Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Czech defences 1938

Discussion in 'Prelude to War & Poland 1939' started by yan taylor, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    36
    Hi, I have just been sifting through a book called Fortress Europe and in the chapter about Czechoslovakia its says that the Czechs built a line of defences around its borders with its neighbours because of its formation after WW1, the Germans and Austrians complained over the Czechs having too much of its territory the Polish and Hungarians also had an axe to grind over land, but were talk down by France, but the Germans and Austrians were not so easily subdued, Because of this threat the Czechs built a belt of defences along the border with the later and it was known as the Benes line (the Czech Maginot line) and it was pretty formidable, knowing what we do about how green the German army was before the invasion of Poland (when it learned valuable lessons in Blitzkrieg tactics) could the Czech army had put up some form of defence and given the Germans a bloody nose in 1938, the Czech weapons were equal it not superior to Germanys given that the main battle tanks like the PZ IIIs & PZ IVs were not that numerous and going on what the Danes did in 1940 and halted the German advance with only 20mm and 37mm guns and the way German armour was treated by the Poles, they could have made the Germans think twice and maybe history could have been different.
     
  2. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Patron  

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Messages:
    12,792
    Likes Received:
    1,797
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    IIRC, one of the reasons Hitler was willing to negotiate over the Sudetenland was because of the terrain, defenses, and military strength of Czechoslovakia. His generals convinced him (maybe he should have listened more), that Germany would have a difficult time militarily there, especially if France, Britain or the Soviet Union pitched in.
     
  3. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,709
    Likes Received:
    1,494
    I believe Lou has this completely correct, until the Czechs were removed from the defenses of the Sudetenland in Oct. (?) of 1938 the Germans would have had a "tough row to hoe" to invade. The mountain passes, fortifications, and terrain would have made the later applied "Blitzkrieg" armored warfare of no import. The co-ordinated Luftwaffe and Infantry might have created a bit of problem for the Czechs northern defenses, but not so much that the Germans couldn't have been halted.

    Wasn't that what General Beck was hoping for? That Hitler would try and fail in the Sudetenland occupation by military force and his failure would lead to the removal of the Nazis from power? Just a vague memory for some reason, but the strongest defenses into Czechoslovakia's industrial center was from the German borders, and were through those extensively protected mountain passes.

    Without the Munich "Agreement", the Czechs might have possibly stopped the Nazis from ever turning into what they became. But that doesn't mean everything would have spiraled into peace either, Chamberlain saw (or I think he did), that Britain wasn't ready for any type of land war in this time-period (1938), and bought his nation a year to build up and re-focus on military production and training. France believed it was already "prepared" with its Maginot Line and extensive reserve army. Britain was certain it was NOT ready for war in 1938!

    Every nation has its own well being at the forefront of its decisions and actions, whether or not they help or hinder other nation's wishes is why; "War is not merely a political act, but also a political instrument, a continuation of political relations, a carrying out of the same by other means." (Carl von Clausewitz)

    Sad but true.
     
    yan taylor likes this.
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    21,637
    Likes Received:
    945
    Location:
    Kotka,Finland
  5. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member Patron  

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    7,736
    Likes Received:
    893
    A few years back I read an account from a German General who was part of the occupation forces for the take over of the rump of Czechoslovakia in 1938/39 who commented that a disturbing number of German Panzers fell out of a simple road march to Prauge for the victory parade. He speculated that to move and fight overland would have been very hard indeed, granted it was in winter though.
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    21,637
    Likes Received:
    945
    Location:
    Kotka,Finland
    I once found this on Guderian and tanks and Anschluss:

    On March 12th of 1938, Anschluss took place. The only panzer unit taking part was 2nd Panzer Division under command of General Guderian. In preparation for the operation, SS Regiment "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler" commanded by Sepp Dietrich was attached to 2nd Panzer Division. The division covered some 700 kilometers in 48 hours, while losing 30% of its tanks due to breakdowns.


    German Panzer Divisions 1935-1939
     
    belasar likes this.
  7. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member Patron  

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    7,736
    Likes Received:
    893
    I had thought was the final takeover, thanks for the correction.
     
  8. baupionier419

    baupionier419 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    10
    Interesting topic. I have a statement from the 94. Infanterie Division, the 194.A.R. (artillerie Regiment) which was equipped until 1941 with czech artillerie pieces. the quality ot the czech weaponary was really poor and during the french campaign the german rear echolon support troops denied or refused to support the batteries with ammounition. And even more interesting the 194.A.R. wear czech uniform pieces. So it looks like when it comes the Question 1938 german Artillerie versus czech Artillerie the czech would have lost this !

    My Grand uncle served in the 12. Batterie 194. A.R. ! I have all Material from the 94. ID Veteran Association.
    And you forget another important strategic point:
    the sudetendeutsche Legion included of about 40.000 men. poorly trained and equipped but efficent in terror attacks.

    here is what the 194.A.R used for Artillerie

    I / Abt.
    Batteriechef Major Schmid
    Batterie 1 - 3
    8 cm Kan. möglicherweise 8 cm Feldkanone 30(t)
    II / Abt.
    Batteriechef Hauptmann Haendschke
    Batterie 4 - 6
    l.F.H. (leichte Feldhaubitze) 10cm leichte Feldhaubitze 30(t)​
    III / Abt.
    Batteriechef Major v. Waldow
    Batterie 7 - 9
    l.F.H. (leichte Feldhaubitze) 10cm leichte Feldhaubitze 30(t)

    IV / Abt.
    Batteriechef Oberstleutnant Matzke
    Batterie 10 - 12
    s.F.H. (schwere Feldhaubitze) 15 cm sFH 25(t) oder auch genannt Skoda VZ-25


    Ab 1941 wurde die Bewaffnung durchgehend auf deutsche Waffen umgestellt
    I - III / Abt.
    l.F.H 18

    IV / Abt.
    S.F.H 18


    [​IMG]







     
    ColHessler likes this.
  9. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    36
    Wow that is a surprise the Artillery listed above was the most modern of all the Czech Artillery,

    8cm kanon Vz.30
    Design: Skoda
    Type: Light Field Gun
    Amount: 204
    Year: 1930
    Calibre: 76.5mm L/40
    Weight: 1.816 kg
    Elevation: -8° to +80°
    Traverse: 8°
    Shell Weight: 8 kg
    Muzzle Velocity: 600 m/s
    Rate of Fire: 10 r.p.m.
    Maximum Range: 13.500m
    Crew: 10
    Traction: Horse Drawn & Motorised
    Notes: Used by Artillery Regiments at Army level only.
    10cm lehká houfnice Vz.30
    Design: Skoda
    Type: Light Field Howitzer
    Amount: 160
    Year: 1930
    Calibre: 100mm L/25
    Weight: 1.798 kg
    Elevation: -8° to +80°
    Traverse: 7.5°
    Shell Weight: 16 kg
    Muzzle Velocity: 430 m/s
    Rate of Fire: 6 r.p.m.
    Maximum Range: 10.600m
    Crew: 10
    Traction: Horse Drawn (six Horses) & Motorised.
    Notes: Used by Artillery Regiments at Army level only.
    15cm hrubá houfnice Vz.25
    Design: Skoda
    Type: Medium Howitzer
    Amount: 230
    Year: 1925
    Calibre: 149mm L/18
    Weight: 3.800 kg
    Elevation: -5° to +70°
    Traverse: 7°
    Shell Weight: 42 kg
    Muzzle Velocity: 450 m/s
    Rate of Fire: 2 r.p.m.
    Maximum Range: 11.800m
    Crew: 10
    Traction: Horse Drawn (two loads, six horses each)
    Notes: ?

    Regards Yan.
     
    ColHessler likes this.
  10. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235
    see my post on
    "the Sudetengermans,why did they support Hitler?"
     
  11. mille125

    mille125 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2011
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    There is no question that Germany would have had considerable trouble as the Czechs had very formidable defenses. Why fight when Neville is going to just give it away? Probably one of Hitler's smarter moves...
     
  12. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235
    Neville was not giving anything away
    1)Neville had no obligations to the Czechs
    2)From a moral POV ,the Czechs had no argument
    3)Neville had nothing with which he could fight
    4)If there was a war,and Hitler lost,the problem would still be there :what would the Czechs do with more than 3 million hostile Germans ?
     
  13. FrankH

    FrankH recruit

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello, I just came across this thread and thought I'd comment on a few of the posts.

    Firstly regarding Chamberlain; It can't be said he gave nothing away. Unless he truly believed it would end with Munich, he gave away the entire Czechoslovak arsenal and the Skoda works. Which contrary to some earlier comments was equal to or better than the German equipment of the time. This is especially so for the tanks and not so for aircraft. The Czech werefieldingLT35s and had near production LT38s, in 1938 both of these tanks outclassed the PZKW I and IIs in all areas, except numbers, indeed some 30%+ of PZKWs broke down just driving to Vienna in March 1938 let alone advancing into a fortified mountainous bunker line with integrated interlocking fire zones. In 1940 approximately a 1/4 of the Panzer Forces were Czech built with LT35 becoming PZKW 35T and PZKW 38T. The Skoda works, as it had been the industrial heart of Austria-Hungary, was 2nd in size only to Krupp in production capacity. The allies gained a year of prep time until 1939 but what they were able to produce in this year was greatly exceeded by the Germans gaining Czech weapons and production. It was not until after the gain of Czech resources that Germany reached superpower status. Returning to weapons quality, even after the 35s and 38s were obsolete circa 1942 their chassis were of such high mechanical quality that over 2,500 Jagdpanzer 38Ts were produced on them through May 1945. To be fair though as the war progressed Czech workers did sabotage weapons systems during production which lead to issues, issues though that would not exist had they Czech been arming themselves.

    From a moral POV the Czechs had no Argument? Bohemia and Moravia have been mostly Slavic since the 7th century and a Kingdom with clearly know historical borders since the 12th century, were do they lose the argument? Can Belgium be claimed by the Dutch and French? And Switzerland, can it exist at all?


    Yes, Neville had nothing to fight with, but the Czech's weren't asking him to fight, they were asking France to honor their mutual defense treaty. It would have taken the entire German army to maybe defeat the Czechs. The German western border due to simple numbers would have been wide open for a French army with more men (5.9 million including reserves) tanks, guns and planes, but alas no willpower to invade. As others in this forum have mentioned, this was known to the German high command some of whom had planned a coup should Hitler engage the Czechs. It has been said that Britain wasn't ready to fight in 1938 but Czech, France (and Maybe Britain) in 1938 were in a far more favorable position to engage Germany than France and Britain were after having ceded the Czechs without a shot.


    The German speaking inhabitants of Bohemia and Moravia had never been hostile until the rise of Hitler. Should they have remained hostile perhaps the Czech would have done with them what they did in 1945, send them to Germany proper. I am not condoning this just saying what happened post war. Thanks Frank
     
  14. scipio

    scipio Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Messages:
    652
    Likes Received:
    121
    True and he did have much more in 1939 - Only two Divisions sent to France in Sept 1939 and those could have been sent in 1938. Even by May 1940 there were only 5 British Divisions in the Front Line compared with 99 French Divisions and (by then 120 German Divisions). So all the waiting resulted in just three extra Fighting Divisions.

    The Czechs were better equipped than the Poles and had better, easier defendable borders.

    The question is what would Chamberlain have done if France had honoured its treaty with the Czechs and come out fighting?
     
  15. baupionier419

    baupionier419 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    10
    Hallo Frank

    Interesting point of view from yours but you are totally wrong. The Germans were hostile towards the chzech state. They forced the germans into a state with terror and suppression. You can read this in hundreds of protesting notes from the germans in the chzech council 1918 til 1938.. The austrian germans, the sudetengermans were not allowed to choose for what it was for all other peoples right according to the false and lying 14 Points Wilson Plan. And yes there was a Sudetengerman State it stated only a couple of days after the first world war, when the chzech army backed up by the french, occupied Reichenberg and the other german Sudeten areas. Itś a well known fact that til 1938 when the freedom for the sudeten germans came, both sides hated each other. This hatred was already before the first world war in the austrian monarchy. For Instant the "deutsche Nordmährenbund" a nationalist german movement was established in the 1880's and started to "fight" against the slavics with Newspapers , Propaganda, Demonstrations, attacks and so on. So the hatred between the czechs and the Sudetengermans are not only a result of the first world war and the time after, it is a hundred of year hatred. And another point, the german colonized areas in the sudeten were german and not czech ! this is your second wrong point. In my lost Homecity, the germans setteled and developed the city til 1945 and not the czechs, And the czech did not "send" them to german proper , they unlawfully did a human genozid ! I am Sudetengerman, I know what happened in my ancestors homeland, I know what happened to my familiy during the so called ODSUN !

    Martin
     
  16. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,709
    Likes Received:
    1,494
    I, as an American must take exception to your portrayal of the 14 Points of Wilson as "lies". They weren't adopted, but proposed by Wilson before the armistice was even agreed to, and rejected (much to his dismay) by the Versailles Treaty commissions. He (Wilson) was placated by them with the implementation/inclusion of his proposed League of Nations, at a much more watered down version than he hoped for. Then, in a partisan political fight in the US Senate the following year (needed to ratify treaties), the treaty and American participitation in the League were both rejected. A separate peace treaty with Germany had to be signed years later, and we never joined the League.

    Perhaps you are unaware of the actual 14 Points as proposed in America in 1918, if so here they are:

    The Fourteen Points were first outlined in a speech Wilson gave to the American Congress in January 1918. Wilson's Fourteen Points became the basis for a peace program, and it was on the back of the Fourteen Points stated by Wilson that Germany and her allies agreed to an armistice in November 1918. The fact that these were unilateral desires by Wilson did, in no way promise the Central Powers anything as per the final Peace Treaty. Was Wilson lying? No he was proposing a plan of his own which would never be accepted by the French, British, or Italians in the final treaty. He was a bit of a "Utopian" as the son of a Methodist pastor, and always hoped for and worked toward what he saw as "the best of humanity".

    1. No more secret agreements ("Open covenants openly arrived at").
    2. Free navigation of all seas.
    3. An end to all economic barriers between countries.
    4. Countries to reduce weapon numbers.
    5. All decisions regarding the colonies should be impartial
    6. The German Army is to be removed from Russia. Russia should be left to develop
    her own political set-up.
    7. Belgium should be independent like before the war.
    8. France should be fully liberated and allowed to recover Alsace-Lorraine
    9. All Italians are to be allowed to live in Italy. Italy's borders are to "along
    clearly recognisable lines of nationality."
    10. Self-determination should be allowed for all those living in Austria-Hungary.
    11. Self-determination and guarantees of independence should be allowed for
    the Balkan states.
    12. The Turkish people should be governed by the Turkish government. Non-Turks in
    the old Turkish Empire should govern themselves.
    13. An independent Poland should be created which should have access to the sea.
    14. A League of Nations should be set up to guarantee the political and territorial
    independence of all states.
     
  17. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235
    Going of topic,but,again, Chamberlain did not give away anything:
    1)Britain had no obligations at all to Czechoslovakia
    2)From a moral POV,the Czechs had no point:why should they have the right (in opposition to the ideals for which millions had fought and were killed) to forbid the Anschluss of 3 million SudetenGermans with Germany ?In 1921,3 millions of Irish had seceded from Britain,why not the Sudeten ? In 1918,the AH Empire was splitted up because of the selfdetermination of the peoples,the Baltic States seceded from the Russian Empire,Finland did the same,the inhabitants of the Alsace returned to France .
    Of course,there were people (as Churchill) who claimed that the demands of the SD,of the Irish,etc had to give way to political and strategical interests,but such people were not looked on favorably,because they were considered as crypto fascists and militarists.
    There also was a pratical point:how long could 7.5 million Czechs dominate 3 million SD,Slowaks,etc.
     
  18. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235
    Following points 10 and 11 of the 14 points of Wilson,it was impossible to deny the SD the right of secession, unless ..one would make a distinction between people for whom the 14 points were applying, and, second rang people who were denied this right .
     
  19. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,709
    Likes Received:
    1,494
    And the "famous/infamous" 14 Points did that exactly. They certainly made distinctions between peoples, only those specificity mentioned in the speech should, or would be included. One must remember that Wilson, as a southerner, was a racist; But in benign terms. Denying the rights of the "other" was not only NOT foreign to his mindset, it was part and parcel of it.
     
  20. Domen121

    Domen121 Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    7
    It seems that Germans did not value the defensive plan of the Czechs too much:

    Von Rundstedt in May of 1939 tried to predict what defensive actions would the Poles undertake:

    While doing so, he took into consideration several variants of Polish actions, and he wrote:

    1. Variant most favourable for the Germans according to von Rundstedt:

    "If the Poles are to make the same mistake as the Czechs made in the Autumn of 1938, namely if they since the very beginning want to defend all of their borders (...) it will be easy to pierce such defence with concentrated forces in over a dozen points."

    2. Variant most reasonable and thus most probable according to him:

    "This is why it should be presumed, that the Poles will seek to defend their vast borders only with weaker forces, while maintaining the main part of their army as mobile reserve force. In the region of Poznan Polish forces shall not be too strong.
    Behind the Warthe line, the resistance will grow stronger. Polish mobile units will be located probably (a) in the region of Jaroslaw & Przemysl (b) in the region of Deblin (c) in the region of Warsaw and (d) at the Narew."


    3. Variant most unfavourable for the Germans in his opinion:

    "If the Poles could count on fast and sure help of other powers, they would put up resistance with the main bulk of their forces to the east of Vistula, defending fiercely and withdrawing behind the line San - Vistula - Narew. (...) For us this means a problem of concentrating all units on the western and southern banks of these rivers, without dispersing forces in the eastern direction."
     

Share This Page