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my uncle died Dec. 13, 1944 in Montenegro. He was a member of Inf.Div. 181, Gren.-Rgt. 359, Feldpost-No. 41785 E, Erkennungsmarke -199-4./M.G.Ers.Kp.74 (Uffz. Karl Meyer from Hameln, born July 6, 1920). We were told that the German retreat was over the Vjetarnikpass and that the retreat began Dec. 12. We dont know the place where he died and the circumstances of his death. The Dienststelle for Wehrmachtsangehörige in Berlin isn't able to help. They only wrote, that he died Dec.13.1944 in Croatia (in my opinion in Montenegro), grave unknown.
Further we are interested to know whether the German retreat was beginning in Bioce in northern direction over the pass or from Matesevo to Bioce in order to reach the coast.
Would be great to meet here in the forum someone of the old soldiers of Inv.Div.181 who can remember that bad time.
Thanks in advance for an information.
Language: German or English.
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As no one else is willing to reply you, I will gladly accept this task on me:-)
First check this map for the exact location of Vjetarnik Pass (elevation 1108), situated on a road between Bioce-Matesevo, north of Podgorica. Note that some old Yugoslav maps register this pass as VJETERNIK and not as VjetArnik.
http://www.calle.com/info.cgi?lat=42.60 ... o&alt=3520
A short summary of German pull back from Montenegro: The German troops of the 21st Army Corps started to retreat from Albania in October 1944. The original plan was, if I am not mistaken, to retreat via Scutari-Podgorica-Niksic, and from there on towards Mostar and up to the north. Nedless to say, the German forces failed to realise this plan, as they could not break the tough partisan blockade on the road Podgorica-Niksic. In the middle of November 1944, the elements of your uncle's division, the 188th Infantry Division, got involved in some stiff fightings , when they tried to break through to Niksic from Danilovgrad. The attempt failed and the 363rd Infantry Regiment was almost completely wiped out, only a few dozen men still able to fight. In order to bring the situation again under control, General Löhr had flown from Sarajewo to Podgorica and after some discussions with field commanders decided to continue the retreat from Podgorica via Kolasin towards Prijepolje, where it would then eventually link with the coming units of the 91st Army Corps. There the German rear elements involved themselves in some heavy fightings on the road Podgorica-Matesevo with the units of the 2nd Partisan Assault Corps, reinforced by 6th Albanian Partisan Division (after the war described by official Yugoslav history as one of the toughest battles the Yugoslav partisans fought with the Germans during the occupation period), which then continued along the road all up to Prijepolje respectively Bijelo Polje. Podgorica felt into partisan hands on 18th December and Mojkovac, a small city on Montenegrian-Serbian border was finally taken on December 31st.
To answer you question in short: Most likely was your uncle belonged to one of rear-guards that was retreating from Podgorica via Bioce and Vjeternik Pass to Matesevo and from there on to Kolasin only to continue then the retreat towards Prijepolje.
Your uncle was killed in Montenegro and not in Croatia as the
Dienststelle for Wehrmachtsangehörige in Berlin claims that he did, and his unit was retreating from Bioce to Matesevo and not to the coast. Cattaro Bay (Boka Kotorska) and Cetinje were occupied by the partisans on November 13th, thus blocking the way the Germans, so their only chance was moving north and from there west into Bosnian territory.
Hope this helped to answer at some of your questions,
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