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Hello Gents,

This presentation was planned around the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] Rifle Brigade, Winter Display from the Czech Legion in Russia, which I finally got around to photographing yesterday. This brings my "Czech Legion Collection" within the overall "Collection" to a total of five complete displays.

22[SUP]nd[/SUP] Regiment, Czech Legion in France
32[SUP]nd[/SUP] Regiment, Czech Legion in Italy
34[SUP]th[/SUP] Regiment, Czech Legion in Italy
1[SUP]st[/SUP] Rifle Brigade, Czech Legion in Russia
6[SUP]th[/SUP] Rifle Regiment, Czech Legion in Russia

As is the case with the 2nd Brigade, Russian Expeditionary Force serving in France, who were attached to the Moroccan Division, which links my 1st Regt. "Tirailleurs Marocains" NCO c. 1916-18 Display with the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] Brigade, REF, the Czech Legion in Russia displays also served alongside my 31[SUP]st[/SUP] U.S. Infantry Regiment serving in Siberia.

The “Polar Bears” of the 31[SUP]st[/SUP] fought alongside the Czech Legion against the Bolsheviks in Siberia until the war finally ended in 1920. Here is a sneak preview of the 31st Infantry "Polar Bears" display featuring the standing Polar Bear with the "S" for Siberia superimposed on the division patch of the 31st. This grouping was acquired over forty years ago with the tunic, trousers, puttees, M1917 helmet and the fatigue side-cap that used to be referred to as a "piss cutter" by the troops. This grouping was a gift from one of my high school History teachers. The uniform grouping belonged to his Father who served with the 31st in Siberia.



Unlike the U.S. regiments that served in Archangel in northern Russia, the 31st and the 27th Infantry Regiments, who were deployed to Vladivostok from the Philippines, retained their M1903 Springfield rifles and were never issued M1891 Three-Line Rifles.



While digging through my files, I found the text that was originally posted years ago with the various Czech Legion displays as they were completed. Based on this information, I’ll post additional photos, including the set taken yesterday, to illustrate this “Collection within the Collection.”
 

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Czech Legion in Russia

1[SUP]st[/SUP] Rifle Brigade of the Czech Legion serving in Russia

The display of the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] Rifle Brigade of the Czech Legion serving in Russia is one of my favorite, though I must admit that I love them all! The foundation of the display is the greatcoat manufactured by wool that was provided by the Japanese Army, a member of the Allies that sent troops to Vladivostok. The papakha, i.e. the traditional cold weather cap in the Imperial Russian Army, as worn here is one of the variety and style were generally issued to Cossack Regiments. On the obverse of the white papakha is the badge of the Czech Legion. The bashlyk, a felt hood with long tails, was worn over the papakha in extremely cold weather with the long tails wrapped around the neck in opposite directions like a scarf. When not required, the bashlyk was worn with the hood resting on the soldiers back with the long tails draped over the shoulders and crossed over the chest before being tucked in under the soldiers equipment belt, as is the case here. To protect the soldiers feet against the winter snow, a pare of thick pressed felt valenki are worn. Completing the cold weather gear are a pair of Russian issue mittens with a separate finger for the accessing the trigger of the rifle.

The equipment includes a Russian issue simplified leather equipment belt with roller buckle, upon which an obsolete captured German cartridge box is worn. On his right hip is carried a Linnemann pattern e-tool in a leather Russian carrier. Hanging on his left hip are a M1909 aluminum water bottle and haversack, while slung over his left shoulder is a shelter half with German tent pegs and cord, with both ends tucked Russian style into the M1909 copper mess kit. This member of the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] Rifle Brigade has been issued a M1891 Three-Line rifle and bayonet.



 

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6th Hanacky Rifle Regiment of the Czech Legion serving in Russia

The summer uniform display depicts a member of the Czech Legion’s 6th Hanacky Rifle Regiment circa 1918-1920. This particular uniform is composed of a summer issue tunic and cap, as supplied to the Czech Legion in Russia by the Japanese contingent of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Siberia. Members of the Legion in Russia used a broad range of uniforms and equipment ranging from specially manufactured examples such as this uniform, to standard issue Russian uniforms. The Czech Legion was originally formed from Czech POWs who surrendered or were captured by Russian forces while reluctantly serving in the Austro-Hungarian Army early in the war.

The accouterments are a mix of Russian issue along with individual pieces of captured Bulgarian and Austro-Hungarian items, all of which appear in numerous period photos of the Czech Legion. Our rifleman in this particular display has been issued a captured Austro-Hungarian M1895 Mannlicher.



 

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Czech Legion in France

22nd Rifle Regiment of the Czech Legion serving in France

The first Czech unit deployed at the French-German front was a company called " Compagnie Nazdar ". It came into existence on 23rd August 1914 representing countrymen living in France, especially organized in Sokol and Rovnost, and it consisted of 300 volunteers. The company was assigned to C battalion of the 2nd march regiment of Foreign Legion. In the town of Bayone it received its combat banner with Czech lion and left for the front.

The company Nazdar started its front activity in the area of Chamagni as a part of Morocco division. After several fights in the first line came its crucial day - 9th May 1915. On this day the company was given the task (within Foch´s offensive) to capture a point at the height of 140m near Arras. The company captured 3 German lines of trenches suffering heavy losses - out of 250 only 100 men were still fit for action. Among the killed were also Chief of Parisian Sokol Josef Pultr, Chairman of Rovnost Josef Sibal, Second Lieutenant Dostal and others.

After the losses during the second attack at Arras on 16th June 1915 the C battalion was dissolved and Company Nazdar ceased to exist as a Czech unit. The remaining Czech soldiers were scattered throughout many regimental units of Foreign Legion which brought them to the Sahara desert.

Order of French government from 19th December 1917 enabled organization of an autonomous Czech Army. After that, in a small town of Cognac, The 21st Czechoslovak Rifle Regiment was established out of volunteers transported from Russia, Romania, the USA, Italy, Foreign Legion and prisoners from Serbia on 12 January 1918. After their training in the area of Darney it fulfilled tasks at the front within the 53rd French Infantry Division. It achieved exemplary success in the fights at Terron .

On 20th May 1918, The 22nd Czech Rifle Regiment was established at Jarnak out of the detached units of The 21st Regiment. It joined the existing Czechoslovak Brigade in France and participated together with The 123rd French Infantry Division in fights in the area of Vouziers.

On 30th June 1918 both regiments swore an oath in Darney, in the presence of French President R. Poincaré and Dr. E. Beneš.

It is necessary to point out that at that time another dozens of Czechoslovak legionnaires kept fighting within Moroccan division. They were fighting in the area of Champagni, Chemin des Dames, at Verdunand St. Mihiel. Only in July 1918 they were transferred to The Czech brigade.

The Czechoslovak Brigade was under command of French General Philippe for the whole time. The battalions of both regiments were awarded with Czech War Cross, and The 22nd Regiment also with French War Cross.

War monuments of the soldiers killed at Arras, Vouziers, Paris, Champagne, Argon as well as in other towns commemorate this tragic reality. Out of the total 9.600 Czech Legionnaires fighting in France 630 did not live to see the end of the war.

The war ended on 11th November 1918 at 11 o'clock and the capitulation of Central Powers was signed in a wagon in Compiegne.


My Czech Legion displays represent the broad cross section of volunteers that served in the various Czech Legions formed during the course of the Great War. The tunic at the heart of the display is both beautiful as well as large in size, which just happened to fit this particular mannequin perfectly! The Mle 1915 Adrian helmet with Czech Legion badge on the obverse of the crown was already a part of the collection when I acquired the 22[SUP]nd[/SUP] Regt. tunic.

A few features of note regarding the tunic. The photos taken of the collar and shoulder strap show two of the distinguishing features of the Czech Legion tunics that set them apart from standard French issue examples. The original gilt has worn off the 22nd Regt. numerals on the collar patch. The gold plated wire braided “CS” insignia on top of the shoulder strap remains in good condition. The small diagonal slash visible on both of the sleeve cuffs are rank insignia as introduced in April of 1916. A single slash in metallic wire braid represents the rank of senior NCO, in this case a sergeant.

On the upper left sleeve are a series of four chevrons, point up. The top chevron represents the first year of service in the Zone of the Armies, i.e. combat zone in our terms, while each additional chevron below the first is for an additional six months of service at the front. In the case of our sergeant here, this would indicate 2 ½ years of service in combat. Since the 22nd Regiment was formed in May of 1918, it’s obvious that our soldier transferred into the 22nd when it was formed and would have had to have served with the Czech soldiers in the Foreign Legion to have earned four chevrons by the end of the war.

I have also been able to incorporate several additional special items within this display. The grenade bag was an important item in the later years of the war when the grenade had replaced the rifle as the primary weapon of the Infantry.

On a negative note, I have one of my favorite trench knives incorporated in this display! Only problem is you can’t see it at all with the additional equipment added! I’ll eventually remove it for a separate photo session since it doesn’t show all that well with the current equipment load.



 

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Czech Legion in Italy

34th Rifle Regiment of the Czech Legion serving in Italy

Only at the beginning of 1917 were Czech and Slovak prisoners (concerning their nationality) allocated to the camp of Santa Maria Capua Vetere at Naples. On 17th January 1917 the Czechoslovak Volunteer corps was founded there, with Sokol functionary J. Čapek being in the lead.

Czech prisoners reported for Italian combat units with the aim to form their own Czechoslovak Units there. They were inspired by heroic deeds of Czechoslovak spies who succeeded in joining the Italian Corps. Italian Government, however, postponed forming Czechoslovak units and allowed to create working battalions for war purposes only.

As a result to Italian defeat at Caporetto in October 1917 and following a diplomatic insistence by Gen. M.R. Štefánik , on 27th April 1918 it was allowed to establish Czechoslovak Armed Forces in Italy. General A. Graziani was appointed the commander.

Finally, there was a Czechoslovak division in Italy. It consisted of the 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 34th Czechoslovak Rifle Regiment /the 35th and 39th Regiment came into existence in September/. Italian King Vittorio Emanuele III also participated in the festive parade of Czechoslovak division. On 24th May 1918 our legionnaires were presented with a banner which had been embroidered by ladies of Rome.

In mid-August 1918 the division moved to the front in the area between the Gardsk Lake and the river Adiz. It got involved in the fights for Doss Alto . It experienced difficult combat situations in the trenches as well as in "caverns".

Almost 20.000 men were assigned to the legions in Italy, out of which 350 were killed. Several dozens of them lost their lives being executed after they were taken prisoners.

The 34th Rifle Regiment, Italian Czech Legion display features an assistant machine gunner pictured here carries a rare set of Italian 1914 dated gunners mittens and shoulder protector which were designed to protect the crews hands and uniforms when deploying or displacing a hot gun.

The Czech Legion soldiers in Italian service were trained as Alpini, i.e. mountain troops. However, their uniforms were cut and adorned in the same manner as the French Infantry with the exception of several features. The material used was the standard Italian griggio-verde wool.

These include the red/white Czech collar tabs, complete in this case with MG collar insignia. In addition, the Alpine cap is adorned with a Raven over a round red/white Czech disc.

The side of the cap has a small Czech badge showing the various coats-of-arms that were incorporated in the Czech Legion Coat-of -Arms.

The same badge was used on the Czech Legion Mle 1915 Adrian helmets produced by the French for the members of the Czech Legion that served with the French army.

Tied around the crown of the hat and resting above the brim can be seen a pair of Italian issue splinter/snow goggles. These metal eye pieces contain a pattern of very thin slits that serve to reduce the glare from the snow in the Alps as well as to provide eye protection against the rock splinters that resulted from ordnance and bullet strikes sending showers of granite fragments as secondary missiles. Prior to the adoption of these goggles, Italian aid stations noted the severe increase in cases of blindness caused by showers of rock fragments. Surprisingly, you can see much better through these than you would think. They proved to be quite effective at reducing wounds to the eyes.

The uniform is patterned after the French tunic rather than the Italian pattern, but was produced in the typical Italian griggio-verde i.e. gray-green that was first introduced with the 1909 pattern Italian uniform. As is the case with so many uniforms of the period, the dye lots varied tremendously, which is reflected in the differences in color between tunic, trousers and puttees.

The Italian Czech Legion was composed of two regiments, the 33rd and 34th, the later being the regiment in which our soldier served, as is evidenced by the "CS 34" patch appearing on the left sleeve. All of the tunic buttons also include the entwined "CS" monogram.

In terms of equipment, our Czech assistant gunner has been issued with all of the standard Italian issue equipment in addition to the specialized accouterments carried by members of a machine-gun crew. In lieu of a pack, our soldier is carrying his personal items and his woolen cape rolled up in his shelter-half in the manner of the traditional blanket roll in place of the Italian issue pack. Suspended from the blanket roll is a M1914 mess tin, complete with lid.

Strapped to the blanket roll are a pair of 1914 dated machine-gunners mittens. They are of heavy leather construction and the palms and thumbs are lined with links of iron mail that protected the leather from burning when a hot gun had to be moved or serviced under combat circumstances. They were issued in tandem with the 1914 dated shoulder pad seen worn over the right shoulder. The mittens and shoulder pad were issued to the assistant gunners and were used whenever it became necessary to displace the gun when it was hot. They were not used to “quick change� hot barrels, as the Italian Army did not use any machineguns during the WWI that had that feature.

Underneath the strapped end of the blanket roll, the brown scabbard of the Engineers axe, which is known as a Mannarese Mod. 1912. This weapon/tool was issued to engineers and at least one member of each MG crew. It was used in the same fashion as a machete to clear brush, in this case, lanes of fire from the gun position. It has a very heavy blade and was very effective in close combat.

Our trooper carries the Mod. 1907 pattern haversack. Attached to the belt or slung from the haversack hook is the M1909 "Guglielminetti" water bottle. This style of wooden water bottle was famous for it’s ability to keep liquids cooler in hot weather than the later aluminum water bottles.

The accouterments issued to Italian troops during the war were the M1907 issue leather equipment, which consisted of a belt, two dual pouch cartridge boxes, a neck support strap and a bayonet frog. All of the leather equipment was either dyed or painted griggio-verde. Completing the display is a M1916 Polivalente Z gas mask in its sheet metal carrier.

Assistant MG gunners were issued the Model 1891 Mannlicher-Carcano TS carbine. The "TS" stands for "Truppe Speciale". The carbine in the display is also equipped with an original WWI vintage griggio-verde leather sling.



 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
32[SUP]nd[/SUP] Rifle Regiment of the Czech Legion serving in Italy

This particular uniform grouping that is the basis for my newest display is from the Czech Legion 32nd Rifle Regiment and includes a tunic, trousers, a proper Czech legion Alpini cap and a griggio-verde Italian issue Sam Brown belt that really doesn’t belong with the rest of the uniform. I have no way of knowing if this is a true uniform grouping from a single individual soldier, however the tunic alone was well worth what I paid for the entire lot.

Since my existing display is that of a specialist, i.e. an assistant machine-gunner, I was extremely stoked to find a regular infantry uniform! Add to this the fact that I already had an extra pair of original Italian "griggio-verde" puttees along with most of the necessary accouterments and I was one happy camper!!!

Since the majority of the Italian Czech Legion were trained as Alpine troops, my recent acquisition of an original pair of WWI crampons is another fortuitous acquisition in terms of the development of this display! This will also expand my Czech Legion collection to include four full displays with the addition of additional Russian Czech Legion 6th Regt. tunic and cap! But that one's put away for a rainy day..........On to the display!

Our Czech Volunteer, a member of the 32nd Rifle Regiment of the Czech Legion is wearing a specially made uniform that was produced solely for issue to the Czech Legion. While made of standard Italian issue griggio-verde wool, the cut of the Legion uniforms was along the same line as the French uniform with bellows pockets and a rise and fall collar. The tunic was further distinguished by the addition of silver "CS" buttons and collar tabs consisting of blue felt backed white/red ribbon with the brass crossed-rifles insignia of the Infantry surmounting the ribbon. On the upper left arm of the tunic is the regimental badge of the 32nd Rifle Regiment accompanied by service chevrons. The first chevron represents one year in the combat zone with each additional chevron marking another six months of service rotating into the front line trenches. The trousers are standard issue Italian M1909 in the jodhpur cut that was so popular at that time.

The Alpini cap, traditional among climbers throughout the Alps during that era, is the standard Italian issue version. The exceptions include the addition of the Czech white/red roundel added to the breast of the raven on the obverse of the cap as well as the addition of the Czech Coat-of-Arms on the left side of the cap band. In period photos, these caps appear both with and without a ravens feather stuck into the band on the left side of the cap.

Our Czech Legionnaire is displayed in typical marching order of the period. On his legs he wears standard issue Italian M1909 “greggio-verde” woolen puttees. As you can see from these photos, the Italian Army took the field dressed from head to toe in a thoroughly modern combat uniform.

Carrying out this same theme, the leather equipment was all dyed “greggio-verde” to match the uniform! Here you see the M1907 equipment belt supporting two M1907 double ammunition pouches with the aid of a neck strap that passes around the soldier's neck and hooks to a loop on the back of each double-pouch. Our Legionnaire carries a combination carrier, which supports the broad bladed version of the Italian pick-mattock along with a built in bayonet frog to carry the bayonet scabbard rattle free. A variety of other e-tools were available that could be carried in a similar fashion or strapped to the pack.

The soldiers rations were carried in the M1907 haversack that was made of canvas with leather trim. A wartime issue M1916 water bottle is carried via a shoulder strap over the haversack, this particular example being painted a light tan color. Strapped to the rear flap of the Mill's canvas pack is the M1909 mess kit. It is accompanied by the issue blanket and shelter-half in regulation fashion.

Also stowed with the pack via equipment straps is a crude example of an Italian trench mace and a pair of issue ice crampons, a must have item for troops fighting high above the snow line in the Alps. On his right hip is carried his M1916 Polivalente gas mask in it's rectangular tin carrier.

Our Czech Legionnaire carries the standard Italian issue M1891 Mannlicher-Carcano. He has also been issued with a M1917 ersatz bayonet. These rare and unusual bayonets were produced with the remnant blade points of the extremely long M1870 bayonets that were cut down to produce the M1870/16 Vetterli bayonets. As confirmed by period photos, these rare bayonets were issued in large number to the regiments of the Czech Legion.



 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
And finally, here is a History of the Legion in Russia including a timeline through the end of the war in 1920.

Czech Legion in Russia

The first Czech volunteer unit that became the base for the Czechoslovak legions in Russia was the "Czech Retinue". The Czech countrymen living in Russia founded it on 12th August 1914. The main body of the "Czech Retinue" consisted of 720 volunteers (so-called "Starodružijníci" /"Old fellows"/), including the future famous commanders Švec, Vašátko - warrant officers at that time, Klecanda, Čeček - third lieutenants at that time, and others.

The members of the " Czech Retinue " swore an oath on the oldest combat standard with the St Wenceslas´ crown embroidered on it on the day of St Wenceslas, the patron saint of the Czech kingdom - 28th September 1914.

At the front, they were active in small groups up to a half of platoon as part of 3rd Russian Czar´s Army. They executed small raids, propagated handbills in the front zone and gained information about the situation of the enemy from prisoners. They also initiated the desertion of Czech units from the Austrian side to the Russian side.

The Austro-Hungarian command ordered to search for the members of the "Czech Retinue" and to sentence them to death immediately after arresting.

Since spring 1915 Czechs and Slovaks joined another unit, Serbian Corps, which was found by Slavonic Austro-Hungarian prisoners. After a battle at Dobruch a part of the Czech soldiers changed to the 1st Czechoslovak Rifle Brigade.

The Czechoslovak Rifle Brigade was deployed as a whole into the fights within the Russian summer offensive. On 2nd July 1917 it started an attack against the enemy and broke the adversary defence on the whole zone in six hours with the use of so-called "catlike dash". It overran four lines of trenches and took up an area of 5km depth and fulfilled the task of a whole corps. Less than 3.500 Czech soldiers managed with a loss of 190 men and 800 injured men to take 3.200 captives, 15 cannons and a considerable numbers of weapons and military equipment.

Unfortunately, the attack of the majority of Russian troops was not successful and the Kerensky´s offensive ended fast. On the other hand, the victory of the Czechoslovak Brigade at Zborov won not only Russian but also international appreciation and provided additional recruitment of prisoners for the newly crated 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Rifle Regiment that were founded in Borispol, a small Ukrainian town. Even T. G. Masaryk visited Borispol in August.

When the Czechoslovak Corps were leaving Ukraine, there was a danger that the 1st Rifle Division units would be encircled at Bachmach by the proceeding German Army. Therefore, the units of 6th Rifle Regiment "Hanácký" and 7th Rifle Regiment "Tatranský" were ordered to keep the railway junction safe until the transport of all Czechoslovak trains. Also the 4th Regiment of "Prokop Holý" was involved in the fights. The Czechoslovak units succeeded and kept the German´s superior strength back. With the loss of 90 dead soldiers and 200 injured ones the Czech troops managed to go east.

"Anabasis" - this name signifies the fight of the Czechoslovak Legion withdrawing from the Ukraine in March 1918 and ending in an evacuation of Czechoslovak troops from Vladivostok in 1920. It includes: (see the draft)

• 7 March 1918 - handing over the equipment to Czechoslovak legions in Penza ;

• 14 May 1918 - "Celyabinsk Incident" - one of the decisive battles of the 6 th Hanacky Rifle Regiment and 3 rd J. Zizka z Trocnova Rifle Regiment that influences the action of Czechoslovak legions against the Soviet Army;

• 21 - 26 May 1918 - order from Trocky, Commander-in-Chief of the Red Army - to disarm completely and intern Czechoslovak Legions - followed by an unexpected raid on the Czeslochoslovak transports at Marianovka, Irkutsk, Zlatouste and Krasnoyarsk;

• 25 - 26 May 1918 - occupation of Mariinsk and Novonikolajevsk regions by the 7 th Rifle Regiment;

• 29 May 1918 - occupation of the town of Syzran , Samara, Orengurg and Ufa by the 1 st and 4 th Rifle Regiments;

• 7 June 1918 - occupation of the centre of Siberia - Omsk by the 2 nd and 6 th Rifle Regiment;

• 9 June 1918 - joining of the Siberian and Omsk´s group at the station of Tatarskaja;

• 29 June 1918 - occupation of Vladivostok under the command of General Diterichs;

• 5 July 1918 - occupation of Nikolsko Ussurijske by the 5 th and 8 th Regiment;

• 6 July 1918 - occupation of the major part of the Siberian Railway from the Volga to Irkutsk . Joining of all Czechoslovak troops that are located to the west of lake Baikal ;

• 14 July - 16 August 1918 - controlling of the tunnels by Baikal by means of an end-run over mountains and the lake;

• 7 August 1918 - ground and river operation through which the city of Kazan is occupied;

• 9 August 1918 - gathering of 259 Legionnaire trains, 531 passenger coaches and 10,287 train cars in Vladivostok ;

• 20 August 1918 - capturing and torturing to death of Lieutenant Colonel Usakov, the commander of the Eastern Group at the station of Posolskaja;

• 1 September 1918 - joining of the Eastern and Vladivostok groups at the station of Olovjannaja;

• 26 October 1918 - "Tragedy at Aksakovo", suicide of Colonel Svec, 1 st Rifle Division Commander at the station of Aksakovo;

• 1 November 1918 - arrival of General Stefanik, Minister of Military Affairs (in December Gen. Janin);

• 10 November 1918 - ceremony of awarding Standards to Czechoslovak Units of the 2 nd Rifle Division;

• 15 - 30 January 1919 - handing over the front to the Russian anti-bolshevic Army;

• 1 February 1919 - establishment of the 3 rd Rifle Division in Krasnoyarsk ;

• 1 - 15 February 1919 - occupation and providing defence of the set area of the Siberian route;

• before May 1919 - carrying out deep pursuit actions to the south up to the Mana river;

• June 1919 - suppressing of major rebellious and subversive forces at the Siberian Railway;

• October 1919 - launch of the transfer of Czechoslovak troops to Vladivostok (according to the directives from the homeland);

• November 1919 - interception of Czechoslovak troops with the troops of Ataman Semenov;

• 7 February 1920 - signing of truce at the station of Kujtun on condition that after passing all Czechoslovak trains, the Russian Golden Treasure be handed over to the Council of People's Commissars;

• 1 March 1920 - the transfer of all Legionary trains from the Irkutsk region completed;

• to 2 September 1920 - preparation and implementation of the evacuation of the Czechoslovak legions from Vladivostok back home.


I hope you Gents have enjoyed this thread.

Warmest regards,

JPS
 

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I hope you Gents have enjoyed this thread.

I certainly have. I have always found the Russian/Czech relationship as it developed and changed over time to be very interesting. Having photos of the equipment used in Russia is a real plus in addition to the explanation and timeline you posted.

Thanks for all the great work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hello nwellons,

Thank you for taking the time to comment on this thread. Sometime this evening or tomorrow, I'll add a cross section of the very large number of period photos I have accumulated over the years of the Czech Legion, particularly the units that fought for the Russians, then fought against the Bolsheviks after the outbreak of Civil War in Russia, during the course of their "Odyssey" in fighting their way east via the Trans Siberian railway to Vladivostok, where they were eventually evacuated by the Allies. Despite the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, the Great War really ended in 1920. If one takes the perspective of the grand overview, WWI really ended in 1945. After all, WWII was simply round two of WWI.

Here's a teaser in terms of the Czech Legion photos. This shot was taken by a member of the U.S. Signal Corps in Vladivostok. Note the fact that while this unit has been issued M1891 Three-Line Rifles, many of these Czechs have been issued French ammunition pouches with French "Y-yoke" shoulder straps. Do these chaps look "familiar" relative to any of the displays? ;>)



In addition, here is a photo of a blanket issued to the Czech Legion serving in France during the Great War. The "CS" monogram for Czech and Slovakia as applied to the 22nd Regiments tunics, was repeated on some percentage of the French issue woolen blankets.



More info and period photos to follow.......

Warmest regards,

JPS
 

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Underneath the strapped end of the blanket roll, the brown scabbard of the Engineers axe, which is known as a Mannarese Mod. 1912. This weapon/tool was issued to engineers and at least one member of each MG crew. It was used in the same fashion as a machete to clear brush, in this case, lanes of fire from the gun position. It has a very heavy blade and was very effective in close combat. ...

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What a great thread !
Thx. a lot !


Regarding the Mannarese:
As far as I know, such tools were introduced in 1873 in Italy.

The Mannarese were also manufactured in WWII.
Here´s an example, made by CAUDANO TORINO
overall lenght: ca. 385 mm
"blade" lenght: ca. 270 mm

Best regards,
R.
 

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Amazing. You never cease to amaze me. I hope folks here realize that you probably have the best collection of WWI stuff in the world today.

Several years ago, I read a book about the Czech Legions. IIRC, they were pretty much against anyone that was against their getting to the east coast and getting home. Fascinating book - and history.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Hello Gents,

Many thanks for the kind words regarding the Czech Legion displays and the research that went into putting them together. This thread is going on three years old! Out of curiosity Reibert, was your search based on "Czech Legion" or "Mannarese"?

I've had an amazing source who I've worked with over the years when it comes to anything Italian. There is so little coverage of WWI Italian uniforms and equipment in English, I was very lucky to stumble across the dealer from whom I acquired most of my rare Italian items.

I picked up the M1912 Mannarese and the 1914 dated MG shoulder pad and mittens that are displayed with the assistant gunner. The "Luck of the Irish" was with me considering the fact that the Czech Legion tunic at the heart of that display was originally issued to a member of a machine-gun crew!

Check out the collar insignia along with the assistant gunner's special issue equipment for displacing a hot gun! How cool is that???



This is one of my favorite displays.

Thanks again for the kind comments regarding my work. It's always a pleasure to share my efforts with everyone here on Gunboards.

Warmest regards,

JPS

PS - For any new members out there, please remember that if you double-click on each photo, it will open up and enlarge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Since you've revised this thread, I'll add some additional photos. I started by looking for a separate photo of the M1912 Mannarese and while I found it, the file also included a number of detailed photos of individual photos taken for our own Arditi's book, "Italy's Battle Rifle."

These photos are close ups of some of the rarer items and are not strictly tied to the Czech Legion, but I thought you might enjoy them anyway since this thread was resurected relative to an individual piece of equipment. Since the M1912 Mannarese appears to have started this, that is where we shall begin. I'll follow this up with other equipment that falls into similar categories based on use.

M1912 Mannarese & Sheath



Blanket Roll including Shelter-Half, Blanket, Entrenching Tool and Trench Mace



Alpine Issue Rock Hammer & Pick



Pick-Axe Variations with Combination Frog & M1891 ersatz Bayonet



M1907 Equipment Belt, Neck Strap & Cartridge Pouches



M1914 Mess-Kit, Mess-Kit with 1916 Dated Cover & Mess-Kit with Cover & Leather Strap

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
M1907 Haversack with M1896 Tin Cup ~ with M1917 Water Bottle ~ with M1907 Water Bottle ~ with M1914 Mess Kit



M1876 Water Bottle w Shoulder Strap ~ M1907 Water Bottle ~ M1917 Water Bottle Variations



M1907 Canvas Pack with M1914 Mess-Kit with Shelter Half & Issue Woolen Blanket



M1916 Polivente Z Gas Mask Canister

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Czech Legion Issue Alpini Hat



10th Regiment Bersagliari Hat with Camo Cover



10th Regiment Bersaglieri Hat without Camo Cover



French Supplied Dark Horizon Blue Mle 1915 Adrian Helmet ~ 273rd Regiment Machine-Gun Section

 
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