Czechy 1945
Wydawnictwo Militaria

It isn't customary for an author to review his own publication and it also isn't my intention. I shall not comment upon the original text delivered by me for the publication "Czechy 1945" (Wydawnictvo Militaria). Others are entitled to do that. This review takes notice of those encroachments upon the text, which made someone anonymous, who, driven by modesty, rather didn't give publicity to his co-authorship. It is a pity because he was extremely successful at turning the publication about the end of Wehrmacht in Silesia, Moravia and Bohemia into a brainteaser. Fortunately enough the photographs on the chalk paper came off well and also 31 out of 51 renderings are perfect. However, it cannot be said about their legend, not mentioning at least one third of the text. I shall continue with an enumeration of the most serious mistakes as compared to the manuscript. The list is arranged according to the pages.

Pps. 5 & 6: Gendarmery is mistaken for the customs officers. General Slunečko (Alex) decided to fight late in the morning of the 5th May and not "at the midday".

Pp. 7: Description of the beginning of the fight for the broadcasting isn't accurate. There is not a trace of the police reinforcements in the street Bartolomějská. Well-known call at 12:33 was first of all aimed at those men. The passage about revolutionary national committees was shortened, therefore their specification as civil executive authorities parallel to the illegal military structures is missing. Before the list of the insurgent AFVs are missing important words "for example".

Pp. 8: In the left column there is a complete nonsense. It says that battles in Bohemia were over by 7th May. In the right column is missing that the 1st Czechoslovak corps was in the area of North-east Slovakia already in January and further in March and April fought for Liptovský Svätý Mikuláš. Most probably there is a typist's error in the legend of the photograph at the bottom of the page: T-34/75 had a number 421.

Pp. 9: The offensive of the 4th Ukrainian Front in Upper Silesia was under way from 24th March till 14th April and not just during these two days. On 26th April, when the third stage of the Ostrava operation started, the Czechoslovak tank brigade had only 18 tanks out of 65 and not "just 65". After the battles of Olomouc the last 8 tanks which were still able to fight set forward Prague. This happened on 9th May and not "7. Maja". It remains incomprehensible why the last letter of the abbreviation of the 1st Czechoslovak Independent Armoured Group had been cut off. (The same appears also on pps. 16 and 46.) Civil executive in Cheb(Eger) was managed by a Czech Combined troop (detached from CSIABG), which came to the town only after its conquest. American headquarters did not allow them to set from Pilsen forward Prague because of the treaty with the Soviet Union. According to this treaty no fighting troops were allowed to cross the line of demarcation. Legend to the photograph at the top of the page has number 61 by mistake. Czechoslovak T-34 had in April 1945 three digit numbers. 1st Czechoslovak Tank Brigade in the USSR got heavy tanks IS-2 (photograph at the bottom) only after the end of fighting.

Pp. 10: 1st division of ROA has at the beginning of April fortified against Germans in the area of Děčínský Sněžník.

Pp. 12 : Czechoslovak T-34/76 num. 421 should have full roadwheels as shows on the photograph on pp. 8

Pp. 13 : Bumper code on M-24 Chaffee belongs to a cavalry unit. I don't know the photograph, which served as a basis for this rendering. SdKfz 222 as shown in the middle of the page used the Soviet army in Kladno. I do not know whether this machine had anything in common with 19st PzD.

Pp. 15: Photograph of the Sd Kfz 251 used by the Vlasov army was taken in street Bartolomějská. More or less 1/3 of the 2nd Division of ROA has made it into American taking. It wasn't the whole division as the text suggests. 1st Hungarian Army was set to the front in Galicia in May 1945 but it was pushed to the Sub-Carpathian Ukraine. Later on, when Rumania joined the Allies, some of its troops had to be sent to the south of Hungary. Down there the 2nd and 3rd Armies were hastily forming. In May 1945 many Hungarian soldiers joined Czech uprisers in eastern, not in "western" Bohemia. Part of the Hungarian troops on the Soviet side was the 1st Signal Battalion, not "engineer battalion". 3rd American Army covered left, not "right", flank of Allied troops advancing against the Alpenfestung. 2nd Cavalry Group of the US army is continuously wrong translated as "2nd Armoured Division".

Pp. 17: Legend to the photograph at the top of the page does not mention that this jeep had name BEATI on both sides right above the back axles.

Pp. 18: Passage about negotiations between Eisenhover and Antonov about the line of demarcation was reworded. The new version sounds as if the two had reached mutual agreement. Activities of the American soldiers behind the line of demarcation are also garbled. It did continue after the 9th May.

Pp. 19: Passage about 2nd Polish Army has been completely changed. I could hardly insist that 4th Panzer Armee had tanks only in its name. Part of it was actually Panzer Corps Hermann Göring with its tank and panzer grenadier divisions.

Pp. 22: Soviet 1st Guards Cavalry-mechanised Group is wrongly translated as "corps".

Pp. 23: Legend to the Sherman at the top of the page mentions American 8th Armored Division to be in May 1945 in Bohemia. It is a nonsense. This division reached Bohemia in summer 1945. It came as part of the XXII. Corps, which replaced V. and XII. Corpses. Legend to the insurgent Sd Kfz 251 (rendering in the middle) is lacking the information that this unit was formed around garrison of the Protectorate Government troops in Písek and that it actually fought retreating SS troops in Bernartice.

Pp. 24: Rendering of Czechoslovak Studebaker at the top is in the word "vítězí" missing accent above "i" and hook above "e". The sign on the Studebaker in the middle was in reality on the drop-side of the body and it had a different shape too. Unit that was using it was not a tank unit. This mark most probably belonged to the 31st Army. Soviet rifle units were on foot with officers on horsebacks and horse-drawn supplies. Only artillery and higher command were partly equipped with cars. Studebaker on the picture was one of three such cars that belonged to the group of lieutenant colonel Ustinov. These cars were on the 10th May the first to enter Lomnice nad Popelkou.

Pp. 25: Mudguards of M-24 should be up as on the photograph on pp. 17. It belonged to the 16th Tank Battalion of the 16th Armored Division, not "regiment". Legend to the Priest at the bottom of the page has the same mistakes as legend to the Sherman on pp. 23.

Pp. 26: Tank T-34/76 of the Vlasov army (rendering in the middle of the page) could be seen at the parade of the 1st Division of Russian Liberation Army on the 15th February 1945 in Münsinger. Sherman at the bottom belonged to the 16th Tank Battalion, not regiment.

Pp. 27: Hetzer at the bottom should bear letters POA (an abbreviation of Russkaya Osvobozhditelnaya Armia in cyrillic) instead of number "9".

Pp. 30: Pz. IV at the top had white corded stars. Rendering of Pz. IV in the middle is most probably invented anew, possibly on the basis of the photograph on pp. 38.

Pp. 31: Between 10. - 18. March the 4th Ukrainian front should have covered 120 km, not just 20 km. From the side of Racibórz/Ratibor, the 60th and the 38th Armies led the offensive. Due to improper shortening of text all that was left is "both armies". Battles for the fortification line between Opava and Ostrava took 10 days, not 2. Description of the plan of the Prague operation is interrupted in the middle. Fast groups of the 1st and the 2nd Ukrainian Front should occupy left banks of rivers Vltava and Labe on the 12th May. Only after that the main force of the fronts should crush besieged Group of Armies Mitte. Photograph at the bottom of the page was taken on the 9th May in Kolín, not in Prague.

Pp. 32: Legend to the map should read "advance of Rumanian armies" not "advance of the 1st Rumanian Army".

Pp. 34: General Klapálek became general "Klepalek". The whole passage is taken from some handbook printed during the communist era. It even includes charming story of the "Gončarenko´s tank no. 23". Compared to the photograph on pp. 48 it is rather excitable.

Pp. 35: Passage about the 1st and the 4th Rumanian Army is shortened. Someone also reworded the text about the 2nd Tank Regiment of the Rumanian Army. Resources used in the rewording are unknown to me. It is hard to judge its accuracy but Pasohlávky became "Paslawki".

Pp. 36: Photograph at the top of the page was taken during German retreat on the 8. May in Polička. In the territory east of river Morava operated the Group of Armies Mitte and Süd since 9th February 1945.

Pp. 37: Panther on the photograph taken in the region of Ostrava is evidently version Ausf. G.

Pp. 38: Text in left column at the bottom and in the right column at the top was completely changed. Feldherrenhalle division has stopped the 6th Guards Tank Army of the Soviets in front of Prostějov. Up in the north the advance of the 4th Ukrainian Front was delayed by the fight for the pre-war Czechoslovak fortifications between Ostrava and Opava. That is why the German 1st Tank Army managed to retreat from the territory. Otherwise it would have been besieged. 7th German Army found refuge behind Czech border-mountains after an exhausting retreat from Rhine during which Germans played for time with an American army. From the beginning of May it was subordinated to the Group of Armies Mitte. In the line next to Panzers IV as shown on the photograph at the top there were also four Panthers and a Jagdpanther. In the front rank there are soldiers of the 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps. The plate "DESTROYED BY THE II. TANK BATTALION" (in Czech) on the photograph at the bottom is illegible. Legend of the picture is lacking notice of the heavily fortified blockhouse in the rear.

Pp. 41: Legend of the rendering of a Rumanian self-propelled gun is lacking an important notice that it is only a reconstruction.

Pp. 42: Rendering of BA-64 is lacking a hyphen between circles and number (viz. photograph on pp. 53).

Pp. 44: Photographs on the left (top and bottom) were taken during retreat of the Feldherrenhalle division through Polička. Kampfgruppe of general Reimann was in the text moved to Dresden while it operated in the territory east of Prague.

Pp. 45: In the region of Havlíčkův Brod headquarters of the 1st Panzer Army, not the whole army, surrendered. Someone inserted following text: "fights with Germans in Giant Mountains, which lasted till summer 1945". ???

Pp. 46: It is missing, that parts of Slovakian territorial army retreated to Bošác lowlands near Nové Mesto nad Váhom. Germans wanted to use them in the defence of the passes in the border region between Moravia and Slovakia. All Slovakian soldiers in Bošác run away with their weapons.

Pp. 47: Cars of the Czechoslovak brigade in Great Britain bore its own sign and not a non-existent "sign of Bohemia and Moravia". Further on it is missing that the square with white number 77 was blue in the lower half and red in the upper half. Letters POA on the hetzers of the Vlasov army were white. Symbol of the St. Andrew´s cross on the vehicles of R. L. A. is not documented - the text declares something else.

Pp. 49: Passages describing camouflage and marking of the Soviet army were shortened in such a way, that they can't be used any more. Photograph at the bottom of the page was taken at the building of the State bank in Prague.

Pp. 50: Half-track on the photograph at the top belonged to the 156th Signal Company. Its code can be clearly seen on it´s bumper. This company was part of the 16th Armored Division.

Pp. 51: Legend to the photograph at the top is lacking that those soldiers are wearing Czechoslovak uniforms.

Pp. 52: Marking chart for tanks of the 4th Polish Tank Brigade can't be used for other Polish brigades.

Pp. 53: There is a typist's error in the name of R. Heydrich in the legend to the photograph at the top. Legend to the photograph at the bottom is lacking the notice of a triangle for the airforce on the top of the hull of IS-2. The vehicle is going down the street Sokolovská, from Rokytka to the Vysočany town hall, in the Prague district of Vysočany.

Pp. IV of the cover: Reconstruction of the Panther on the top of the page was done on the basis of the photograph on pp. 37. It means that this machine wasn't destroyed at Vyškov but at Ostrava. It is a version Ausf. G.

Tomáš Jakl