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”
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
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
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.
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
Photos: Peter, Pavel and own collection