First Czechoslovak National Liberation Brigade "Jan Žiška"
|Flag of the Czechoslovak Brigade|
After the collapse of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in the April war in 1941, most of the Czech and part of the Slovak people found themselves within the borders of the Ustasha Independent State of Croatia. With the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia, the position of the Czechs significantly deteriorated, considering that the Ustashas considered them members of the enemy people.
|Monument to the fallen partisans of the First Czechoslovak Brigade in Jiržice near Miroslava in southern Moravia.|
Unlike the Czechs, the position of the Slovaks was somewhat better because the Ustashas and the Germans treated them as members of the allied people. Such treatment, however, did not prevent the Slovaks from opting for the People's Liberation Struggle. The mass accession of Czechs and Slovaks to the National Liberation War followed in 1942, which the Ustashas and the Germans could not prevent despite threats and promises.
|Deputy Commander of the 6th Corps Bogdan Crnobrnja spoke to the fighters of the Czechoslovak Brigade Jan Žiška in 1944.|
On May 3, 1943, the Headquarters of the III Operational Zone issued an order to form a Czechoslovak operational unit — the Czechoslovak Battalion. At the time of its founding, in the village of Cikotama, the battalion numbered 146 fighters whose main task was to act politically among the Czechs and Slovaks. Until June 17, 1943, the battalion was under the leadership of the Headquarters of the III Operational Zone, and since then, as the 4th Battalion, as part of the XVII Brigade. as a unit of the XVII Brigade he also took part in numerous combat actions. Among them, a special place is occupied by the march on Banija, which was undertaken by the XVII Brigade in the period 15-18. VII 1943.
|Review of fighters of the Czechoslovak Brigade, Končanica near Daruvar in 1944.|
After returning from Banija in August and September 1943, the Battalion, together with other Slavonian units, performed several more combat tasks and at the same time making preparations for the formation of the brigade.
The formation of the Brigade was carried out on October 26, 1943, in the village of Bučje in the presence of members of the Staff of the VI Corps and the Staff of the XII Division. The brigade was a triple formation consisting of three battalions (each with three companies), an escort, a hospital, and a liaison company, as well as a pioneer platoon.
|Fighters of the Czechoslovak Brigade NOVJ in the Požega Valley in July 1944.|
It operated mainly in Slavonia and Podravina. In the attack of the 12th Division on Virovitica on 6/7. November, the brigade secured the direction of Velika Pisanica and Grđevica. Until mid-December, it carried out diversions on the Virovitica-Našice railway, participated in the attack on Đakovo on December 14, and in the liberation of Gorjani on December 17. With one battalion of the Dilj detachment, it invaded Gromačnik and Sibinj (on the Belgrade-Zagreb line) on 23/24. December, destroyed the railway in five places and set fire to 98 trucks, 1 locomotive, and 20 wagons.
From January to March 1945, it carried out a series of smaller actions around Dilj and Papuk, and attacked a number of enemy strongholds (Trnava, Nabrđe, Bračevac, Donja Motičina, and others), broke the German column near Stara Subocka in pairs and fought hard, securing the attack. 12th Division at Vetovo.
|Parade of the Czechoslovak Brigade in Daruvar in 1944.|
The "Jan Žiška" Brigade was disbanded on April 23, 1945, and its personnel filled the units of the Fourth Brigade of the 12th Division of the Yugoslav Army.
About 3,000 Czechs and Slovaks passed through the brigade, of which 298 died during the war.
For war merits, the Brigade was awarded the Order of Merit for the People with a gold star and the Order of Brotherhood and Unity with a gold wreath.
The memory of this unique NOB brigade lives on today in Daruvar. The city of Daruvar and the Czech Alliance marks the day of its founding and remember the war journey and the importance of the brigade.