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SlowBurn68
01-11-2008, 06:06 PM
This is a great map, but did any fighting even happen there in ww2? I'm having a hard time finding info, and would appreciate any links to the war history of the region.

Thanks...

SlowBurn68
01-11-2008, 06:06 PM
This is a great map, but did any fighting even happen there in ww2? I'm having a hard time finding info, and would appreciate any links to the war history of the region.

Thanks...

CzechTexan
01-11-2008, 07:13 PM
The following articles are from a forum on the Slovak website www.letka13.sk (http://www.letka13.sk)
Photos were included but not shown here.

The Carpathian-Dukla Operation is probably unknown to most of the people in the West, however, the numbers of troops involved, its almost 3-month duration and heavy casualties suffered classify it as a big one. Even more important, during this operation, the Red Army together with 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps first time entered the territory of Czechoslovakia.

On 29th August 1944, Slovak National Uprising broke out in central Slovakia. Since there was a chance that two Slovak infantry divisions located in eastern Slovakia could open the mountain passes on north-east Slovak-Polish border to allow the Red Army to enter the Slovakia and thus utilize the Uprising to penetrate deeply into the German held territory, and also since Stalin did not liked the idea of any nation in his sphere to organize anything beyond his direct control, he ordered Red Army to break through the Carpathian mountain ridges from the south-eastern Poland to Slovakia.

Red Army was exhausted after just finishing the operation Bagration, but the Carpathian-Dukla operation was organized in haste and was put as a duty to 1st and 4th Ukrainian front, namely to 38th Army of general K. S. Moskalenko. To the 38th Army there was assigned also 1st Guard Cavalry Corps, 25th Tank Regiment, 1st Guard Army and finally 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps. It was decided to start the operation on 8th September and within 7 days to cross the Carpathian mountains through the Dukla pass (hence the name of the operation), reach city of Presov and join the fighting Slovak Army in the central Slovakia.

Actually, the Slovak territory was not strategically too important as it is small and the prevailing mountain terrain does not allow quick breakthroughs with tank armies as possible in Poland (to the north) or Hungary (to the south). However, there were important railway lines going from east to west, which was worth for Germans to deploy several divisions to crush the Uprising in their rear.

The 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps (1st CZAC) was formed by Soviets in 1943 and contained 20% Slovaks, 44% Czechs and 25% Rusins. In 1944 it consisted of 4 brigades (2 infantry, 1 tank and 1 paratrooper regiment), 5 artillery regiments and other units, totally counting over 16,000 soldiers. Its members were a mix of ethnic Czechs from Volyn area (Ukraine), Slovak soldiers who left Slovak divisions deployed on Eastern front and run over to Soviets and officers from Czechoslovak Army, which were transferred to USSR from Great Britain. The first commander was General Jan Kratochvil, who was replaced during the operation by General Ludvik Svoboda. 1st CZAC was armed according to Soviet standards and was fully dependent on Soviet logistics.

On the German side, Carpathian ridge was defended by Army Group Heinrici, which had in the beginning of the operation 17,900 troops and 287 artillery and mortar pieces. During the operation, Germans quickly withdrew other units from Slovakia and Hungary to reinforce the defences and their numbers finally increased to 14 divisions.

The first battle of 1st CZAC occurred on Friday, 9th September 1944, some 20km north from the Polish-Slovak border. Czechoslovak Corps moved forward, passed the encircled town Krosno which stayed ablaze and advanced to the first Carpathian ridge. The morning was foggy and it was not clear where the German lines are. Troops stopped along the road between villages Machnowka and Wrocanka. As the fog went away, they found themselves positioned on the foothill of height 426 Grodzisko.

Oldrich Kvapil, 1st Lieutenant of CZAC: "After 7:30 the fog lifted and annoying rain stopped. Slowly, a mild grassy slope appeared in front of us. In the middle, there was a full-profile enemy trench build. Behind it, on the edge of the forest, there were other trenches and defense positions. They were full of enemy soldiers... Then the artillery fire started. Things went bad."¯

61 years later, we are walking through the battlefield to the hill Grodzisko.
(photos are not shown. this article was taken from a forum topic).
This is the view of German defenders from the forest edge on the Grodzisko hill. In the middle of the field, there is a road where our troops were located that morning. On the right side behind, there is Wrocanka village. All the area was soon under heavy artillery and mortar fire. Our soldiers were attacking, but were stopped by machinegun and small arms fire and more, German tanks attacked from the right flank. They were stopped in the villages behind by direct fire of Corps 152mm heavy howitzers.
German trench on the forest edge:

On that first day of battle, the 1st CZAC lost 611 dead and wounded...

The hill Grodzisko resisted even the front moved few km to the south and finally was captured on 11th September by our 3rd brigade with support of Soviet 111th Tank regiment. Our troops were that time already fighting on the second Carpathian ridge, north-west from the city of Dukla.

This is the view on hill 534 from south-east, from the Teodorowka village. The army which controlled the hill, controlled the city of Dukla and the roads around.

This key hill was soon renamed to Bloody hill. There were days when it was captured and lost 5 times in row. Our troops were attacking from north and trying to break down to Teodorowka. Each time as czechoslovaks captured the hill, Germans started artillery and mortar fire on the top of the height, decimated our infantry and pushed them back by counterattack. The top of the hill after each fight was littered with dead bodies, broken weapons, machinegun cartridges and grenade craters.

View to the south-east, towards the city of Dukla (left) and Teodorowka village (right). On 12th September, our soldiers reached the village, but were encircled by German infantry and tanks in the valley and with heavy losses broke back into own lines. In the meantime, Germans destroyed Russian Regiment on the left flank and settled themselves on the top of the hill.
Oldrich Kvapil: "The whole platoon met with them in furious man-to-man combat. Only who survived this, knows what does it mean. First hand grenades. Then fire from rifles and light machineguns at minimal distances. Then, there is no time for reloading the guns and fight continues with guns as a clubs, attack knives, field spades, rocks."¯
2nd Lieutenant Arnost Steiner: "14th September. All machineguns destroyed by artillery and mortar fire. Mortar unit crews fight as infantry unit. Around 12:00 we attacked the height 534 with the support of 1 tank. (...) Germans are dug in trenches 30m away, so we fight them with hand grenades and yell insults right into faces. Suddenly, our infantry attacks and Germans run away. Again we rule the top of the hill. However, Germans rockets go up and guns and mortars start hellish fire on the height, which lasts over 1 hour. Who remained alive, withdraws back into old trenches on the north side of the hill. We sit in our trenches again under terrible artillery and mortar fire. Plenty of wounded, Private Loukota torn by mine explosion to pieces. And new counterattack follows, almost in complete darkness..."¯

Behind the Teodorowka, there is a large hill named Hyrowa Hora. That time there was no forest, and the hill was heavily fortified by Germans. Our troops managed to get few tanks up and took the whole hill by surprise attack into the rear of German defenders, which were busy repelling attacks of other units. The story of Bloody hill repeated.
Arnost Steiner: "The Hill 694 (Hyrowa Hora) remained defended only by weak force and we could not defeat enemy attack. Fortunately, Lieutenant Bilej came with his submachine squad and helped us. (...) In the night, Sgt. Ruscak took his team and occupied one deserted German bunker and probably fell asleep. In the morning, we found them all dead. The guard was stabbed in hearth and the rest had their throats cut and dead bodies were terribly maimed."¯


Submachine gun platoon assigned to the Czechoslovak tank brigade, which fought on the Bloody Hill 534 and on Hyrowa Hora under command of Antonin Sochor.


20km north, on Slovak-Polish border. To the left there is the Dukla Pass, the most important passage through the East Beskyds. View from the border tower to the north. On the right side, there is a village Zyndranowa. In front of us, three unnamed heights. In 1944, they were bald and all-around fortified by Germans. Our troops took the northern half of Zyndranowa and attacked on the unnamed heights towards the border line. The fights continued over 11 days, until Germans retreated, because their rear was under threat of Soviet breakthrough in another part of the frontline.

This is the point where Czechoslovak reconnaissance crossed the borderline for the first time. It was on 6th October 1944.

6th October 1944, view from the Dukla Pass to the south. Jeep with Czechoslovak General J. Vedral-Sazavsky hit the anti-tank mine...
Monument dedicated to engineers of Czechoslovak Army Corps. Only on the road from Barwinek to Dukla Pass (maybe 2 km) they disabled 1290 anti-tank mines.

Li-2, licensed Dakota. These aircraft were used in transport of our paratrooper brigade to Slovakia to help the Uprising. In the forest behind, there were located underground bunkers of HQ of our Army Corps for next month, when our units could not move south due to strong German defense on the surrounding mountain ridges.

IL-10. Aerodynamic shapes, engine and cockpit settled in thick armor body. IL-10s did not fly over here, but the Dukla Nature War Museum was created in sixties from expired Czechoslovak Army equipment. All planes, guns and tanks exposed here did not actually fight in WWII.

The road is running down from Dukla Pass. Our units were stopped on the third mountain ridge on the left side, hill 532 Obsar.

Hill Obsar above the village Nizny Komarnik today. The main German trenches were dug bellow the top of the ridge in the forest. On the left side, there were plenty of bunkers. Our troops kept on attacking the hill from this direction for several weeks. Each attack was stopped by machinegun and mortar fire, mud and minefields.

Fruitless and costly fights continued another week, but the frontline did not move a meter forward. In one moment, the whole Czechoslovak Corps had only 172 soldiers able to hold a rifle. General Moskalenko decided to change the "Schwerpunkt"¯ of the attack to the right flank. Soviet 12th tank Brigade and 305th Rifle Division had to break German frontline from the Vysna Pisana village to the main road near Ladomirova. Such a breakthrough should threaten the rear of German defenses, so they should withdraw from Obsar and surrounding mountains to prevent being trapped. Between 25th and 27th October, the shallow valley between Vysna Pisana and Kapisova received its present name – Valley of Death.

Nizna Pisana. The monument in the village says it was liberated by Soviet Army on 25th October, while German forces lost five tanks and two self-propelled guns. Two T-34s near to the cemetery still aim its 85mm cannons to the south.

View down the Valley of Death. There is only one road which was able to carry the weight of tank in muddy October 1944. Germans set up anti-tank defenses consisting of 88mm guns, heavy tanks and set hundreds of mines through the whole valley. Burning Soviet tanks blocking the road were pushed away by their successors. In the surrounding forests, infantry fought its way down to Kapisova.

Here the Valley of Death widens, with Kapisova village behind us. German counterattack in open terrain clashed with Soviet armored units. The apocalyptic battle continued for next day until the frontline was stabilized north from Kapisova. People from the village say, in those three days the water in Kapisovka creek was red from blood.

A monument dedicated to the Soviet tankists south from Kapisova. Tracks of Soviet T-34 crush the German Pz IV.

War Cemetery of German soldiers in Hunkovce village. German cemeteries are in good shape, being maintained by Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge. They are often in better shape than the cemeteries of Czechoslovak and Soviet victors...

"On this cemetery, German soldiers who died in war 1939 – 1945 rest in peace. Remember them and dead of all wars, their fate urges us to reconciliation."¯

In the Carpathian-Dukla operation, Czechoslovak Army Corps suffered 1,100 dead, 4,300 wounded and 1,000 MIA (probably dead or taken POWs). Soviet losses were much higher, sources say between 90,000 and 160,000. German losses were estimated to 53,000 in total.

CzechTexan
01-11-2008, 07:16 PM
The city of Liptovsky Mikulas in central-northern Slovakia became a place of heavy fighting in January-April 1945 between Soviet and Czechoslovak troops (=Czechoslovak soldiers and mobilized civilians from liberated Slovakia who formed First Czechoslovak Army Corps within the Red Army), and German Wehrmacht. The place of combat was a wide walley of river Vah. From north it is surrounded by Western Tatras mountain ridge and from south by Low Tatras mountains. The fighting for city of Liptovsky Mikulas is often compared to the famous fighting for Dukla Pass in September-November 1944, when Soviet and Czechoslovak troops were penetrating from Poland through the Beskydy mountains to northern-east border of Slovakia, suffering (officially) 89,000 casualties.
The official historical documents (from communist era) about the fighting for Liptovsky Mikulas say just "the fighting was very hard" and "the Nazis were defending every inch of ground desperately", which usually means that human waves of soldiers were repeatedly thrown mercilessly agaist well-prepared German defense lines regardless of their losses. Unfortunately, no new historical books about that were written after the freedom had come to our country. However, even from the socialistic documents it is clear that first attack from east to capture the city was conducted without proper recoinnasance. Germans located their units to the north from the main road and cut-off the spearhead of Soviet troops reaching the city. The remainings of surrounded allied forces fought their way back to the east and the frontline has stabilized for long weeks there. Soviet and Czechoslovak troops several times captured some part of the city, but had to withdraw after German counterattacks. Interesting information comes from old man from that city I spoke once to. He told the first attack of Soviets stopped after capturing the local alcohol plant, which quickly decreased their ability to fight almost to zero and Germans massacred them afterwards.
To the north of the city, German defended naked mountain ridges covered with snow oriented from north to south with antitank guns, snipers and machineguns and all attacks there collpased. The same occured on the south part of the frontline, where one Soviet infantry division repeatedly failed in costly attempts to break the German defence lines.
In the central part of the front nearby the city itself, fighting for the hill "Hįj" (something like "forest") was going for three weeks. After the artillery and mortar preparation fire, the infantry captured some part of the hill and the enemy retreated, allowing own artillery and mortars to pounce the enemy troops on the hill and by counter-attack to push weakened enemy troops from the hill again.
At the end, in April 1945 Germans retreated after the frontlines in Poland and Hungary moved much more to the west and encirclement of German troops in Slovakia became a threat.

CzechTexan
01-11-2008, 07:25 PM
Another forum post from www.letka13.sk (http://www.letka13.sk)

The Slovak National Uprising broke out in late August 1944, being organised by high-rank officers of the Slovak Army and was aimed to push out the German troops, which just started to enter Slovakia in order to handle with increasing partisan activity, and to provide quick liberation of Slovakia by Red Army, which just ended their operation Bagration close to the Slovak north-east border in eastern Poland.
The history of the Uprising is still being studied by our historians, as this considerable military action against Nazis is rather complex and its picture presented offically here for over 40 years after the war was anything but real events.

On the Allied side fought 50-60,000 soldiers of Slovak Army and some 8,000 partisans. Germans attacked with 6-8 divisions supported by armor and Luftwaffe. In late October, the Uprising was defeated and the remainings of rebels infiltrated civilan population or fled to the mountains, trying to cross the front and meet the Red Army. Soviets started the support offensive through the Slovak-Polish border in beginning of September, but the corridor was not created by Slovak divisions as planned and Soviets were stuck in 3-month bloody offensive against well-prepared German defences in difficult mountain terrain.

One of the initial fights with advancing Germans occurred between towns of Zilina and Martin in north-west Slovakia, where the narrow valley of river Vah, crossing the mountain ridge of Mala Fatra, was defended by Slovak Army units and French partisans. Those Frenchs were mostly refugees from POW camps who joined the partisan troops operating in the mountains of Slovakia. Their leader was captain Georges de Lannurien from the 1st Czechoslovak partisan brigade.

French partisans were dug in the mountain slope in Domasin meander (F), facing the ruins of Starhrad castle across the river Vah. Two Slovak battalions (ca 400 men) named by their commanders Slajchart (S) and Repassky (R) built defences on the heights above the road and railway tunnels. However, the positions on the left bank of the river (V), which were promised to be defended by partisan unit under the command of Soviet officer Velicko, were not set up from unknown reasons.
Defenders were equipped with machineguns, rifles, handgrenades, two 3.7cm PAK guns, three LT-38 light tanks and one Marder III self-propelled gun. The armored vehicles were lurking in the railway tunnel or in the road curve behind the French positions. Few 10cm mountain howitzers were located some 8km behind the defense lines.

In the morning time of 31.8.1944, German reconnaissance unit (D1) advanced toward the Strecno valley, but was stopped by artillery and machinegun fire and retreated back.

The first German attack (D2) was led by tanks Pz IV followed by SdKfz armored carriers. Tanks penetrated deep into the valley, where they were stopped by French soldiers in close combat. Frenchs attacked the tank column from the steep slope of Domasin hill (575) with hand grenades and 3.7cm PAK manned by A. Poupet hit the leading tank. After the track of the second Pz IV got damaged, Germans started to retreat back. Finally, the Marder III 75mm gun peered out the tunnel and hit the third tank.

In the meantime, part of German infantry crossed the river (D3) and quickly seized the non-defended left bank. They set up firing positions in the area of Starhrad castle ruin, and mortar and machinegun fire started hitting the French defenders from their right side, causing heavy casualties to them.

In the afternoon, six Ju-87D-3 striked on the defense positions of Slajchart battalion. Combination of air raids and heavy side fire forced French unit and Slovak battalions to withdraw back and to create new defense line in the forest between Domasin (575) and Rakytie (741) hills.

On 1.9.1944, Germans continued their offensive, throwing more troops into the battle. Wehrmacht infantry tried to attack on the right flank in the mountain terrain (D1), but was stopped by Repassky battalion and units were mixed in the dense forest. All attacks on the defense line Domasin (575) and Rakytie (741) were stopped. Marder III destroyed another two Pz IV tanks from the railway tunnel.
On the left side, Germans advanced on the hill Plesel (981) (D3) and built firin positions in the rear of Slovak-French defenders. After the tunnels were blocked by engineers, Allied troops retreated.
The fighting in the narrow valley of river Vah continued for another three days, until German troops finally broke the defense and continued in their advance toward the center of the Uprising, city of Banska Bystrica.

CzechTexan
01-11-2008, 07:37 PM
The soon-to-be-released "real" 4.09 Readme file will include a history of the air operations over Slovakia. I highly recommend reading it and it was proofread by yours truly. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

But you're right, unfortunately, there is not a lot of information about the Czecho-Slovak battles. You can say they are truly "Forgotten Battles."

Here are the links to these forum topics with photos:

Carpahian-Dukla Operation (http://www.letka13.sk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1717)

Liptovsky Mikulas (http://www.letka13.sk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=167)

Strecno Valley (http://www.letka13.sk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=276)

Also, another great website about the Dukla Operation is here:Dukla Pass (http://www.iabsi.com/gen/public/Military_dukla_pass.htm)

And...another great website about Dukla is here:Duklapass.org (http://www.duklapass.org/)

papotex
01-11-2008, 07:40 PM
hmm.. this map truly belongs in this sim as a forgotten battle

SlowBurn68
01-11-2008, 11:27 PM
Thank you Texan. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

Ozcanuck
01-13-2008, 07:11 PM
Thanks for the info...looking forward to the Readme and to future missions created on this and the other 4.09 maps.
The mountains and numerous villages make for nice scenic flying as well, without having to check your 6!

Copperhead311th
01-14-2008, 06:13 AM
this one line from that 1st post puzzles me.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> 1st CZAC was armed according to Soviet standards and was fully dependent on Soviet logistics. </div></BLOCKQUOTE> http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

Typically in WWII that meant "one man gets rifle, one men get shells....."

and since they weren't Russain i can imagine that it was even worse.

jurinko
01-14-2008, 07:06 AM
Their armament was not bad, it was 1944.

PBNA-Boosher
01-14-2008, 08:55 AM
Copperhead, that may have been true when the country's production was seriously threatened, like during Stalingrad, but by 1944, as Jurinko said, their armament was pretty good. Many would have been armed with either a sub-machine gun or carbine. They had a lot of good production runs for the PPSh-41 and PPS-43 sub-machine guns and production for the Mosin-Nagant rifle and its carbines was still going strong. The amount of those rifles still around today proves it.

CzechTexan
01-14-2008, 11:17 AM
The Czechoslovak Army Corps included a tank brigade. In September 1944 there were only 18 tanks but by spring '45 there were up to 65 T-34/85 tanks. I have a little bit more info about the Corps and the CZ air force units if you're interested. I can't type it now but I can later.