Slovakian vz.32

Slovakian Soldiers on the Eastern Front*

General Information: The Nazi puppet state of Slovakia was the first ally of Germany in the Second World War. It participated in the invasion of Poland and absorbed Polish territories into Slovakia’s newly formed state. The Slovakian army was equipped with vz.32 helmets from the former Czechoslovakian republic. The Slovakian helmets were the same as those used by disbanded Czechoslovakian army, but were often painted with blue bands and white double crosses, which were a symbol of Slovakia. It is thought that the purpose of this distinctive marking was to differentiate the Slovakian helmets from the somewhat similar looking Soviet helmets and therefore minimize friendly fire incidents involving Slovakian soldiers.

Displayed Example: This helmet has a typical blue band and white double crosses hand painted on both sides. The original owner’s name, “BAMBAS.J” is written in ink on the helmet interior along with a unit number, “7.II.” hand painted with white paint. It appears that some of the ink spilled on the liner pads when J. Bombas was writing his name. The Czechoslovakians produced a version of the vz.32 that was intended for civic use. These can be most readily identified by their web chinstraps. The ones produced for the Czechoslovakian army had leather chinstraps. The civic version of the vz.32 was, however, used in limited amounts by the Czechoslovakian armed forces. Apparently, some of the vz.32s with web chinstraps were issued to Slovakian armed forces as well. The displayed example is one of these. Interestingly, the owner split the middle of the chinstrap and secured the sections with white adhesive tape. This follows the style of the leather chinstraps used on the vz.32s. These had a split in the middle to enable the wearer to fasten the strap to the chin.

Collector Notes: The Slovakian army was small; it fielded just three divisions. There were relatively few Slovakian vz.32s used in the Second World War. Many Slovakian troops used helmets with just a blue band and no crosses, or sometimes unaltered helmets from old Czechoslovakian army stocks. Helmets like the one pictured here, therefore, are rare. These helmets are extensively faked. There are probably more fake ones circulating than authentic ones, so beware. One thing to look for is blue paint over older nicks, scratches and rust spots. If this is an extensive feature of the helmet being examined, then it may be an indicator that the paint was applied post-period. One prominent dealer who has sold several Slovakian vz.32s said that all the authentic ones of this type that he had examined had cloth chinstraps. It seems doubtful that all Slovakian helmets would be this type, but apparently many were.

* “Slovak soldiers (members of Slovak Fas Division) with MG at eastern front.” Collect-Helmets: Czechoslovak Helmets – Period photos. Accessed May 8, 2022

Published by maplecreekmilitaria

I am a collector of military headgear from 1915-1945

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