In the footsteps of the Liberation
by the US Army
The journey "In the footsteps of liberation" presents places that are connected with the liberation of the City of Pilsen and western Bohemina by the American army in 1945.
About the project
The idea to shoot a documentary series introducing the public to the localities and institutions associated with the liberation in the Pilsen region, as well as the activities of living history clubs, which are indispensable partners of the Liberation Festival Pilsen, arose during a complicated period of lockdowns and serious epidemiological measures in connection with covid-19. The general public is given the opportunity to get acquainted with localities in an attractive popular educational form, which they can freely visit during their journeys throughout the Pilsen region, or even with remembrance institutions dedicated to the period of World War II.
The project was prepared as part of the Liberation Festival Pilsen by the city of Pilsen with the support of the Pilsen Region. The guide is Lukáš Langmajer.
In the footsteps of the Liberation by the US Army
It was said from the very beginning that I would be the guide of the miniseries. And so, it happened. I'm happy about it and I believe that after watching it, you will also be contended, because in some moments you can even get smart or you will find inspiration to visit one of the places to explore it in more details.
Episode 1 - Pilsen
In the first part, we will visit the Patton Memorial Pilsen Museum, where, for example, we will learn how to properly deploy a boat, what the wing of a shot down bomber was used for, or what the menu of American soldiers consisted of. Then we will visit the monument to the 16th Armored Division, the monument to the 2nd Infantry Division, the monument to Czechoslovak soldiers fighting on the Western Front and the headquarters of the command. And finally, we say goodbye to the Thanksgiving monument, America!
Episode 2 – Operation Cowboy
In the second episode, we visit Bělá nad Radbuzou and also the place connected with the rescue of rare horses, the stud farm in Hostouň. Our story takes a deeper look at 650 horses brought to this locality before the war, and especially during the WWII as spoils of war from the occupied territories. Among them were 250 Lipizzaner horses from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, as well as other valuable breeds.
Episode 3 – Domažlice district
In the third episode we come to Domažlice. We present the story of Matt Konop, who liberated the same villages his grandparents left when emigrated to America the Austro-Hungarian empire from; we learn about the last American fighter pilot shot down over Europe and six soldiers who hit a trapped mine near the village of Díly.
Episode 4 – Nepomuk district
The fourth episode is dedicated to the shooting down of the Miss Fortune bomber on February 22, 1944. This is an event that occurred during a mission over the Protectorate. The crew of eleven but one gunner perished on the spot, the waist gunner Raymond A. Noury was captured and remained in captivity until the end of the war. Finally, we present the Czechoslovak Independent Armored Brigade. The headquarters of the moto battalion was located at Zelená Hora chateau.
Episode 5 – From the daily life of the 2nd Infantry Division
The famous 2nd Infantry Division "Indianhead", formed in 1917, significantly contributed to the liberation of Pilsen and southwestern Bohemia. In an attractive location in the Bolevecká village square of the U Matoušů farm, the guide gives us a tour through the daily life of this unit, we look at the staff, inspect the equipment and armaments of American soldiers, get acquainted with the work of American nurses in Czechoslovakia.
Episode 6 - Checkpoint Raiders
In the sixth episode, we get acquainted with the activities of the current US Army. One of the partners of the Liberation Festival Pilsen shows us the detention of an intruder and his interrogation. The unit is divided into three squads, which are further divided into teams: offensive, defensive and reconnaissance. These teams have different combat skills and different experiences.
Episode 7 - Rokycany – In the footsteps of the Demarcation line
In the town of Rokycany, we visit the unique military Museum on the demarcation line, the diorama gives us a close glance at the advance of the American and Soviet armies, the highlight would be the encounter with the medium tank T-34. The mayor of the town presents the organization of the Rokycany Veterans Day, the history of the memorial plaque of the 2nd Infantry Division, the six honorary citizens of the Rokycany from the ranks of American veterans. At the same time, we l remember the fate of the local Stehlík family, executed by the Nazis for helping the paratroopers.
Episode 8 – from the daily life of the 16th Armored Division
The 16th Armored Division participated in the liberation of southwestern Bohemia and directly liberated the city of Pilsen. Around eight o'clock in the morning on May 6, 1945, armored cars and tanks drove into the city. The main role played the iconic medium tank Sherman M4A4. The episode presents the main and secondary weapons, the engine, the number of crew and their tasks.
Episode 9 - Hangar no. 3 – Líně airport
The ninth episode offers a bird's eye view of the topic. We commemorate a Czechoslovak fighter pilot who took part in the Normandy landings; go through one of the most famous American Boeing B 75 Stearman biplanes in more detailed way, namely the aircraft's own construction, the propulsion unit, visit the cockpit and see the controls and instruments.
The educative trails
The journey "In the footsteps of liberation" presents places that are connected with the liberation of the city of Pilsen and western Bohemia by the American army in 1945. While visiting the individual destinations, you learn about interesting fates and events that accompanied the victory in World War II.
The Route to Freedom
Welcome to the trail that takes you to places connected with the liberation of Pilsen by the American army! Interesting information awaits you that you may not have known yet.
On the route, which is about 10 km long, there are 22 stops connected with the end of World War II in Pilsen. The start and finish are both located in Plzeňský Prazdroj, but the route can be walked in any order.
More info about the trail is available here.