|Battle of Bruntál|
|Part of the Invasion of Czechoslovakia|
Junkers Ju 52 drops German paratroopers (Fallschirmjäger) near Bruntál (Freudenthal) on 1 October 1938.
| Nazi Germany|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Kurt Student|| Emil Fiala
Morning of 4 October:
From 2 October:
|Invasion of Czechoslovakia|
| Battle of the Border|
(Opava • Operation Freudenthal • Šatov • Znojmo • České Budějovice)
The Battle of Bruntál (German: Luftlandeschlacht um Freudenthal; Czech: Bitva u Bruntálu) was a battle fought during the invasion of Czechoslovakia at the beginning of World War II. It began on the morning of 1 October 1938, when Nazi Germany launched an airborne operation south of the Czechoslovak border fortifications near Bruntál. The operation marked the first war-time use of paratroopers and air-landing operations in military history.
An assault force comprising of German paratroopers, Fallschirmjäger, and airlanding infantry was tasked with assaulting and capturing the Czechoslovak border fortifications at Bruntál; a town whose strategic position was vital for the continued advance of the 3rd Panzer Division and the 2nd Army. The southerly roads led into the Moravian heartland; these roads were which the German forces intended to use to advance towards Olomouc and link up with the 14th Army advancing from the south, thus encircling the Czechoslovak forces in Bohemia and preventing them from retreating towards Slovakia.
German paratroopers first landed east of Bruntál and west of Svobodné Heřmanice, where they launched probing attacks against Czechoslovak forces and reconnoitered the area. The second wave of paratroopers, assisted by members of the Sudetendeutsche Freikorps secured the villages of Valšov and Leskovec nad Moravicí temporary airfields so Junkers Ju 52 transport aircraft could airlift the rest of the division into the area. The paratroopers and the airlanded infantry then secured the border fortifications along the Košetice – Velké Heraltice road and the Košetice – Malé Heraltice road. The airborne troops were then ordered to protect the perimeter against Czechoslovak counter-attacks until they linked up with ground forces from the German 2nd Army.
While the battle was a strategic victory for the German forces, the Germans had misinterpreted the intelligence information regarding the defences around Bruntál, and the German paratroopers suffered heavy casualties and heavy losses in transport aircraft. The Czechoslovak troops were close to prevailing against the German paratroopers in the first two days of the battle. However, the landing forced the Czechoslovaks to divert troops from the Opava sector to engage the paratroopers, weakening the troops manning the fortifications under attack by the ground forces of the German Second Army.