1. Hvar Island, 26-27 January, 1944
Personnel: 33 OGs, 150 Commandos, 75 Partisans.
Under darkness, force left Vis for 15-mile trip in five small fishing boats. With heavy sea and poor control the boat with the OGs lost contact with the others and returned to Vis. Others of the force made scheduled landing, surprised a German outpost, killed several of the enemy, captured several and arrived back safely.
2. Hvar Island (second). 20 Feb.-1 March
Personnel: 8 OGs and 7 Partisans.
Party reached Hvar by Partisan boat, surveyed the area in the first days and then ambushed a German patrol in the village of Vrbovska. Several Germans were killed but in the exchange of fire Sgt. Zevitas sustained a bullet wound to the leg. The party carried him to safety and after a few days of bad weather the party returned to Vis.
3. Solta Island 18-19 March
Personnel: 150 OGs of both units A and B, and 450 British Commandos.
Troops were carried to Solta by LCIs, landed about midnight on the south shore, and proceeded over rough terrain to reach the German garrison at Grohote by 0600. Disclosed prematurely, troops moved up under fire to positions around the town. Dive-bombing by RAF softened resistance and the town was assaulted. The garrison defenders numbering over 100 were either killed or captured, with one American killed and five slightly wounded.
4. Korcula Island. 12-19 April.
Personnel: One officer and seven EM.
Arriving at Korcula by a fishing boat Lt. Dobrski with 7 EM and a few partisans moved to the ambush point along the island's only road. Surprised by a patrol of four Germans on two motorcycles, the OGs fired and killed all four. In the exchange Lt. Dobrski was severely wounded in the thigh. He was moved to the south coast where a storm prevented escape. With Sgt. Arsenault commanding, the party evaded searching patrols. Evacuation by boat was accomplished after three days.
5. Mjlet Island. 22-24 May.
Personnel: 50 OGs from units A and B; Commandos (hundreds) with a mountain gun detachment.
Mission was for an assault on a German garrison on Mjlet Island principally by British Commandos with assistance from RAF and Royal Navy units. OGs were to provide security for the British Brigade HQ and act as a reserve force. Landing was made from LCIs with destroyer cover. With imperfect intelligence and difficult terrain the enemy was engaged only at extreme range, and the evacuation schedule required withdrawal before actual contact was made.
6. Brac Island, 1-4 June
Personnel: OG units A and B; British Commandos, an infantry Bn., and Raider Support under British Col. Jack Churchill; Partisans.
Mission was to draw German troops to coastal mainland and keep them from reinforcing German drive against Marshal Tito's Partisan HQ in Bosnia. OGs and elements of the British and Partisan elements were assigned to the east end of the island, east of the German garrison. The Partisans engaged the enemy and in the course of 3 days pushed them back. OGs provided liaison between the artillery and Partisans and secured the flanks and rear.
A separate combat group under Lts. Kopenitz and Lavinskas provided security for British nearer the garrison at Nerezisce where the main effort took place.
Col. Churchill was captured and Col. Manners killed. One OG, T/5 C. Robinson, was wounded.
In addition to holding the enemy on the coastal mainland, additional German divisions were drawn from the interior.
7. Solta (second), 9-10 June
Personnel: OGs and Raider Support troops
100 American and British troops with four 75 mm Mountain pieces were transported by USN sub-chasers and RN LCAs to a previously reconnoitered south shore of Solta. The OGs outposted the beachhead and the gunners fired 800 rounds into the Grohote over a 2-hour period. Troops returned safely to Vis. Reconnaissance reported excellent results.
8. Peljesac Peninsula (first), 22-25 June.
Personnel: OGs and a crew from Raider Support Regiment.
Mission was to strike from Peljesac Peninsula enemy naval convoys sailing close to shore at night to and from Korcula. The Naval Commander requested an ambush from shore to drive them out into open waters within reach of the naval units. The party of American and British moved aboard USN ARB's escorted by RN gunboats to previously reconnoitered area, landed and occupied positions safely, and waited. On the 3rd night the force fired on a 5-ship convoy and scored direct hits with the 75mm gun, bazookas and small arms, sinking an ammunition ship, and sinking or causing to be beached transport vessels and e-boats. Two prisoners were taken. The force was evacuated that night by two USN sub-chasers.
9. Peljesac Peninsula (second), 31 July-3 August.
Personnel: OGs and artillery unit of RSR.
Mission was to secure for an Observation Post the high ground on the eastern end of the Peljesac Peninsula and report directions for the carrying out of artillery fire. Targets for shelling were German positions at Postrana on Korcula Island and Orebic on Peljesic Peninsula. The Americans found no Germans anticipated to be at or near the OP. The artillery shelled the German positions and on completion the forces were safely evacuated.
10. Hvar Island (third). 25-27 August
Personnel: OGs and British artillery.
Mission was to keep German artillery on the eastern tip of Hvar Island from moving to a position on the island that would put them in range of British artillery assigned to shoot at a Korcula Island garrison. As a preliminary mission Lt. Kopenits with a small party contacted Partisans in Hvar and reconnoitered beaches, paths and terrain. The following night about 50 OGs moved aboard LCA's to the island, took positions, and fired on the garrison troops with mortar, machine-gun and small arms preventing any attempted German movement. Force retired as planned and was evacuated back to Vis on LCA's.
This summary of the Balkan Operational Groups was extracted from records of the National Archives provided through the courtesy of Lt. Col. Ian D. W. Sutherland. Attorney Sutherland is the compiler of the encyclopedic "Special Forces of the United States Army, 1952-1982"