Hitler’s dismemberment of Czechoslovakia left Slovakia as an independent country.
Its fascist leader, Dr Josef Tiso, threw his lot in with the Axis, notwithstanding the high degree of antifascist sentiment among the public and the armed forces. Slovakia provided forces to assist in the Invasion of Poland in 1939 and later provided troops for the Invasion of Russia, crossing the border on June 25, 1941.
The troops commanded by Ferdinand Catlos comprised a Field Corps, which saw little action, and a Mobile Group (later Brigade and from August 1941 expanded to Division size, effectively becoming an Infantry Division) which bore the brunt of the fighting.
In the early war period until August 1941, the Brigade comprised among others the 1st tank battalion primarily equipped with LT 35 and LT 38 light tanks (used by Germany as the Panzer 35(t) and 38(t) respectively).
The Brigade advanced through Lvov and towards Vinnitsa under the command of the German 17.Armee.
By late July 1941, the Brigade had pushed on towards Lipovec in the face of heavy resistance which took a toll on the light tanks in particular. There followed a move north towards the region of Kiev.
During August, 1941, the Slovak Army Group was re-organised and the Brigade formed the nucleus of the 1st Slovak (Mobile) Infantry Division, which was also known as the Slovak Fast Division.