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“Status of the Šumava Allied Exercise,” Report to Alexander Dubček by ČSSR Defense Minister Martin Dzúr, June 17, 1968
Our Source: Navratil, Jaromir.
"The Prague Spring 1968". Hungary: Central European Press, 1998,
Original Source: VHA, F. MNO, Gen. štáb, Sv. Šumava.
Translated by: Mark Kramer, Joy Moss and Ruth Tosek
Comment: This is the report written by Czechoslovak defense minister to Dubček about the Šumava military exercises.
TO: First Secretary of the CPCz Central Committee, Cde. Alexander Dubček
FROM: ČSSR Minister of National Defense
SUBJECT: Status of the Šumava allied exercise
Under the terms of an agreement between the ČSSR government and the commander-in-chief of the Joint Armed Forces, the Šumava allied strategic operational command staff exercises will be held on the territory of the ČSSR on 19-26 June 1968.
On the basis of information provided by the chief of staff of the Joint Armed Forces, General Kazakov, the following staffs and troops will participate in the exercise on ČSSR territory:
- two army staffs of the CzPA, each with one division staff, and each division with one regiment staff and one battalion of troops;
- one staff of the Soviet army from the Transcarpathian Military District, and two division staffs, each with one regiment staff and one motorized rifle battalion, with total personnel numbering 4,000, of which 1,000 are in combat units;
- one staff of the Soviet army from the Northern Group of Soviet Forces deployed on the territory of the Polish People’s Republic, with two division staffs, each with one regiment staff and one motorized rifle battalion, with total personnel numbering 4,000, of which 1,000 are in combat units;
- one army staff and one division of the Hungarian People's Army with reduced numbers and total personnel of approximately 750;
- the air force of the Soviet army with 48-60 combat aircraft and ground-based logistical forces, with total personnel of about 1,900;
- the directorate of the exercise from the command staffs of the Joint Armed Forces and the General Staff of the Soviet army, with logistical and communications formations,
- a front staff from the Northern Group of Soviet Forces deployed on the territory of the Polish People's Republic.
In total, it can be expected that some 14,000 troops of the Soviet army will be on ČSSR territory during the exercise, including 2,000 in combat units, along with 48-60 combat aircraft and helicopters, and up to 750 personnel from the Hungarian People’s Army, that is, a total of approximately 15,000 allied troops.
According to information available to us, additional troops from the border regions in the vicinity of the ČSSR, consisting of one Polish army and one army from the German Democratic Republic, will participate in the exercises on the territory of the Polish People's Republic and the German Democratic Republic.
The commander of the staff of the Joint Armed Forces anticipates between 30,000-40,000 personnel to be involved in the exercise.
The final number of personnel and their gradual entry onto our territory will be specified on 18.6.1968, by Marshal Yakubovskii after his arrival in the ČSSR.
The following quantity of allied troops are already on ČSSR territory as of today:
- the directorate of the exercise: the Soviet section of 480 generals and officers;
- supply units for the exercise directorate and communications units amounting to 4,170 personnel and 1,327 vehicles;
- 747 personnel and 239 vehicles from the Hungarian People's Army,
- 1,297 personnel, 320 vehicles, and 21 aircraft from the Soviet Air Force;
Altogether, on 17 June 1968 there are 6,689 personnel, 1,886 vehicles, and 21 aircraft from allied forces deployed on ČSSR territory. These numbers will be increased both before and during the exercise up to the figures cited.
In addition to the participation of troops outlined above, the Soviet exercise directorate has insisted on the participation of a further staff from the 7th army of the National Air Defense Forces, along with two corps staffs from the National Air Defense Forces and, for a day or two, operational groups from the CzPA General Staff. These demands are increasing the originally agreed size of the numbers participating in the exercise, and that is why they have not yet been approved by the CzPA command.
The size of the exercise, especially the number of combat units taking part, is unusually high for an exercise of this nature.
I therefore request that agreement be given to hold the exercise in accordance with the proposal of the Joint Command, or to consider the following solution.
a) The exercise would be held in the size mentioned, but only up to division staff level, including the necessary communications and logistic units and without the participation of combat formations.
The troop maneuvers that the exercise directorate intends to carry out during the strategic-operational exercise can be held at any time during the year while not linking them to the nature of such an exercise. This is not only because similar exercises are not very effective for the training of troops but, above all, because at the present time of year it is difficult to avoid damage to crops and communications.
b) If the Joint Command so insists, the required combat units will be designated for individual missions of a tactical nature from the ranks of the CzPA,
The activities of the Joint Air Forces in CSSR airspace will be limited, with essential tasks to be carried out by the CzPA 10th air force.
I recommend that Marshal of the USSR Yakubovskii be received within the next few days either by the CPCz CC first secretary or by the prime minister to provide overall information about the Šumava exercise.
The commander-in-chief of the Joint Armed Forces, Marshal of the USSR Yakubovskii, arrives in the ČSSR at Ruzyné airport on 18 June 1968; his reception is secured.
In the morning I will hold talks with Marshal of the USSR Yakubovskii on the following matters:
- the operational objective and organizational directives for the Šumava exercise;
- the number of troops participating in the exercise, and their quantity and specific location on ČSSR territory;
- the participation of the 7th Army and two corps of the National Air Defense Forces as well as operational groups of the CzPA General Staff;
- the date of the beginning and termination of the exercise, the duration of the assessment, and the deadline for the departure of allied troops from ČSSR territory;
- the method of carrying out the part of the exercise involving troops, and expected instances with which the original agreement did not reckon;
- an agreement that troops taking part in the exercise from the Polish People's Army and the German People's Army should perform their activity outside ČSSR territory;
- the official protocol connected with the exercise, especially the reception of top officials from the allied armies at an official luncheon at the Ministry of National Defense, their meetings with government officials, and a final luncheon arranged by the head of the exercise, Marshal of the USSR Yakubovskii.
I ask you to consider the measures proposed.
Col. General Martin Dzur
Minister of National Defense