In 1923 the Rodobrana was formed in Czechoslovakia, it was a Slovak militia inspired by Mussolini's Black Shirts and under the control of the Hlinka's Slovak People's Party (Hlinkova slovenská ľudová strana, HSĽS) and led by Vojtech Tuka. It was soon banned but continued to exist under different guises. In 1938 it reappeared officially when the new party militia was formed, the Hlinka Guard (Hlinkova garda) that continued to use the black uniforms of the Rodobrana. It was officially formed on 8 October but the first units appeared already in July.
On 28 October a decree from the autonomous Slovak government recognized the Hlinka Guard as an arm of the Slovak government. The autonomous Slovak government was dismissed on 10 March by the Czechoslovakian government who had grown tired of the continued step it was taking toward independence. A few days later Slovakia proclaimed its independence and the HSĽS was back in control with Jozef Tiso as prime minister.

During the brief border war with Hungary in March 1939 the Hlinka Guard formed the 1. Hlinka Guard Regiment Andrej Hlinka in Ružomberok, It was only of battalion size and did not take part in any fighting but was used actively in the Guard propaganda. This would be the high tide of the military activities of the Hlinka Guard.
Membership became mandatory on 5 September 1939 but this proved very unpopular and the necessary organization was lacking so it was changed back to voluntary membership in December.

The elite of the Hlinka Guard was the Pohotovstné Oddiely Hlinkovej Gardy (POHG). It was formed in May 1941 inspired by the SS and the SS also assisted in the training of about 1.100 men. It was armed and used actively against partisans during the Slovak Uprising in 1944 but not enough POHG men were available so men from other parts of the Hlinka Guard were drafted and the strength of about 3.500 men was reached in late 1944.

The Hlinka Guard took active part in actions against Jews, including the deportation of Slovakian Jews to Auschwitz.

Commanders

Karol Sidor (6 Oct 1938 - 14 March 1939)
Alexander Mach (14 Mar 1939 - 21 May 1940)
František Galan (21 May 1940 - 29 July 1940)
Alexander Mach (29 July 1940 - 5 Sep 1944)
Otomar Kubala (5 Sep 1944 - 8 May 1945)

Organization

Hlinka Guard 1st Class (Men 20-35 years)
Hlinka Guard 2nd Class (Men 36-60 years)
Hlinka Transport Guard (Hlinková Dopravna Garda, HDG)
Hlinka Academic Guard (Akademická Hlinková Garda, AHG)
Hlinka Guard Abroad (Zahraničná Hliková Garda, ZHG)
Hlinka Guard Elite Storm Troopers (Pohotovstné Oddiely Hlinkovej Gardy, POHG)
Hlinka Mounted Guard
Hlinka Flying Guard (35 sport aircraft, soon takes over by the air force)

Sources used

Mark W.A. Axworthy - Axis Slovakia: Hitler's Slavic Wedge 1938-1945
Charles K. Kliment & Bretislav Nakládal - Germany's First Ally: Armed Forces of the Slovak State 1939-1945
David Littlejohn - Foreign Legions of the Third Reich, Vol 3

Reference material on this unit

- None known at this time -

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