Battle of Slivice

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Battle of Slivice
Part of World War II
Památník Milín (1).jpg
Memorial near Slivice
Date 11–12 May 1945
Location Slivice near Čimelice, Bohemia
Result Allied victory
Belligerents
 Soviet Union
 Czechoslovakia[1][2]
 United States
 Germany
Commanders and leaders
Soviet Union Sergei Serjogin
United States LeRoy Irwin
Nazi Germany Carl Friedrich von Pückler-Burghauss
Strength
Unknown Approx 7,000
Casualties and losses
Soviet Union: ~60 dead
13 partisans
~1,000 dead
~6,000 captured

The Battle of Slivice was the last large World War II battle in the area of the Czech lands. During 11–12 May 1945, German troops, trying to surrender to nearby American troops, defended themselves against local partisans and the Soviet Army. The Germans eventually capitulated during early hours of May 12. About 6,000 men were captured by the Soviet troops.

On 7 May 1945, all German forces were ordered to remain in their positions and surrender. Field Marshal Ferdinand Schörner, however, the commander of the Army Group Centre deployed in Bohemia, ordered his units to force their way westwards in order to surrender to American forces. The units reached the agreed demarcation line in western Bohemia and stopped there. Since the Soviet Army was still days away from the demarcation line, the partisans tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to stop the Germans, who responded with reprisals against the local population. On several occasions, Russian Liberation Army units – also trying to reach the Americans – skirmished with the Germans.

On 9 May, a large formation of German troops reached the area between villages Milín, Slivice and Čimelice, near the demarcation line. Among them were parts of Kampfgruppe Wallenstein[3] and the 2nd SS Panzer Division's 4th SS Panzergrenadier Regiment; the formation was commanded by SS-Gruppenführer and General-Leutnant of the Waffen-SS Karl Friedrich von Pückler-Burghauß. The soldiers were accompanied by fleeing German civilians. Because the road toward the Americans was blocked by local resistance units, von Pückler-Burghauß ordered the establishment of defensive lines. After May 8, the Americans returned any soldiers attempting to surrender to the Soviet side.

On 11 May, partisan groups led by Soviet officer Yevgeniy Antonovich Olesenski[4] attempted to storm the Germans and were decimated. Soviet Army units arrived that afternoon and attacked the Germans.

The attack started with a heavy artillery and rocket bombardment. The Soviet bombardment was supported by 4th Armored Division of the U.S. Third Army's XII Corps. Later, troops from the 1st, 2nd and 4th Ukrainian Fronts attacked the German positions. During the night, the defense collapsed and, at around 03:00, General von Pückler-Burghauß signed the capitulation. The American negotiators refused to take the General, so, fearing revenge from the Russians, von Pückler-Burghauß shot himself. About 6,000 soldiers and a large number of vehicles were captured.

In 1970, a memorial to the battle, designed by Václav Hilský, was unveiled in Slivice. Czech military history clubs, the Museum in Příbram and the Army of the Czech Republic have organized reenactments of the battle since 2001.

Notes[edit]

Literature[edit]

  • Josef Velfl, Jiří Vostarek: Slivice 1945 - Poslední události 2. světové války na Příbramsku (Slivice 1945 - the last events of World War II in Příbram region), 1995, published by local authorities and the Mining Museum in Příbram (details).
  • Tomáš Jakl: Květen 1945 v českých zemích - Pozemní operace vojsk Osy a Spojenců (May 1945 in the Czech lands - ground campaigns of the Axis and the Allies), 2004, ISBN 80-86524-07-8.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 49°38′36″N 14°02′50″E / 49.64333°N 14.04722°E / 49.64333; 14.04722