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Copy of document 3619-PS
Report of the U.S. Military Attache in Berlin, dated 19 April 1939. Report 16,596 GERMANY (Combat) Subject: Occupation of Czechoslovakia. Suppliment to Report 16,520 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 German hands. 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 Germany proper. 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, Major, F.A., Acting Military Attache.