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In May 1945, the reborn Czechoslovakian army found on Czech soil a large amount of German armoured railway stock.
The total comprised probably armoured trains Nos. 27,80 and 81, Streckenscutzzug Moritz, Panzertriebwagen no.36 (Littorio) and Schwere Spahzuge nos. 205 and 206. As well as those, there were a large number of improvised Flakzuge (with flatbed cars, concrete armour and 2 cm and 3.7 cm anti-aircraft guns).
According to the first official report from 18 May, 1945, the army had 12 improvised trains (Flakzuge), one armoured train with steam engine and five cars in Prague, another armoured train with a steam and seven cars in Milovice. In Milovice were also two gasoline powered armoured trains (Schwere Spahzuge no.206) with ba total of nine cars. All the armoured trains were involved in the liberation of the Sudetenland in June-July 1945, where they found an additional four BP44 armoured cars at Ceska Lipa.
The first postwar organisation of the Czechoslovak army included a company of armoured trains, formed officially in Nymburk on 1 October, 1945. The company was commanded by the 1 Army District headquarters, and technically was subjugated to the 11 Tank Brigade. It consisted of a platoon of steam driven armoured trains with one train, consisting of a locomotive, a pusher car, one artillery car, two machine gun cars, two tank carrying cars and a gasoline powered draisine. The second platoon of heavy scout cars consited of a pusher car, light scout Littorio, two artillery cars and three machine gun cars. An improvised training train consisted of a steam locomotive, a pusher car, an artillery car, three machine gun cars and a training draisine. The company also had support inuts and a garrison train.
Because the armoured train company gradually obtained additional equipment, by September 1946 it was upgraded to an armoured train battalion, with 37 officers, 39 NCOs and 622 men. The battalion was orgainsed into a headquarters with a technical and quartermaster's unit; a company with the following steam driven armoured trains "Dr Benes", "Masaryk", "Stefanik", and "Svoboda"; a company with the following gasoline driven trains, "Pavlik", "Stalin" and "Hurban" and a light motor car; and a reserve company with the training armoured train "Orlik". The trains generally had 6-9 cars (pusher car,1-2 artillery cars,2-3 machine gun cars, 2 tank carrying cars and one mortar car). The tanks carried were LT vz.38s. The five available artillery cars carried besides a 2 cm Flakvierling, a 10.5 cm Le.FH18 (one), PzKpfw III turret with the short 7.5 cm gun (two), or PzKpfw IV turret with the 7.5 cm KwK 40 L/48 (two).
The Czechoslovak army was reorganised on 1 April, 1949. The armoured train battalion was reorganised in the fall of 1949. Its company of gasoline driven trains was split as a separate unit and was stationed in Sopot, near Chotebor. At this time it had htrre trains with 5-7 cars each and the motor draisine. The company of five steam driven trains remained at Nymburk. Each train had nine cars and a motor draisine. The battalion was subjugated directly to the headquarters of the armoured units. The names of the trains were abolished and they got new numbers. The eight available garrison trains were concentrated into only two, one in Nymburk and one in Sopot.
The whole battalion was finally abolished between 1954-55. Most od the armoured cars were scrapped. Some machine gun cars were used by the Czechoslovakian air force as armoured protected sits for directing traffic at its airfields. Two of them survive to this day, one in the Prague Military Museum, the other one is in Bratislava.
The above text and photos were taken from'Czechoslovak Armoured Fighting Vehicles 1918-1948', by Charles K. Kliment & Vladimir Francev.
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