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13th Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Handschar


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The 13th Waffen Mountain Division of the SS "Handschar" was a mountain infantry division of the Waffen-SS, an armed branch of the German Nazi Party that served alongside but was never formally part of the Wehrmacht during World War II. From March to December 1944, it fought a counter-insurgency campaign against communist-led Yugoslav Partisan resistance forces in the Independent State of Croatia, a fascist puppet state of Germany that encompassed almost all of modern-day Croatia, all of modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as parts of Serbia. It was given the title Handschar after a local fighting knife or sword carried by Ottoman policemen during the centuries that the region was part of the Ottoman Empire. It was the first non-Germanic Waffen-SS division, and its formation marked the expansion of the Waffen-SS into a multi-ethnic military force. Composed of Bosnian Muslims with some Catholic Croat soldiers and mostly German and Yugoslav Volksdeutsche officers and non-commissioned officers, it took an oath of allegiance to both Adolf Hitler and the Croatian leader Ante Pavelić.
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  • Background 

  • Origin 

  • Recruitment 

  • Composition 

  • Formation, training and mutiny 

  • Anti-Partisan operations March to May 1944 

  • Anti-Partisan operations, June–August 1944 

  • Last battles against the Partisans 

  • August 1944 – May 1945 

  • Aftermath 

  • Order of battle 

  • Uniform 

  • Division song