- 1st Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade
Československá samostatná obrněná brigáda Active Sep 1943 - May 1945 Country Czechoslovakia Allegiance Expatriates equipped and
supplied by Great Britain
Branch Army Type Armoured Size Brigade Part of 21st Army Group Engagements Siege of Dunkirk (1944) Commanders Notable
MG Alois Liška
The 1st Czechoslovak Independent Armoured Brigade Group (Czech: Československá samostatná obrněná brigáda) was an armoured unit of expatriate Czechoslovaks organised and equipped by the United Kingdom during the Second World War in 1943.
The brigade landed in Normandy in August 1944 and was given the mission of containing the German-held port of Dunkirk for the rest of the war in Europe. In May 1945, the brigade moved to Czechoslovakia and was absorbed into the Czechoslovak Army.
The 1st Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade was created on 1 September 1943 when the 1st Czechoslovak Independent Brigade (itself originally formed as 1st Czechoslovak Mixed Brigade in July 1940 from remnants of the French Army's 1st Czechoslovak Division) converted to armour and was redesignated as the 1st Czechoslovak Independent Armoured Brigade Group (this was often simplified to 1st Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade or abbreviated 1st CSIABG). The brigade was under the command of Major General Alois Liška. The motorised infantry battalion of the brigade traced its lineage back to Czechoslovak units that had fought in Libya and Lebanon, notably the 11th Infantry Battalion which took part in the defence of Tobruk.
Siege of Dunkirk
The formation continued to train in the UK until the summer of 1944 when, with some 4,000 troops under command, it moved to Normandy, joining 21st Army Group at Falaise on 30 August. On 6 October, the brigade advanced to Dunkirk, northern France, and relieved the 154 (Highland) Infantry Brigade on the eastern side of the besieged German-held "fortress" of Dunkirk. The brigade was subordinated to the First Canadian Army, which was, at the time, responsible for the conduct of the siege. The tank units of the brigade were primarily equipped with the Cromwell tank, as well as Sherman Fireflies and M5 Stuarts. Crusader AA tanks were dispatched with the division but not believed to be used. They were supported by a Motor Battalion in M5 Halftracks and Universal Carriers, an anti-tank battery of 12 Ordnance QF 17 pounder anti-tank guns and a Field Artillery Regiment of two Batteries of Ordnance QF 25 pounder Howitzers. In addition the unit was supported by a Reconnaissance Squadron which used Humber Light Reconnaissance Car, M5 Stuarts, Humber Scout Cars and Cromwell tanks
1st Brigade spent the remainder of the war at Dunkirk, alternately attacking and being attacked by the energetic German garrison, including a successful major raid on German positions on 28 October 1944, Czechoslovakian Independence Day. During that time the brigade was reinforced by French units formed from local French Forces of the Interior troops; on 15 October these were amalgamated into the 110th French Infantry Regiment of two battalions, and on 24 January 1945 the regiment was redesignated as the 51st French Infantry Regiment and expanded to four battalions. Various British and Canadian formations also supported the siege at one time or another.
In November the brigade passed from the First Canadian Army back to direct control by Montgomery’s 21st Army Group. In the spring of 1945 the 1st Armoured Brigade Group was expanded to 5,900 Czechoslovak officers and men, some of whom came from nationals recruited in liberated France, and a significant group (a tank battalion, an artillery regiment, a motor transport company and a company of engineers) from Czechs forced to serve in the Wehrmacht and who were then captured by the Allies in Normandy.
Return to Czechoslovakia
On 23 April, a symbolic 140-men strong unit led by major Sítek detached from the troops besieging Dunkirk, joined with the 3rd US Army and raised the Czechoslovak flag on its homeland border crossing on 1 May 1945 at Cheb.
The Dunkirk garrison did not surrender until 9 May 1945, when 15,500 German troops and three U-boats were captured by the Czechoslovaks. The brigade then marched to Prague, reaching the city on 18 May 1945, eight days after the arrival of Soviet-sponsored Czechoslovak troops commanded by Ludvík Svoboda.
During the siege of Dunkirk, the Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade suffered 668 casualties; 167 dead, 461 wounded, and 40 missing.
Order of battle
Organization in September 1944:
- 1st Czechoslovak Tank Battalion
- 2nd Czechoslovak Tank Battalion
- 1st Czechoslovak Motorized Infantry Battalion (two companies)
- Artillery regiment (two battalions)
- Anti-tank battalion
- Engineer battalion (two companies)
- Reconnaissance squadron (became 3rd Czechoslovak Tank Battalion in late 1944)
Organization in May 1945:
- 1st Czechoslovak Tank Battalion
- 2nd Czechoslovak Tank Battalion
- 3rd Czechoslovak Tank Battalion
- 1st Czechoslovak Motorized Infantry Battalion (three companies)
- Artillery regiment (three battalions)
- Anti-tank battalion
- Engineer battalion (three companies)
Notes and references
Czechoslovakia in World War II
- ^ Nigel Thomas, Foreign Volunteers of the Allied Forces 1939-45, p. 5, London:Osprey Publishing, 1998, ISBN 1-85532-136-X.
- ^ a b c d Nase noviny - The port of Dunkirk in WWII - The Czechoslovaks at Dunkirk 1944-45
- ^ New Vanguard 77: Humber Light Reconnaissance Car 1941–45, Richard Doherty, Osprey Publishing 2011, ISBN 9781849083102
- ^ "The Containing of Dunkirk, 15 Sep 44 - 6 Feb 45 (Report 184), para.162" (pdf). CANADIAN PARTICIPATION IN THE OPERATIONS IN NORTH-WEST EUROPE 1944. PART V: CLEARING THE CHANNEL PORTS, 3 SEP 44 - 6 FEB 45. Historical Section, Canadian Military Headquarters. http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-dhp/his/rep-rap/doc/cmhq/cmhq184.pdf. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
- ^ Václav Straka, Před Dunkerkem (At Dunkirk), a text in book Z válečného deníku by Ladislav Sitenský, Naše vojsko 1991, ISBN 80-206-0247-X, page 278 (in Czech)
- ^ Foreign Volunteers, p. 5.
Military units and formations Resistance membersAdolf Opálka · Jan Kubiš · Jozef Gabčík · Josef Mašín · Jan Opletal · Alois Eliáš · František Moravec · Karel Pavlík · Josef Balabán · Václav Morávek · Abrahám Pressburger · Josef Matoušek · Jaroslav Čihák · Otakar Jaroš · Ján Golian · Rudolf Pernický · Bedřich Reicin · Richard Tesařík · Rudolf Viest · Ludvík Svoboda · Marie Ljalková Resistance groups Resistance operations Royal Air Force Battles
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
1st Brigade — can refer to numerous military formations, usually with long traditions, in various countries. They include:Australia* 1st Brigade (Australia) *1st Light Horse BrigadeBelgium* 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade * 1st Brigade (Belgium)Canada* 1st… … Wikipedia
1st Armored — may refer to:*1st Armoured Division (Australia) *1st Canadian Armoured Brigade *1st Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade *1st Armored Division (France) *1st Armoured Division (India) *1st Armoured Brigade (Poland) *1st Armoured Division (Poland) *1st… … Wikipedia
Czechoslovak Legion (1939) — Czechoslovak Legion of 1939 was formed in Second Polish Republic after Germany occupied Czechoslovakia in March 1939. While about 4000 Czechs and Slovaks joined the French Foreign Legion, about a 1000 chose to go to Poland, which looked likely to … Wikipedia
Czechoslovak military units on Eastern front — The 1st Independent Field Battalion, which was formed in Buzuluk, in the Urals, was the first Allied unit fighting alongside the Red Army in Soviet territory. Later it was reinforced to brigade strength, largely by Rusyn prisoners released from… … Wikipedia
Czechoslovak 11th Infantry Battalion — 11th Infantry Battalion East Active World War II Country Czechoslovakia Type Infantry Engagements Syria Lebanon campaign, Sie … Wikipedia
No. 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron RAF — No. 312 Squadron RAF Active 29 August 1940 15 February 1946 Country … Wikipedia
List of Polish armoured fighting vehicles — This is a list of armoured fighting vehicles used by Polish forces. =Armoured cars= * Peugeot 1918 armoured car (Poland bought 20 Peugeot 1918 armoured cars from France in 1920) * Ford FT B armoured car (Ford Model T with added armour and a… … Wikipedia
Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein — Field Marshal The Right Honourable The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein KG GCB DSO PC … Wikipedia
List of World War II topics (0-9) — # 1 Alpine Division Taurinense # 1 Alpini Regiment # 1 Cent WWII (Dutch coin) # 1 Mountain Artillery Regiment (Italy) # 1 vs 40 (Zipang manga) # 1. Jagd Division # 1.1 /75 caliber gun # 10 cm K 17 # 10.5 cm FlaK 38 # 10.5 cm leFH 16 # 10.5 cm… … Wikipedia
Military of the Czech Republic — Armáda České republiky … Wikipedia