Czechoslovak military units on Eastern front

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 the gulags, and by the time that the Soviet offensive entered Czechoslovakia, it had formed the Czechoslovak Army I Corps.

It first saw action at the Battle of Sokolovo in March 1943, in which it performed well and was commended by the Soviet High Command. The 1st Czechoslovakian Independent Brigade (as it had by then become) played a key role in the 1943 battle of Kiev, and its troops were some of the first to reach the center of the Ukrainian capital city. In the autumn of 1944, 13,000 members of the Czechoslovakian Army's I Corps participated in the Battle of Dukla Pass, and after fierce fighting they finally set foot on their native soil once more. Czechoslovakian troops were also involved in the Prague Offensive, the last major World War II battle in Europe.

After the war, Soviet general Ivan Konev said: "we noted a remarkable exhibition of high valor in Czechoslovakian soldiers. We were pleased with the fact that the Czechoslovakian soldiers were included in military struggle against the German fascists as they boldly attacked enemy troops."

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