Military of the Czech Republic
|Army of the Czech Republic
Armáda České republiky
The coat of arms and roundel
|Founded||30 June 1918|
|Current form||1 January 1993|
|Service branches|| Land Forces
Czech Air Force
|Headquarters||Prague, Czech Republic|
|Commander-in-Chief||President of the Republic Miloš Zeman|
|Minister of Defense||Martin Stropnický|
|Chief of staff||Chief of the General Staff: Army general Josef Bečvář|
|Military age||18 years of age|
|Conscription||Abolished in 2004|
|2,414,728, age 15–49 (2005 est.)|
|1,996,631, age 15–49 (2005 est.)|
|66,583 (2005 est.)|
|Active personnel||18,000 soldiers and 7,530 civilians.|
|Budget||CZK 47,8 billion (2016)|
|Percent of GDP||1.03% (2016)|
The Army of the Czech Republic (Czech: Armáda České republiky) comprise the Czech Land Forces, the Czech Air Force and support units. From the late 1940s to 1989, the extensive Czechoslovak Armed Forces (about 200,000) formed one of the pillars of the Warsaw Pact military alliance. After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic is completing a major reorganisation and reduction of the armed forces, which intensified after the Czech Republic joined NATO on 12 March 1999.
- 1 History
- 2 Structure
- 3 Equipment
- 4 Small arms & hand weapons
- 5 Uniforms
- 6 Commanding officers
- 7 Current and historic military ranks
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
The Czechoslovak Armed Forces were originally formed on 30 June 1918 when 6.000 members of the Czechoslovak legion, which had been established in 1914, took oath and received a battle banner in Darney, France, thus preceding the official declaration of Czechoslovak independence by four months. The military achievements of the Czechoslovak legions on the French, Italian and especially Russian front became one of the main arguments that the Czechoslovak pro-independence leaders could use to gain the support for the country's independence by the Allies of World War I.
Following the downfall of Czechoslovakia and occupation of its Czech part by Nazi Germany in 1939, a number of Czechoslovak units and formations served with the Polish Army (Czechoslovak Legion), the French Army, the Royal Air Force, the British Army (the 1st Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade), and the Red Army (I Corps). Four Czech and Slovak-manned RAF squadrons were transferred to Czechoslovak control in late 1945.
From 1954 until 1990, the Army was known as the Czechoslovak People's Army (ČSLA). Although the ČSLA, as formed in 1945, included both Soviet- and British-equipped/trained expatriate troops, the "Western" soldiers had been purged from the ČSLA after 1948 when the communists took power. The ČSLA offered no resistance to the invasion mounted by the Soviets in 1968 in reaction to the "Prague Spring", and was extensively reorganized by the Soviets following the re-imposition of communist rule in Prague.
"Of the approximately 201,000 personnel on active duty in the ČSLA in 1987, about 145,000, or about 72 percent, served in the ground forces (commonly referred to as the army. About 100,000 of these were conscripts." There were two military districts, Western and Eastern. A 1989 listing of forces shows two Czechoslovak armies in the west, the 1st at Příbram with one tank division and three motor rifle divisions, the 4th at Písek with two tank divisions and two motor rifle divisions. In the Eastern Military District, there were two tank divisions, the 13th and 14th, with a supervisory headquarters at Trenčín in the Slovak part of the country.
During the Cold War, the ČSLA was equipped primarily with Soviet arms, although certain arms like the OT-64 SKOT armored personnel carrier, the L-29 Delfín and L-39 Albatros aircraft, the P-27 Pancéřovka antitank rocket launcher, the vz. 58 assault rifle or the Uk vz. 59 machine gun were of Czechoslovak design.
After 1992 (dissolution of Czechoslovakia)
The Army of the Czech Republic was formed after the Czechoslovak Armed Forces split after the 1 January 1993 dissolution of Czechoslovakia. Czech forces stood at 90,000 in 1993. They were reduced to around 65,000 in 11 combat brigades and the Air Force in 1997, to 63,601 in 1999, and to 35,000 in 2005. At the same time, the forces were modernized and reoriented towards a defensive posture. In 2004, the army transformed itself into a fully professional organization and compulsory military service was abolished. The Army maintains an active reserve.
The Czech Republic is a member of the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Since 1990, the ACR and the Czech Armed Forces have contributed to numerous peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, including IFOR, SFOR, and EUFOR Althea in Bosnia, Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Albania, Turkey, Pakistan and with the Coalition forces in Iraq.
Current deployments (as of 2010):
- Kosovo: NATO Operation "Joint Enterprise" (KFOR) - 450 soldiers
- Afghanistan: NATO Operation (ISAF) - 458 soldiers, 12 civilian experts and 3 Mi-171S helicopters in Faizabad, Logar and Paktika provinces.
- Somalia: EU Operation Atalanta (NAVFOR) - 3 soldiers
- DR Congo: UN peacekeeping mission (MONUC) - 3 military observers
- Afghanistan: UN peacekeeping mission (UNAMA) - 1 military observer
- Kosovo: UN peacekeeping mission (UNMIK) - 1 military observer
At present, the military of the Czech Republic is considered heavily underfunded, with too few armoured vehicles and aircraft, and even shortages of ammunition for infantry weapons. Some military equipment for the infantry has been purchased in civilian shops by personal expenditures of soldiers. The government announced an increase of the budget for the military, depending on the growth of the economy.
Structure of the Czech Armed Forces consists of two parts:
The 153rd Engineer Battalion based in Olomouc was created on 15 October 2008 and is subordinated to the 15th Engineer Regiment. The unit is stationed in the outskirts of the city of Olomouc, in place of the canceled 156th Rescue Battalion.
Active Reserve (in Czech Aktivní záloha) is a part of the otherwise professional Army of the Czech Republic. This service was created to allow the participation of citizens with a positive attitude to the military.
A volunteer needs either to have completed the compulsory military service (which ended in 2004) or to attend 8 week training. Then the reservists have to serve up to three weeks a year and can be called up to serve two weeks during a non-military crisis. They are not intended to serve abroad. The Reserve presents itself on events like BAHNA, a military show.
Vz. 58 assault rifle, now only in reserve
CZ-805 BREN assault rifle
Czech modernized T-72M4 CZ
Czech BVP-2 on a Military parade in Prague, 28 October 2008
Czech Pandur II 8x8 armoured personnel carrier
Tatra 810 medium truck
ShKH-77 Dana: 152mm Self-propelled cannon howitzer
Czech Air Force L-159 light combat aircraft
Small arms & hand weapons
|Name||Country of origin||Type||Photo||Notes|
|CZ 75|| Czechoslovakia
|Glock pistol||Austria||Pistol||In use by the 601st Special Forces Group and some other units deployed in Afghanistan. Being replaced by CZ 75 SP-01 Phantom for all apart from 601st Special Forces Group.|
|Škorpion vz. 61|| Czechoslovakia
|PDW Škorpion EVO III||Czech Republic||Submachine gun||In use by the Prague Castle Guard.|
|Heckler & Koch MP5||Germany||Submachine gun|
|Heckler & Koch UMP||Germany||Submachine gun||Used by military police.|
|Winchester Model 1200||United States||Shotgun||Model 1300 Defender used in small numbers.|
|Vz. 52 rifle||Czechoslovakia||Rifle||Used as ceremonial weapon by Prague Castle Guard.|
|Bushmaster M4A3||United States||Carbine||In use by the 601st Special Forces Group.|
|Vz. 58||Czechoslovakia||Assault rifle||Now in reserve only, replaced with all active units by CZ 805 Bren.|
|CZ 805 Bren||Czech Republic||Assault rifle||Standard service rifle (purchases 2012 - 2015).|
|CZ 806 Bren 2||Czech Republic||Assault rifle||Standard service rifle (since 2016).|
|Mk 48||United States||General-purpose machine gun|
|M60 machine gun||United States||General-purpose machine gun||In use by the 601st Special Forces Group.|
|Dragunov Sniper Rifle||Soviet Union||Designated marksman rifle|
|Sako TRG||Finland||Sniper rifle|
|CZ 700||Czech Republic||Sniper rifle|
|RPG-7V||Soviet Union||Anti-tank grenade launcher|
|Carl Gustav M3||Sweden||Recoilless rifle|
|FGM-148 Javelin||United States||Anti-tank missile launcher||An additional order totalling US$10.21 million was placed in December 2015 for an unknown amount of missiles and launchers.|
Different types of Czech Army uniforms:
- Chief of the General Staff: Army General Josef Bečvář
- First Deputy Chief of the General Staff: Major General Miroslav Žižka
- Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the AČR-Chief of Staff: Major General Bohuslav Dvořák
- Deputy Chief of the General Staff - Director of Joint Operation Centre: Major General Aleš Opata
- Deputy Chief of the General Staff - Inspector of the AČR: Major General František Malenínský
- Immediately Subordinated Offices:
- Military Regional Office, Boletice
- Military Regional Office, Brdy
- Military Regional Office, Březina
- Military Regional Office, Hradiště
- Military Regional Office, Libavá
- Support Policy Division: Director Major General Pavel Jevula
- Immediately Subordinated Institutions:
- Central Military Hospital, Prague
- Military Hospital, Brno
- Military Hospital, Olomouc
- Institute of Aviation Medicine, Prague
- Communication and Information Systems Division:Director - Chief of the Signal Corps of AČR: Colonel Jan Kaše
- Immediately Subordinated Institutions:
- 6th Communication Centre
- Research and Communication Centre 080
- Information Technology Development Agency
- Force Planning Division: Acting Director Colonel František Mičánek
- Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare Department: Director Colonel Miroslav Žižka
- Immediately Subordinated Office:
- Military Geography and Hydrometeorology Office
- Military Aviation Authority: Director Colonel Josef Otta
Current and historic military ranks
These are the military ranks, historic and present-day, of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic and its predecessor force, the Czechoslovak Armed Forces, later known as the People's Army.
Enlisted and non-commissioned officers
- Vojín - Private, Airman
- Svobodník - Private First Class, Airman First Class
- Desátník - Corporal, Senior Airman
- Četař - Sergeant
- Četař jednoroční dobrovolník - Volunteer Sergeant (used 1919-1920)
- Rotný - Staff Sergeant (formerly Sikovatel from 1919-20)
- Štábní šikovatel - Company Sergeant Major (used 1918-1920)
- Staršina - Platoon Sergeant, Flight sergeant (part of the rank system 1948-1959)
- Rotmistr - Sergeant First Class, Technical Sergeant
- Nadrotmistr - Master Sergeant
- Štábní rotmistr - First Sergeant (abolished 2011)
- Důstojnický zástupce - Cadet Warrant officer (used 1919-1920)
- Podpraporčík - First Warrant Officer (abolished 2011)
- Praporčík - Warrant officer
- Nadpraporčík - Senior Warrant Officer
- Štábní praporčík - Chief Warrant Officer (abolished 1949, reinstated 1999)
Officer cadets and military school cadets
- Kadet Aspirant - Officer cadet (used 1919-1920)
- Gážista mimo hodnostní třídu - Reserve Officer Candidate (used 1919-1920)
- Podporučík OF-1c - Sub-lieutenant (abolished 2011)
- Poručík OF-1b - Second lieutenant, Lieutenant
- Nadporučík OF-1a - First lieutenant
- Kapitán - Captain (formerly Setník in the Home Army)
- Štábní kapitán - Senior Captain (abolished 1952)
- Podplukovník - Lieutenant colonel
- Plukovník - Colonel
- Brigádní generál - Brigade General (Jun 12th, 1953 to generálmajor, 1999 reinstated to Brigádní generál)
- Divizní generál - Divisional General (Jun 12th, 1953 to generálporučík)
- Generálmajor - Major General (exists Jun 12th, 1953 to present)
- Generálporučík - Lieutenant General (exists Jun 12th, 1953 to present)
- Polní podmaršálek - Lieutenant Field Marshal (used 1918-1920)
- Sborový generál - Corps General (Jun 12th, 1953 to generálplukovník)
- Generálplukovník - Colonel General (abolished 1998)
- Generál - General (created in 1920 and abolished 1930, today highest rank in Slovakia)
- Armádní generál - General of the Army, General of the Air Force
- Polní zbrojmistr - Field marshal (used 1918-1920)
- "Personnel Size 2014"
- "Armádní aktivní zálohy by se měly stát poloprofesionálním sborem". Novinky.cz. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- "Defence Budget 2014"
- "NATO Defence Expenditure: 2009 - 2013" August 14, 2014
- "Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Trade Register"
- "Military Balance in Europe 2011"., March 07, 2011.
- For more information on the Czechoslovak Army during the Cold War, see Gordon L. Rottman, Warsaw Pact Ground Forces, Osprey Publishing, 1987
- Library of Congress Country Study: Czechoslovakia, Ground Forces, 1987
- Orbat.com, Warsaw Pact Order of Battle 1989, accessed 2 June 2010
- "Starting points for professionalization of the armed forces" (in Czech). 2000. Retrieved 2008-06-27.
- "New management and command structure of Armed Forces of the Czech Republic as of 1 July 2013". www.army.cz. Ministerstvo obrany. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
- http://www.153zpr.army.cz - webové stránky praporu www.153zpr.army.cz
- "Equipment Size 2016"
- "Vehicle and aircraft holdings within the scope of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty 2014" May 15, 2014
- "Celá historie naší armády je spojena se značkou Tatra" (in Czech). Army of the Czech Republic official website. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
- "Tank Mil Mi-24 - NATO code: HIND". Army of the Czech Republic official website. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
- Stephane Lefebvre, 'The Army of the Czech Republic: A Status Report,' Journal of Slavic Military Studies, Vol. 8, No. 4, December 1995, pp. 718–751
- Tomáš Weiss, 'Fighting Wars or Controlling Crowds? The Case of the Czech Military Forces and the Possible Blurring of Police and Military Functions, Armed Forces & Society, Vol. 39, No. 3, pp. 450-466
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