Colonel Stanislav Mikula

* 1918  †︎ 2006

  • "And the british forces took our places in Tobruk port, just to provide the safety to Syria and Libanon. And we set off on our journey to Suez, in Alexandria - in arabic El Iskandaria. There we got on two ships. Those were navy ships named Helsi and Napier. We were sailing in Mediterranean sea. We coud only sail at night, because Germans and Italians took control over the Mediterranean sea. We got to Tobruk port along with the sunrise. Being in fire we manged to reach the beaches. We coudn´t move any further, so we remained hidden in ditches and bunkers until the sunset. After 8 pm we began our journey in the first line to the fort part of the port Tobruk. These forts were just recently built. But it was an Italian colony and the Italians watched it carrefuly, because there were often fights between Libyans people and the Bedouins. But also our troops had some safety places there.We had concrete bunkres where we could take our positions. We took turnes with other troop and together we protected the port. What was interesting there was that if someone got hurt, nobody wanted to go the back area, nor to the port, nor to the second line. Because the second line... well there were some sand bags and some corrugated sheet with stones over it, but it wasn´t really safe because during the day you were not able to move a bit. The enemy captured the the hill named El Menaur - I´m writing about it here in this article - and down under this hill they had a great overview of everything. Only during the night we could leave our positions and step forward to the mine field where we relieved the guards which were supposed to watch the oposite side of the hill. The artillery was changing its directions regarding the movements of the enemy troop. The Italians knew about us. But they didn´t know in which one of all the bunkers we were. And so they were watching closely for every tiny movement. If they saw even a little motion, they were shooting. While I was on one of the field guard positions - I don´t know who was it, if the Poles or the British - some started the shooting only because one of our privates threw away a can. But they didn´t know where are they shooting. We had telephones and we had to notify in what direction someone was, how far he was, how many soldiers , weapon swap etc...Then we changed with another field guard again. The fact is though, that in case of an attack we would have been the victoms. There was no escape. That was straight on that field road and also later after Tobruk port liberation. We have been ready then. They have attacked us from the Egypt-Libyan border. We could here the fireing proceeding. We received an order. The port Tobruk was being gradually free. Our second troop has received an order to participate on offensive in El Gazel direction. That was a big fort, bib base of supply. And you could see the Italian prints all over there, even the farmland in excellent shape. We have free the Derna place. After that we were proceeding towards tje Begazee port, and all the way to Ajdabiyah and Aguriyah. We occupied the fire position. We couldn´t go anywhere yet, partly because of the supplying and also because they were getting ready for the fight-back. Our main target was - although we were only one troop - to provide the headquarter with security.Well and then the Germans started their attack. And so as we were proceeding we were actually backing off. Tanks rushed off, trucks, we had the mashine guns on them. Germans attacked us from the air using their fighters and the same kind of planes that they have used also in Poland, which were the ´Junkers 87´. They were able to attack by shooting , but at the same time also by bombing. It was realy very hot there. The Indian troops were also backing off, I don´t recall now, how many soldiers they have had. but I do remember them being the Indians. The German tanks attacked them from the desert so our troops were cut off. All of the Indians got captivated. Our troop made it safely to Tobruk port. And a new defense of the port was getting ready there."

  • "We got along with the Australians just great. They were friendly soldiers indeed, we would even wear their hats on our heads. There was one rhyme written by one of the soldiers about Australians.´ Privat Kudla put the australian hat on and was pretending he is an Australian. His legs are twisted, he´s throwing the bomb and sings to himself yupee, yupee, yeah´Regarding the Indians, we were not exactely fighting with them. They were good soldiers. And friendly too. They always carried sacred pets with them. The cherished the goats and sheeps as a lucky charm. Relationships with the Poles - I used to be the link between our troops - specially when I started to sing Polska nezginieva...(sings in polish) we were one hand. I´ve received the polish cross of fighting acts labled with Tobruk. In Poland I received the medal for the Poland defense. Regarding the Bedouin, their observation knowledes were very valuable for us and we were treating them like that. for example, in the desert they knew in advance when the hot south wind (chamsin) was coming. As soon as they knew it, they bulit the tents, to be safe from it. And the sand drift always passed around them. They also taught us how to bake the bread on flat hot stones. So their relationship toward us was pure friendship. But it was a different story with the Egyptians. There was a lot of collaborators among them, because Egypt, they had a dirty publicity from Germany. The Egypt was a separate territory, but it got caught by the british intentions. So the Egyptians felt about the British, as far as I was concerned... We used to drink the arabic drink ´arash´with them and that made them talk a lot . Of course, they knew a few english words, and we learnt some from them too. And there was this relationship to Allah. When they sang ´Allah akbar Allah´ we learnt that too. It made them feel real good. Some of the words like e.g. yes=aiwa, no= la. Interesting was that when you said no, you had noddle your head like you´d say yes. Regarding th Germans- and I´m not speaking about the Sudeten Germans, but about the imperial german soldiers, so they fought more fair than the Italians. And if the Germans were loosing, there were some complaints against the Italians for incorrect behavior. But uf they got captured, you wouldn´t hear a bad word."

  • " Those were long distance flights. They were flying ver the sea and sometimes an accident happend, for an example when the pilots drop the precaution, they suffered the consequences. But we made it to Norweigan fiord and there we could hear in our headphones: ´Three ME on 9 o´clock the sunny side, Three ME on 9 o´clock the sunny side.´ And they have attacked us. We couldn´s see them well, but they saw us clearly. So I didn´t feel like I was in the air during this attack. I saw the plane right above me, I saw him evaluating something, so I pulled myself up into cupola. There were two point five mashine guns. We were able to deffend ourselfs not from three, but even from five or seven fighters. Right on the left side were two mashine guns, another four at the front, another two at the bottom and extra board weapons, which were used only during an attack. So you can say it was an armed hedgehog. My position was with those point five mashine guns and as I was fireing one of the guns got jammed. In fact the feed belt got stuck. I didn´t even notice at first. I was shooting from the other mashine gun and was fixing the jammed one at the same time. And you wouldn´t even notice that the snout was overheated. I managed to replace it, but I found out only after it was already over. My legs were shaking, I was being terrified, the sweat was pouring down by back, but there was nothing to be afraid of anymore. We got hit, but we made it safely back and that was the most important. Sometimes it all was a lucky coincidece. One of these coincidences was, when I got into my friend´s Mr. Martin Dornak crew. And the commander told me he won´t do anything about this. No orders to leave anywhere. I didn´t get on that bombing plane, and they never came back. And he is here in this book, he and all his crew, that I was supposed to be flying with. If we would have gotten shot down or hit, I would be able to recognize that I was on the plane and that I´m death. You loose everything. I guess that´s the self-preservation, maybe some bravery... But the fear, after everything was over..."

  • "We were on the egypt-libyan border where we tought we will be fighting. But there was a front in fact a short time ago. The mine fields were ruined, blockings were damaged. We started to reparing them and waited for the Rommel African troop attack. Of course, when we heard the gun rumble few days later we prepared for defense. But in a meantime, we received a message, that there is a Nazi break-through near the place El Kapuco. We were supposed to be going there, but in the last second another order came and we turned around and ran over the Suez canal to Syria and to Libanon. The britsh troop was sent to El Kapuco instead of us. We were complaining about it because we wanted to fight there, but our Lt-Col Mr. Klapalek said:´It is an order! We will turn around now and go to Syria and Libanon and with those who refused to obbey this I will deal lateron.´He sure did what he said, but we couldn´t be more appreciative. If only for one reason, that the british troops tought that the Czechslovak troops will be fighting by their side, but we weren´t. Many british soldiers were killed there including their commander."

  • "Concerning Poland, during the defensive position there were german division fleets on both right and left sides heading to Ukraine. And if they only knew who we are, they could have close that position on us and we wouldn´t have any chance to back off. Only to be taken captive. And then following the German law it would mean the execution or being under death sentence. But by a lucky coincidence the Soviet troops were approaching forward to us and we managed to escape under their protection. There was the moment of decision. I was only recruit by that time, everything was so confusing to me. After everything was over, our commander and the headquarter had to figured out, what we´ll do next. We could either back off to Romania or to Soviet Union. But the Red Army was already proceeding forward and that´s how we got under their protection. Our journey continued to Soviet Union. There we have capitulated and guarded by the soviet soldiers we continued to a place named Kamenec Podhorsky. We got a place to sleep there in local barracks and we were questionig subsequenty how we got to Soviet Union. So from the beginning they treated us very friendly. They would call this attitude a benevolent internment because there was a contract between Soviet Union and Nazi Germany about not attacking each other. And so we were in benevolent internment. After some while there was some limited activity for us and if we wanted some time off we needed a permit for that. And besides that - it wasn´t obligatory- they offered us to work in the first class agronomy... Well, they simply asked us to help them. but some people for some reason, maybe for being naive or for anti soviet behavior, were criticizing e.g. :´Who you want to defend yourself from if you don´t even have a watch?´ And they would explain: ´We are producing watches and we have plenty of those, but we don´t have time for watches now, because we have to get ready for the Soviet Union defence.´ Comparing to our republic - our level of living was much higher- but we tried to understand the situation here. Everything was done for defence and devotion of these people was enormous."

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„And as I was firing from my machine gun my feed belt got jammed. And I didn´t notice that the snout was overheated. I managed to remove it, but I realized that only after the shooting was over. My legs were shaking, I was being terrified, my back was sweating, but there was nothing to be afraid of anymore.“

Stanislav Mikula
Stanislav Mikula

Mr. Stanislav Mikula was born on May 2nd 1918 in Borsice village. In 1939 he left to Poland where he was fighting against Germans. With the back off he found himself in Soviet Union from where he was later taken to Middle East. Here he was involved in battle operations in Syria and Lebanon after Crete was occupied by Germans. After this he left to fight to Tobruk. He traveled thru Africa, Great  Britain, North America, then to Bahamas. Here in Bahamas he underwent the anti-submarine training and then he was a pilot of the 111th British operating unit. Later he was put on the 311th unit also as a pilot. After the war he was working in the army until 1948. After the 1948 revolution as a west kind of soldier he worked mainly in working class professions. Later he was permitted to return to aircraft profession as a technician.  He got rehabilitated after the year 1989.