World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Arms shipments from Czechoslovakia to Israel 1947–49

Article Id: WHEBN0008203339
Reproduction Date:

Title: Arms shipments from Czechoslovakia to Israel 1947–49  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Foreign relations of Czechoslovakia, Foreign relations of Israel, 1949 in Israel, Weapons trade, Czech Republic–Israel relations
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Arms shipments from Czechoslovakia to Israel 1947–49

Between June 1947 and October 31, 1949 the Jewish agency (later to become the Israeli government) seeking weapons for Operation Balak, made several purchases of weapons in Czechoslovakia, some of them of former German army weapons, captured by the Czechoslovak army on its national territory, or newly produced German weapons from Czechoslovakia's post-war production. In this deal, sale activities of Czechoslovak arms factories were coordinated by a special-purpose department of the Československé závody strojírenské a kovodělné, n.p. (Czechoslovak Metal-Working and Engineering Works, Nat.Ent.) Holding, called Sekretariát D (Secretariat D), headed by Gen. Jan Heřman (ret.).

One of the first large contracts was signed on January 14, 1948, and included 200 MG 34 machine guns, 4,500 P 18 rifles and 50,400,000 rounds of ammunition. The deliveries from Czechoslovakia proved important for the establishment of Israel.

Total deliveries

(confirmed until October 1948)

Infantry weapons

Other infantry weapons

Ammunition

Aircraft

Israeli Avia S-199, 1948

Some of the aircraft were lost en route to Israel. The delivery of aircraft began on May 20, 1948, and was conducted from the Czech airfield near the town of Žatec.

Some of the deliveries were not finished until after cessation of hostilities. Only eighteen Spitfires reached Israel prior to end of war by direct flight from Czechoslovakia during operations Velvetta 1 in September (6 planes) and Velvetta 2 in December 1948 (12 planes), both operations with a refueling stop in Yugoslavia. During operation Velvetta 2 Spitfires were repainted in Yugoslav Air Force markings for the flight from Kunovice to Nikšić.[1] The rest were shipped in crates, officially declared as scrap iron, along with 12 Merlin 66 engines, and deliveries lasted until the end of April 1950.

Other defense cooperation

Czechoslovakia also trained 81 pilots and 69 ground crew specialists, some of them later forming the first fighter unit of the Israeli Air Force, and on the soil of Czechoslovakia a group of Jewish volunteers the size of approximately a brigade (about 1,300 men and women) were also trained, from August 20, 1948 until November 4, 1948.[2] The Czechoslovak Armed Force's codename of the training (mainly) was «DI» (an abbreviation from "Důvěrné Israel", literally meaning "Classified, Israel"). Moto-Mechanized Brigade Group of Jewish volunteers trained in Czechoslovakia didn't take part in the 1948 war.

The end of cooperation

After the Communist coup d'état in Czechoslovakia in February 1948, military support for the nascent state of Israel increased temporarily. However, Stalin's briefly held policy of support for the state of Israel soon disintegrated, and in the wake of the Tito–Stalin split, all Communist Parties had to put their foreign policy in lockstep with the Kremlin's to prove their loyalty. In this context the Czechoslovak Communists ended weapons sales to Israel. Subsequently, Stalin carried out an international purge of Communist Party officials suspected of sympathy for nationalist or Jewish variations of communism. The Communist foreign minister Vladimír Clementis, who had been the main supporter in the Czechoslovak government of the arms exports to Israel, fell victim to this purge in the Slánský trial.

References

  1. ^ 101st Israeli Fighter Squadron History
  2. ^ Czech army page(Czech)

Sources

  • Jan Skramoušský: Zbraně pro Izrael, Střelecký Magazín 11/2005
  • Arnold Krammer: The Forgotten Friendship - Israel and the Soviet Bloc, 1947–53, University of Illinois Press 1974pp. 54–123.

External links

  • 101st Israeli Fighter Squadron History
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.