20 July 2018

0349 | Photo | SS-Freiwilligen-Gebirgs-Division "Prinz Eugen"



Operations "Axis" and "Gaiseric". The exhausted soldiers of the SS Division "Prinz Eugen" recount their traumatic experiences from the horrific, eight-day Partisan siege, to their rescuers from the 92nd Grenadier Regiment. On the early morning of 16 September 1943, the II Battalion of the 1st Regiment, "Prinz Eugen" Division, was sent from Sinj to Klis as a reinforcement to the regimental group that the Partisans held blocked in the Klis fortress, for several days already, preventing its planned advance towards Split. Halfway between Sinj and Klis, near the village of Dicmo, the battalion was intercepted by numerically superior Partisan forces, attacked from three sides and almost completely smashed in shortest time. (According to Axis data, the German column numbered about 600 men, while the Partisan forces numbered about 3000. However, the number of Partisans was probably exaggerated.) The surviving members of the battalion dug themselves in Sv. Jakov, a hamlet of Dicmo, from where they offered a bitter resistance for full eight days. Among them, there were the battalion commander, SS-Sturmbannführer Wilhelm Breimaier, and Croatian Minister Edo Bulat (with escort), who travelled to Split on business. Already on the second day of the siege, the German corps command wrote in its evening report: "The battalion has 300 bloody losses, and another 100 missing. The loss of the battalion is expected." The Partisans ruthlessly showered the SS men with gun and artillery fire, attacked them twice, unsuccessfully, while the division, also unsuccessfully, sent them reinforcements twice. The following detail from one of the Partisan reports speaks enough about the brutality of the fighting and mutual hatred: "The enemy are fighting bitterly, and there are many cases of soldiers cutting their own throats after realising they would fall into our hands." Finally, on the ninth day of the Partisan siege, the anguished SS men were rescued by a motorised group composed of the 92nd Grenadier Regiment and strong SS units led by the division commander. SS war correspondent Westermann, who followed the group, wrote in his report: "When we entered the village, it looked like every man of the besieged battalion was wounded." Among the wounded, there were both Breimaier and Bulat, who, together with other survivors, were then sent to recuperate back to Sinj. (The minister lost three men of his escort, among whom was the notorious friar and Poglavnik's personal chaplain, Dionizije Juričev.) Having relieved (the remnants of) the battalion in Dicmo, the German motorised group, together with the II battalion of the SS division's 2nd regiment, relieved the besieged group in Klis on the following day, and captured the city of Split two days later. (On the same day, in Sinj, Minister Bulat wrote the following to his government about German actions during these operations: "The German armed forces react to the horrific Partisan provocations by destroying buildings and killing innocent people, and persons proven to be on our side." In the same town, a month and a week later, SS-Sturmbannführer Breimaier ordered the execution of 25 civilians in retaliation for the murder of one of his soldiers.) 

Text © Ivan Ž.

Photographer: Westermann.
Date: 24 September 1943.
Location: Dicmo (Sinj), Yugoslavia.
Original caption: "We were besieged for five days. The first conversation with comrades of the Army, who relieved the besieged battalion together with units of the Waffen-SS. The SS mountain troopers dug themselves into the rocky ground right in front of the village, where they resisted the superior enemy for five days."

File source: Beeldbank WO2, 20723 / NIOD.

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Operacije "Osovina" i "Gajzerih". Iscrpljeni vojnici SS-divizije "Princ Eugen" prepričavaju svoja traumatična iskustva iz strašne, osmodnevne partizanske opsade, svojim spasiocima iz 92. grenadirskog puka. U rano jutro 16. septembra 1943. godine iz Sinja je prema Klisu upućen II bataljon 1. puka "Princ Eugen" divizije, kao pojačanje pukovskoj grupi koju su partizani već nekoliko dana držali pod blokadom u Kliškoj tvrđavi, sprečavajući njen planirani prodor ka Splitu. Na pola puta između Sinja i Klisa, kod sela Dicma, bataljon su presrele brojčano nadmoćnije partizanske snage, sa tri strane ga napale i u najkraćem roku skoro potpuno razbile. (Prema osovinskim podacima, nemačka kolona je brojala oko 600 ljudi, a partizanske snage oko 3000. Broj partizana je, međutim, verovatno preuveličan.) Preživeli pripadnici bataljona ukopali su se u Sv. Jakovu, zaseoku Dicma, odakle su ogorčeno pružali otpor punih osam dana. Među njima su bili i komandant bataljona, SS-šturmbanfirer Vilhelm Brajmajer, i hrvatski ministar Edo Bulat (sa pratnjom), koji je poslom putovao u Split. Već drugog dana opsade, komanda nemačkog korpusa je u svom večernjem izveštaju napisala: "Bataljon ima 300 krvavih gubitaka, i još 100 nestalih. Očekuje se gubitak bataljona." Partizani su esesovce nemilosrdno zasipali puščanom i artiljerijskom vatrom, dva puta bezuspešno napadali, dok im je divizija, takođe bezuspešno, dva puta slala pojačanje. O surovosti borbi i međusobnoj mržnji dovoljno govori sledeći detalj iz jednog od partizanskih izveštaja: "Neprijatelj se bori ogorčeno, tako da ima mnogo slučajeva da su se pojedini vojnici sami klali kad su uvidili da će pasti u naše ruke." Konačno, devetog dana partizanske opsade, izmrcvarenim esesovcima stigao je spas u vidu motorizovane grupe sačinjene od 92. grenadirskog puka i jakih SS-jedinica predvođenih komandantom divizije. Ratni dopisnik SS-a Vesterman, koji je pratio ovu grupu, zapisao je u svom izveštaju: "Kada smo ušli u selo, izgledalo je kao da je svaki pripadnik opkoljenog bataljona bio ranjen." Među ranjenima su bili i Brajmajer i Bulat, koji su potom, sa ostalim preživelima, poslati na oporavak natrag u Sinj. (Ministar je izgubio trojicu ljudi iz svoje pratnje, među kojima je bio i zloglasni fratar i poglavnikov lični kapelan, Dionizije Juričev.) Po oslobađanju (ostataka) bataljona u Dicmu, nemačka motorizovana grupa je, zajedno sa II bataljonom 2. puka SS-divizije, narednog dana oslobodila opkoljenu grupu u Klisu, i dva dana kasnije zauzela grad Split. (Istog dana, u Sinju, ministar Bulat je o nemačkim postupcima tokom ovih operacija svom predsedništvu vlade napisao sledeće: "Na užasna izazivanja partizana njemačke oružane snage reagiraju uništavanjem zgrada i ubijanjem pučanstva koje je nevino, i lica dokazano uz nas." U istom gradu, mesec i nedelju dana kasnije, SS-šturmbanfirer Brajmajer je naredio pogubljenje 25 civila u cilju odmazde za ubistvo jednog svog vojnika.) 

Tekst © Ivan Ž.

Fotograf: Vesterman.
Datum: 24. septembar 1943.
Mesto: Dicmo (Sinj), Jugoslavija.
Originalni natpis: "Pet dana smo bili opkoljeni. Prvi razgovor sa drugovima iz vojske, koji su opkoljeni bataljon oslobodili zajedno sa jedinicama SS-trupa. Brdski lovci SS-a ukopali su se na samom ulazu u selo u kamenjar, gde su pet dana odolevali nadmoćnom neprijatelju."

Izvor fajla: Beeldbank WO2, 20723 / NIOD.

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