Slovakia Schnelle Division
The Slovak Axis State under the leadership of Jozef Tiso's, joined Nazi Germany in its invasion of the Soviet Union. The Slovakian military force took part in the German invasion of Poland in 1939. For the German invasion of the Soviet Union the Slovaks placed at the disposal of the Germans a light brigade of 3,500 men which was partially motorized and included a battalion of Czech light tanks and an army corps of two infantry divisions and divisional troops. The total strength of the Slovak commitment in July 1941 was 40,393 men and 1,346 officers.
During August 1941 it was decided to send the infantry divisions back to Slovakia and to form a 10,000-strong Rapid Mobile Division and a 6,000-strong Security Division. These were placed under German operational control, though the administration remained under Slovakian control.
The "Odznak Rychlé divise" (Slovakia Schnelle Division) was established July 23, 1941 after the reorganization the Rapid Brigade.
The elite Rapid Division fought at Lemberg, at Kiev and on the Mius during the winter of 1941-42, where one German officer found the men to be brave soldiers with very good discipline. The Mobile Division was well thought of by the Germans and was used by them in a front-line role.
The Rapid Slovak division was a motorized division fighting on the Eastern Front. From the 1st of August to 27th of November 1941 the commander of the division was General Jozef Turanec. He was later replaced by Colonel. Rudolf Pilfousek.
Slovakia Schnelle Division Badge
The badge design shows a wreath of laurel leaves with an eagle on top. The eagle is clutching in its talons the initials "R D" indicating "Rychlé divise" (Rapid Division). Below the initials you can clearly see a motorized tractor illustrating the truck radiator with the year (1941-1942) posted in the center. The badge has also been found with years 1941-42-43 as the badge shown above.
The reverse is solid and flat.
The original production for the badge was crudely made by the division automotive workshops and they were cast. The material used for the production of the badges was mostly composed of metal bearings such as zinc. The size varies a little mostly 54mm x 47mm.
The badges were attached to the uniform with a screw and nut. Some badges are polished, chrome, some are certainly nicer than others, but all are interesting example of the campaign against the Soviet Union.
The Slovakians made another award modeled to the German Army (Crimean shield). This badge was also made in the automotive workshops. The badge is also crudely made and is similar to the Rapid badge, the difference is that it has the Crimean peninsula and the year 1943-44 inscribed below the thin wreath. The size is 51 mm.
military award rendered to Government troops was the
"Leistungsabzeichen" (Achievement Badge), instituted around July 1944. Awarded
for repeated acts of assistance to the German army. It came in three classes:
bronze, silver and gold. On top right is a silver class Achievement Badge. The
badge is die struck and measures 38mm x 64mm. On the reverse it has a small catch
and hinge with a thin pin. The design of the badge shows cross swords surmounted
by an eagle holding the swastika. In the center is the coat-of-arms of Bohemia-Moravia
and on each side a wreath of linden leaves. On the left is an interesting streetcar pass
for a Government soldier shown in uniform. The Achievement Badge is also found die
struck with solid back and German style catch and hinge.