On May 11, 1945 in the course of Prague Offensive (6-11 May 1945) the troops of the 1st, 2nd and 4th Ukrainian fronts completed the liberation of Czechoslovakia.
After the Battle of Berlin in 1945 in the territory of Czechoslovakia and in northern regions of Austria continued to offer resistance the Army Group Center under the commandment of Field Marshal General F. Schorner and a part of Army Group Austria, on the whole over 900 thousand men, 9.7 thousand guns and mortars; 1.9 thousand tanks and assault guns and 1 thousand planes.
The idea of the German government was that the Army Group Center should hold the regions of western and central Czechoslovakia in order to gain time and secure the withdrawal of German troops to the West where they would capitulate to the American armies.
The Soviet High Command planned to strike several blows against the lines of advance converging toward Prague, to encircle, divide and defeat promptly the main forces of the Nazi in the territory of Czechoslovakia not letting them to withdraw to the West. The enemy was to be defeated by the 1st, 2nd and 4th Ukrainian fronts (commanded by Marshals of the Soviet Union I. S. Konev and R. Ya. Malinovsky; and the Army General A. I. Yeremenko).
In the morning of 5 May the citizens of Prague started the Uprising. To suppress it the Nazi commandment threw a large amount of force of the Army Group Center.
In the night of 6 May Prague radio station addressed the Soviet troops asking for the assistance. The forces of the main assault group of the 1st Ukrainian front right flank started the offensive 24 hours before the planned date and by the end of 7 May reached the northern slopes of the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge) and began the battle for Dresden.
8 and 9 May were the decisive days of the Soviet troops’ offensive of Prague. The troops of the right flank of the 1st Ukrainian front suppressed the enemy resistance at the passes over the Ore Mountains and seized the city of Dresden. At dawn of 9 May the advanced detachments of the 3rd and 4th Guard tank armies stormed into Prague. In the afternoon the advanced detachments of the 60th and 38th armies of the 4th Ukrainian front entered the city from the east. Within a few hours Prague was liberated from the remnants of German forces.
On 10 May the Soviet armies continued their swift thrust in all lines of advance. Czech partisans actively supported them. Almost the entire enemy group remaining in Czechoslovakia was encircled. Only several divisions of the Army Group Austria which fought on the group’s flanks forced their way to the sector of the American forces. Having lost the hope to reach the west the encircled troops started to surrender. During 10 and 11 May the main forces of the German Nazi troops were taken prisoners.
On 11 May the Soviet forces reached the line of Chemnitz, Karlovy Vary and Plzen meeting with the advanced detachments of the Americans. During Prague Offensive about 860 thousand enemy soldiers and officers and 35 generals were taken prisoners; 9.5 thousands guns and mortars, 1.8 thousand tanks and assault guns, 1.1 thousand planes and many other armaments and battle machinery captured.
The losses of the Soviet armies during the Prague Offensive numbered about 50 thousand men, over 370 tanks, 1 thousand guns and mortars, 80 planes. Besides, the Polish troops lost about 1thousand men, the Romanians – over 1.7 thousand and Czechs – over 500 men. On the whole, in the battles for liberation of Czechoslovakia fell over 140 thousand Soviet servicemen.
To mark this victory the Supreme Soviet Presidium of USSR established the medal ‘For liberation of Prague’ awarded to all those who participated in the battles for liberation of Czechoslovakia capital.
Lit.: Бегинин О. Восточный фронт: Пражская операция, 1945 год [Электронный ресурс] // Weltkrieg.Ru. 2003-2011. URL: http://www.weltkrieg.ru/battles/133-----1945-.html; Конев И. С. Сорок пятый. М., 1970; То же [Электронный ресурс] URL: http://militera.lib.ru/memo/russian/konev_is2/index.html; Лелюшенко Д. Д. Москва-Сталинград-Берлин-Прага. Записки командарма. М., 1987.; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: http://militera.lib.ru/memo/russian/lelyushenko_dd/index.html.
From the Presidential library materials:
The Great Patriotic War began // On this day. 22 June 1941;
Nevel offensive operation began // On this day. 6 October 1943;
Liberation of Novgorod during the Great Patriotic War // On this day. 20 January 1944 г.;
Liberation of Odessa from the Nazi occupation // On this day. 10 April 1944;
Liberation of Simferopol from the Nazi occupants // On this day. 13 April 1944;
Liberation of Smolensk from the German Fascist Army // On this day. 25 September 1943;
The Great Victory Memory: collection.