Military history of Slovakia

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The Military history of Slovakia spans from the end of the interwar period until accept to OTNA. The new Slovak government established the Division I and Division II to fight with different enemies during the Second World War. In WWII, the Slovak Army was a military force that fought against the Soviet Union.

Slovak Army was organized in: Division I (furniture), Division II (security) and Slovak Air Force.

Contents

Slovak troops

Brigade Pilfousek

As a result of the inability of the Slovak Army Group to keep up with the German advance, it was decided to create a mobile unit that would be capable of doing so. This was done by forming all the motorized units of the former Slovak Army Group into a single formation termed the Slovak Mobile Command, otherwise known as Brigade Pilfousek, commanded by the former commander of the 2nd Slovak Division, Rudolf Pilfousek.

Brigade Pilfousek consisted of the I/6 Mot.Inf.Bn., I/11 Mot.Art.Bn., the 1st Tank Bn. with the 1st and 2nd Tank Co. and the 1st and 2nd Anti-Tank Co., 2nd Recon.Bn., 1st Weapons Co., 2nd Motorcycle Co., and the I/3/I Mot.Eng. Platoon.

Brigade Pilfousek advanced through Lvov and towards Vinnitsa. Around 8 July 1941, the Brigade had advanced beyond the tactical control of the Slovak command, so control of the unit was handed over to the German 17.Armee. It was at this time that the remaining forces of the former Slovak Army Group (no longer an independent formation), were used behind the German lines in conjunction with the 103rd Rear Area Command of Army Group South in security duties and helping to eliminate pockets of Soviet resistance. By 22 July, the Brigade, now under German control, had advanced to Vinnitsa and had pushed on towards Lipovets. The Brigade experienced heavy fighting against the Soviets during this time. Next, the Brigade moved north through Berdichev, Zhitomir, and on towards the region of Kiev.

The 1st Slovak (Mobile) Infantry Division

In the beginning of August, 1941, the Slovak Army Group was pulled out of the lines when it was decided to form two new units that would be better suited to the actions they would be taking part in. The best units of the former Slovak Army Group were now organized into two new divisions, the 1st Slovak (Mobile) Infantry Division and the 2nd Slovak (Security) Infantry Division. The 1st Slovak (Mobile) Infantry Division was also known as the Slovak Fast Division.

The Slovak Fast Division was originally commanded by Gustav Malar, one of the original commanders from the Slovak advance into Poland back in 1939. By the middle of September 1941, the 1st Slovak (Mobile) Division was back in the front lines, this time near Kiev. After the fighting near Kiev ended with its final capture, the Slovak Mobile Division was transferred to the reserves of Army Group South. Here the unit moved along the Dnieper River, through Gorodishche, Kremenchug, and Magdalinowka, where heavy fighting took place. As of 2 October, the Mobile Division was a part of the 1.Panzer-Armee fighting on the eastern side of Dnieper River near the region of Golubowka and Pereshchino. The Mobile Division was then moved on to the areas of Maripol and Taganrog, after which it spend the Winter of 1941-42 along positions on the Mius River. Later, the Mobile Division took part in the German advance into the Caucasus Region where it played a vital role in the assault and capture of the vital Soviet city of Rostov. Late in the Summer of 1942, the Divisional commander became Jozef Turanec. He led the Mobile Division across the Kuban River all the way to the region of Tuapse. In late 1942, the 31st Artillery Regiment from the 2nd (Security) Infantry Division was transferred to the 1st Mobile Division. Command of the Mobile Division changed again in January 1943, when Lt.Gen Jurech took over command.

After the disastrous loss at Stalingrad in the Winter of 1942/1943, the entire position of the Germans in the Caucasus region was altered, as now any further advance south would only ensure the complete loss of all forces south of the Mius River if and when the Soviets reached Rostov in the North, thus trapping them. As direct result of the losses in the north, the forces in the Caucasus region were quickly pulled back north to escape possible entrapment. The 1st Slovak (Mobile) Infantry Division, as a part of the German forces fighting in the Caucasus region, was pulled back. The Mobile Division was nearly encircled and trapped near Saratowskaya, but managed to escape. The remaining portions of the Mobile Division were then airlifted out of the Kuban, but in so doing were forced to leave behind all their heavy equipment and weapons. The Mobile Division was then used to help cover the retreat of over the Sivash and Perkop land bridges. From here, the Division's history becomes unsure for the next few weeks, as a specific record of its operations could not be located for this section. What is known though is that it later ended up being commanded once again by a new commanding officer, Elmir Lendvay. It looks as if the Division was pulled from the lines for a short while, until it was again thrown into action, this time near the area of Melitopol. Soon after, the Division was caught by a massive Soviet surprise attack that had managed to break through the German lines. The Mobile Division was routed and over 2000 men were taken by the Soviets. The Mobile Division, routed and impotent, was then pulled from the lines.

A hollow shell of the former Mobile Division was created in the early part of 1944. It consisted of II/20 Inf.Reg., III/20 Inf.Reg., a few 150 mm howitzers from the I/11 Art.Bn., some 37 mm anti-tank guns, the 9th and 13th light Flak Companies, and the 45 Construction Company. The new formation was dubbed the Tartarko Combat Group, and it contained 12 officers, 13 NCOs, and 775 men. It was sent back to the region of the Crimea for defensive operations, while the remainder of the Mobile Division was used in security operations behind the lines of Army Group South. Finally, in June 1944, the Division was pulled from the lines for the last time and disarmed, being formed into a construction brigade for use in Rumania as a result of its continued unreliability in combat.

The 2nd Slovak (Security) Infantry Division

The 2nd Slovak (Security) Infantry Division was used mainly in security and anti-partisan operations in the rear areas of the German lines. Originally, the Security Division was used to clean up pockets of Soviet resistance that the Germans had passed up in the advance eastwards. Later, the Slovak Security Division was used in anti-partisan operations in the region of Zhitomer. A number of the Security Divisions units were removed from its ranks and transferred to the 1st Slovak (Mobile) Infantry Division, including the 31st Artillery Regiment. After the defeat at Stalingrad, as the morale of the Slovak troops began to fall, it was moved to the area of Minsk, a much more quiet sector of the front. Soon after, on 1 November 1943, as a result of continued problems with desertion in the unit, the Security Division was heavily disarmed and transferred to Ravenna, Italy to act as a construction brigade.

Domobrana

During the Slovak Uprising against Germany, the new Slovak Army was rebuilt under the name Domobrana ("Home Guard").

The 12th Engineer Battalion

As a result of the heavy partisan actions against the German lines in 1943, the Slovak 12th Engineer Battalion was sent to the rear area of Army Group South where it took part in vital rail repair operations to fix lines cut by the Soviet partisans. It was later merged with the 1st Slovak (Mobile) Infantry Division when it was formed into a construction brigade in June 1944.

Slovak Air Force

The Slovenské vzdušné zbrane ("Slovak Air Force") (SVZ) was the air force of the short-lived World War II Slovak Republic. Its mission was to provide air support at fronts, and to protect Bratislava and metropolitan areas against enemy air strikes. These units supported Axis Powers' offensives in Ukraine and Russian Central front under the lead of Luftwaffe in the Stalingrad and Caucasus operations.

World War II

War with Hungary

At dawn on March 23, 1939, Hungary suddenly attacked Slovakia from Carpatho-Ukraine with instructions being to "proceed as far to the west as possible."[citation needed] Hungary attacked Slovakia without any declaration of war, catching the Slovak army unprepared, because many Slovak soldiers were in transit from the Czech region and had not reached their Slovak units yet. Czech soldiers were leaving newly-established Slovakia, but after the Hungarian attack, many of them decided to support their former units in Slovakia.

In the north, opposite Stakčín, Major Matjka assembled an infantry battalion and two artillery batteries. In the south, around Michalovce, Štefan Haššik, a reserve officer and a local Slovak People's Party secretary, gathered a group of about four infantry battalions and several artillery batteries. Further west, opposite the passive, but threatening Košice-Prešov front, where the Hungarians maintained an infantry brigade, Major Šivica assembled a third Slovak concentration. To the rear, a cavalry group and some tanks were thrown together at Martin, and artillery detachments readied at Banská Bystrica, Trenčin and Bratislava. However, German interference disrupted or paralysed their movement, especially in the V Corps. The defence was tied down defensively, as the Hungarian annexations the last autumn had delivered the only railway line to Michalovce and Humenné into their hands, thereby delaying all Slovak reinforcements.

The Hungarian troops advanced quickly into eastern Slovakia, which surprised both the Slovaks and the Germans. Despite the awful confusion caused by the hurried mobilization and desperate shortage of officers, the Slovak force in Michalovce had coalesced sufficiently to attempt a counterattack by the following day. This was largely due to Major Kubícek, who had taken over command from Haššik and had begun to get a better grip on the situation. Because they were based on a widely-available civilian truck, spares were soon found to repair five of the sabotaged OA vz. 30 armoured cars in Prešov and they reached Michalovce at 05:30 AM on March 24. Their Czech crews had been replaced by scratch teams of Slovak signallers from other technical armed forces. They were immediately sent on a reconnaissance mission to Budkovce, some 15 km south of Michalovce, but could not find any trace of the Hungarians.

The Slovak Expeditionary Army Group in Russia

Four days after the Germans invaded the Soviet Union during Operation Barbarossa, Slovakia sent its own units forward against the Soviet lines in the form of the Slovak Expeditionary Army Group. The Slovak Army Group was commanded by the Slovak Minister of Defense, Ferdinand Čatloš.

As the Campaign in the East drew on, the Slovak forces began to fall behind the massive German sweep across the Soviet Union. This was mainly because of a general lack of mobile forces able to transport the 45,000 strong Slovak Army Group alongside the German advance.

End of Slovak Army

After the fall of Slovak Republic the army was destablished.


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