Armored train Štefánik

Banská Bystrica,

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Kapitulská , 317, Banská Bystrica

974 01, Banská Bystrica, Slovakia

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After the outbreak of the Uprising, the 1st MS. army in Slovakia lack of heavy weapons, so the construction of improvised armored trains began. It was built according to the pre-war Czechoslovak regulation, while the set was supplemented by tank wagons based on the experience of the German and Soviet armies.

The order for the construction of the Štefánik armored train was issued on September 4, 1944. Lt. Col. took part in its construction. Štefan Čáni and Lt. Col. pion. in. from. Hugo Wainberger. The construction took place in the workshops of Slovak Railways in Zvolen. The first train was completed in a record time of 14 days, the second Hurban even in eleven. Including the third Masaryk train, the trains were built together in five weeks. Štefánik and Hurban were the first trains to intervene in the fighting at the beginning of October 1944. Štefánik near Stará Kremnička and Hurban near Čremošno. While Štefánik mostly operated on the southwestern section of the front within III. tactical group (Zvolen – Hronská Dúbrava, Zvolen – Krupina)

Zvolen workers and railway workers lacked professional documentation, there was not enough material, especially thick sheets were needed to arm the locomotives and wagons. A boiler plate was used to arm the first two trains.

The train consisted of five wagons and a locomotive. The so-called tentacle wagon. It was a platformer loaded with rails and other material that served to defend the train from track conditioning. To make the distance between him and the other set greater, he was connected to it by a rod. It was followed by a cannon and tank wagon. This was followed by a locomotive, a tank, and a machine gun carriage.

In the last days of the resistance of the insurgent army, the trains were concentrated in the area of Harmanec – Uľanka, where their crews left and became the prey of the German army after the defeat of the uprising.

After the end of the war, three armored train wagons returned to Slovakia. While one tank ended in scrap, the other was reconstructed and preserved in Zvolen, originally for the railway station, today in the area of ŽOS Zvolen.

In 2014, after years spent on the rails, important presentations, and several combat demonstrations, the Štefánik Improvised Armored Train returned to Banská Bystrica and became a permanent part of the Open-Air Museum of Heavy Combat Technology in the SNP Memorial complex.

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Dr. ĽUBOMÍR RICHARDUS | rail.sk