It is one of the less remembered moments in World War II history, but for the people of Western Bohemia, the US-led liberation from Nazi oppression during late April and early May of 1945 was the only moment that mattered.

On 25 April in Prague, a battalion of history buffs donned army uniforms and fired up dozens of vintage American military vehicles to mark the 69th anniversary of US General George S Patton’s Third Army defeating the Nazis in the western part of what is now known as the Czech Republic. The annual tribute, called the Convoy of Liberty, made its first stop at the US Embassy in the Czech capital, met by the Czech Army Military Band. From there, the motorcade – comprised mostly of 1942-45 Willys MB and Ford GPW jeeps – heads into Western Bohemia on a tour that will culminate in Pilsen on 4 May. Its arrival will be the highlight of the city’s annual Liberation Festival, a five-day event that features a programme of historical tributes and ceremonies honoring the fallen.

Patton’s attack on the German army was the last major offensive in the European theatre of operations. Victory in Europe – VE Day – was declared on 8 May 1945.