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Czechoslovak Legion in Russia

Last modified: 2002-04-06 by jarig bakker
Keywords: czechoslovakia | legion | russia |
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Czech Retinue flag - obverse

[Czech Retinue flag - obverse] by Viktor Lomantsov, from his website.

I saw on Victor Lomantsovīs Vexillographia sites about Russia an Ensign (or Colours or how it is called) of Czechoslovak Legion in Russia. It is first and second image on that page. Note that Slovakia is represented by Arms of "modern" or Upper Hungary. Bohemian royal crown, branches and Silesian shield should be golden. Both eagles are uncrowned..
Ales Krizan, 10 Feb 2002

There were 2 czecho-slovakian regiments in russian army.
1st Czecho-Slovakian Rifle Regiment (we read about the colours of this unit: white-red with COAs; this banner is in museum in Prague now) - and
2nd Czecho-Slovakian Rifle Regiment. The 2nd Regiment had red banner with uncrowned bohemian lion.
The banner was presented to the Regiment by citizens of Tashkent in 1916.
In 1917 the new design for Czecho-Slovakian Corps was prepared ("hussitian design") but I don`t know details. May be only the pike finial was changed.
Victor Lomantsov, 12 Feb 2002


Czech Retinue flag - reverse

[Czech Retinue flag - reverse] by Viktor Lomantsov, from his website.

Czech Retinue flag - obverse (1917)

[Czech Retinue flag - obverse (1917)] scan by Jarig Bakker, 11 Feb 2002

My info is:
1. The Czech Retinue colors, back face, from the Czechoslovak magazine. (1915).
2. The colors of the 1st Rifle Regiment of the Russian Legion, formed from the Czech Retinue, front face (1917)

On 11 October 1914 (by the Gregorian calender in use in Russia it was 28 September, the day dedicated to the Czech Patron, Prince St. Wenceslas) Czech and Slovak compatriots took a military oath in Russia and thus officially joined a detachment unit called the Czech Retinue, which was formed by immigrants in Russia and Ukraine and was more than 1,100 men strong. On the square adjacent to the Sophia Cathedral in Kiev the Old Retinuers kissed the banner in the colors representing their struggle's
objectives. The front face of the banner was in red and white with a centered, embroidered St. Wenceslas Crown with linden sprigs, while on the reverse appeared the Czechoslovak tricolor implying two meanings. To the Russian High command it represented soldiers' allegiance to the Russian flag also and the colors of pan-Slavism, symbolizing the continuous Slavic conflict with expansionist Germans. To the Czechs and a handful of Slovaks in the Czech Retinue these colors stood for traditional Slovak colors. Consequently, the Retinue banner, a symbol of the first Czech and Slovak military action abroad, was supplemented with
coats of arms of each part of their native lands - Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and Slovakia. And during a renaming ceremony, in 1917 the unit became the 1st Rifle Regiment of Master Jan Hus, and its pike finial with the Russian Imperial eagle was replaced with the Hussite chalice.
Source: Czech State and Military Symbols, Praha, 1996.

Note that the finials on Lomantsov's pages are Russian Imperial eagles; in the publication quoted one finial has the Hussite chalice. Both Moravian and Silesian eagles are crowned...
Jarig Bakker, 11 Feb 2002






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