Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Case Waldgeist: Thoughts From the Commanders 2

+ + TOP SECRET + +

TO: Brig. General Ludvík Svodobda, Commander, I. Czechoslovak Army Corps

FROM: Captain Jiří Sláma, Commanding Officer, 3rd Battalion, 1st Tank Brigade; Acting Field Commander

STATUS REPORT: Operation Bílá Hora


General Svoboda:

I am afraid I write with more bad news. Despite praise you may be receiving from President Beneš and the Cabinet in exile, the truth is our forces have been battered repeatedly by concerted Axis advances, with counter attacks largely ineffectual. Our Brigade Commander, Staff Captain Vladimir Janko has withdrawn our units from the heavy fighting at Buckinghamshire, after heavy losses of men and equipment. Captain Janko himself remains in a field hospital with a head injury, and as second most senior Officer Field Command of field assets has fallen to me.

Our Brigade has been battered but remains operational for combat. 1st Battalion (Masaryk) and 2nd Battalion (Jan Hus) have lost a company each, but have enough T-34/85 tanks for assignment to Forward Detachments, and remain on duty in South West, where Allied units continue to hold firm thanks to Naval assistance. 4th Battalion (Prokop) has sadly been lost in its entirety. My own 3rd Battalion (Žižka) remains at full operational capacity after successful field repairs—despite lacking punch against heavy Nazi armour, our  T-34/85’s remain rugged and tenacious. We maintain a full Reconnaissance Company of BA-64 cars, and have managed to capture several Panzerkampfwagon Ausf. A (Panther) tanks, that have been successful in Decoy operations. Though badly battered, our infantry companies stand ready to escort our tanks against stubborn German combat units. The men have taken to calling the enemy “Krtki” (moles), as they seem to come from the ground with rounded helmets, covered in dirt and inflict heavy damage with their infantry anti-tank assets and advanced machine guns.

Despite high casualties, morale remains strong. Our Soviet Political liaison, Komissar Ivan Brusilov distributed classified USSR intelligence reports from the Kremlin itself, despite risks to his own career, describing Nazi behavior in Czechoslovakia. The reports of atrocity have made the men twice as determined to fight, not only for our country but for the chastity of our women and the future of our children against the barbaric Germans. Reports of mass killings, arson, theft and, God be with me, cannibalism in my home city of Brno have steeled my own nerves.

My unit has been reassigned to link up with the rest of our Soviet brothers in the 1st British Front in London under Marshal Volkov, where invasion remains imminent. We have been bolstered by the 3rd Guards Tank Army, including Heavy JS-2 Tanks, batteries of Katyusha Rocket Mortars, and access to the Composite Air Division. We remain stationed in overwatch on the outskirts of Burtonhole Farm in North East London, along with American Allies. Those Amik boys are alright, they even gave us some of their rations of a sweet chewable treat, they call it ‘bubble gum’, and cartons of Lucky Strike cigarettes. When we win this war, and restore our rightful democracy, I will personally request a statue of President Roosevelt at Brno’s main train station in honour of our combat bonds.

As a side note, I am recommending Rotný (Warrant Officer) 1st Class, Petr Vana of 3rd Tank team, 1st Platoon, 1st Company, 3rd Battalion for the Order of the White Lion, for exceptional valour through several combat engagements despite six field injuries. His heroism is without question, owing to his nickname of “Lucky 13” among the men.

We desperately await Reinforcements to arrive. We await orders. Pravda Vítězí!

Captain Sláma

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