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Czech and Slovak Legion
(1939-1942)
1st Czechoslovak Independent Field Battalion (1942-1943)
1st Czechoslovak Independent Brigade (1943-1944)
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Chronology of events
The following events are related to Czechoslovak eastern military units:

1939

14.03. Slovakia and Subcarpathian Rus declared independence on Czechoslovakia. Hungarian occupation of Subcarpathian Rus began (after 05:00 am).
15.03. German occupation of Czechoslovakia (Czech lands).
30.04.Foreign Czechoslovak military group, the first one in exile came into existence in Krakow (Poland).
05.05.Group's vow.
22.05.109 members of group went to France. In total 1159 members left Poland and ferried by ships (5x transports) to the West. 600 of them entered Foreign Legion.
19.06.Lieutenant colonel Svoboda became a commander of Czechoslovak group.
06.07.The Czechoslovak group (also called as Krakow's group) moved to the camp in Bronowice Małe situated near Krakow.
30.08.The group moved from Bronowice Małe to the training camp of Leśna situated near Baranowicze. Army general Prachala accepted terms of Czechoslovak exile-prezident Benes and became a commander of Czechoslovak group.
30.08.93 Czechoslovak pilots left group and entered Polish army.
03.09.Polish prezident Ignacy Mościcki placed a decree about the foundation of Czech and Slovak legion in Poland under the commander of army general Lev Prchala.
11.09.Bad situation on front required evacuation of Czechoslovaks from camp (from them 200 members were evacuated later, finally they crossed Rumanian borders).
15.09.Group of 24 members taken from legion strengthened anti-aircraft defense in Tarnopol. Reportedly Czechoslovaks hit one German bomber and another damaged.
17.09.Paradoxicaly village Hluboczek Wielki, where was situated Czech and Slovak legion was bombed by enemy Slovak aviation.
18.09.Legion [1] (except group which defended Tarnopol) was enveloped and taken at Rakowiec by the Red Army, which assaulted Poland from the East.
22.09.Internee legionaries were concentrated at artillery barracs in Ukrainian city of Kamenec Podolsky and presented under "Folk commissariat of inner affairs" (NKVD).
07.10.Czech and Slovak legion was reorganized into Eastern group of Czechoslovak army. The legion started talks about sending a group to fight in France.
17.10.Members of Eastern group were sent to internment camp in Olchovcy.
06.11.Group arrived to internment camp in Jarmolince.

1940

01.04.Group moved to internment camp in Oranky. Group consisted of 132 officers, 25 technical-sergeants, 620 non-commissioned officers and soldiers.
08.04.According agreement between Czechoslovak exile government, the French and Soviets first transport of 45 persons from internment camp to France was sent. During 1940-1941 were sent to France and Middle East [2] another 10 transports with the major part of internee Czechoslovaks in USSR.
09.04.Eastern group was reorganized into 2 infantry companies, artillery battery, squadron, technical company and officer training school. At the same time order-of-the-day was published and military training started.

1941

21.05.Assistant of general chief of staff F.I. Golikov started unofficial talks in Moscow with Heliodor Píka, chief of staff of secret Czechoslovak military embassy in Soviet Union. Subject of discussion: intelligence service cooperation, possibility of organizing a Czechoslovak unit on the Soviet territory.
18.07.Czechoslovak exile government and Soviet government concluded a treaty of alliance (which confirmed former treaty from 1935), in accordance with Czechoslovak military unit could be organized.
27.09.In Moscow was signed especial Czechoslovak-Soviet military agreement about formation of Czechoslovak military units. The 5th article of agreement said, that "those units will consist from Czechoslovak citizens situated on USSR territory, who will be called up or volunteers". It gave to colonel Píka (head of Czechoslovak military mission in USSR) demand liberation of Rusyns from gulags.
07.12.Colonel Píka repeatedly demand from L.P. Berija (USSR commissar) liberation of Rusyns from gulags.
08.12.Soviet government approved of the creation of the 1st Czechoslovak independent battalion and reserve company.

1942

03.01.The Soviet state committee of defense approved the amnesty for all Czechoslovak citizens, that were put in prison in the Soviet Union and condemned of "illegal border overrun". At the same time it allowed recruiting of volunteers for Czechoslovak military unit in USSR among the "Soviet citizens of Czechoslovak nationality".
05.02.88 officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers arrived from Oranky to Buzuluk. Those people posed basic command staff of battalion.
12.02.Foundation of the 1st Czechoslovak independent field battalion was officialy declared.
06.03.Colonel Píka negotiated with NKVD officer major-general G.S. Zhukov [3] about liberation of Rusyns.
19.11.Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet approved the amnesty for refugees from Hungary - Rusyns, Ukrainians and Slovaks, who were considered as Czechoslovak citizens till breakdown of Czechoslovakia.
30.11.Accepted decision to organize Reserved regiment from gulags liberated Rusyns.
02.12.Battalion begun military exercise in Buzuluk-Suhorechka area.

1943

30.01.Battalion took a vow, undertook combat standard and left Buzuluk for war. The train (no. 22904) was loaded with 974 people. Only reserved troops (new 1500 volunteers mainly Rusyns) remained in Buzuluk, they were trained and prepared for future combats.
17.02.Based on the request of commander Svoboda, battalion was sent to Kharkov to the first line.
01.03.Battalion arrived to Kharkov after 3 weeks on the rail road (to station Valujki) and 350 km of marching.
02.03.Alert! The 4th German tank army broke through Voronezh front and rolled to Kharkov. Battalion got an order to hold position on 15 km wide line (Timchenkovo-Mirgorod-Artukhovka) of new built up defense on Mza river.
03.03.Battalion moved (at 02:30) as two column formations - strengthened 2nd company to Artukhovka, the rest of battalion to Mirgorod.
04.03.Strengthened 1st company moved across river to village of Sokolovo and started to build up a defence.
06.03.First collisions of reconnaissance patrols. Czechoslovaks disposed German paratroopers around Sokolovo. Defenders destroyed first German tank before village.
08.03.Combat of Sokolovo started, battalion's got first military experience.
09.03.Combat of Sokolovo continued. The Czechoslovaks supported Soviet assault group attack (19:15) and added 2nd and 3rd company to Sokolovo. Germans embattled in Sokolovo in strength of infantry battalion with artillery, mortars and 15 tanks. The 2nd company captured 16 houses, destroyed 3 tanks and 4 machine gun nests. Themselves they lost 23 soldiers, 49 members were wounded. After midnight companies got command to go back into defensive positions.
11.03.Germans planned counter attack (04:00) against attenuate Czechoslovaks (after Germans forces broke Soviet line around village Valki, the major part of Soviet allied support units as tanks, artillery and launchers were dispatched to Kharkov). But attack was stroke back before its start. Czechoslovak sparks Kurt Markovič intercepted the enemy order where German units should be concentrated and those positions were cut up by artillery fire (03:58).
13.03. German forces surrounded city of Kharkov from north and northwest strained after shutting down escape routes from Kharkov's defence area by connectig with onwards units from south and west. For Czechoslovak battalion appeared apprehension of eventual environment and therefore at command of 62nd guards rifle division commander left for Seversky Donec.
15.03. Czechoslovak soldiers escaped from the German environment at the village of Mohnach where they crossed the river of Seversky Donec.
16.03. First records of enlargement of Czechoslovak battalion to higher unit brigade.
25.03. Battalion was detached into reserve.
04.05. Battalion (670 soldiers) left Veseloe, marched through Novy Oskol to Valujki and ater it by railway (train no. 26424) to Novohopersk (09.05.).
05.05. Reserved regiment (1428 persons - 20 officers, 5 technical-sergeants, 57 non-commissioned officers, 1334 soldiers, 12 women) left from Buzuluk to Novohopersk (10.05.), where with former battalion they started the reorganization into 1st Czechoslovak independent brigade.
08.09. Concluding military exercise of brigade under restraint of general G.S. Zhukov.
16.09. Brigade's vow.
30.09. Czechoslovaks were sent to war in force of brigade (3517 soldiers). First from 9 transports left Novohopersk.
05.10. Czechoslovak military mission delivered to Soviet command request to create in USSR own air unit.
13.10. German air-raid (2 junkers) near the railway-station of Jahnovschina inflicted damage to 1st artillery commando, which lost 54 soldiers, 54 others were wounded.
17.10. Last brigade's units arrived to place of gathering - bridgehead on right bank of river Dnepr.
03.11. Czechoslovak 1st artillery commando participated in the mass artillery attack (in formation of 358th rifle regiment) against German positions at Kiev.
04.11.Brigade got an order to bring troops around Children's sanatory before Kiev. Reconnaissance patrols joined in combats.
05.11.Czechoslovak brigade started an attack with adjoining allied units consisted from Soviet 240th rifle division on the left and 136th rifle division on right side.
06.11.Kiev was liberated (06:50), Czechoslovak troops reached the river of Dnepr as first ones.
10.11.Combined group of fast operation appointed from the brigade captured village Cherniakhov. At the same time the rest of brigade built up defense on Stugna river.
11.11.Other combined group of fast operation started occupate the settlements Komuna Chajka and Petrivka.
16.12.Treaty of alliance between Czechoslovak exile government and Soviets was ratificated in Moscow. Commander colonel Svoboda was promoted to brigade general.
26.12.Brigade marched toward Biela Cerkov.
30.12.Brigade captured village of Ruda and moved towards Biela Cerkov.

1944

02.01. Combats of Biela Cerkov continued, brigade was sent in reserve.
05.01.Brigade postured defense in Budenivky area.
09.01.2nd paradesant brigade started an organization in Yefremov (300 km southwards from Moscow). From 01.02. to 15.04. it passed out 13559 trained parachute descents.
17.01.1st Czechoslovak brigade engaged to combats again with command to built up the defense on Gorny Tikich river (line Buzovka-Adamovskij) and to prevent encirclement of Soviet troops before armies of the 1st and the 2nd Ukrainian fronts prepare themselves for Korsun-Shevchenkovsk's operation with aim to eliminate 10 German divisions and 1 motorized brigade.
26.01.Combats on river Gorny Tikich were over. Brigade was moved to Balabanovka, further to other defense positions in Zhashkov area.
07.03.1st Czechoslovak brigade was replaced by Soviet formations. Czechoslovak unit moved to Volyn province settled by Czech minority (about 45.000 Czechs) to mobilize and recharge brigade status.
10.04.Soviet command decided to expand the Czechoslovak unit from brigade to army corps with 3 brigades, tank regiment, artillery regiment, engineering, communications and rear formations.
24.03.Czechoslovak independent brigade held defense position at area Kivercy.
14.04.Newly founded Czechoslovak mortar commando supported Soviet attack against city Torczyn. Between 15.-21.04. submachine-gun battalion from the 1st Czechoslovak independent tank regiment participated in defense combat at Torczyn.
22.04.Concluding military exercise of 2nd Czechoslovak paradesant brigade.
01.05.2nd Czechoslovak paradesant brigade (component part of nascent 1st Czechoslovak army corps) left Yefremov and moved by 5 rail trans to Proskurov going through Kiev and Zhitomir.
30.05.Officialy founded first Czechoslovak air unit in USSR.
15.06.Reorganization of Czechoslovak air unit, founded 1st Czechoslovak independent fighter air regiment.
07The 3rd Czechoslovak independent brigade was organized at Sadhora (Chernivtsi). The 1st Czechoslovak army corps moved from the base to Sambir district (Brzozów).
06.09.1st Czechoslovak army corps moved to Krosno area.
08.09.Carpatho-Dukla's operation started.
09.09.The units of the 1st and 3rd infantry brigades fell under open fire between the villages of Machnówka and Wrocanka. Corps lost 611 soldiers that day. Cause of tragedy was false Soviet information about clean up area from the enemy forces, even Czechoslovak command should self verify area before marching units.
10.09.Because of combat failure and high Czechoslovak losses in first days of Carpatho-Dukla's operation Soviet command established general Svoboda as new corps commander.
11.09.Cruel combats of altitude 534 (later named as "bloody altitude") dominative above city Dukla began.
12.09.2nd Czechoslovak paradesant brigade joined combats in Carpathian Mountains. Aside from absence of heavy weapons brigade successfully, but with indispensable losses, fought next seven days.
13.09.Combats of altitude 534 reached the peak.
15.09.First 4 planes of 1st Czechoslovak independent fighter air regiment flew away to Slovakia.
17.09.All planes of 1st Czechoslovak independent fighter air regiment reached rebellious airport Zolná (Slovakia).
18.09.First air raid made by 1st wing of 1st Czechoslovak independent fighter air regiment against enemy airport in Pieštany.
20.09.Czechoslovaks captured city Dukla.
22.09.Bloody combats of Hyrowa mountain (altitude 694) began.
30.09.Combats of accesses to Czechoslovak state borders.
06.10.German units evacuated area of Dukla's Pass. Czechoslovak troops crossed state border of Czechoslovakia and started to liberate own territory.
06.10.37 transport airplines ferried first members (ap. 3 infantry companies) of 2nd paradesant brigade from USSR to Slovakia, where were immediately moved into combats.
07.10.Hard combats of altitudes 532 (Obšár), 517 (Hrabov), 536 (Javira) began.
18.10.All members of 2nd paradesant brigade were finaly ferried to Slovakia.
25.10.Remaining planes of 1st Czechoslovak independent fighter air regiment left Slovakia.
28.10.After defeat of Slovak national uprising the rest of the 2nd paradesant brigade moved into guerrilla war.
06.11.First recruiting to Czechoslovak military units in Subcarpathian Rus (Ruthenia) started.
13.11.Declared mobilization in first districts of Subcarpathian Rus by Czechoslovak government delegation.
22.11.Combats of Carpathian ranges were in so far bloody and cruel, that whole 1st Czechoslovak army corps numbered this day only 172 soldiers capable of fight.
26.11.Assembly of representative of regional people's committees, created and handled by Soviets, voted resolution in Mukachevo, that Subcarpathian Rus wanted be a part of USSR. Czechoslovak government delegation was banished, recruiting continued [4], but only to Red army. Soviets purposely violated Czechoslovak-Soviet agreement from 08.05.1944, which gave privilege to Czechoslovak exile government administer own territory. Czechoslovak government from this moment lost control above Ruthenia forever.
02.12.After heavy combats in Carpathian Mountains 1st Czechoslovak army corps came to defense operation on river Ondava (40 km wide area Ciechania - Svidník - Stropkov - Breznice).

1945

15.01.Units of the 1st Czechoslovak tank brigade with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th artillery regiments joined Jasel's operation.
18.01.Czechoslovak brigades resumed offensive actions, during two days liberated 41 villages and cities.
19.01.3rd Czechoslovak brigade captured city Bardejov.
25.01.Formation of the 1st Czechoslovak join air division finished.
27.01.3rd Czechoslovak brigade captured city Levoča, 1st Czechoslovak brigade captured city Kežmarok.
01.02.Infantry brigades moved in the direction of Liptovský Mikuláš, however hard enemy defense stopped them. Combats of accesses to city took more then 1 month.
05.02.Foundation of 4th independent brigade in Slovak city Levoča.
19.02.2nd, 4th and 5th artillery regiments were renamed in honour of Jasel's operations as Jasels' regiments.
05.03.4th Czechoslovak independent brigade began own combat activity in framework of 1st Czechoslovak army corps.
11.03.Czechoslovaks lost city Liptovský Mikuláš, liberated on 03.03. by Soviet 24th rifle division.
18.03.1st Czechoslovak independent tank brigade was attached to Soviet 38th army and in that moment epitomized strongest tank unit of whole 4th Ukrainian front.
26.03.1st Czechoslovak independent tank brigade captured polish city Wodzislaw and breached enemy defense before city Ostrava.
04.04.Czechoslovak infantry brigades and Soviet 24th rifle division captured Liptovský Mikuláš once again.
05.04.Czechoslovaks captured city Ružomberok.
06.04.1st, 3rd, 4th Czechoslovak independent brigades started purified mountains Velká Fatra from enemy forces.
11.04.Main forces of 4th Czechoslovak independent brigade achieved city Turčianský Martin. In same time from south moved to city allied soldiers of 18th Rumanian division.
11.04.Infantry brigades started march into mountains Malá Fatra.
22.04.Czechoslovaks finaly captured peak of mountain Polom.
26.04.Dissolved last enemy resistance in mountains Malá Fatra.
30.04.3rd Czechoslovak independent brigade entered Slovak city Žilina. The way to Czech lands was opened.
03.05.Liberation of Czech lands by infantry brigades started.
09.05.From the morning Czechoslovak units followed recessive enemy troops.
10.05.Last two corps's soldiers were killed at village Boskovice.
10.05.Special commando compact of 4 infantry platoons, 1 T-34 platoon, 1 self-propelled machines platoon and 1 armored vehicles platoon entered Prague and secured Prague's castle.
17.05.March past of the 1st Czechoslovak army corps on Old Town square in centre of Prague.
01.06.Parade of the 1st Czechoslovak join air division on airport Praha-Letňany.
26.08.March past of all Czechoslovak airmen (from western and eastern fronts) in Prague.



[1] - according Soviet sources legion had 803 members.
[2] - after defeat of France, Czechoslovak legionaries were sent to territories under British control.
[3] - from 23.09.1941 to 07.05.1943 G.S. Zhukov was chief of 4th department (work with Polish, Czech and other embassies and missions, Polish banishment and internment camps) of 2nd NKVD direction (counterintelligence) and later NKVD officer for connection with Polish and Czechoslovak armies in USSR.
[4] - in all was mobilized only 5477 recruits into Czechoslovak units.

Czechoslovak military units in the USSR (1942-1945) | © 2005-2017 Michal Gelbič | supported by www.czechpatriots.com