The Slovak armored component in World War II

(To Andrea Gaspardo)

In 1939 after the partition following the Munich Accords and subsequent absorption of the remaining Czech and Moravian lands, Hitler supported the formation of a fascist Slovak state led by Archbishop Jozef Tiso. From that moment Slovakia became Germany's first and most faithful ally, participating, for example, already in the Polish campaign. Before these events, however, the authorities in Bratislava organized themselves in order to create a functioning Armed Forces on the basis of the Slovak ethnic components inherited from the defunct Czechoslovak Armed Forces.

The former 3a quick division Czechoslovakia had left 79 LT vz.35/LT-35 tanks, also known as Panzer 35(t) in German military terminology, in Slovakian territory, and the new quick division slovak.

In March 1939 Slovakia was involved in a short border war with neighboring Hungary, which was later resolved by Hitler's intervention in favor of the latter and Bratislava's cession of all territories inhabited by ethnic Hungarians. There quick division was involved in the fighting and suffered the loss of 1 tank LT vz.35/LT-35 captured by the Hungarians and then forcibly put into service with their own forces.

After the Slovak participation in the Polish campaign, the Central European country's military leaders approved a plan to expand its armored forces on the model of the defunct Czechoslovakian armored forces, but the Germans were initially reluctant to supply the requested equipment. Later the German authorities had second thoughts and allowed the Slovaks to obtain 32 LT vz.38/LT-38, also known as Panzer 35(t), and 21 LT vz.40/LT-40. All these means, plus the previous ones, were absorbed into the Slovakian mobile group, soon deployed for theOperation Barbarossa.

The Slovak tanks were used on the southern front in the fighting between Lvov and Kiev. The Slovak armored forces remained at the front from the summer of 1941 until February 1942 until all assets were lost in combat or too worn out to continue operations.

Slovak forces continued to fight on the Eastern Front until 1944 but were progressively relegated to rear security duties.

In 1944 the Germans intensified their efforts to rebuild the Slovak Armed Forces by supplying 37 Panzer 38(t), 7 Panzer III Ausf. N, 16 Panzer II Ausf. F and 18 Marder III tank destroyers.

In August 1944 the Slovaks started an insurrection against the Germans but it was crushed in blood. This marked the end of the Slovak armored forces.

Photo: web

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