of directive all effort sufficient absolutely early to attack in the general

from higher direction

quarters

the 2. Army was first with main point terrain. as would be

toward Belgrade mountainous

on the left troops

and avoiding

the westerly

OnJ-Y

were to be used against for forces. using flank coverage.

the mountains

necessary

Zagreb was to be occupied

by motorized

Ihe 2. Army intended Vietirxheff crossing

one Arm. Division

of the Arm. Corps Zagreb after

(XXXXVI) coming from Western Hungary to attack the Drave, whilst

the main body of the corps was to advance

toward Belgrade

between the Drave end the Save. (LI.) was first to advance toward to support that Zagreb after of the

The Corps Reinhard forcing the Drave crossing

and if there.

necessary It

the units

Corps Vietingheff

committed

was intended

the concentrated

LI Corps was then to follow Wfhilat CorPa'Ruebler

the Arm. Corps to Belgrade. (BBountain Corps) was to cover the right flank

MS #B-525 against

4 Corns Brieaen was to advance as army reserve.

-129

the mountains, for

The date ordered Apr., for

commencement of the offensive Though concerted also for tactical

by the 12. Army was 6. opening reasons, of the attack it was not

the 2. Army 10. Apr.

would have been more desirable possible 2.
AIVl,Y*

on account

of the long-drawn-out that

concentrating army could

movements of the, units

Thus even on the 10. Apr. for attack

only have certain

in readiness

but was not to await

completion with that

of concentration. the beginning the two frontier for demolition, water of time. conditions ThereOf

As the Germen intentions the attack bridges

must needs become evident was to be expected

by the 12. Army it

over the Eurr and the Drave, day.

which were prepared

would be blown up on that the erection fore of bridges

In view of the difficult loss

must lead to considerable to take the &UT bridges there

the 2. Army decided

at Hlurreck and Radkersas on the Drave at to the southeast of

burg on 6. Apr and to form bridgeheads Bares from Hungarian Straas end north territory.

as well

Commanding heights (Oberdrauburg)

of Dravegrad

were also to be taken. operations Cooperation with with
.

lbe 2. Army further the 2. Italian the Italiana Higher %is

had orders

to agree upon mutual of Fiume.

Army concentrated was particularly

in the region difficult

because of there rather, to rely warfare!

being no mutual

Commend, both armies having, is a typical disadvantage

on agreements. '&at this circumthat reais-

of coalition

stance had no serious

consequences

was due solely

to the fact

tance by the enemy proved weak. General attack Ambroaio, the Italian with Apr. Commander in Chief of the general was to follow was called offensive upon to by the

simultaneously

the launching His attack

German Army on the le.

a southeasterly

LS ; j3-525 direction. He replied however, supply that such an attack the Italian side. would be too risky Army had, and as By reports Yugoslav the truth of the It given in

-139

view of the too small there were 13 Yugoslav

of ammunition

divisions there figure

on the other

German Intelligence was later found that

Service this

were only 2 l/2 was much nearer

divisions. than that

by the Italians. Furthermore reported that the German liaison Chief staff with the Italian General that Army Command Staff, at pre-

General Resta,

of the Italian had declared

sent in Army Headquarters sent to the intentions German Army should with inflict main point

on a visit,

he did not conthat the direction himself, to

of the German operations. from the Graz region at the left in order,

He desired in southwesterly

attack

of effort

as he expressed front.

"a Cannae" upon the enemy before with

the Italian

This idea was was, not to to beat the

not in accordance destroy

the German intentions. forces, but, with

The object force

minor Yugoslav

concentrated

main body of the After willing

enemy army. negotiations i.e. General Ambrosia declared to feign an attack that he was

repeated

to exert

"pressure",

erid ultimately

issued his army order: lapsed before the front

"The Army will

attack

when the enemy has col-

of the German troops.1J

-149 Enemy Position It was known that among some parts situation peoples very little and Terrain enthusiasm for fighting would be found

of the enemy army, which was due to the innerpolitical with state, dissatisfaction rife amongst the various Furthermore,

in Yugoslavia comprising that

namely smongst the Creates. equipped with

the Yugoslav The Serbian

army was only insufficiently was known from the first soldier. to the point extent,

modern weapons. as a courageous,

TPiorld War however, The leadership of cruelty.

tough and well-disciplined determined army could, The Yugoslav fare. and ruthless to a great

was known to be The weak points terrain. warof the of the

be balanced

by the favorable

was regarded

particularly

as.8 past-master division included

at mountain in the ranks

There was only one mountain

2. Army whilst conditions.

the main body of the troops

were unaccustomed

to mountain

At the outset

of the offensive

very little

was known to the Germsn 2. was protected crossings. for blasting The by by

Army about preparations outposts bridges

made by the enemy. , particularly

The frontier at river

and some fortifications across

the Mu-r and the Drave had been prepared at points on the frontier. troop kew recruitments

the Yugoslavs

were reported

from the interior. marches did little concentration vicinity reported

Certain to clear

movements by rail

and in cross-country intentions. !L%e

up the picture forces

of Yugoslav

of fairly

strong

was expected,

not in the immediate Drave. frontier It was as well

of the frontier that isolated

but rather

behind the protecting

enemy groups were on the Hungarian of the Danube.

as eastwards

and northwards

Thus, generally attacks began. The difficulties widespread ous country, operations

speaking,

the position

was unclear

when the German

presented are known.

by the Yugoslav Little

region

to the conduct wild,

of

developed,

in parts population difficult

mountain-

poor communication

system and spsrse

make the command, and, in that three at major

the movements and the supply parts, even altogether of fighting

of big numbers of troops Added to this attack,

impossible.

came the fact had to
overcome

the outset rivers, hi&

the army, in its

the I&UT, the Drave and the Save. water the rivers had swollen to tearing reaches

On account torrents.

of the springtime Thus for instance, as the

the Drave at Bares and the lower broad as the Rhine at Dusseldorf. gaining of undestroyed bridges.

of the Save were at least factor was therefore

A decisive

On the other hand the terrain
was favorable,

between flat

the Drave and the Save toward Belgrade end intersticed motorized units. with usable reads,

being generally advance by

thus allowing

of rapid

-16Execution The Corps Reinhard ing at the capture three batteries, had at its of the Operations. disposal for the initial attack battalions aimand coming

of the bridgeheads (6.Apr.) while

on 6. Apr only four

the main body of the corps was still

forward. forces. After

Corps Vietingheff,

on the other

hand, was able to employ stronger

slight

fighting

the attack

succeeded.

All

bridges

fell

into

German hands undemaged, with sector railway against suitable of Corps Vietingheff, bridge slight north

the exception these having

of the Uurr crossings been destroyed

in the The

beforehand.

of the mouth of the Murr and Drave was also taken Although practically undamaged it was not narrow

resistance.

for road traffic.

In view of the weak forces and Radkersburg at Spielfeld,

available,

bridgeheads

were formed at Murreck

on the Uurr and at
south of Strass,

Bares on the Drave. which was occupied

A commanding height

by the enemy, was taken. taken was comparatively value was low. at Graz. faced with the question high, Also, which allowed had

The nur;lber of prisoners the assumption already landed After whether it this that their

fighting

deserters

from planes

at the airfield

easy success the Command found itself to push forward possibly

would be advisable might

in the direction

of Mariber As short

where the Drave bridges range reconnaissance troops, our troops

also be tsken undamaged. area to be free the advance.

also felt

showed the outpost

of 4.1 enemy

the urge to continue

However, Higher intentions.

Command did not make any such alteration

to the original

MS # B-5s In view of the uncertain Yugoslav forces situation, a concentration of considerable

-1p

south of the Drave was to be expected. at that juncture available such a circumstance could not be acat Mariber, it

With the weak forces could have led to a set-back cepted.

for which responsibility destroying him doing as no fast further

Should the enemy intend to prevent

the Drave bridges

would be impossible being It continued

so even in the event of the advance units were available at the Murr. at

immediately, decided the arrival that

was therefore to await

advance should infantry before

be postponed

least wave.

of the three possible

divisions

of the first

Such arrival On the other

was scarcely

the 10. Apr.

hand the bridgeheads upon the arrival

which up to now had been kept narthereby, advancing opthe

row, were extended concentration. erations objective to capture for further

of new troops,

By 10. Apr.

concentration with units

had so far of good fighting

advanced that power.

could be continued was, after Zagreb, forcing

The next of Bdariber, to regroup of

the Drave crossings of Croatia

to both sides

the capital

and then (10. Apr.) with Belgrade units

advance toward

the southeast

as main point

effort.

At the same time advance motorized possible

between the Drave end and to set up

the Save were if communication advancing with

to gain ground toward Belgrade

the Armored Group Kleist

of the 12. Army, which group was

from the South. end COIQS Vietindeff was to advance on- Belgrade one division. with two -

To this divisions, Rogatec,

but to wheel around on Zagreb with Corus Reinhard whilst, with with its its right left division

Via Mariber

was to gain the area to it tlrias to cross the River of Zagreb. Drave

the northwest at pettau

division,

and Steinburg

to reach the area to the northeast

r+ls # B-525 Corns Kuebler (1. Mountain was to advance via Drauburg,Division) available as yet, Zilly to protect with the only division flank.

-18-

the right

Move-

ments went forward of bridges,

according

to plan though they were hampered by destruction

roads and railroads. of the Save bridges Creates. resistance part at Zagreb, The further on the other the divisions hand, had pierced

The destruction been prevented into Croatian

by the rebelling territory, for the less

they found. simply

The Yugoslav dispersed or

troops, deserted

consisting

the greater

of Croates,

to our lines. also had practically task assigned was carried rain, to this no intelligence on the

Armored Corps Vietinghoff enemy at the outset. bridge at Bares. The first

corps was to take the successfully at the bridge and the rear by in

This mission during

out by surprise stationed

the evening

on 7. Apr.,

the garrison attack pontons,

being taken by surprise pioneers who crossed &ich with

in a double pneumatin

from the front before

they were able to carry

out the blasting

had been prepared. (Kuehn) was the first to cross the frontier

The 14. Armored Division river

and on 10. Apr. was set advancing The left column first to force pressed

on Zagreb in two columns: southward toward the main

from Virovitica

occupied

heights

a passage by the main road for

the following

body of the division. as cover for the left

Then it flank.

was to gain Zagreb on the road via Daruvar

me right, Virovitica just

main Column advanced toward - Bjelovti. Little

Zagreb along the railroad was encountered, However,

via but it was

- Klostar

resistance

as everywhere

else bad or destroyed

roads were found.

HS ii' B-525 possible to make up a train on which about one batallion in Zagreb with was trucked. in the evenOther parts

-199

The Divisional ing of 10. April, the division been delayed

Comiqader arrived

these troops

welcomed by the population

as liberator.

of

and the other by localized

column only reached engagements.

Zagreb the next day having

The surroundings sccureLi. ily On account

of the town were mopped up and the Save Bridges of comrunication difficulties the division had temporer-

to be placed In respect 8.Armored

under the direct

control

of the Army. Corps Vietinghoff had ordered: via then

of the advance on Belgrade Division immediately follows

the 14. Armored Division

Bares the main body advancing

to Vukovar by the road south of the Drave, via Mitrovica to Belgrade, where

south of the F'ruska-Gora-Uountainrange connection will be taken up with

the XXXXS. Armored Corps (UTimisul

Corps")

and the Armored Group Kleist The 26. ilotorized bridge, Vinkovzi then advancing to Mitrovica.

(see page 20). follows for the 8, Armored Division the right flank over the

Division

as protection To the E&A, units.

via iu'asice over the Save

beyond Brod,

the bridges

to be taken by special

The 8. Armored Division following the 10. Apr.,

commenced crossing fighting

the bridge during

in the night the further its reconnais-

found very little afternoon Scoutin

advance and in the late space units. to Belgrade (12. IV.)

of 12. Apr reached units entered

Zamun with

Balgrade.

The Save bridges

had been blown up, day the 26. Motorized westward Division with its advanced units

On the 8-e pierced as far

as in the region

of Xitrovica.

KS # B-525
The Save bridges Mitrovica had been blown up, parts but it of a floating with bridge at

-200

had been removed, The middle into

could be repaired

resources

avail-

able to us.

section of the big bridge
the river,in such favorable supported

at Sabas had been blown position that an

up but had fallen emergency bridge Thus, whilst

could be built, Corps Vietinghoff

by the arch. the enemy capital from the and

approached

West, the XXX2CI Corps (Reinhardt)

had advanced from the northeast

Armored Group 1 (Kleist)
IheDeutschland" Bukharest division, take part

from the South.
consisted of: Infantry Regt @'GrossBrigade from

Corps (Reinhardt) SS-Division and other

"Das Reich",

the Armoured Training

assignments.

Only parts

of the "Herman Gooring" in time, and it did not

which had also been assigned, in the advance. instructions of that read, town.

arrived

The Corps' 2nd t&e

to advance on Belgrade

by shortest

route

possession

The thrust "Grossdeutschland" Alibunew.

was made in two attack advanced on the left of it

groups*

The reinforced

regiment

along and astride
"Da8 Reich" to southwest,

the road to was set advancalso toward

To the right

the SS-Division from northeast

ing in the general direction Alibunew. The directive which reached there on for held

good for both attack was assigned

groups that

the attack

group from

Alibunew its further

first

the road Pancevo - Belgrade

advance. groups,

This directive

set up keen competition to reach the as at all

between the two attack mediate, possible important,

urging Alibunew

them to make every effort and then as speedily

objective,

to gain the good road.

MS # B-525
Even.the place assembly on Rumanian territory bad weather was carried in its and on miserable out road conditions sector weather along the frontier roads.

-219 had taken

A

in extremely

In the territoiy The SS-

where the attack Division

were yet worse. that

"Da8 Reich"

found no roads at all and eventually

were usable

for motor traffic roads in the sector in parts sector could

in rainy

had to also make use of the But even these roads In the SS-Division's

of the regiment be traversed

"Grossdeutschland". by motor vehicles.

scarcely

the whole terrain

was so marshy end wet (it for rice

was said to have been that whole units barefooted were

artificially

kept wet by irrigation in no other shoulders.

growing)

able to help themselves their boots over their

way than by marching Enemy resistance trench

with end only in-

was very slight

worth mentioning vasion Alibunew region

at the anti-tank

which was found in the entire from the frontier.

at a depth of between 1 and 2 kilometers on the first there. day of the offensive, This regiment

was reached

the Regiment Gross-

deutschland
by the major

being the first road, whilst roads. area,

now also had the advance in drier country the

the SS-Division MO halt, rather, delay,

kept to the right a night's rest

now with troops

some fair

far less

was allowed

in the Alibunew objective

the demand was made, to take the next i.e. the Temis bridge, which was to be and

intermediate

without

taken undamaged.

Pencevo was soon reached that followed

by the Armoured Battalion with units on all

the Rei;irrent Grossdeutschland, vehicles. flood-waters The big Tamis bridge to a breadth

manner of
swollen by

had been destroyed, forming

the river a barricade

of 120-150 meters, means*

that

could

not be overcome with

available

MS # B-5S
The Regiment Grossdeutschland ciding a series lost valuable time through not de-

-220

soon enough to cross by improvised of misunderstandings until it

means and was also held up by

was once again set on the advance

by measures taken by the Corps. In the meanwhile River it the SS-Division hesitation "Das Reich" had also reached the

Tsmis and had without with some of its

though under difficulties units. A strong

crossed scouting boats the river

at least

reconnaissance Belgrade

force

advanced farther

toward

and found Serbian

assault crossed

on the northern banks of the Danube. They immediately
and entered scouting the city Belgrade. The first the personnel

act of the commander of the of the German EMassy, He then proceeded scouting troop who with

troop

was to relieve

were under pressure the released

of confinement, Attache

(13. Aprl).
and his surrendered

German Military

to the Chief by that ofReg-

Mayor and had the city ficial. The following

of Belgrade morning landed

to himself

the first

battalion

of the Infantry coming from

iment wGrossdeutschlsndw Pancevo. only officer Lives lost

in Belgrade

from ships

by the XXXXI Armored Corps were very few. was the victim

The

killed

of murder commited by sn inhabitant

who shot him from ambush. After a few days the XXXXI. Armored Corps was withdrawn away, taking no further part from the

front and transported
Yugoslavia. Operations

in the campaign in

by Armored Group 1 (van Kleist) connected described. with

advancing

on Belgrade

from the South were closely XXXXI. Armored Corps just

the engagements of the

XS # B-525 This Group consisted red Division, Mountain of the XI. and XIQ. Corus with the 11. Armo4. to

-23-

the 60. Motorized

Division,

5. Armored Division, but only found it

Division

and the 198. Division

necessary After slight

employ parts fighting

of these forces

to break enemy resistance. Sofia

along the main road advanced by, i.e. occupied the city

- OIisch - Kragujewac, of Belgrade after

the Group on 13. Apr. this had repeatedly

snd the fort

been attacked

from the air.

Following

the capture of the AOK 2 the units depth along

of the capital similarly

the entire

group was placed

under control

to the XXXXI. Corps.

'&en the AOK assumed control distributed in great

composing the Armored Group were still rand to both sides e-1 S&grade kilometers originally &th of the advance route.

Thus General

CommandXIV was being 100

the 11. Armored Division, whilst

the 60. tdot. Div.

to the rear, been inserted

the 5. Armored Division,

:vhich had had pivoted out to

between these two divisions and to the rear and-the

the south at Nisch. with the 4. kjountain Upon arrival

Sidewards Division

followed

Gen. Corn. XI

198.

Division.

at Zagreb on 13. Apr. Army High Command of the 2. position: with one division west of Belgrade. The capital in

Army found the followixx Corps Qietinghoff possession

of Armored Group 1 and the X,XXXI. Corps. with the infantry of Corps Reinhard had reached

The 14. Armored Diviin Zagreb. This advance

sion had united corps as well units

as Corps Kuebler crossed it.

the Save and their

had already The 2. Italian

Army had now also started encounterin

its

attack

from Fiume and along the

rapidly coast

advanced without of the Adriatic

g any appreciable occupying

resistance

Sea in Dalmatia,

Laibach,

LE # B-525 No considerable statements be expected the Croatian enemy forces were found south of the Save. resistance By the was to had joined

-24-

of the Croatian6 in Croatia, State

in Zagreb no appreciable

Dalmatia

or Bosnia as these provinces becoming close allies

and intended

of Germany. conclusions: of effort that the

From this ori.$.tML the left

position

the 2. Army drew the following namely, advance with

plan of operation directed

main point

on

at Belgrade,

was based on the assumption battle defending

the Yugoslav As Bel-

army would make a stand in a decisive grade was however-now withdrawn Belgrade, with this already

the capital.

in German hands and the enemy had apparently to the mountainous country southwest of

his main forces plan of operation

had become superfluous. concentrated

'Ihe main object
stroke,

must now be, not to keep all but rather to comb the country

forces

for a decisive with individual

on a broad front

battle

groups in order dispersed to pacify

to smoke out the enemy resistance and thus as speedily

centres,

to disarm as possible

enemy forces

and thoroughly

the whole land. reason Corns Vie-t&&off deployed the 8. Armored Division

For this (Brandenberger) Division Division

via Sabac to Vsljevo from kiitrovica

- Uzice and the 26. Motorized while the 14. Armored Deployment of

(Henrici)
(Kuehn)

to Zwornic

was set on the march toward essentially

Serajevo.

the Divisions The right detachments Division retained

took place division

along the mountain was ordered division

roads available. to Banjaluka with

of Corps Reinhard and Bihac, the left

to Karlovac

followed

Armored was

Kuehn via Sisaak toward at Zagreb.

SersJevo whilst

the 101. Division

After Qietinghoff the direction

a short,

fierce

battle

the 26. gotorized

Division

of Corps way in down

took the bridge of Serajevo.

at Zvornik In part

an J then continued

on its laying

the enemy now, after groups to surrender.

arms) marched in alone in regimental of prisoners Division was so great that

The number

a count was impossible. was held up at the Save bridge up the bridge was taking at Sabac

Brendenberger

and the enemy succeeded in blowing distance possible, ignition however, whilst

by means of long place. Repair was

the crossing

in 16 to 1.8 hours.
developed anew at Qsljevo a night and Uzice. attack. At the latter A Yugoslav tanks of Army

Heavy fighting place Staff

the German troops was captured.

had to tPard off

In the further pierced with to as far

course of developments as Dubrovnic forces, with (Ragusa), other units

Corps Qietinghoff established Serajevo

where they reaching

connection via Qisegrad

the Italian

where they united arrived

units

of Armored Division

Kuehn wfiich had in the meanwhile The divisions and Serajevo whole distance desired to fight. During with all

there. their objectives, Benjsluka the

of Corps Reinhard to plan.

reached

according

That the infantry is proof

was able to travei the enemy

from Zagreb to Sisac

of how little

these movements differences which took their rise

of opinion

repeatedly

arose

the Italians,

rather

from political the Italian

than from army

military

considerations. a certain

In terms of the agreement, stretch In order along the coast to obtain

had been ?ssigned as its

of the Adriatic influence

zone of operations. State

an increased

on the Croatian

then being

formed,

the Italian

army demanded that

I&3 # B-J55 its line of demarkation be extended to the East, thus claiming an exten-

-26.

sion of its
OGCUPY

zone of operation. being anxious

Thus the Italians to advance their

also demanded that zone of occupation

they to as

Karlovac,

close to Zagreb as possible. Italian demands, Karlovac Without consulting that

As the Supreme German Command acceded to the was evacuated by the German forces. with

the German Army High Command the Hungarians, purpose, north had taken possession of the BatschkaIt

n Corps formed for the Yugoslav is said that Before territory intense

of the i)anube and west of the Iheiss. took place here. 12. Army in southern Yugoslavia territory

fighting

tl?e pressure

of the advancing

Yugoslavia of of

and Greece as well the Yugoslav Belgrade, (lT.IQ.)

as the 2. Army in Northern

the remnants southwest

army had withdrawn

to the mountainous and Bosna.

approximately therefore

between Drina

Army High Command a concentrated Karst attack

ordered

the 2. Army to undertake to drive him into

against this
mountains effect, delegates

enemy in order

the inhospitable

of Bosnia and Dalmatia. however,

This operation

did not come into
Army

as, on 15. Apr. already flag offered

the Yugoslav to accept

Command by

under the white

an armistice.

W #

B-525

-270 The ArmMice

On 15 Apr. the Commsnderin Chief of the 2 Amy was ordered to Belgrade, there to conclude an armistice. arrived there with instructions to treat On 16 Apr. Yugoalav General Body However, was handed

to ask for the Cermn terms. or to sign. A draft of the treaty

he had no authority

him with the request to immediately hav8 authorized grade in order to avoid furthsr was placed at his disposal. bloodshed.

persons sent to Bel-

For this purpose an airplane "I sm an old man and sacrifice for

General Body declar%dr

hav8 never JTet flown, but I am willing my Fatherland!" A striking 4mistic8 (17 .IV.) the Italian liaison

to bring also this

instance of the backwardness of the Yugoslav Amy!

The

was concluded on 17 April.

It was signed on the German side by

by th8Cozzzander in Chief of the 2. Axmy, on behalf of Italy Military Attache in Belgrade. Hungary was repremnted
the

by a

officer,

who, however, refused to sign

treaty

giving as his

reason that "Hungary was not at war with Yugoslavia". Coverment had sent foraaer F'omign Minister

The Yugoslav

Markovic and a general.

Ifmm the Yugoslav side the suggestion was lgade that the gotrernmnt b8 left
don8

a restricted

territory

with a snall amy sixuilarly

as had been

with FranC8 in 1940. ~neonditional

This suggestion had to be refused by the Geman was demanded.

side.

capitulation

Th8 Treaty therefore war material

demnded the surrender of all weapons and other The entire
p8rSOIUl8l

on land, sea and in the air.

XTBS be to

treated as prisoners--of--war. be required for the administration

Th8 discharger of such persons as might and care of the country was reserved

for later

regulation. dispersing

The death sentence was threatened for troops in order to independently carry on with resisIsmediately after

, independently tance. (l8.IV.)

The Treaty took effect

on 18. Apr.

signing of the Amistice for service elseuhore, were later untrained,

the main body of the German troops was removed the motorized units being the first security-divisions, to go. They

replaced in part by so-called inadequately

practically value.

equipped troops of very little

fighting

High Cosmahdof the 2. Amy also left

the Balkans a few weeks later. for the

For these reasons only inadequate personnel were available Araistice conmis oions which had to be formed.

Thus, disarming and disand incomplete. This

banding of the Yugoslav Amy was only superficial laid the foundation awhile. RemaTks for the resistance

novsments which developed after

Though the weaknesses of the Yugoslav Amy were in part lmcmn to German quarters, was over within been put up. The reasons for this unexpectedly to be as followsr results rapid and smooth development seem it nevertheless csm as a surprise any considerable that the cmpaign resistance having

twelve days without

Ths Yugoslav Government had to take into account the insurrection of 27. Mar. As, at that juncture the'

of the Sigovit

mass of the German Anay was hot bound down to any other sphere of war and further, in view of the presence of strong Ceman forces in Bulgaria, was to be expected. Going by the experiences

an early Geman offensive

gained in the 1939 and 1940 campaigns a Ceman attempt was to be expected

-

MS # B-525 to gain early success by concentrating The task of resisting material the Luftwaffe

-29-

and motorized units.

an enemy so vastly

superior in numbers and in Nevertheless one could to render which must could make this

could scarcely be accomplished for long.

hope by fighting effective

to gain enough time to enable the Allies The mountainous parts of the country,

support.

needs make the use of the modern German weapons difficult, task easier. The Yugoslav Army Command therefore Evidence of such lines

had to prepare a thorough of thought being entertained the front of the

defense of the country.

is found in the many preparations 2. Awy, furthermore which were, admittedly, preparations not carried

for destruction'before

the permanent garrisoning not very strong.

of the front

fortifications field, however,

In the-operational Mobilization

seem to have been inadequate. out and completed in time.

and assembly were essential to con-

It was absolutely

centrate the troops according to the main objectives

in view, in order to be able to operate

be strong at the decisive points so as, if necessary,-to on the inner line. Instead of that the Yugoslavs scattered long frontier resistance. their

units along the whole

and consequently were too weak all over to put up any serious The old principle2 make everything safe, makes nothing save," has gained

"He who wxld new significance

in the age of modern, mobile warfare. for the Higher Command was the fact

Brat made things more difficult

that in the air attack on Belgrade all means of conznunication had been destroyed and the controlling organs forced to retreat hurriedly.

W # B-525 Equally decisive any will to fight as these failings

-3% in %he commsndwas the lack of

in considerable

parts of the Yugoslav troops, which

becsme particularly

evident on the 2. Army front. informed on innerpolitical political circumstances tensions was moveaent neverthe-

The German Commandwasill in Yugoslavia.

Though the existence of certain

known, the quick success of the Croatian revolutionary less came as a surprise.
Fran

statements by prisoners

taken it could be gathered that even

higher Yugoslav officers poses underlying How little episode, reiorted

had no understandiag for the meaning and pur-

this war. will to fight there was, is proved by the following little Unitt

by the Commanderof a German Motorized Infantry

Whilst on the march from Rungary in the direction surprised a Yugoslav unit in its garrison, been completed. of these troops. party continued, An-

of Zagreb his regiment had not yet

where mobilization

party was just taking place in the barracks of cspitulation the evening

After a hasty negotiation both parties

now taking part in it. now led the German side to underrate That they wre mistatin in

The scanty power of resistance the fighting

vslue of the Balkan peoples.

this respect was,revealed in the course of the ensuing years. 'slavsl will to -fight, which had failed

The Jugo-

in the 19I+l campaign, was awakened

in the resistance Their tenacity

movepaentsthan following! in mountain warfare and guerilla warfare, so well of

known since 1914/183 and which has become a habit and the main strength more and far greater difficulties these peoples, caused the German Command

MS #B-525
.

-31years of the wsr than had been the case in the 194.l

in the following campaign.

Experience in cooperation between Air Force and Axmy. The Yugoslav campaign held no new aspects for the ground forces, especially as there was no really equal enemy. It is not necessary to Units were kept sectors and swamped

stress that Engineer Troops and the Bridge-Building particularly territories. busy on account of the nmerous river

In respect of the use of Armor the same as has been said about the subjec,t in the report on #The Csmpaign against Greece" applies, far lesser degree. though in

Undoubtedly the speed of the German motorized units about the speedy collapse of the Serbs decision to make an early offer to capitulate.

played a great part in bringing and influencing them in their

The main point of issue in respect of the use of the Air Force also lay in the Greek war zone rather than in the Yugoslav. subject of,cooperation between the q However, as the r \

and the air force were only briefly experiences of

touched on in the aforesaid war in this

report about Greece, certain

sphere are herewith again more minutely Balkan csmpaign.

described as basically

valid for the entire

Fhcperience gained in the Spanish, Polish snd French campaigns in cooperation between Armored Units and tactical units of the air force .. could be tested in the Balkan campaign, could be confirmed and, with regard to the mountainous country, gained was the decisive completed. Here, a new realization communication being .

importance of uninterrupted

:*

MS # D-525 maintained between the rapidly units overhead. Visual signals ad. nireless port on the respective cooperation a) ,positicns

-32advancing Armored spearheads arrl the air

telegraphy were t&3 zsans chosen to reof the Armred Units. had to be made. To ensure smooth

exhaustive preparations

AIL units had to be supplied uniform msps, the mxvt suitable with coordinated report

being photomaps compiled from air-reconnaissance, and crder grids. b) , cal then developnt of a quickly functioning

arrl reliable

meteorologi-

service.

c)

distribution

of the Cosumanication Details,

with wireless

equipof a

mmt, amongst the divisiqls,

Ccfps arrd Armies, and the setting-up

system of radio beacons (Rx&stern) tioning d) wireless comnwnication.

for the forming of a reliably . funca

determination

of uniform wave-lengths for AraDred spearheads arri of situation corps. of uniform visualair signals. attack area. of bombing immsdiately reports to the units in the air and

air units for the relaying the canmandpostoftheair e) f) g) determination testflights familiarizing opy?lines. of all

by the units in the future

Armored units with the effegts

before their

The Scntrol

air units,

comprising one short range reconnais-

sance squadron, 4 - 6 dive-bomber groups, 1 to 2 bombar&nent groups, 4 to 5 fighter groups, lsy in the hands of the VIII. F'rhr. VQ~ Richthofen. Air Corps, CommxK&g General -

then Air-General

MS# P-525 This air corps bdbeen specially

-33formed to support the rapid advance as a

of the Armored units and had actor dingly been formed and trained short-range its.special of form&ions or tactical corps. The peculiarity

of this air corps lay in and in its having control

equiplpent with means of co-cation of close support airplanes.

'On principle -

the .cormand post_ was placed in the vicinity

of the Army

Corps committed to the main point of effort,

but chosen so that close con-

tact could also be nmintained with the other corps of the army and with the Army. north of t& In the Greece campaign for instance, Repel Pass and later the commsndpost was First

mar Vole in Thessalg. -

The concentration

area of the air units was brought up as close as distances, thereby speedi= up

possible in order to shorten the flight support for the army units. Ihe close reconnaissance ,-.

servbe was to make ccutinuous reports on the Fighter

enemy novemevxtsetc. ahead of our 011 Armored spearheads, including dropping of reports in the immediate vicinity plane units relisved each other in the air, of these spearheads.

thus forming constant covering lhe

for the advancing Armed use of
bomber

units as well as for the other air units.

units

at

the outset of onerations was directed

at objectives

agreed upon with the army and at timss coordinated with action by army units. Stich objectives tight be within or without artillery range (for

instance at the Rqel Pass). 1$ the further corps was at all without course of operations the Comnsnding Gmeral of the air at his Command Post sent by the

times kept informed on the situation

delay by mesns of the current wirelessed

reports

.-

_’

-..

MS # B-525 communication details his 011 initiative tach on particularly or by the Armred spearheads, so that,

-3& acting on at-

or according to the wishes of the army, further difficult objectives could be undertsksn.

By rnsans of the wireless

communication between the respective t&e latest position

armxed

wearhead ard the air unit 51 the air, ported shortly
/---

could be re-

before the releasing

of bombs so that erroneous bombings be averted A air

w the dropping of bambs within in spite of the fact further signals. Control of the airforce VIII.

our ownranks could ususlly

that the terrain

made clear sight difficult.

aid in averting

these mishaps was the use of the visual *

being in one hand (Commsnding General of the of the bombing attacks on msin

Air Corps) msde a concentration

points and the continuous support of such armored spearheads as designated by the army according to developments in the situation
,---

as being '

most urgent, possible

scattering

and consequent greatly

lessened effect

of the air attacks was thus eliminated. Experience gained in the &lksn obtain perfect coordination csmpaig~ taught the lessan that to

betwea? air and armred units in mountainous accustaned to cooperating with each

ccuntry it is best to use staffs

other and also of units accustomed to working together. Absolutely minute conformation of successful to the times ordered and agreed upon cooperation. as prac-

is the prerequisite

Mutual cannand of airforce . tioable.

and army have proved tbmselves

_’

-

Successful cooperation flexibility #at pertains particularly

between air \ and ahmred units calls for on the part of the Air Corrmand. This maxim, holds in far greater measure in the

for level country,

case of mountainous territory its rapidly

as evidenced by the BaLkan campaign with its terrain conditions so dif-

ehsnging weather situations,

ficult

of survey. of the air forces and their employment

The maxim of firm cmcentration at stratenicallrv urgently most imortsnt

point,

not necessarily

at a point most great measure

necessary in battle,

also held good in particularly

in the mountainous country of the Balkans.

-96.

szs=% # SN

000‘000’1

:I w’w

‘ww

-L6-

= # S525 The XXXXIX Wmtain Carp (Kueblsr) had under its commd, (Lam) oalg Frontier

-380 so far as Defense

I know, beside the 1. Mountain Mvision

Troops, who only followed a shert distsnce across the Drave after the attack. What becsm of them subsequently is not krxm to BW*

Signed:

Ianz.

9.

yay 1947

MS# B-525

-39-

8. a. 26. 183. Il..

Armured J&vision n II

: :

Brandenberger. Kuehn.

Motorized Mvision

: Henrici. : zberhardt

ArmcPedDivision

: Cruelrell. : : Hauser. V. Stockhausen.

SS-Reich Grossdeutachland

hB # D-525 Page 19, second last sentence: "Not scouting units" nrotorcycle ccmpaqy. Page 216, third sentence: should be

-lrD-

the bridge had already been blown up prior to the crossing - about 12. Apr - see p. 19, last sentence, by titne of renewed advance i.e.

19. Apr, it was already usable. -Page 25, third sentence: It was the motorcycle battalion Division of the 14. Armored

that advanced to Ragusa and not tanks. capture of Serajevo. the

This advance only took place 3 days after Fourth Sentence:

Corps Reinhardt only reached Serajevo long after provisional armistice treaty

concluded between me and

the Servisn High Command had come into force, Page 29 : Under the heading "E@erience or Reasons for the early Collapse" the speed of our mtorized with the slow Serbs, set forth contribution, units" as compared in my

more minutely

should, in my opinion,

also be mentioned, place, that led to

as it was this speed, in the first the offer of capitulation

of 15. Apr.

Signed:

v. VIETINGHOFF.