Alois Liška

Alois Liška was a Czech army officer who served in both World Wars, ultimately as a Brigade General commanding the 1st Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade at Dunkirk in 1944–45. He was born on 20 November 1895 in Záborčí, some 17 kilometres south east of Liberec, and died on 7 February 1977 in Putney, London.[1]

Alois Liška
Born(1895-11-20)20 November 1895
Záborčí, near Liberec, Kingdom of Bohemia, Austria-Hungary (now Czech Republic)
Died7 February 1977(1977-02-07) (aged 81)
Putney, London, England, U.K.
Allegiance Czechoslovakia
Service/branchRoundel of the Czech Republic.svg Czechoslovak Army
Years of service1915–1948
RankGeneral
Commands held1st Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade
Battles/warsWorld War II

Early lifeEdit

Liška was one of six siblings. In June 1914, he passed the leaving examination and graduated from Grammar School in Turnov.[2]

Military serviceEdit

In 1915, during World War I, Liška was conscripted into the Austro–Hungarian Army and posted to the Russian front. He was taken prisoner of war (one source says that he defected[2]) in 1916 on the Russian front and in 1917 he volunteered to join the Czechoslovak Legions in Russia and served with the artillery.[1]

After his return, in 1920, to Czechoslovakia, he joined the Army as a professional officer and served with the 51st Artillery Regiment at Stará Boleslav, rising from a company commander to commanding the regiment. When Germany occupied the Czech lands in 1939, he escaped the country.[1]

During the Battle of France, he commanded the 1st Artillery Regiment and, after the collapse of Allied forces in 1940, he and his regiment were evacuated to Britain. In 1943, Liška was promoted to Brigadier General and, from March 1943, he commanded the Czechoslovak Independent Brigade, which subsequently converted to armour as the Czechoslovak Independent Armoured Brigade Group, which subsequently became the 1st Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade. The Brigade was moved to France in August 1944 and Liška commanded the siege of Dunkirk from October 1944 to May 1945, accepting the surrender of the German garrison.[1][2]

Post-warEdit

After the war, Liška returned to Czechoslovakia where he was reunited with his wife and daughter who had been repatriated from concentration camps; his son, Jaroslav, and older brother, Josef, had been shot during death marches. He had been appointed as the Czechoslovak Army's Chief of Staff in April 1945 by President Edvard Beneš, but this was vetoed by the Soviet authorities and instead he became commander of the Military College[3] and was promoted to General in 1946. The Communist takeover in 1948 and consequent purges of formerly London-based officers, however, led to his dismissal from the Army and obliged him to leave his country once again, without his family.[1][2]

Alois Liška died in Putney, London in 1977. He was posthumously awarded the Milan Rastislav Stefanik Order, 3rd class in 1991.[4]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e "Alois Liska". Naše Noviny. Archived from the original on 2008-05-14. Retrieved 13 Nov 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d "Army General Alois Liska". Czechoslovak Legionnaires Community. Archived from the original on 2008-05-14. Retrieved 13 Nov 2009.
  3. ^ de Sola Pool, Ithiel (1955). Satellite Generals. California: Stanford University Press. p. 38. ISBN 9780804716000.
  4. ^ "Milan Rastislav Stefanik Order; List of Honoured". Prague Castle. 2009. Archived from the original on 4 December 2009. Retrieved 13 Nov 2009.