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Battle of Olomouc (Fall Grün)

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Battle of Olomouc
DateMarch 6 - March 8, 1938
Result Decisive German victory
Belligerents
Flag of Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia Flag of German Reich (1935–1945) Nazi Germany
Commanders
Flag of Czechoslovakia Arm. Gen. Vojtěch Luža White flag Flag of German Reich (1935–1945) Gen.d.Inf. Johannes Blaskowitz
Strength
II. armáda ”Jirásek”:
• Elements of the 8. divize ”Mánes”
II. Armeekorps:
• 12. Infanterie-Division
• 32. Infanterie-Division
• I/15. Pz.Regt
Casualties and losses
Military casualties:
610 killed,
200 WIA,
600 POWs
Civilian casualties:
30 killed,
100 injured
Military casualties:
532 killed,
600 WIA

The Battle of Olomouc was a military engagement between the Republic of Czechoslovakia and Nazi Germany fought between March 6 and 8, 1939, over the control of the town of Olomouc, Czechoslovakia. It was the last urban battle of the war.

Prelude to the Battle

In northern Moravia the Second Army advanced at full speed southwards, and by March 5 they had encircled the city of Olomouc, and the remnants of the II. armáda ”Jirásek”, including its commander Arm. Gen. Vojtěch Boris Luža, had been encircled in the city. Subsequently, the 12. and 32. Infanterie-Division, supported by the I/15. Pz.Regt. prepared for an assault on the city.

On March 5, around 1700, Arm. Gen. Luža received reports of German forces in the suburbs of Neredín, Řepčín, Černovír, Chválkovice, Bystrovany, Holice and Nové Sady. Those forces consisted of armored scouts and have engaged Czech infantry units on their approaches. Arm. Gen. Luža then decided to defend the city, even though much of the II. armáda ”Jirásek” had left for Poland.

Under his command, Luža had two infantry battalions of the 8. divize ”Mánes”, under the command of Brig. Gen. Otakar Zahálka. He and his chief of staff, Staff Lt.Col. F. Janda, was given orders by Luža to prepare the defences of the town. With limited resources, the Czech defenders dug in and around the town, with a battery of 75 mm Škoda vz. 15 mountain guns and 10 KPÚV vz. 37 anti-tank guns in reserve. Most of the defenders were reservists and veterans, most being only equipped with their ZB vz. 24 rifle with only 20 rounds, while a lucky few were equipped with Lk vz. 26 light machine guns and Kp vz. 38 submachine guns. The civilians contributed with bottles to make gasoline bombs.

The Battle

At noon on March 6, Dornier Do-17 bombers of the 8./KG153 attacked the center of Olomouc. The town hall with its astronomical clock was hit in the attack, and a fire made further damage on both the interior and the façade of the building.

The first German attack, carried out by Infanterie-Regiment 96, in the afternoon of the March 6 was repulsed by the Czech defenders and an artillery barrage of the 75 mm vz. 15 mountain guns. Later, in the evening, the Germans subsequently continued to push into the city. By the end of the day the German have secured the inner suburbs, and made much headway into the city.

By the morning of March 7 the advanced German infantry had been reinforced with tanks of the I/15. Pz.Regt. The Czech defenders delayed German advance, particularly by fighting from house to house, but later that day the poorly coordinated Czech defence collapsed and the Germans took control of the city.

In the early hours of March 8 the forward spearheads of the Second and Fourteenth Armies met at a line running southwest and south of Olomouc, completing the pincer movement.

When Arm. Gen. Vojtěch Luža capitulated in the morning of March 8, he had lost 610 men, 200 had been wounded, and 600 had been taken prisoner. The German casualties had been unexpectedly light: 230 men had been killed in action (140 of them in the first assault), and 503 had been wounded. Around 16 light tanks and 25 motorcycles and trucks had been destroyed.

See also

Invasion of Czechoslovakia
Battle of the Border
(Opava    Operation Freudenthal    Šatov    Znojmo   České Budějovice)

Bohemian front
(Plzeň    Prague)


Moravian front
(Olomouc    Brno)


Hungarian front
Komárno    Zvolen    Kosiče)

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