Hlinka Guard Assault troops

After the Slovak national uprising started, the so called “Hlinka Guard assault troops” (Loose translation, in original these are called Hlinka guard emergency troops, hereinafter referred to as POHG) were created as regular military troops. First armed troops were formed as soon as the beginning of September. The order to create military troops was issued by Kubala on September 8, 1944. Originally, these troops were called “activated troops”

POHG troopers were fully uniformed. At the beginning they used traditional black Hlinka Guard (HG) uniforms, khaki-green military ones as well as the special uniform of the “HG Selected troops”. The HG general headquarters, under the command of Otomar Kubala then tried to create new HG troops in accordance with military rules from members of the POHG and Field companies. For these reasons, also the regular military uniform was almost completely adopted for these troops. Junior and senior officers should acquire uniforms from their own finances, and so tailors started to produce special HG uniforms. These were made of khaki-green material, the same as in regular military uniforms, but the design originated from the original black HG uniform. Later, also the military design was adopted. The insignia on the uniform included a black collar squares and shoulder straps.
Shoes varied, but usually, HG troopers wore high black boots, or ankle-high military shoes and foot-rags.

Black uniforms were worn rather rarely, either at the beginning of the Slovak National uprising, or they were worn by members of the headquarters, writers, cooks – that means non-battle troops.

Some troops were for the sake of better identification and discrimination from the uprisen troops identified by a sleeve ribbon (order of VOP LIP). These were anyhow not widely spread and were rather rare. The sleeve ribbons themselves had a few variations. At the beginning, it was the standard blue HG ribbon, with a red doublecross in a white circle. This was 9 cm wide and worn on the upper arm. Later, these were replaced by black ones, 2,8 cm wide, worn on the lower arm. These resembled the Waffen SS sleeve ribbons. At first, these had a white and later silver inscription and a lining of the same colour. The inscriptions were either POHOTOVOSTNÝ ODDIEL HG or HLINKOVA GARDA. There was also a Slovak regiment within the Waffen SS during the last months of 1945, which had German uniforms and black sleeve ribbons with the inscription “HLINKA GARDE”. These ribbons were worn both on HG field as well as dress uniforms.

POHG have used standard Slovak army helmets (Mk 32) in the same grayish-green paint cover as the army used.

POHG troops were armed by mostly Slovak and German infantry weapons, such as the Vz. 24 Carbine, Vz. 26 machinegun from Slovak army supplies, but also German Mauser K98, MP 40 and MP 41, MG 34 and 42 and Panzerfaust. Also weapons taken from the enemy, such as the PPSh 41 were not unseen.
In POHG troops, you could find both HG members, as well as non-members, who were recruited by order. In the years 1944 -1945, the POHG managed to reach a maximum power of 38 Assault (emergency) divisions, 6 field companies and 3 field battalions – the number was not stable. Altogether, this represented more than 5000 men. The commander corps was created from senior HG members and officers in reserve.

The POHG were the most radical HG members. On November 22, 1944, there was a meeting of district HG commanders in Trenčín, where it was decided to cooperate more closely with German troops. The head commander corps of the POHG was created from some of the POHG district commanders, who than became regional POHG commanders, field company and field battalion commanders. POHG troops were very often used by German troops, since they usually knew the surroundings well and had also knowledge about the locals in their area. POHG troops took part on actions against partisan troops together with the German SIPO police, SD service, Einsatzkommando 13 and 14 and further special terrorist and diversionist anti-partisan forces, such as the Slovak SS assault unit, Edelweiss troops, special troops from the SS tactical group Schill, Wittenmayer, the decreditably famous SS company Dirlewanger and the 18th SS-division Horst Wessel. With these troops, they also took part on actions against the civil citizens, who cooperated with the uprised and the partisans. It is clearly proven, that POHG troopers took part on the genocide of approximately 4,000 people and cooperated on the Concentration camp transports.

Brutal executions of arrested uprised soldiers, partisans, as well as civil citizens at the Limekiln at Nemecká near Banská Bystrica are infamously known to the public. These were carried out by the members of the Einsatzkommando 14 under the command of SS-Obersturmfuhrer Kurt Herbert Deffner and the 5th HG field company (150 troopers) under the command of “nadzbrojník” (First lieutenant) Jozef Nemsila and nadzbrojník Vojtech Hora from Považská Bystrica. The participation of POHG troops is also affirmed  on the punitive expeditions against civil citizens in the villages of Kremnička, Smrečany, Plešivá, Magále, as well as many others.

After the war ended, many HG and POHG troopers were sentenced to detah as well as long-year sentences. Otomar Kubala, the highest HG and POHG commander was sentenced to death as well. Many troopers and officers escaped abroad, as for example the already mentioned commander of the 5th HG field company Nemsila.

For everyone interested in this controverse and very difficult topic might find it interesting, that a book is being prepared, which will thoroughly map uniforms, equipment and weapons, as well as the history of these troops (special HG forces, punitive companies, field gendarmes, etc.) We will inform you about the details and the publishing date of this book on our website.

Author: Panzer Marder
(this very difficult and unexplored topic was thoroughly prepared by the authors of the forthcoming book, Peter and Pavel, who we would like to thank for all information and support in our activities – authors note)

Photos: Peter, Pavel and own collection


POHG member, amband clearly visible
on the left amband

5th HG field company troopers after the suppression of the Slovak national
uprising on the square in Banská Bystrica city

Military helmet MK.32, used also by POHG troopers
and the Vz. 24 Carbine (Produced by Zbrojovka Brno)

HG Garrison cap with badge and amband

POHG amband with german tittle

POHG buckle


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