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Operation Detained

Page Created
November 14th, 2022
Last Updated
May 7th, 2024
Great Britain
British Flag
Greek Flag
Yugoslavian Flag
Special Forces
Operational Groups, Office of Strategic Services
Royal Marine Commandos
March 17th, 1944 – March 20th, 1944
Operation Detained
  • To capture or destroy enemy garrison concentrated in town of Grohote, Island of Šolta.
Operational Area

Island of Šolta, Croatia.

Unit Force
  • Landing Craft Infantry (Vis)
    • Headquarters Officers, Colonel Churchill, Admiral Cowan, Royal Marines, Lieutenant Webb, Royal Marines
    • No. 2 Troop, No. 2 Commando
    • Four Vickers Machine Gun Crew from No. 43 (RM) Commando
    • Unit A, Yugoslavian/American Operational Group, Office of Strategic Services (OSS)
    • Unit B, Greek/American Operational Group, Office of Strategic Services (OSS)
  • Landing Craft Infantry (Komiža)
    • No. 1 Troop, No. 2 Commando
    • No. 3 Troop, No. 2 Commando
    • No. 4 Troop, No. 2 Commando
    • Heavy Weapons Troop, No. 2 Commando, with two 3-inch Mortars and 330 bombs
    • Landing Craft Assault Protection Party, No. 2 Commando
  • Landing Craft Infantry (Komiža) (Reserve)
    • Commando Headquarters
    • Brigadier Miles (Force 133, Special Operations Executive)
    • Reserve rations and ammunition in case the Assault Force is marooned on Solta.
  • The Landing Craft Assault
    • One with a 47 mm Gun crew from No. 2 Commando and is packed with reserve food and ammunition
    • Two with a 47 mm gun crew from the 101st Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery, 10th Armoured Division and six hundred rounds
  • Royal Air Force
    • 36 Kittyhawk Dive Bombers
    • Curtiss P-40 Warhawks
    •  Royal Air Force Sea Rescue Launch
Opposing Forces
  • 2nd Kompanie, 1st Battalion, 892nd Regiment, 264th Infantrie Division under command of Leutenant Mawick
    • 16 officers
    • 85 soldiers (grenadiers)
  • Five members of V.G.A.D. Verstarkter GrenzAufsichtsDienst
  • Seven members of Croatian Gendarmerie

During the during the evening of March 17th, 1944, the flotilla of twelve vessels departs from the two harbour towns of Komiža and Vis on the Island of Vis. Around 19:00 hours, the convoy rendezvous at sea and heads for their objective. Around 00:30 March 18th,1943 the assault force arrive in cove on Island of Šolta. During the early morning the men and their equipment are landed in the Tatinja inlet so that by dawn all is ready for the assault on the fortified garrison in Grohota.

At 06.00 the Allies open fire on the German defences, who are then invited to surrender. The men of Kompanie 1, 892nd Regiment, 264th Infantrie Division, the Germans refuse and resist for 30 minutes until 36 British Kittyhawk dive bombers arrive and bomb the village. After this the Germans decide to give up their resistance. All actions are terminated by 07:30, except for isolated mopping-up operations and evacuation to beaches with wounded and prisoners completed by 1230 hrs. The Allies suffer two men killed and fifteen wounded, mostly to the effects of bombs from their own aircraft, and the Germans suffered six men killed, and 105 captured, most of the latter in wounded condition. The air attack cost the villagers of Grohota two persons killed and four injured.

Under the protection of Allied warplanes, the Assault force re-embarks with their prisoners during the evening and return to Vis. In the evening, under air force cover, thse allied convoy return to Vis Island together with prisoners undisturbed while another convoy consisting of NB-7 Enare II, NB-8 Kornat, Pace-71 and motor sail boats Ban Jelania, Velebit and Lahor leaves Vis Island for Tatinja on Šolta to evacuate civilian refugees who wanted to leave the island before Germans return. Because a lot of refuges aren’t ready only around 250 people are evacuated while an allied landing ship takes around 130 more aboard. The convoy returns to the island of Vis at 01:45 on March 20th, 1944.

The German reaction to the landing is slow and after some aerial reconnaissance, they send a small party on night of March 20th/21st. The party is made up of twenty officers and soldiers but is evacuated before dawn. Another landing is made on night of March 21st/22nd with four assault boats bringing in two infantry companies from 264th Infantrie Division but after 40 minutes they decide to return to Split after five assault boats carrying a company of Brandenburg Coastal Jager are reported lost at sea. Finally on the night of March 22nd/23rd all three companies arrive, and the Germans start to fortify their positions in town of Grohote.