Pilsen commemorated the 80th anniversary of the formation of the Czechoslovak Independent Armored Brigade by laying flowers at the monuments in Husova Street, unveiled during the Liberation Festival Pilsen 2012.
The Czechoslovak Independent Armored Brigade was formed from the Czechoslovak Independent Brigade. To increase the numbers of the brigade, newly enrolled Czechoslovaks men were without much military experience. Volunteers kept reporting to the brigade, so it was possible to maintain the team at an acceptable number of soldiers, which was also enhanced by the arrival of Czechoslovak soldiers from Palestine. After moving to Great Britain, these soldiers were transferred from the original 11th “Eastern” infantry battalion to the Czechoslovak Independent Brigade, where they formed one of the battalions.
Brigadier General Alois Liška became the commander. After moving to central England, the brigade had two tank battalions at its disposal, each of which was divided into three tank companies and so-called light workshops. A motorized infantry battalion with four companies was part of the brigade and, like the tank battalions, it was supplemented by a light workshop. Other parts of the brigade were a motorized reconnaissance section, an “anti-vehicle gun section”, an anti-aircraft battery with six 40 mm Bofors guns and an artillery regiment divided into two sections equipped with twenty-five howitzers. Outside the combat formations, the unit’s operation was ensured by support sections, such as engineer and liaison companies, supply company, field court, brigade tank workshops, brigade staff company, field prosecutor’s office and armored brigade headquarters. The unit also included a liaison group, an educational platoon, 8 field gendarmeries, a field post, the so-called “Replacement Corps” and a training center. Important part of the brigade were the experienced radio operators whose work was very complicated due to the complex coding system, but despite this fact they always ensured the functionality and efficiency of the entire unit.
On July 24, the brigade commander, General Alois Liška, received an order from the Minister of National Defense, Sergej Ingr, to leave for France. When the brigade returned from the exercise on August 18, 1944, directives were issued by brigade headquarters to move to Europe.
On August 21, the President of the Republic, Edvard Beneš, visited the brigade. To his honor, the brigade held a parade, followed by a speech by the President, in which he bade farewell to the troops leaving for France. After assembling in the Thames estuary at Southend, the convoy set sail for France on the last day of August. Landings took place at Mulberry Harbor at Arromanches and also at the sheltered anchorages of Goosberry at Graye and Courseulles sur Mer. After the successful landing, the entire brigade was concentrated in the Falaise area in the Transit Camp 60 tent camp and in the villages of Epaney, Fontaine and Le Breuill. Via Falaise, it reached the French city port of Dunkirk, which at the time was still occupied by German troops. Czechoslovak soldiers led by brigade commander General Alois Liška, besieged the city and blocked the Germans until May 8, 1945. During the seven, General Liška’s men repeatedly attacked the enemy. Before the war ended, the front at Dunkirk, artillery shelling, mines and skirmishes brought the death of less than two hundred Czechoslovaks. Shortly after the end of the fighting, the unit set out on its way home – to Czechoslovakia. A part of the brigade, the so-called Combined Section, appeared in Pilsen already on May 7, 1945, the first convoys of vehicles of the brigade reached the city 11 days later. Among soldiers in British uniforms with the flag of Czechoslovakia on their shoulders was also Staff Captain Pták ( Rudolf Pták gear and documents can be seen at the Patton Memorial Pilsen museum)
His first steps in Pilsen headed to Skvrňany, where his beloved waited throughout the war. In May 1945, the Czechoslovak Independent Armored Brigade took up positions on the demarcation line, where it stood alongside the American troops. Later, the newly emerging Czech Republic became the basis for the creation of the entire Tank Corps. of the army. After February 1948, many of the “brigadiers” were persecuted, imprisoned, and even executed.
In 2019, the Patton Memorial Pilsen museum, led by curators Milan Jíša and Ivan Rollinger (in expert collaboration with Karel Foud), prepared the exhibition From Dunkirk to Pilsen” – the story of the Czechoslovak Independent Armored Brigade, which commemorated the destiny of the Czechoslovak soldiers, who fought for our freem on western front.