GEN. DJUROV’S REPORT ON THE PARTICIPATION OF BULGARIAN TROOPS IN THE WARSAW PACT OPERATION IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA, 30 SEPTEMBER 1968CITATION SHARE DOWNLOAD
get citationThe Minister reports on the progress of the allied operation and on the strength of the Czech resistance."Gen. Djurov’s Report on the participation of Bulgarian troops in the Warsaw Pact operation in Czechoslovakia, 30 September 1968," September 30, 1968, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Central State Archive, Sofia, Fond 1-B, Record 49, File 158. Obtained by the Bulgarian Cold War Research Group. Translated by Vanja Petkova, Edited by Dr. Rositza Ishpekova and Kalin Kanchev. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110014
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BY THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
ARMY GENERAL DOBRI DZJUROV
RE: Bulgarian Armed Forces /BAF/ in CSSR
In the Allied Forces Group's structures that rendered help to the Czechoslovak people two BAF regiments are included. In execution of the Supreme Command plan, by the end of July the Bulgarian units were located on the territory of the USSR (Lvov and Pre-Carpathian region).
Under the instructions of the respective Soviet military institutions, a thorough and concrete preparation of the units was carried out from 30 July to 20 August. The necessary material stockpiles were also gathered for long-term military actions without relying on a day-to-day supply. In the course of the preparation some defects in the armored equipment of 12 APC Infantry Regiment were observed. The regiment had not taken the necessary ammunition for the anti-tank guided missile battery. Additionally, the units' personnel had not fired the machine guns of the new BT-60-PB armored carriers. With the help of the Soviet comrades these faults were quickly eliminated.
On 1 August our units were given the following military tasks:
- 12 APC Infantry Regiment acting within the structure of the 128 APC Infantry Division was to move to: ZHNIATINO, KOSICE, and BANSKA BYSTRICE. By the 20th hour after crossing the border it had to gain command of the ZVOLEN and BANSKA BYSTRICE regions. It had to gain control of the important administrative, political, and military sites – ZVOLEN airport, the post and telegraph office, the radio, the political parties' clubs, the people's militia headquarters, the barracks, and important warehouses;
- Two buses were to transfer 22nd APC Infantry Regiment from KOLOMIA airport (USSR) to RUZINE and VODOHODY airdromes. The regiment had to organize perimeter defense of the aerodromes, not allowing capitalist states or the CSSR civilian and military aircraft to land or take off. In case of necessity the regiment had to be ready to send forces to Prague in order to assist 7th Airborne Division.
Having been assigned these tasks, one of the regiments was to march about 400 km, thus fulfilling a military task, while the other one was to ensure the security of very important sites.
Just before fulfilling the assigned tasks, the units organized short rallies to mobilize the personnel.
In execution of its military task 12th APC Infantry Regiment crossed the CSSR state border at 04:05 on 21 August through the MATEVCE post. From the state border to the town of KOSICE, located at a distance of 120 km from the border, the regiment marched without meeting any counter-revolutionary resistance. When reaching the central part of KOSICE, the regiment encountered automobile, tram and other equipment barricades. A huge crowd consisting mainly of young people attacked the column and by throwing stones, bricks and other objects broke the windows of 40-50 automobiles, the doors of 10 automobiles and the antennas of 5 pieces of radio-transmission equipment. There were some attempts to force the drivers and the soldiers off some of the vehicles. With great difficulty, at a velocity of 4-5 km per hour the column broke through the crowd and continued its movement. The column was compelled to stop again in the town of ROZHNIAVA, where irrespectively of the appeal of the Czechoslovak Communist Party Regional Committee Secretary, the crowd did not clear the route within the ordered one-hour term. Here, for the first time the Counter-Revolution opened fire on the regiment units. Three holes were made in one of the vehicles but by mere chance there were no casualties. Then the regiment brought a tank company and an APC company in the front of the situated before it Soviet rear column. Firing in the air and then at the attackers, the tank and APC companies sheltered the two sides of the route, allowing the column to pass.
At 07:05 on 22 August, the regiment reached the town of ZVOLEN, and at 10:00 on the same day – BANSKA BYSTRICE. There it had to guard the ZVOLEN airdrome and all most important sites (4 Training Aviation Regiment barracks, 64 Radio Technical Battalion, 10 Engineer Battalion, warehouses, the radio, the post, the “Smer” newspaper Publishing House, etc.).
While fulfilling its assigned task 12th APC Infantry Regiment suffered no losses, but there were 21 cases of injured soldiers (one with a broken cheekbone, one with two knocked out teeth and the rest – with light injuries). There were 8 cases of officers' and NCO's injuries (one with broken nose, one with a piece of glass in his eye, one with a knocked out tooth and the rest – with light injuries).
Fulfilling the assigned task 22nd APC Infantry Regiment undertook the guard and defense of RUZINE and VODOHODY aerodromes at 15:00 on 22 August.
Thus during the first operation stage for rendering help to the CSSR by the five socialist states, the Bulgarian units acted in accordance with the outlined plan and fulfilled the assigned tasks accurately. Their actions were highly estimated by the Allied Forces Command.
During the one month since the start of the Soviet - Czechoslovak negotiations in Moscow, the Bulgarian units continue to carry out tasks on guarding important sites, exert control over the discipline in definite regions, and sustain a 30-minute readiness for actions against the counter-revolutionary forces. The fulfillment of these tasks was hampered especially in the beginning by the hostile attitude of the right forces and the elements enthralled by the Counter-Revolution. It was also hampered by the silent disagreement of part of the officer's staff and the people with the presence of the Allied Forces in CSSR.
In the region controlled by the 12th APC Infantry Regiment some underground counter-revolutionary organizations were found:
- A terrorist organization aiming at diversions (sabotages) and murders, mainly in the railway transport;
- An underground youth hooligan organization in BANSKA BYSTRICE, whose members swore an oath to kill our servicemen in order to revenge their victims;
- A prostitute organization in BANSKA BYSTRICE and ZVOLEN aiming at compromising our Forces by offering young prostitutes;
These organizations had started to act, [even before we had arrived]. For example, they fired at the sentries that were guarding ZVOLEN airdrome and the water sources in the region of BANSKA BYSTRICE. Some attempts for offering prostitutes to our soldiers were also made. The due measures undertaken by the Regiment Command, in co-ordination with the authorities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, averted the activity of these organizations.
On 8 August the 22nd APC Infantry Regiment found an underground warehouse with explosives (slabs) (23 wooden boxes of 75g explosives, 5 boxes of 400g explosives, 7 boxes of plastic explosive and 12 boxes of fuses, out of which 8 boxes ready for use) and 136 railroad mines. In the same region, another warehouse was found containing two machine guns and a pair of P-105 radio-transmission equipment.
The hostile attitude towards the Allied Forces was expressed in a series of materials published in the local press. For example, on 11 September in BANSKA BYSTRICE the local Smer newspaper published the article “Defeated but not conquered”. It appealed to the communists and the people mount an armed struggle against the Allied Armies. For this reason the Commander of our unit, under the instructions of the Soviet comrades temporarily closed the publishing house and the editing office, and arrested the editor-in-chief, Kuchera with his deputy Hagar. The newspaper would be published in the future only if the editing office was staffed with new people and if the Party Regional Committee assured that such materials would not be published. As a result of these measures and the editor-in-chief change (under a Plenary Session resolution of the Czechoslovak Communist Party Regional Committee), since 20 September the newspaper has not been publishing materials against the Allied Forces. Similar is the case with the Vpered newspaper in the town of ZVOLEN, where in spite of the energetic protests on behalf of our unit Commander before the Czechoslovak Communist Party District Committee, some unfriendly materials concerning the Allied Forces were published on 17 September. For that reason the newspaper was temporarily stopped and the local Party authorities were asked to get rid of the hostile elements within the editorial board.
The reserved attitude of the people and part of the Czechoslovak Peoples Armed Forces' officers towards the Allied Armed Forces has slowly been changing. Individual groups of citizens, who gather in front of the Commandant's offices and talk to our officers, have started to agree with and approve of our actions. Contacts with workers and old communists who express readiness to co-operate in exposing the counter-revolutionary elements in the enterprises and offices have become more frequent. There have been cases of communists from the [nearby] factories and officers from the Czechoslovak Armed Forces seeking contact with our units. Indicative of the latter are the greetings for the Bulgarian Peoples Armed Forces holiday from the Commanders of 49th Artillery Regiment – town of BREZNO and the Company Commander to State Security Committee in GRONSEK (10 km south of BANSKA BYSTRICE). On 20 September Major Kubinek Anton and his Deputy Political Commander Capt. Libov Kula came in person in the Commandant's office in BANSKA BYSTRICE. They stated that they fully supported our troops' arrival and admitted that there was a counter-revolution in CSSR. Their greeting reads: “… You arrived in our country on time to defend the achievements of our working class, achievements that have been acquired with the help of the glorious Soviet Army. Together with the Western reaction, the internal reaction has recently taken upon a struggle to liquidate the leading role of the Communist Party in our country. We know very well why they do that. We are aware that we cannot find a better place to live than within the great Slav family and the great socialist states family.”
They asked us not to publish this letter in the press, which shows that they are still afraid of the counter-revolutionary elements within the Army.
During the conversation held with the Party Committee Secretary of 4th Training Aviation Regiment on 23 September, the latter stated the following: “The regiment officers and NCOs were not informed about the real situation in the country. Had we known what the real situation was, the events of August 21st would not have been allowed. However, if direct combat had started, I would have torn my epaulettes and passed on your side. Therefore I now realize the need to strengthen the co-operation between our forces.”
The Militia and State Security bodies fulfill our units' requirements for establishing the necessary discipline in the towns […]
The condition of our units situated on the territory of the CSSR by the end of September is the following:
12th APC Infantry Regiment is camped near the towns of BREZNO, BANSKA BYSTRICE and ZVOLEN and continues to fulfill the assigned tasks. The latter concern the security of important sites within 70km reach, control over the indicated towns and a 30-minute readiness for execution of tasks under a specially developed plan for action. By 25 September, the regiment has been ensuring the security and defense of the following sites:
- BANSKA BYSTRICE: 10th Engineer Battalion barracks and 14th Tank Division weapons and ammunition warehouses;
- ZVOLEN: ZVOLEN airdrome, 4th Training Aviation Regiment barracks, POL (Petrol, oil, lubricants) warehouses, 64th Radio Technical Battalion barracks, ZVOLENSKA SLATINA field airdrome (10 km East of ZVOLEN);
- VIGLIAST: APC factory;
- BREZNO: 49th Artillery Regiment barracks.
The security of these sites is organized and accomplished by separate APC companies, troops and detachments on a daily basis. The discipline control is carried out by the created Commandant's offices and by foot patrol troops during daytime and by APCs at night.
The regiment discipline is very good. There has been only one case of absence without leave – of two private soldiers together with some Soviet soldiers and one case of a suicide attempt. Thanks to the alertness in the regiment, the desertion and treason of Private soldier Konstantin Petrov STOYANOV has been discovered and prevented.
22nd APC Infantry Regiment is camped near RUZINE and VODOHODY airports, ready for execution of the assigned tasks under the specially developed plan. The only victim is from this regiment – the NSO Nikolov who on 9 September was kidnaped and murdered 40 km away from the camp. On 28 September the Czechoslovak services arrested three of the presumable four murderers and an investigation is in progress. On 20 September Private Peter Dimitrov Ivanov was absent without leave for about 20 hours. He was found in a wood-house and fired 10 cartridges when his comrades tried to capture him. An inquiry is in process. Some signals have been received from this regiment concerning the incorrect attitude on the part of the local bodies in Harmanli toward the servicemen families. Due measures were undertaken for their elimination.
The moral-political, health and life-style condition of Bulgarian units' personnel is good. The Soviet Command does its best for the due and complete material satisfaction of our units' needs. Only from one of the units, the Soviet Command listed 250 officers, NCOs and soldiers to be decorated with Soviet medals for faultless execution of the assigned tasks.
The Bulgarian units in the CSSR are in good condition; they have high morale and are ready to accomplish their international duty. The Bulgarian Armed Forces Command has undertaken urgent measures to supply the units with winter clothes, some foodstuffs and to solve all arisen logistics matters concerning the personnel. Some of the procurement matters have to be coordinated with other Ministries and approved by the Council of Ministers. Therefore we will submit separate reports [for each proposal].
MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
ARMY GENERAL DZJUROV
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