War Diaries – 11th to 15th May 1945

11th May

Brigade HQ – WOLFSBERG 6305

Brigade Group moves to Wolfsberg sector:

Brigade HQ – 649057 Wolfsberg.

2 LIR – 640053 Wolfsberg.

1 RIrF – 623975 San Andrae.

D Support Group – 640052 Wolfsberg.

17 Field Regiment RA 642077 Wolfsberg.

254 A/Tk Battery – 646076 Wolfsberg.

152 Field Ambulance – 641056 Wolfsberg.

General Military and Political Situation.

The first troops to enter this area were 27 Lancers, who had received orders to push as far east and south as possible and if possible get to Graz and contact the Russians. German columns retreating from the Russians effectively blocked the road from the Squadron 27 Lancers attempting to get to Graz and the Russians were in the town first. Contact was made with the Russians and a temporary boundary established between Koflach and Voitsburg D65.

There were a considerable number of Germans, Hungarian, Croat, Albanian and Russian troops in the brigade area of responsibility, who would have to be taken over, disarmed, concentrated and finally sent to their ultimate destinations.

The main trouble arising out of the surrendered personnel was the question of who should actually accept the surrender of the Corps and Divisional Commanders.

The majority of the forces in this area were from either Army of East or Army of South East and all have officially surrendered to Tito or the Russian Forces. This officially made all enemy surrendered forces the responsibility of Marshal Tito’s forces and the Russian but no German commander would submit to them.

They all came to us for instruction, which inevitably caused a long drawn our parley between Jugoslavs, Germans and ourselves.

Usually, large formations were given to Jugoslavs but we accepted the surrender of smaller units without further reference to higher authority.

Another point to be taken into consideration when discussing the situation was that of Jugoslav infiltration into the Drava valley. Jugoslav troops were manning road posts on the Klagenfurt road and in general making a nuisance of themselves shooting up and indiscriminately disarming Germans soldiers attempting to pass through to concentration areas under British orders.

Although this did not seriously worry us, it caused endless delay in conducting parleys and listening to countless complaints.

On arrival in this area, it was found that 1st Bulgarian Army had troops in Lavamund, San Paul and extending westwards to within 4 kilometres of Volkemarkt.

2 LIR took over responsibility of Wolfsberg area and 1 RIrF the responsibility of San Andrae area.

1 RIrF collected 1,200 SS troops in the evening and concentrated them in their PW cage and also started collecting trains of which there were 20 stationery on the lines between Wolfsberg and Lavamund. Immediate efforts were made to concentrate the trains as far north as possible and around San Andrae to obtain the food to feed the surrendered personnel on our hands.

Other food dumps were found in Wolfsberg, which considerably eased the supply situation.

1800 254 A/Tk Battery ordered to proceed immediately to Prietenegg and then east to St Oswald to contact Russian forces advancing west.

A troop of 27 Lancers at St Paul was ordered to go to Lavamund as soon as possible and a platoon of 1 RIrF together with a few Allied ex PoW took control of the town.

The Brigade Commander went to Lavamund during the afternoon to meet the Commander of 3 Bulgarian Division and his Corps Commander. It was arranged that all movement by both armies should cease until agreement was reached. The Bulgarian Corps Commander then left for 5 Corps where this arrangement was confirmed but without any fixing of boundaries.

We established a road post at Lavamund but allowed free Bulgarian movement through it. At about 1700 hrs, after the Bulgarian Corps Commander had left, a crisis arose in Lavamund where over 4,000 Armed Cossacks, who were 2 kilometres south of the river and about 2 kilometres from the British PW there. It was reported by the Bulgarians and by the British PW unit that those Cossacks would attack anybody except the English that night. The Bulgarians intimated that they were unable to enforce their surrender and the Cossacks refused to surrender to them. As the Brigade Commander had received orders from 6th Armoured Division to disarm 22,000 Cossacks in the neighbourhood of Dravograd and concluding that there were part of the same force, the Brigade Commander asked the Bulgarians if they would like him to disarm them and accept their surrender. The agreement he made with the Bulgarians and later with the Cossacks was that they should hand in their arms in situ, which would be later handed to the Bulgarians by him and that the Cossacks should march through Lavamund at 0530 hrs on the 12th with their horses. Some disagreement arose over the Cossacks taking their horses if he disarmed them and that if the Bulgarians wanted the Cossack horses they must arrange with the British Army Commander at a later date and see if he was prepared to give them back. The Brigade Commander explained that lack of transport necessitated this course.

1 RIrF – Yugoslavia 623974.

Bttn move to Wolfsberg then return to St Andrae. D Coy (Major Wilton) undertakes to locate and guard train from St Andrae south to Jugoslav border. C Coy (Major Howard) established at PoW camp at Framre 620948. B Coy (Major Phelan MC) dispatched to deal with SS troops area Etendorf 7186.  On arrival at 699975, Major Phelan MC sent one platoon onto Lavamund 715840 to assist some on PoWs in keeping order there. With the other two platoons, he took over 3 kilometres of armoured trains, 130 German civilians and 1,200 SS troops. These, he disarmed and transported to PoW to C Coy. While this was being done, Brigadier TPD Scott DSO and Colonel Murphy Palmer, with the assistance of NZ and Australian PoWs, persuaded the Cossacks at Lavamund to accept disarmament and surrender and arranged for them to come in tomorrow.

2 Innisks – UDINE.

0500 The bttn received orders to move into Austria.

0900 Advance party left.

1015 The bttn left Udine, most of the Road Posts being relieved by the 56 Division, some were relieved later in the day, the personnel forming these guards joined the rear party.

The btnn had an interesting journey through the Italian Alps and arrived at the Austrian Frontier (approx 1430 hrs).

1300 The bttn arrived in the village of Furnitz and the coys were split up over quite a considerable area. A certain number of comment was caused by the obvious difference in layout and people that was noticed between Italy and Austria.

1700 The Commanding Officer held a conference at Bttn HQ, where he said that the bttn was under orders to move to Villach, where it would relieve the 1st Guards Brigade. Captain Vincent was to assume command of S Coy and take over the PoW cage at Jager Barracks from the Welsh Guards. A Coy to take over PoW cage at Arnoldstein. He also gave out that all personnel would carry weapons at all times and that the non fraternisation order was effective in Austria.


0730 Advance party move off.

1100 Bttn main body move to Wolfsberg.

1600 Bttn now located in Wolfsberg.

Bttn HQ in the Jaeger Barracks (638055). These had been the offices of an Abwehr unit of the Wehrmacht controlling numerous PoW camps including Stalag 18A located in Wolfsberg. E and F Coys billeted in the Laventer Reichstrasse. G Coy took over the telephone exchange in the Haupstrasse. H Coy were also billeted in the Haupstrasse.

1600 The remaining hours of daylight were spent in the establishment of the following:

  1. PoW cage for SS troops.
  2. Cage for all other German or German Allied troops (Deutche Verbandte Truppen).
  3. Enemy weapons dump.
  4. Bttn guard of the Telephone Exchange , Municipal building, Power Station and Bank.

During the course of the afternoon, numerous Austrians, including civilians and officers and men of the Wehrmacht, offered their services as interpreters and a suitable selection was made.

In the evening, at the request of the new Mayor of the town (who had been in a concentration camp for 5 years) and in conjunction with some of the older Austrian police, 31 leading Nazis were arrested and put in the civil jail. During the round up, two men attempted to escape but were picked up later in another house. One woman attempted suicide.

SS rounded up before nightfall totaled 2 officers and 67 ORs.

1900 Bttn band played in the town square.

12th May

Brigade HQ – WOLFSBERG 6306.

During the night 11/12, the Bulgarians retracted from the agreement but, at about 0700 hrs the next morning, they received orders from Bulgarian 1st Army to allow the Cossacks to proceed. They stated that these orders were given on the authority of the Bulgarian Army Commander and that they had not been ratified by the Russian Command. By 1000 hrs on the 12th, the original agreement with the Cossacks had been fulfilled by both sides.

During the morning, the Cossacks were disarmed and moved through Lavamund and Griffen to their concentration area near Volkermarkt. 13 Battery, 17 Field Regiment was sent to Bleiburg to occupy the village.

0945 254 A/Tk Battery contacted the Russians at Wildbachberg 920060. Only scattered forced were met in the area but “looting parties” were out on the road from St Oswald 8412 to Wildbachberg. The Russians were in considerable force in D Landsberg 9204, where OC 254 A/Tk battery met a Russian Major. A temporary boundary was fixed at Wildbachberg but the Major could give no guarantee until the local General arrived.

The Russian Division contacted was No 299. They appeared friendly but foxy.

Brigade Commander goes off in the morning to continue discussions with the Bulgarians at Lavamund. Evacuation of Cossacks continued throughout the day. 1 RIrF continued collection of surrendered personnel and policing of St Andre. D coy continued with checking and movement of railway trains to Wolfsberg.

1000 The following regroup programme was ordered to take place as soon as possible in order to cope with the situation on the Jugoslav frontier at Bleiburg and Lavamund.

17 Field Regiment to responsible for control of road Griffen – Bleiburg with road blocks at road junctions 586849 and 619758.

A Squadron 2 RTR to send two troops of tanks to 1 RIrF and Squadron and troop to 17 Field Regiment.

D Support Group to go under command 17 Field Regiment and send 20 carriers and 5 x 15 cwts to HQ 1 RIrF for road patrols in Bleiburg – Lavamund area.

1 RIrF to establish coys at Lavamund, St Paul and St Andrew and S Coy at Maria Rojac to patrol east to mountains.

2 LIR to send coy to patrol east along road to Scherbati 7306 and if possible make contact with the Russians.

1750 All moves in progress. Troop of tanks of 1 RIrF sent down to Lavamund to impress Jugoslavs and Bulgarians.

At 1900 hrs on the 12th, the Commander of 3rd Bulgarian Division arrived at Brigade HQ saying that he had orders to occupy all territory east of the river Lavant up to 4 kilometres south of Wolfsberg and that he was to withdraw all his troops between Lavamund and Volkermarkt. He stated he had commenced the withdrawal from Volkermarkt area and wished to commence his forward movement towards Wolfsberg at first light on the 13th and requested permission to use the main road Lavamund – St Andrae. The Brigade Commander requested him to refrain from any forward movement until much time as he had communicated with the Commander 5 Corps and received fresh orders. At 0600 hrs on the 13th, he sent the CO 1 RIrF to Lavamund to ensure that no forward movement commenced and said that he would be with him with fresh orders by about 1000 hrs. This request was respected.

2000 OGF Kashe – German Puppet Minister to Croat Republic was arrested by 2 LIR.

1 RIrF – ST ANDRAE 623974.

Complications arose when the Bulgars took to slit trenches and said they had been ordered not to allow the Cossacks past. Lt Lafferty deployed his platoon and prepared to engage the Bulgarian Army while the matter was being discussed with the Bulgarian General. He is being assured the Cossacks were disarmed and that the arms would be turned over to him and, not wanting any trouble with the British anyway, decided to call off his dogs. So, at about 0730, the head of the column appeared on the bridge crossing the Drau. 4.000 Cossacks and 3.000 horses, led by a mounted NZ Sergeant (ex PoW) and three misc officers and, escorted by 11 other ex PoW. Pickets were placed at strategic points along the point and, in spite of the tension at the start, the Cossacks were not a little nervous, all arrived at 6 Corps camp without incident.

In the afternoon, four 15 cwt loads of SA and Mortar Bombers were recovered from the SS dumps and transported to C Coy. A certain amount of wireless and telephone equipment was acquired by the bttn from the Armoured trains at this time.

During the afternoon, too, S Coy carrier patrols were directing enemy columns to C Coy’s camp in increasing streams. In the last evening, they detained one Bulgarian officer and 2 ORs drunk and causing a disturbance.

D Coy (Major AJ Wilton), having made its HQ in the Monastery at St Paul 6690, is moving the trains north in an effort to clear the line to the Jugoslav border.


0500 A Coy moved off to Arnoldstein and took over the SS PoW cage there.

0930 S Coy moved off and arrived at Villach, taking over at Jager Barracks at 1100 hrs.

1115 The bttn left Furnitz and arrived at Villach at 1215 hrs, where they took over St Martin’s Barracks (873805) from the Grenadier Guards. The bttn was u/c of HQ RA 78 Division.

1230 S Coy at Jager Barracks was at this time having a certain amount of difficulty in sorting out PoWs and displaced personnel into different nationalities and sending them to their respective camps. They were relieved by the 91st Field Regiment RA at 1900 hrs. A Coy were relieved of their commitments at Arnoldstein and moved directly to Sandra 9183, where they took over a camp containing 13,000 surrendered personnel of the German Army.


0600 The days’ work commenced with the sorting out of the surrendered personnel into their nationalities. In the cage were Germans, Austrians, Czechs, Hungarians, Rumanians, Bulgarians, Croatians and even Russians. An Information Post was set up in the town in the main street to deal with wandering German soldiers, stragglers and refugee civilians; members of the armed forces being directed for the most part to our own cage.

1400 The German food dump for Stalag 18A was located in Wolfsberg and is now being used to feed many PoWs and surrendered personnel as well.

1430 Two Hungarian officers reported to Bttn HQ for orders for the 4th A/A Regiment, 2nd Hungarian Corps, who are stationed at St Georgen 6993. Stated they had sufficient food for 21 days and were in billets. Ordered to stay where they were until further orders. May retain all arms in case they are attacked by partisans.

1500 Ten Nazi suspects investigated and two arrested.

1800 The German Ambassador to Croatia, Gauleiter Kache and the Croatian War Minister (Feimtl), observed trying to pass through Wolfsberg towards Klagenfurt were chased, stopped, brought back to Bttn HQ and arrested. With their party of five others, they were confined for the night in the Officers’ Mess and their column of Croatian troops and civilians ordered to stay the night in the fields by the road, where they had parked.

1900 Bttn band played in the town square.

1930 Bttn guards during the day included 2 NCOs and 12 ORs on the Power Station. 2 NCOs and 6 Officers on the Bank, 2 and 6 on the Telephone Exchange, 2 and 6 on the local jail, 2 and 6 on Brigade HQ (also located in Wolfsberg) and one platoon on the enemy food dump. A road post of 2 NCOs and 6 Officers and a road post of 1 NCO and a Austrian interpreter were established at road junction 645051 and the bridge at 637047 respectively. One platoon of F Coy was detailed to assist the Intelligence Sergeant, who was in charge of the Bttn PoW cage and Surrendered Personnel Camp.

13th May

Brigade HQ – WOLSBERG 6305.

0230 369 Croat Division stopped at Bleiburg. Orders given for their concentration at Griffen.

0700 Bttn of Tito Partisans at Lavamund produced orders giving them permission to go to Klagenfurt. They were prevented from doing so.

0800 2 LIR contacted 3 Bulgarian Division at Landsberg. A port was established at Scherbatl 7307 where the road becomes a track.

1000 Brigade Group comes under command 46 Division and reverts from 6 Armoured Division.

1015 GOC 46 Division visits Brigade HQ.

Brigade Commander was out as he had had a conference with Bulgarian Divisional Commander in Lavamund.

GOC Army Group East General Lehr and his staff and attached personnel arrived at Bleiburg. On orders from Division, they were not allowed through but ordered to concentrate in that area.

1200 The Russian 299 Divisional Commander, Colonel Sauchberg, and his staff arrived at Brigade HQ to settle the agreement of the temporary boundary.

After a certain amount of talking and discussion the line was fixed and that it should run through 613559 – 607500 – 844200 – 867100 – 872080 – 890867 – 900053 – 915000 – 913972 – 910940.

Lt Col HEN Bredin DSO MC Commander 2 LIR represented the Army and Brigade Commander at the conference.

After the discussions, which ended about 1400 hrs, the Russian delegates were entertained to lunch at this HQ.

After lunch, they all visited the Russian ex PoWs in Stalag 18A Wolfsberg and arranged for their return to Graz.

1600 Brigade Commander returns after conferences with the Bulgarians. The following arrangements were made.

On the evening of the 12th, two things were established. One, the British Soviet boundary about 4 kilometres west of Stainz 9614 and secondly the Bulgarian Army was not allowed to remain in Yugoslavia. These two factors made the Bulgarians request to move forward absurd as they could not maintain forces there without moving through Yugoslavia and their body could not possibly link up with the Russians. At about 1100 hrs on the 13th, the Brigade Commander met the Commander 3 Bulgarian Division at Lavamund in company with CCRA, 5 Corps. The two factors mentioned above suggested that the Bulgarian advance was absurd were raised with the Bulgarian Divisional Commander and just as an impasse appeared likely, he suddenly produced fresh orders, alleged to have arrived at that moment from the Russian authorities. When these orders were translated on to a map, it appeared that the Bulgarians were to withdraw about 5 kilometres to the east of Lavamund and that their frontier was to be the high range of hills to the east of the River Lavant valley. As this was more than we had hoped to achieve, the agreement was drawn up at once and signed by the Commander 3 Bulgarian Division and CCRA 5 Corps.

Certain concessions were made in connection with the agreement which were as follows:

  • Bulgarians were to be permitted to use the road Lavamund – St Andrae – Wolfsberg – Koflach – Voitsberg for a limited amount of MT. Times of convoys to be notified to the post at Lavamund and communicated to the Brigade Commander. Under no circumstances were marching personnel to be allowed to use this road and no Bulgarian soldier to be permitted to leave the convoy, while passing through British territory.
  • Bulgarians were to be permitted to collect “booty”, which was only to include any form of enemy was material or supplies and not to enter houses as follows:

Between Lavamund and excluding St Paul, up to 0600hrs 18 May.

From Lavamund, west to road Griffen – Ruden – Bleibrug up to 0600 hrs on 18 May.

To the west of that road towards Volkermarkt up to 0600 hrs 16 May.

As soon as this agreement had been completed on the 13th, the Bulgarian Army Commander suddenly appeared and, shortly afterwards, the Bulgarian Corps Commander. The agreements were confirmed by the Army Commander who, shortly afterwards, left with the Corps Commander and confirmed the agreement made with Commander 5 Corps.

1 RIrF – ST ANDRAE 623974.

CO and IO to Lavamund to make an appointment for CCRA 5 Corps with Bulgarian Corps Commander. When the meeting took place, the Bulgarian Army Commander appeared. At Lavamund, we found our road block: a tank, a staghound and a section of B Coy, refusing passage to a bttn of Yugoslavs. Authority in this action was checked and confirmed. B Coy (Major Phelan) less one platoon doing a difficult job of keeping order amid threat (and acts) of rape and loot.

Shortly before noon, it became apparent that the German Officers and NCOs of the Cossack must be re-armed to maintain control of their men. This was done and 50 MPs being issued. There is a different flow of Bulgars towards Lavamund from the west.

2 Innisks – VILLACH.

In the early morning, B Coy 1st Surreys came u/c 2 Innisks and was made responsible for all Road Blocks. Numerous duties had to be found by all coys.

1000 Squads of enemy PoW were brought into the camp and formed into working parties and were set to work cleaning up St Martin’s Barracks. A number of the Orderly Room and half of the ‘I’ Section were sent to A Coy to help them at the PoW camp. The duties of that coy were very heavy and meant two hours on and two off for the all the coy

1300 A visit was made by the IO to all Guards’ Dumps, Road Posts, Railway Station and PoW Cage, which were being guarded by the bttn.


1300 69 SS men were evacuated by transport to 5 Corps PoW Cage.

1400 54 Hungarians in the bttn cage sent to the Hungarian Concentration Area north of Wolfsberg. Also, all German troops of the 68 and 69 Corps under their own officers by march route to Klagenfurt.

1800 Sitrep:

  • Investigation of breaking into the Water Works (located about 200 yards of 38 Brigade HQ) proved that no damage had been done or sabotage carried out. A guard of 2 NCOs and 6 ORs was placed on the works.
  • The Croat War Minister and party arrested in night of the 12th were taken to 5 Corps HQ. Officer in charge of the guard received orders there to take the ‘much wanted persons’ on to the Jaeger Prison in Villach. This was duly carried out and they were handed over there together with their papers and 250 British gold sovereigns, which had been found in their possession.

1900 Bttn band played in the town square.

14th May

Brigade HQ – WOLFSBERG 6305.

Brigade locations:

B Squadron 46 Recce and C Squadron 56 Recce now under command.

2 LIR:  HQ – Wolfsberg, All Coys in town doing guards, 1 – platoon Scherbartl, 1 platoon – Koflach under Forward Officer to assist 27 Lancers.

1 RIrF: HQ – 623975, A Coy – St Andre, B Coy – St Andrae, C Coy – Lavamund 7184, D Coy – St Paul 6691, S Coy.

17 Field Regiment: RHQ – Griffen 5591, 10 Battery – Lind 5987, 13 Battery – Bleiburg 6178, 20 Battery – Ruden 5986.

254 A/Tk Battery: Wolfsberg. Post at St Oswald 8312.

D Support Group: Griffen – 5591.

B Squadron 46 Recce: St Andre 6397 u/c 17 Field Regiment.

A Squadron 56 Recce: north west of Wolfsberg 6208.

0900 Evacuation of the Cossacks continued without any further incidents. In addition to all the political difficulties which the brigade was responsible for in its area, the battalions were also guarding a considerable number of enemy surrendered personnel and PoWs.

17 Field Regiment: Cossacks – 7.000. 369 Croat Division – 3,000. Army Group E – 700. 42 Jager Division – 300. Misc – 1,100.

1 RIrF: Hospital Train – 1,300.  Misc – 10,000.

2 LIR: Laszlo Hungarian Division – 7,000. Hungarian Cadet School – 400. Elt 2 Hungarian Corps – 2,000. Croats – 700. PoW – 1, 600 SS.

General Lehr, Commander Army Group E arrived at 17 Field HQ for orders. He was ordered to report to HQ 5 Corps.

1800 Control Station Rover Paddy arrives for controlling air operations and armed recces over Jugoslav border.

Early on in the morning, reports were received from 17 Field Regiment of fighting between Croats and Jugoslav Tito troops. Later on in the town, a Croat Liaison Officer arrived at 17 Field Regiment HQ offering to surrender to the British and lay down arms on passing our outposts.

At about 2100 hrs, the Croat Liaison Officer arrived at this Brigade HQ and made the following statement to the Brigade Commander. There are two armed groups of Croats, both approximately 100,000 men, attempting to get past the Bulgarians and the Jugoslavs and surrender themselves to British troops. They wish to escape the Tito regime and do not mind what country they finally go to. In addition to the two armed groups, there are an alleged half a million civilians (women and children), followed by the remnants of two German Divisions (One is Prince Eugen SS Mountain Division).

One group of 100,000 Croats in between Bleiburg and Dravograd and the other 100, 000 south of Dravograd. The Croat Liaison Officer stated that the relations with the Bulgarians were good but there had been serious fighting with the Tito forces (8 Jugoslav Brigade). The Croats lost a fair number of men today and also lost three of their thirty tanks from bazookas.

Later on, about 2300 hrs, OC B Coy 1 RIrF at Lavamund reported that a surrender conference was going on between the Bulgarians and the Croats but the Jugoslav forces intersperses themselves between the Bulgarian and Croat armies and caused the Bulgarians to withdraw and cancel their agreement.

Orders were used by 1 RIrF and 17 Field Regiment that on no account would we accept the surrender of the Croats and force would be used to prevent any such action. This information was passed on to the Croat Liaison Officer, who returned to his General immediately.

1 RIrF – ST ANDRAE 623974.

Bulgars and Yugoslavs concentrating south of Lavamund to halt mass migration of Croats, who are endeavouring to place themselves in British custody. This concentration led to the removal of aids from two hospital trains just to the south of the Yugoslav border.The recuperating casualties immediately broke the trains into sections and man handled them over the border to spot north of Lavamund where we persuaded them with rations and much supplies from the SS Armoured Trains.

German infantry and cavalry still passing into 6 Corps Camp.

2 Innisks – VILLACH.

1000 Brigade Commander arrives at Bttn HQ and, with the CO and IO, went round all the Guards.

1400 The Divisional Commander visited the bttn.

1440 The strength on both guards on the railway station was halved.

The guard on the foot dump 901809 was increased by 50%.

A guard was put on the brewery 884805.

Personnel were allowed out to the town of Villach up to 2000 hrs.

1530 The Brigade Commander visited the bttn.


0600 During the course of the night 13/14, the Hungarian A/A Regiment, which surrendered to G Coy on the 12th, moved from their location at Sant Georgen 6993 to an area approximately 2 kms north of Wolfsberg. This was done to avoid the possibility of a conflict between them and Bulgarian troops in the same area.

0800 Arrangements made for conference and luncheon party between high ranking Allied officers to be held in the Officers’ Mess. Guard of Honour to be provided by H Coy.

1200 5 Corps Commander, Lt General Keightley, and Russian representatives including a Corps Commander arrived for a conference on International Zones of Occupation of Austria and more precise fixing of demarcation lines. Agreement was signed between Commander 299 Soviet Division area and Lt Col HEN Bredin on behalf of 8th Army Commander, fixing the boundary between Koflach and Soviet/Bulgarian Inter Army boundary.

1800 An FS Section from 46 Division established their office in 38 Brigade HQ.

1900 Bttn band played in the town square.

1930 During the day, several investigations of people were made and some houses raided for arms.

15th May

Brigade HQ – WOLFSBERG 6305.

This crisis reached its climax on the 15th. The Brigade Commander arrived at Bleiburg about 1230 and, after driving round the area, went to the castle just outside the town. There was a fair amount of small arms fire going on, probably not directed at anybody. The opposing Commanders were sent for and arrived at the castle within half an hour. The Yugoslav Commissar, Petpukevuck Milan Basta, accompanied by the Divisional Commander, both men in their early twenties, stated that they had orders to commence the battle in half an hour’s time and that all arrangements were ready. Their intention was to defeat the Croat Army in the field. Under no circumstances did they intend to brook any delay. They requested no military assistance and considered that their forces were quite adequate to deal with the situation as the remainder of the Yugoslav Army was alleged to be disposed in the hills and neighbouring country.

It was pointed out that the elimination of the Croatians would be more speedy if they laid down their arms, than if it was necessary to attack a force of such dimensions. They agreed that this was so and stated that they were prepared to put the battle off for half an hour if the Brigade Commander would be good enough to try to make the Croats surrender to them. They them withdrew and the Croat General and his staff were interviewed by the Brigade Commander.

At first, they were adamant that both the Army and civilian population with them would rather die where they were, fighting to the last man, than surrender to “any Bolshevists.” They pointed out that this movement was a political emigration of the Croat nation as they had decided that it was impossible for them to live under the Russian influence. They requested that the matter should be dealt with through political channels. It was explained that an emigration in such numbers was, at the moment, quite out of the question, as there would be no food in any other part of Europe that they emigrated to and that such emigration could only take place after careful preparation, otherwise the whole of this party would starve. They still insisted that this was a preferable course to surrender. Meanwhile, the Yugoslav Commander sent messages that could not wait much longer and the battle must start. The Croat deputation were given five minutes to make up their minds whether they would surrender as Prisoners as War to the Yugoslav force and told them that any movement of their Army towards the British lines would be resisted with all arms, quite apart from any action the Yugoslavs might take place. After some further delay, they agreed to surrender.

The Yugoslav representatives were then brought in and given the gist of the conversation. An agreement was made in the Brigade Commander’s presence that the Croat Army would surrender and indicate by white flags from their leading troops that they had done so within an hour and a quarter of the Commissar leaving the room. The Army was to be treated as Prisoners of War, with the exception of political criminals, who would be dealt with by Allied Courts established to deal with this matter. The civilian population were to be fed and returned to Croatia by the frontier route. With five minutes to spare, the Croatian Army signified their surrender and the handing in of arms was commenced forthwith. In accordance with the agreement, they were evacuated through Lavamund towards Matibor.

All arrangements in connection with the surrender and evacuation were carried out speedily, efficiently and, as far as could be judged, correctly over the following 24 hours.

0830 Another Squadron and RHQ 2 RTR come under command and go to Bleiburg sector. CO 16 DLI reports to Brigade Commander for orders. The battalion is to come under command and is at present on the move to go to Bleiburg sector.

1000 General Lehr, Commander Army Group ‘E’ and his staff ordered to report to Yugoslavs at 1700 hrs for disposal instructions.

1 troop 56 Recce ordered to report to 1 RIrf.

B Coy 1 RIrF at Lavamund report Bulgarians are going to sweep area Dravograd – Lavamund and west to Yugoslav border to collect up any Croats that may be in the area.

1030 27 Lancers now under command. 1 squadron to go to Ruden under command 17 Field Regiment. 1 squadron to move from Judenburg to Twimberg today.

1300 Army Commander visits Brigade HQ. The Brigade Commander was out with the Bulgarians and Yugoslavs but Lt Col Bredin CO 2 LIR, who happened to be at the HQ, deputised and was able to give the Army Commander a fair picture of the situation.

1600 16 DLI arrive at Bleiburg. Bttn HQ established in Castle at Bleiburg. 13 Battery, 17 Field Regiment, C Squadron 2 RTR less troop and D support Group to eventually to be under their command and form Bleiburg garrison.

Brigade Commander, during his conferences, gave the Bulgarians permission to pass their transport of two artillery regiments up to Wolfsberg road to Koflach and Graz. The transport came through during late afternoon and evening and there were no untoward incidents.

2100 254 A/Tk Battery report one man was shot and seriously wounded by a civilian whilst on railway guard north of Wolfsberg station.

1 RIrF – ST ANDRAE 623974.

New change in policy.  Brigade OP Instruction No 6.

SS and Cossacks moved in groups to respective assembly areas, the Cossacks moving in a body at 1330 hrs.

Bulgarian Army were given permission to use road north west from Lavamund to St Paul to reach their proper area. We were instructed to give them every assistance and this we did, even to the extent of having a Sherman tank tow each Bulgarian vehicle up the hill from Lavamund

2 Innisks – VILLACH .

0900 The guard on the vehicle and oil drum was withdrawn as there was nothing further to report.

1100 Four interpreters from German surrendered personnel were attached to the bttn to help us over the language difficulty.


1030 One officer and 43 ORs of the Luftwaffe evacuated by march route from bttn cage to their own assembly area near Klagenfurt.

During the night, a party of Yugoslavs proceeding to Graz were taken over from the 1 RIrF and escorted through Wolfsberg and allowed to proceed on their way north.

1200 Four Officers and 203 ORs of the 7th Field Eisenbahn Division by march route to Klagenfurt.

1900 Bttn band played in the town square.