The invasion of Czechoslovakia was designated Operation Danube. The Soviet Army formed a Strategic Direction composed of three Fronts (Central, Carpathian and Southern) and the VDV mobilised two of its divisions, of which the 103rd Guards Desant Division was to deliver the coup de main against Prague, with elements of the Polish 6th Airborne Division designated to take the airfield at Pardubice. On the evening of the 20th August 1968, an unscheduled Ae
otte An-24 aircraft made an unscheduled landing at Ruzyme Airport at around 2030 hrs, and was soon followed by an aircraft from Lvov in the Ukraine at about midnight, which unloaded a number of Soviet 'civilians' who talked with Czech officials and then departed. As the troops of the three Fronts crossed the Czech border, the 'civilians' took up positions around the airport. At around 0200 hrs, two An-12 aircraft, escorted by MiG-21 fighters, landed at the airport, and two companies of desantniki (about 180 men) were disgorged and took over from the 'civilians'. After the airfield was secured, the command An-24, which had been the first aircraft to arrive, ordered the rest of the 103rd Guards Desant Division to start landing. This contained a number of ASU-85s and armoured personnel carriers, and a special assault group was to take the presidential palace, with the rest of the division seizing key points around the city. Not long after, the lead elements of the Central Front, the 6th Guards and 35th Motor Rifle Divisions entered Prague.