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Nevertheless, Czechs maintained their ethnic identity and seized the opportunity for independence during World War I.Czechs and Slovaks deserted the armies of Austria-Hungary in large numbers to form the Czechoslovak Legion.Modernization plans include acquisition of new multi-role helicopters, transport aircraft, infantry fighting vehicles or air defence radars and missiles.If possible, the Czech Ministry of Defence selects products that are manufactured or co-produced in the Czech Republic.This includes firearms of the Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod, namely the CZ 75 pistols, CZ Scorpion Evo 3 submachine guns, CZ 805 BREN and BREN 2 assault rifles.Moreover, the Czech Army is equipped with about 3000 T810 and T815 vehicles of various modifications produced by the Czech Tatra Trucks company.A 1989 listing of forces shows two Czechoslovak armies in the west, the 1st at Příbram with one tank division and three motor rifle divisions, the 4th at Písek with two tank divisions and two motor rifle divisions.

Replacement of the obsolescent equipment, or making it at least compliant with the NATO standards, is urgently required.

In 1938, servicemen of the Czechoslovak Army and the State Defense Guard fought in an undeclared border war against the German-backed Sudetendeutsches Freikorps as well as Polish and Hungarian paramilitary forces.

As a result of the Munich Agreement, areas heavily populated by ethnic German speaking people were incorporated into the Third Reich and military aged men living there were subject to being drafted into the Wehrmacht.

Following the Czechoslovakia's complete annexation in 1939 and creation of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, the Protectorate's government possessed its own armed force, the Government Army (6,500 men), tasked with public security and rearguard duties.

On the other side of the conflict, a number of Czechoslovak units and formations served with the Polish Army (Czechoslovak Legion), the French Army, the Royal Air Force, the British Army (the 1st Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade), and the Red Army (I Corps).