ceaver14 wrote:Larry I appreciate your concern. Niether I nor my father were extremely close with him. I met him maybe 4 times in my life but every time he told me that same story. I dont need to know from emotional point of view; more from a historical and military point of view. Did Croatian Navy boats drive up the Volga to aid the 6th army? If so, its a great story and I would like to know more.....
Okay, don't say I didn't warn you.
The H.P.O. was never anywhere near the Volga or Stalingrad. Its little vessels never left the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. There is no mention in any of the H.P.O. personnel volunteering for of going to Stalingrad either. The histories cited below are quite complete. Further, in all of the dozens and dozens of accounts of the campaign in and around Stalingrad is there any mention of German boats operating on the Volga. Everything that moved on the Volga was attacked by the Luftwaffe. The river was 100% in Russian hands.
The Hrvatski Pomorski Odjel (H.P.O.) operated almost exclusively on the Black Sea, but from Dec 41 to Dec 42 it had under its command (HQ in Mariupol) 45-55 small motor fishing cutters on the Sea of Azov, each with a crew of 3 Ukrainians. The Ukrainians operated the boats for the HPO but belonged to Pz.AOK 1. These tiny vessels, which operated under sail most of the time due to endless engine problems, patrolled the coast, guarded harbors, cleared mines and ran cargo from Genichesk and Mariupol across the sea to Yeisk and other ports in North Caucasia. (Doadmiral Andro Vrkljan letter to me dated 10 November 1980, in German).
Lastly, the Croatian naval group in the North Adriatic never sank any American vessels. Their service there was mainly taken up in training, operating a few old clapped out former Italian torpedo boats around Rijeka, mutiny, mass desertions and one court-martial after another during January and February 1945. The German Navy Schnellbootflotilla based at Triest and manned by Croatians with German supervision, which never really came to action of any sort, deserted to the British in North Italy at the end of April 1945 as Tito’s 4th Army approached Triest.
Arhiv Vojniistorijski institute Beograd – “Mornarica bivše NDH”, in Kutija 134a, fond 1, dok.6.
Lohmann, Walter and Hans H. Hildebrand. Die Deutsche Kriegsmarine 1939-1945
. Bad Nauheim: Podzun Verlag, 1956.
Meister, Jürg. Der Seekrieg in den osteuropäischen Gewässern 1941-45
. München: J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1958. pp.245, 258, 294 and 376.
Meister, Jürg. “Die jugoslawische Marine in der Adria 1941-45”, in Marine Rundschau
, Juni 1963, pp.137-52. (This is actually a full account of the naval war in the North Adriatic and along the Dalmatian coast).
St. Martin (pseud.). "Kroatische Marine-Legion (Hrvatski Pomorski Odjel)", in Zeitschrift für Heeres und Uniformkunde
, Heft XVII (1953), pp.68-70.
Vrančić, Vjekoslav. “Argonauti Dvadesetoy Stoleća” (Argonauts of the Twentieth Century), in Drina
(Madrid), Godina XVII (1967), br. 1-2, pp.25-37.
Here are a couple of links for some additional background information:
Hope this helps,