The destiny of "desert rats" - heroes from Tobruk - is known worldwide and in 2016 the Czech Mint remembers it with the issue of gold commemorative coins. Among the defenders of the strategic Libyan port 75 years ago also excelled the Czechoslovaks. One of them, Brigadier General Stanislav Hnělička, is a native of the North Bohemian Liberec, which is located a stone's throw from the headquarters of the Czech Mint in Jablonec nad Nisou. This is his story.
The book, which is processed as an informal conversation between General Hnělička and the journalist Jan Šebelka, will first take you into the prewar Liberec. You will experience the forced displacement from the borderland as well as the journey into the exile in the Middle East, then you will join the famous 11th Czechoslovak infantry battalion. Alongside the young fighters you will suffer the hardships and privations, but also a humorous stories and a camaraderie escapades. With The Czechoslovak Independent Armoured Brigade you will then participate in the siege of port of Dunkerque as well as a holiday in liberated Paris. But the storytelling does not end with a victory in the war. Stanislav Hnělička swapped the armed struggle for the conflict with the communist regime after the fatal years 1948 and 1968.
The whole story has a happy ending, however - for his war and postwar activities Stanislav Hnělička was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and was awarded the highest state honors of Czech Republic and France - the Order of the White Lion and the Order of the Legion of Honour. He became an advisor of the film director Václav Marhoul when shooting his epic war movie, and in his 94 years, is the last living participant in all military operations in Tobruk.
A riveting book which is an expanded edition of the original publication from 2008, is complemented by the latest information, a unique photographic attachment and handwritten signature of General Hnělička!