State Defense Guard
(in Czech Stráž obrany státu
) was a military service established in 1936
to protect borders of Czechoslovakia
From 1918 to 1936 border of Czechoslovakia was protected by "finance guard
" (finanční stráž
), an armed branch of the Ministry of Finance
. Their main task was to carry on customs duty, border protection was secondary. For over decade army and police leadership had suggested to set up an organisation of higher military value. Amid international tensions the new service was established in 1936.
Task of the defense guard was:
- protect the border
- keep order and rule of the law
- support execution of customs duty
Members of the guard were local policemen (četníci
), existing finance guards and members of state police. Later citizens loyal to Czechoslovakia were incorporated (for example many members of sports organisation Sokol
or active anti-fascist Germans). Plans were created to support the guard with regular army units to handle local conflicts.
Planned size of the service were 38 battalions, but only 31 had been mustered (one of these inland, in Prague). Their equipment were pistols, rifles, light machine guns and grenades. There was not enough of time to equip the units with heavy machine guns. In case of attack the guard was to stop the enemy until main body of the army gets ready for response - more less suicidal mission.
Manpower of the guard in September 1938
were 29,611 men (4,917 local policemen, 1,674 members of state... Read More