The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By Jaromír Navrátil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 108: Directive from the Commanders of the Southern
Group of Soviet Forces Regarding Efforts to Disarm the Czechoslovak
People's Army, August 1968s

Source: Sb. KV, N—VHA.

General Konstantin Provalov, the commander of the USSR's Southern Group of Forces, and General
Fyodor Marushchak, the chief of staff of the Southern Group of Forces, issued this directive shortly before
the invasion. (The date of the order is not known but it was probably transmitted on August 20.) The
directive called for a major redeployment of the 8th Motorized Rifle Division to be completed by 3:00
A.M. on the 26th, following preliminary reconnaissance and other detailed military preparations.

Provalov and Marushchak ordered that their units should "be prepared to suppress "any resistance by
the CzPA and, if necessary, to "engage in rapid operations to crush" the Czechoslovak troops. The directive
also ordered that those troops were to be disarmed of their "weaponry and combat equipment" even if they
put up no resistance and remained in their barracks, and that "command posts, telephone exchanges,
armories and warehouses" be occupied. The systematic disarming operations were suspended on August 26.

(See also Document No. 112.)

TO: The Commander of the 8th Motorized Rifle Division (1)The 8th Motorized Rifle Division (the 6th, 14th, 33rd, and 63rd motorized rifle regiments, 31st armored regiment, and 22nd artillery regiment) must be prepared to suppress possible acts by the Czechoslovak People's Army and, if necessary, to engage in rapid operations to crush them.…2. The following facilities of the Czechoslovak People's Army are to be occupied and disarmed by the following units:
the Officers' Communications School at the Nové Mesto nad Váhom garrison by the forces of the 14th motorized rifle regiment;
the 22nd anti-tank artillery regiment at Topolčany by the forces of the 63rd motorized rifle regiment;
the 64th tank regiment at Levica by the 31st tank regiment minus one battalion;
the 6th engineers' regiment and construction regiment at Sered, and the 6th independent radar regiment at Trnava by the forces of the 33rd motorized rifle regiment;
the Central Repair Workshop at Hlohovec by the forces of the 22nd artillery regiment; and
patrol formations at Nové Zámky by forces of the 6th motorized rifle regiment.

3. When occupying and disarming units and schools of the Czechoslovak People's Army in the division's sphere of responsibility, the division must take over all command posts, the telephone exchange, the armory, and all warehouses.

4. Commanders of divisions and regiments are required to exercise close surveillance over arms depots, warehouses, base facilities, and other major installations of the Czechoslovak People's Army.

They are required to perform covert reconnaissance round-the-clock to be able to detect any activities and to take other measures in deploying their units as well as security measures for preparing against an assault on their garrisons.

You are required to detect in good time any distribution of materials and arms by units, and from armories and warehouses, to the population and troops in order to act immediately to prevent such action.

-443-

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