Slovakian & Czech Awards

    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. Initially 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. Eventually the total strength of the Slovak commitment by July 1941 would be 40,393 men and 1,346 officers.
    By August 1941 it was decided to withdraw the Slovakian infantry divisions 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 re-organized on August 22, 1941.
    The elite Rapid Mobile 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 Rapid Mobile Division was well thought of by the Germans and was used by them in a front-line role.

    From the 1st of August to 27th of November 1941, the commander of the Rapid Mobile Division was General Jozef Turanec. He was later replaced by Colonel. Rudolf Pilfousek.

    Slovakia Schnelle Division Badge

    Slovakian Schnelle Badge Slovakian Schnelle 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, 42-43) posted in the center. The badge has also been found with years 1941-1942.
    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.

    Slovakian Eastern Front Award

    Shown below is the bronze and silver class Slovakian Eastern Front awards. The Badge of Honor for service in the Eastern Front

    Slovakian Award

    The Slovakians who participated on the Eastern Front were awarded with a bronze, silver or combined bronze and silver campaign badge. The badge was instituted on 22 April 1942 and produced by the Slovak Mint in Kremnica .
    The bronze badge pictured above shows a Slovakian Helmet with the date inscribed "22 VI 1941" indicating the date the Slovakian Army participated in the Eastern Front. On the background is a sword crushing the communist symbolic star and the hammer and sickle. The reverse is solid and concave shape. It contains a small pin and catch.

    The criteria for these awards were the following classes:
    The silver class was awarded for combatants.
    The bronze and silver was awarded for support units. This badge has a silver wreath and sword with the remainder in bronze.
    The bronze for rear echelon personnel.

    Government Troops

    With German permission a Czech Police force was raised in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The "Regierungstruppe" Government Army was composed of three Inspectorates each with four battalions. The majority of volunteers were former Officers and NCOs of the Czech Army. These troops were only allowed to carry small arms.By May 1944, the majority of the Government troops were moved to Northern Italy for building and guarding defensive installations. Only one battalion stayed to guard Prague. By the end of 1944 the army disintegrated.

    Czech Award

    The only 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.

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