Colonel (ret.) Antonín Babič
* 1923 †︎ 2007
“It was terrible at Dukla. It was a journey of death. The infantry had to redeploy fast as the Germans were bombarding them. The best crossing there was under German control. That was why we had to cross fast. The fights there were just the toughest ones. It was awful.”
“All fights are tough. You never know what to expect.”
“Our task at Liptovský Mikuláš was to protect our artillery infantry against enemy. The fight at Mikuláš was bad. The Germans used many tanks and some other weapons. And again, we were supposed to protect our infantry. The infantry moved back and took their positions in front of our cannons in the distance of about fifteen, scarcely twenty meters. We were bombarding and the Germans stopped our infantry to retreat. There it happened that we fired over. The Germans spotted that somehow and presented at our troop and started firing. And our task was to protect. Well, they presented at our troop. The first shot was short, the second one was long and the third one was among us. Ten soldiers and myself were wounded. Two other soldiers were dead.”
“It was just today that I counted how many decorations I have. 32 or 33. But I can't say which I value most. All are war decorations or decorations awarded after the war. It is very hard to differentiate among them. Because war is something terrible. I do not wish anyone to experience war.”
“We met during the assault, our infantry with the Soviet infantry and we sat in the house. There sat a sergeant major of the Soviet troop there. The Soviets were shooting over the house but they gave it a wrong firing elevation. The bullet went lower and the sergeant major who sat next to me, it cut his leg off, totally like nothing. But this also happened, you presented it wrong and you killed your own soldiers.”
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“The worst fights were those in Dukla. It was a journey of death. It was dreadful.”
Antonín Babič was born in a farmer family in Carpathian Ruthenia. He transferred to the Soviet Union in 1941. He was given a three-year sentence for illegal border crossing. He experienced Vorkuta gulag where he did various building jobs. After his release he came to Buzuluk. He joined the Army there in February 1943. Antonín Babič served with the flak, 3rd troop of 1st brigade. He fought at Kijev, Bílá Cerekev, Žažkov, at Dukla, Liptovský Mikuláš. His leg was wounded at Liptovský Mikuláš. After the end of the war he remained in the Czechoslovak Army where he served in various commander functions until he retired.