- Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression
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Copy of document 3619-PS
Report of the U.S. Military Attache in Berlin, dated 19
1939. Report 16,596
Subject: Occupation of Czechoslovakia. Suppliment to Report
Since the suppliment to report 16,520 was written on March
31 (16,531) additional information has been obtained on the
occupation of Czechoslovakia which is believed will be of
interest to G-2.
Comments made by a German officer:
The following comments were made by a German officer who had
been attached to the staff of Army Group 3 from March 12 to
April 12, at a lecture to his section in Kriegsakademie:
He stated that since the 3rd Army Group Headquarters is a
territorial rather than a tactical organization, some minor
difficulties were encountered in the tactical employment.
Units under the command of the 3rd Army which were involved
in the occupation of Bohemia and Moravia were all on a peace
time rather than a war basis and lacking most of their
supply service [sic] were much smaller than they would be in
time of war. For this operation in which the German army was
not placed on a war footing, various nonarmy units were
employed to fill deficiencies in the peacetime army
organization and for relief measures to the population. Of
these units the N.S.V. (National-Socialistische
Volkswehlfahrt — National Socialist welfare organization)
was employed to distribute food and render assistance to the
local population. The N.S.K.K. (National Sozialistischer
Kraftfahr Korps --) was also represented and members of the
S.A. were used to provide a guard for the army H.Q.
The army staff was assembled at Dresden on the night of the
14th. On the 15th the headquarters was moved to Prague,
stopping en route at Leitmeritz early on the morning of the
15th until assurance was received that everything in Prague
was proceeding satisfactorily.
For the movement of the army into Bohemia and Moravia all
supply arrangements were made by the army staff alone for
the sake of secrecy rather than in the normal manner of
requisitioning assistance from nonmilitary personnel.
Heavy snow and slippery roads greatly hindered the movement
of the troops forcing the tank units to move in low gear.
The resulting gas consumption was just about double what had
been estimated. One motorized division of the XIII Corps was
completely without touch with its corps headquarters for 24
hours. (This was probably the 29th Division moving north
along the border between Bohemia and Moravia.)
In the VIII Corps it was considered necessary to occupy
Maehr, Ostrau on the evening of the 14th before the general
movement actually began, in order to insure that the large
iron factories and steel works in this place would not fall
into Polish hands.
Upon the occupation of Prague the Czech archives were at
once seized. These archives yielded much valuable
information not so much in regard to the Czech army itself
as to the former allies of the Czechs. It was stated that
the Czech military authorities themselves were unable to
state the size or the exact condition of their army.
No accurate accounting of Czech equipment was possible,
particularly because a large part of it had been taken home
and hidden by individual soldiers.
The size, output, and advanced technique of the Skoda and
Bruen works was a great surprise to the Germans as were the
technical secrets and manufacturing methods which fell into
Prague did not give the appearance of a captured city.
Everything seemed to be running smoothly and the majority of
the people, after slight natural hesitance, were very
friendly to the German troops.
20,000 inhabitants of Bohemia and Moravia were deported to
Hitler issued an order that within four weeks after the
occupation of Bohemia and Moravia all war material found in
Czechoslovakia should be transported to Germany.
The German General Staff had feared that large strikes would
occur in Czechoslovakia and provisions had been made against
this contingency. However, no strikes of a serious nature
occurred. The German method of dealing with any trouble
which occurred in Czechoslovakian business or factories has
been to remove the owners or managers and to replace them by
other Czechs selected by the German authorities.
In commenting on the troops employed in the occupation, he
stated that although the recruits had received practically
no training beyond the school of the soldier, this lack of
training apparently had no detrimental effect upon the
conduct of the operation.
A map is attached showing the zones of advance allotted to
the various Army Corps.
Percy G. Black,
Acting Military Attache.