WORLD WAR I

GENESIS CZECHOSLOVAK LEGION
LEGION IN RUSSIA

LEGION IN FRANCE

IN THE ALLIED ARMED FORCES

EVACUATION
IN A FREE HOME

EPILOGUE

 

INTRODUCTION
PHOTOGALLERY
CONTACT



CZECHOSLOVAK LEGION IN RUSSIA

The first Czech volunteer unit that became the base for the Czechoslovak legions in Russia was the "Czech Retinue". The Czech countrymen living in Russia founded it on 12th August 1914. The main body of the "Czech Retinue" consisted of 720 volunteers (so-called "Starodružijníci" /"Old fellows"/), including the future famous commanders Švec, Vašátko - warrant officers at that time, Klecanda, Čeček - third lieutenants at that time, and others.

The members of the " Czech Retinue " swore an oath on the oldest combat standard with the St Wenceslas´ crown embroidered on it on the day of St Wenceslas, the patron saint of the Czech kingdom - /28th September 1914/.

At the front, they were active in small groups up to a half of platoon as part of 3rd Russian Czar´s Army. They executed small raids, propagated handbills in the front zone and gained information about the situation of the enemy from prisoners. They also initiated the desertion of Czech units from the Austrian side to the Russian side.

The Austro-Hungarian command ordered to search for the members of the "Czech Retinue" and to sentence them to death immediately after arresting.

Since spring 1915 Czechs and Slovaks joined another unit, Serbian Corps, which was found by Slavonic Austro-Hungarian prisoners. After a battle at Dobruch a part of the Czech soldiers changed to the 1st Czechoslovak Rifle Brigade.

The Czechoslovak Rifle Brigade was deployed as a whole into the fights within the Russian summer offensive. On 2nd July 1917 it started an attack against the enemy and broke the adversary defence on the whole zone in six hours with the use of so-called "catlike dash". It overran four lines of trenches and took up an area of 5km depth and fulfilled the task of a whole corps. Less than 3.500 Czech soldiers managed with a loss of 190 men and 800 injured men to take 3.200 captives, 15 cannons and a considerable numbers of weapons and military equipment.

Unfortunately, the attack of the majority of Russian troops was not successful and the Kerensky´s offensive ended fast. On the other hand, the victory of the Czechoslovak Brigade at Zborov won not only Russian but also international appreciation and provided additional recruitment of prisoners for the newly crated 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Rifle Regiment that were founded in Borispol, a small Ukrainian town. Even T. G. Masaryk visited Borispol in August.

When the Czechoslovak Corps were leaving Ukraine, there was a danger that the 1st Rifle Division units would be encircled at Bachmach by the proceeding German Army. Therefore, the units of 6th Rifle Regiment "Hanácký" and 7th Rifle Regiment "Tatranský" were ordered to keep the railway junction safe until the transport of all Czechoslovak trains. Also the 4th Regiment of "Prokop Holý" was involved in the fights. The Czechoslovak units succeeded and kept the German´s superior strength back. With the loss of 90 dead soldiers and 200 injured ones the Czech troops managed to go east.

"Anabasis" - this name signifies the fight of the Czechoslovak Legion withdrawing from the Ukraine in March 1918 and ending in an evacuation of Czechoslovak troops from Vladivostok in 1920. It includes: (see the draft)

•  7 March 1918 - handing over the equipment to Czechoslovak legions in Penza ;

•  14 May 1918 - "Celyabinsk Incident" - one of the decisive battles of the 6 th Hanacky Rifle Regiment and 3 rd J. Zizka z Trocnova Rifle Regiment that influences the action of Czechoslovak legions against the Soviet Army;

•  21 - 26 May 1918 - order from Trocky, Commander-in-Chief of the Red Army - to disarm completely and intern Czechoslovak Legions - followed by an unexpected raid on the Czeslochoslovak transports at Marianovka, Irkutsk, Zlatouste and Krasnoyarsk;

•  25 - 26 May 1918 - occupation of Mariinsk and Novonikolajevsk regions by the 7 th Rifle Regiment;

•  29 May 1918 - occupation of the town of Syzran , Samara, Orengurg and Ufa by the 1 st and 4 th Rifle Regiments;

•  7 June 1918 - occupation of the centre of Siberia - Omsk by the 2 nd and 6 th Rifle Regiment;

•  9 June 1918 - joining of the Siberian and Omsk´s group at the station of Tatarskaja;

•  29 June 1918 - occupation of Vladivostok under the command of General Diterichs;

•  5 July 1918 - occupation of Nikolsko Ussurijske by the 5 th and 8 th Regiment;

•  6 July 1918 - occupation of the major part of the Siberian Railway from the Volga to Irkutsk . Joining of all Czechoslovak troops that are located to the west of lake Baikal ;

•  14 July - 16 August 1918 - controlling of the tunnels by Baikal by means of an end-run over mountains and the lake;

•  7 August 1918 - ground and river operation through which the city of Kazan is occupied;

•  9 August 1918 - gathering of 259 Legionnaire trains, 531 passenger coaches and 10,287 train cars in Vladivostok ;

•  20 August 1918 - capturing and torturing to death of Lieutenant Colonel Usakov, the commander of the Eastern Group at the station of Posolskaja;

•  1 September 1918 - joining of the Eastern and Vladivostok groups at the station of Olovjannaja;

•  26 October 1918 - "Tragedy at Aksakovo", suicide of Colonel Svec, 1 st Rifle Division Commander at the station of Aksakovo;

•  1 November 1918 - arrival of General Stefanik, Minister of Military Affairs (in December Gen. Janin);

•  10 November 1918 - ceremony of awarding Standards to Czechoslovak Units of the 2 nd Rifle Division;

•  15 - 30 January 1919 - handing over the front to the Russian anti-bolshevic Army;

•  1 February 1919 - establishment of the 3 rd Rifle Division in Krasnoyarsk ;

•  1 - 15 February 1919 - occupation and providing defence of the set area of the Siberian route;

•  before May 1919 - carrying out deep pursuit actions to the south up to the Mana river;

•  June 1919 - suppressing of major rebellious and subversive forces at the Siberian Railway;

•  October 1919 - launch of the transfer of Czechoslovak troops to Vladivostok (according to the directives from the homeland);

•  November 1919 - interception of Czechoslovak troops with the troops of Ataman Semenov;

•  7 February 1920 - signing of truce at the station of Kujtun on condition that after passing all Czechoslovak trains, the Russian Golden Treasure be handed over to the Council of People's Commissars;

•  1 March 1920 - the transfer of all Legionary trains from the Irkutsk region completed;

•  to 2 September 1920 - preparation and implementation of the evacuation of the Czechoslovak legions from Vladivostok back home.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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