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Battle of Sokolovo
Part of the Eastern Front of World War II
File:Legie - slavnostní nástup.jpg
Czechoslovak army in the Soviet Union
DateMarch 8–13, 1943
LocationSokolovo, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Result Czechoslovak defensive victory
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
 Soviet Union
Nazi Germany Germany
Commanders and leaders
Czechoslovakia Ludvík Svoboda Nazi Germany Walther von Hünersdorff
350 soldiers
2 anti-tank cannons
16 anti-tank rifles
2,400 infantry
20–40 tanks
20 Armored vehicles
Casualties and losses
86 dead
20 POW or missing
114 injured
2 anti-tank cannons
7 anti-tank rifles
300–400 men
2 tanks
6 armored vehicles

The Battle of Sokolovo took place on March 8 and 9, 1943, near the town of Sokolovo near Kharkiv in Ukraine when the on-going attack of the Wehrmacht was halted by joint Soviet and Czechoslovak forces. It was the first time that a foreign military unit, the First Czechoslovak Independent Field Battalion, fought together with the Red Army. Under the command of Ludvík Svoboda, later President of Czechoslovakia, the Czechoslovak soldiers effectively prevented any further advance of Germans across the Mzha river. The Soviet supreme command highly valued both the bravery of the Czechoslovak soldiers and the political significance of the fact that the Soviet people were no longer alone in their struggle against Germany. First Lieutenant Otakar Jaroš, the commander of the 1st company (who was killed in the course of the battle and posthumously promoted to captain) was the first foreign citizen ever to be awarded the highest Soviet military order, the Hero of the Soviet Union. Moreover, one of the local schools in Sokolovo was named in his honor.

The battle became the subject matter of a 1974 Czechoslovak film with the same name, directed by Otakar Vávra.


  • Fidler, Jiří. Sokolovo 1943 – malý encyklopedický slovník. Praha: Naše vojsko, 2003. ISBN 80-206-0716-1. (in Czech)

External links

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