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Operation Danube - Czechoslovakia 1968


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A limited number (IIRC 30 sets were produced in 1967) was deployed to GSFG for a short period, but it proved the unpopular solution. They were also tested on many different vehicles, T-54/T-55, T-10M (actually issued too) and even PT-76.

 

Edited by Nikolas93TS
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While true, but soviet army has deployed from german territory.

 

which can also be seen by the markings for the staffs on the map: !. guards tank army; 70th guards army; pawlowsky (polish i guess), polish army and new army staff

 

the darkened areas marked as assembly areas for DDR NVA units have not been used as we know now. I wonder if these have been the actually planned for areas? And how did Der Spiegel (W.-German weekly news magazine) obtain the info? That there have not been NVA in the CSSR should have been obvious too. hmmm

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8 color photos stated to be from August 21st, 1968 were posted on Twitter on Sunday (Tweet 1 and Tweet 2). The poster, Marcin Czerwinski, said they were taken by his uncle and had not been published prior to his posting them. I've posted the 3 photos that focus most on tanks below:

 

DHsU3OEXcAAGwN3.jpg

 

DHsVTHpXgAE34G8.jpg

 

DHsVWMYWsAICPyy.jpg

Edited by Dark_Falcon
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I recently discovered this info from 2008 confirming that no East German Army units participated in Operation Danube:

 

"Two East German divisions were already ready at the border: one had to travel to Děčín and Litoměřice, the other to Pilsen. The Czechoslovak anti-Reform Communists Drahomír Kolder and Vasil Biľak but Brezhnev personally asked German soldiers to stay at home. Consequently, Moscow's leadership decided at the last minute that two already mobilized divisions should not cross the GDR border. According to German historians, then East German Communist leader Walter Ulbricht felt humiliation."

 

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Correct. It was felt that German troops invading Czechoslovakia on the 30th anniversary of 1938 would be bad PR, even if they were good communists. The East German government of course wanted to prove that they were the latter first; they had spent the previous ten years distancing themselves from the original goal of a united Germany under communist rule in favor of the narrative that the DDR had nothing to do with previous German history except select revolutionary bits, and rather was an all-new thing, the first workers-and-peasants state on German territory whose tradition was communist resistance to the Nazis, basically having been on the winning side of WW II. Barring them from the Czech Blitzkrieg revival was a major blow to them.

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Correct. It was felt that German troops invading Czechoslovakia on the 30th anniversary of 1938 would be bad PR, even if they were good communists. The East German government of course wanted to prove that they were the latter first; they had spent the previous ten years distancing themselves from the original goal of a united Germany under communist rule in favor of the narrative that the DDR had nothing to do with previous German history except select revolutionary bits, and rather was an all-new thing, the first workers-and-peasants state on German territory whose tradition was communist resistance to the Nazis, basically having been on the winning side of WW II. Barring them from the Czech Blitzkrieg revival was a major blow to them.

 

The Soviet leadership was likely right about the bad PR it would have generated, though.

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Oh, I have absolutely no doubt. I can see the ten-feet-high headlines of "SBZ* HAS GERMAN TANKS ROLLING THROUGH PRAGUE AGAIN 30 YEARS LATER" accompanied by side-by-side pictures of then and now West Germany's conservative Springer Press would have made of this right now, followed by every other official and unofficial news source in the Western world.

 

 

* Sowjetische Besatzungszone, Soviet Occupation Zone. Even after Springer's papers started referring to the DDR as such, they put it in quotation marks by way of disacknowledgement.

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Oh, I have absolutely no doubt. I can see the ten-feet-high headlines of "SBZ* HAS GERMAN TANKS ROLLING THROUGH PRAGUE AGAIN 30 YEARS LATER" accompanied by side-by-side pictures of then and now West Germany's conservative Springer Press would have made of this right now, followed by every other official and unofficial news source in the Western world.

 

 

* Sowjetische Besatzungszone, Soviet Occupation Zone. Even after Springer's papers started referring to the DDR as such, they put it in quotation marks by way of disacknowledgement.

 

Czechs and Slovaks would not have been happy to see german visitors again. Coming once again to occupy. and probabaly they saw a risk in escalating the situation and driving the czechoslovak population to act more rebellious fighting against the german occupation..

 

What the BILD prints was not of much concern to the central committee I think. They were going to be painted as evil invaders anyway.

Edited by Panzermann
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Czechs and Slovaks would not have been happy to see german visitors again.

In the same way, the reasons for this were also ( non officially) explained in the GDR. There were only 23 years of them since 1945, and the memories were still too fresh.

Edited by Stefan Kotsch
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Just to clarify things regarding those T-10Ms...it's highly unlikely that they were organic to the 1st Guards. According to CIA/FOIA sources, the 1st Guards either didn't have a heavy tank regiment or had a regiment that was still equipped with "JS" heavy tanks. The most likely scenario is that these T-10Ms were included with the units that task organized into the 1st Guards from the 8th Guards CAA.

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