Czechoslovak military units in the USSR (1942 - 1945)

Dear visitors,

welcome to the Internet pages dedicated to members of the Czechoslovak military units in the USSR who had fought to liberate Ukrainian and later Czechoslovak territories between 1943 and 1945.

In September 1938, German political pressure against Czechoslovakia had reached its peak. Czechoslovakia initially rejected an ultimatum to surrender the Sudetenland. The Czechoslovak Army mobilized 1.28 million troops who were armed with modern weapons, and prepared to fight. But France and Great Britain ignored their military and moral obligations and threw their ally to the wolves to obtain an illusory "peace in Europe". With Nazi Germany and unfriendly Poland and Hungary practically surrounding Czechoslovakia, a large and hostile Sudeten German minority within the country, growing pressure by Slovak and Ukrainian nationalists for more autonomy, and abandonment by treaty allies made it practically impossible for the country to resist.

In September 1938, Czechoslovakia yielded the Sudetenland; in March 1939, Czechoslovakia lost both its freedom and independence. Its army was demobilized and the troops sent home. But many soldiers refused to compromise their pride and honor and began to look for alternative ways to resist the Nazis. They fought in domestic resistance organizations, in the Polish and French armies, in Britain’s Royal Air Force where they gained renown in the Battle of Britain, in North Africa and Middle East. But the largest group by far was in the USSR.

The 1st Czechoslovak Independent Field Battalion, organized in Buzuluk, a city in the Ural Mountains, was the first allied unit to take part in combat alongside the Red Army on Soviet territory. During its first combat deployment in the Battle of Sokolovo (March 1943), the battalion withstood its baptism by fire and obtained the approval of the Soviet command. In 1944, the battalion was reorganized as a brigade when its ranks were expanded by Rusyns who had been freed from the Gulag. The 1st Czechoslovak Independent Brigade then played a key role in the liberation of Kiev (November 1943), when its members were the first to fight their way to the Dniepr River. By autumn 1944, 13,000 Czechoslovak troops, now organized as the 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps, moved into Battle of Dukla Pass as part of Carpathian-Dukla operation. After a long and bloody struggle, its soldiers finally entered their native land of Czechoslovakia, where they continued to fight until the final victory!

Unfortunately, except for those of them who had passed through the Soviet Gulag, these valiant soldiers could not guess that their wartime sacrifices would not lead to the restoration of freedom. Stalin and Czechoslovak communists had long before decided the postwar destiny of Czechoslovakia and the type of life so many its heroes would have to endure...


Czech and Slovak Legion (1939 - 1942)
1st Czechoslovak Independent Field Battalion (1942 - 1943)
1st Czechoslovak Independent Brigade (1943 - 1944)
1st Czechoslovak Army Corps (1944 - 1945)

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