The first report in this section, written in August 1944 by Lt. Ivan Butkowskyi Commander of Military District (MD) IV, UPA-West, entitled 'One Year of Combat by the UnS-UPA for Control of the Carpathian Region', describes the development of insurgent activity form July 1943 through July 1944 in the Stanyslaw and Drobych oblast.
In July 1943, newly formed units of the UNS (Ukrainian Peoples Self-Defense) were sent into the Carpathian region for training exercises and to counter the presence of a raiding birgade of Red Partisans under the command of Brigadier General Sydor Kovpak. The fledging UNS units were frequently interrupted from the beginning of their training by periods of combat with German counter-insurgency units and remnants of the Kovpak Brigade, which was dispersed by German forces on 4-6 August 1943.
After defeating the Red Partisans the German forces them turned their full attention to the UNS training camps. The German forces attacked one UNS unit in Dolyna County in late September 1943, but suffered about 200 killed without any serious harm to the UNS. In October and November, the Germans attempted to destroy another UNS unit licated in Kolomya County and on 27 November 1943 they engaged UNS units in the Chornyi Lis (Black Forest) near Stanyslaviv. All attacks were repulsed with heavy casualties on the German side. On 30 November 1943, the Germans surrounded a unit in Sambir County, but after a daylong battle the UNS unit broke out of the encirclement. The Germans again tried to destroy UNS units in Dolyna County during 11-12 December 1943 and on 24 December 1943 they again attacked them in the Chornyi Lis. Each attempt was unsuccessful.
At the end of 1943 the UNS was reorganized into and renamed as UPA-West. By early 1944 it had changed its tactics from defensive to offensive in scope and had started to clear German Administration from rural areas. In February, preparations were started for organizing an UPA-West officers' school in Dolyna County. The respnsibility for logistical planning rested with the headquarters of MD IV. By April 1944 the Soviet-Nazi from-line had stabilized right in the center of Halychyna (Galicia), with the eastern part of Stanyslaviv oblast now occupied by Soviet troops. During this time a Soviet Partisan unit had established itself in the Chornyi Lis and was harassing the population in the surrouding villages. Combat between UPA and Soviet Partisan units continued sporadically until early June, when a German armored division conducted a clearing operation in the area and remnants of the Soviet unit were subseqently caught in its net.
On 30 June 1944 a battalion, consisting of three of the most combat-worthy companies, was inspected by the Kral Commander of UPA-West and was then dispatched on a mission from the Chornyi Lis to the north-west. Along the way, particularly during 8-15 July, this battalion participated in heavy combat in Dolyna county agaist two German divisions, subseqently moving further west to fight Red partisans in the Skole-Turka area. Lt. Butkowskyi's report also provides completion dates of training by UPA-West officers' school and two non-commissioned officers courses.
"UPA Battles for the Chornyi Lis near Stanyslaviv" is an excerpt from a special report by the Commander of MD IV. It covers activites of Chornyi Lis UPA units from 23 April to 30 June 1944. The report focuses on combat activity by companies, commanded by "Rizun", "Hamalla", "Chernyk" and "Blahyi" against "Otriad Iskry", a special Soviet partisan unit and two others, which had entered Chornyi Lis in Mid-April 1944 and were attempting to make it a base of operations. Intense armed combat occurred on 27 and 29 April when "Otriad Iskry" attacked the village of Hrabivka. Among the casualties were 23 civilians (including two priests), executed by the Soviet Partisans. For the next five weeks UPA units continued to encircle the Chornyi Lis and the Soviet Partisans made periodic attempts to obtain food from the surrounding villages. The decisive battle occurred on 3 June 1944, when a company, commanded by "Rizun", fought an enemy column trying to break out towards the Carpathian Mountains.
The Soviet remnants were further reduced in a battle with German forces, who were conducting search-and-destroy operations from 31 May to 6 June 1944 in the Chornyi Lis area. Afterwards the Soviet Partisans dispersed into small groups which tried to survive, but were eventually forced to surrender. This action was officially completed with an inspection-visit by the Krai commander of UPA-West during 27-30 June 1944.
"The German Offensive on UPA in the Dolyna Area" is an excerpt from another special report by the Commander of ND IV. His report covers the period from 6 to 16 July 1944 and describes combat actions west of Dolyna. It provides a more detailed account of the 8 July battle for Lopata Mountain, where battalion, commanded by "Rizun", withstood direct attacks by elements of two German divisions and one regiment of Hungarian troops. The report also mentions combat activities of the UPA officers school, and the activites of other UPA combat units and training detachments.
This section contains personal accounts by five men: Ivan Morkovchuk, Ivan Bohuslavskyi, Hryhoryi Kostyuk, Mykola Lytwynets, and Volodymyr Chavyak. all were former members of UPa battalions in the Chornyi Lis, which was the primary base for units of the Stanyslaviv Tactical Sector 22 during the period 1943-1947 or parts thereof. The first three authors enlisted in the "Pislarpatskyi" (Sub-Carpathian) Battalion and in their memoirs throw light onto their unit's actions, particularly during the Spring and Summer of 1945. Their stoies end in 1945, because all three remained in Lemko Tactical Sector 26, when their battalion returned to its home base in the Autumn of 1945. The last two writers were intitally soldiers in a trainig battalion, code-named "Corni Chorty" (Black Devils). They then served first in units commanded by "Rizun" in the Chornyi Lis, and them were member of the"Szvony" (Bells) Battalion from its inception in March 1945 until August 1947. That month both joined a courier group sent to the West.
Ivan Morkovchuk - "Chubenko" was a Squad Leader and held the rank of Visun (Sargeant). His account starts abruptly in July 1944, when he was serving in a UPA company, commanded by "Hamalia". On 1 November 1944, "Hamalia" was killed in a firece battle and the company's command was assumed by Pyrih". This company was soon incorporated into a battalion first commanded by "Rizun", and subsequently by "Prut". In May 1945 this battalion embarked on a long raid (May-November 1945), initially through the Drohobych oblast, while the "Pyrih" company crossed the Soviet-Polish border into the Lemko Region at the end of June. At the end of July the other two companies also crossed into Poland in late August the entire battalion took part in the first UPA raid into Czecho-Solvakia. In October 1945, the unit took part in an attack on the town of Bircha. Later, on 7 Novermaber 1945 it embarked on a raid through Trans-Carpathia, returning to their base in the Chornyi Lis. Along the way "Chubenko" bacame separated from his unit and was forced to return to the Lemko region, where he continued to serve in the UPA until the Summer of 1947. He wrote his story on 30 October 1947 in West Germany.
Ivan Bohuslavskyi - "Spivak" was Chief Company Medic and held the rank of Starshyi Vistun (Staff Sargeant). His story begins in Early August 1944, when his comapny, commanded by "Rizun", had fought its way across the front lins from the German side into the Soviet rear, returning to the Chornyi Lis. Ager intake of new recruits the company strength reached 213 men in September 1944. During the Autumn of 1944, the company had numerous combat engagements. It received "Prut" as its new commander "Prut" and split its size in two, establishing a new sister company, commanded by "Chornota". The entire Winter of 1944-45 and early next Spring were spent in raids and combat actions, some of which are described here in some detail. In January 1945 there was another change of command - "Sokil" became Company Commander and "Prut" was promoted to command the "Pidkarpatskyi" Battalion. The author describes various raids and other combat activites carried out by the "Pidkarpatskyi" Battalion during the Winter and Spring of 1945 over most of the Stanyslaviv oblast territoy. In May 1945, his battalion left on a long-term western raid, intitially into the Drohobych oblast, then crossing the Soviet-Polish border into the Lemko region in July. The battalion remained in the Lemko area for more tham three months, when it conducted several battle actions against the Polish Army, taking part in the first raid into Czecho-Slovakia. On 7 November 1945 the battalion began its return trek to the Chornyi Lis through Trans-Carpathia. During the march the author fell ill, became separated from his unit and was forced to retrace his steps back to the Lemko Region with several other straggler. Upon his return he was assigned to a UPA company, commanded by "Bir:, with whom he remained until the Summer of 1947. His story was written and dated 31 october 1947 in West Germany.
Hryhorij Kostiuk - "Neziomnyi" was a soldier in the "Zmiy" Company, commanded by "Sokil" of the "Pidcarpatskyi" Battalion. The battalion was commanded by "Prut". Kostoik's narrative concentrates on the raid through Drohobych oblast and other combat activities, running from May to August 1943. In this respect it essentially parallels the stories by I. Bohoslawskyi and I. Morlowchuk. However, his biographical sketches of "Rizun", "Prut", "Sokil", "Pyrih", "Browko", "Pavio", "Andrienko", all UPA officers, and of these, provides information lacking in the previous narratives. Kostiuk wrote his story in 1982 in the USA.
Mykola Lytwynets - "Komar" joined the UPa in July 1943 and completed basic training with the "Chorni Chorty" Battalion near Kolomya. His training was completed in November of 1943 and he was them assigned to a UPA unit in the Chornyi Lis, ommanded by "Rizun". In March 1945 he was reassigned by "Szvony", a newly-organized battalion, commanded at first by "Khmara" and later by "Chornota". He remained in that unit until August 1947, when he was released for duty with a courier group heading for Western Europe. His account is rich with dates of battles and pseudonyms of various unit commanders, under whom he had served. Most of his active UPA service was spent in a military police sqaud, where he had advanced to the rank of Staff Sergeant. His account is dated 20 June 1948 and appears to be a transcript of his interrogation by the OUN Security Service upon reaching West Germany.
The last memoir in this section was authorized by Captain Volodymyr Chavyak - "Cornota". His story starts on 28 July 1943 when he marched off to join the UPA. It describes his military assignments and battles, his capture in November 1947 and imprisonment until 1957, and finally his difficult return to Ukraine and continued harassment by the KGB until 1990. While in UPA basic traning spent almost four years in units within the Chornyi Lis Regiment. During this time, he moved steadily up the chain of command: Squad Leader (August 1943), platoon Commander (March 1944), company commander (November 1944), and Battalion commander of "Dzvony" (December 1945). In August 1947, he was selected to lead a courier group tasked to carry important documents out to Western Europe. However, while in Czechoslovakia, he was captured while unconscious from serious wounds (seven bullets were later extracted from his body during surgery). The Czecho-Slovak government then turned him over to the Soviet MGB (KGB), which sentenced him to 25 years. In the UPA, Chavyak was promoted to Captain with date of rank of 22 January 1946 and was decorated at least twice for heroism with the Bronze Cross of Combat Merit (1945) and the Silver Cross of Combat Merit (1946).
This section contains reprints of UPA or OUN publications from the periods of 1946-1950. These publications carry many articles about combat actions or summaries of activites during 1944-46.
"Za volu Ukrainy" (For Ukraine's Freedom), No. 7, dated October 1949, was a journal specificaly aimed at yound people residing on the territory of the Kalush Tactical Sector 23. The original issue has 25 pages on half-page format, printed on very light typewriter paper. It contains the words to two insurgent songs, a humorous poem, and excerpt from the history of Ukrainian armed forces, an article on the occasion of UPA's seventh anniversary, and four articles/memoirs about combat acitivtes. The first of these memoirs, written by a Squad Leader, is about a raid executed by UPA company "Zhuravil" (Cranes) during December 1944, headed for the village of Maksymivka, where it was engaged in several armed skirmishes, resulting in 20 enemy and two UPA soldiers being killed. The next story describes a short skirmish of UPA company "Rysi" (Bobcats), which took place on 7 January 1946, while crossing the highway that connects Woynyliv with Zhuravno. The third article describes Soviet activities in a number of Carpathisn villages during August 1944 and the defensive actions undertaken by one OUN Security Service platoon. And finally, the last story is about the origins of UPA company "Bystrytsya" (name of a river), organized in February 1945.
"Homin Voli" (Echo of Freedom) was a non-periodical, issued by the Drohobych Tactical Sector 24. Its No. 3 was issued in 1950 on 41 half-pages of thin typewriter paper. It contains seven memoirs/articles about various combat actions and a list of 22 UPA and OUN members killed in action during 1948 nad 1949. There is also a story about a 15-member Local Self-Defense detachment from the Lysovychi village in Stryi raion, which came to the defense of the villagers on 9 January 1945, fighting a Sovets unit of 150 soldiers (later augmented by an additional 400 troops), resulting in having 52 enemy solders killed, with only two soldiers wounded on their side. Another story describes a combined unit of 28 members form the Staryi Sambir raion OUN network and its activites aimed at sabotaging elections to the USSR parliament during 8-10 February 1946. Still another describes a battle of Rozhirche village of Stryj raion on 1 February 1945, fought between a 500-member NKVD unit and two platoons of insurgents, which ended with 18 enemy and two friendly soldiers killed.
The remaining four articles/memoirs describe combat actions by UPA companies. An ambush by a section of a UPA company, commanded by "Hruzyn" in June 1948 in Slavske raion, resulted in 9 enemy and one UPA soldier being killed. Other authors in this issue write about combat actions by companies in Lemko Tactical Sector 26; about a battle between three companies (commanded by "Krylach", "Burlaka", and "Lastivka") and approximately 700 Polish troops on 31 August 1946 in the vicinity of Yamna village, resulting in 85 enemy dead and one UPA solder being killed; about an ambush near Balyhorod, staged by a company commanded by "Bir" on 1 April 1947, resulting in death or capture of a 31-man Polish security unit in the exact location where only three days earlier another UPA company had staged an ambush and had killed the Polish General Swierchewski. And finally - an account by Captain "Khrin" about insurgent acitivies near Bircha during the Summer of 1944.
In 1948, the underground press started to issue a series of pamphlets aimed at the youth, entitled "Slidamy Heroyiv" (In the Footsteps of Heroes). Each contained a short biography about a prominent military officer or revolutionary. Issue No. 2 was dedicated to UPA Colonel Wasyl Andrusiak - "Rizun" - "Hrehit", who was probably the most famous UPA field commander. He started out in July 1943 as a Staff Sargeant wutg 17 men in the Chornyi Lis, near Stanyslaviv. Within 7 months, he had enlarged it to a company, and them to a battalion. When UPA Military Districts were sub-divided into Tactical Sectors in early 1945, he became the natural choice for commander of the Stanyslaviv Tactical sector 22. By this time it consisted of five UPA batalions plus a muber of separate companies. On his death on 24 February 1946 he held the rank of Major and was already decorated with the Gold Cross of Combat Merit 2nd Class. Posthumously, he was promoted further to Colonel and awarded the highest UPA decoration for heroism - the Gold Cross of Combat Merit 1st Class.
"U Baratbi za Volu - pid Boyovymy Praporamy UPA" (In the Fight for Freedom - Under the Combat Flags of the UPA) was published as a book in Military District IV (Ukrainian ethnic territories within post-war Poland), yet it contains articles about battles or deals with units in other MD's. Included here are three short stories about events occuring in 1945. The first article describes battles for the famous Hutsul village of Kismach, which took place on 30 January and 3 February 1945, with the participation of local battalions, code-named "Haydamaky", "Hutsulkyi", "Karpatskyi", and of one raiding batalion from the Chornyi Lis - "Pidkarpatskyi". In both battles at least 308 enemy and 21 UPA solders were reportedly killed. The second article describes a raid of Yabliniv and Zhabye in late July and early August 1945 for the purpose of showing the Soviet authorities, that their amnesty offer, endingo n 20 July, had not crippled UPa operations. The third article, written by Stepan Golash - "Mar", the political educator of "Surma" Company (originally organized in Drogobush MD V in 1944 and later transferred to MD VI), describes this company's celebration of Christmas Eve on 6 January 1945 and its action on Christmas Day, when it was forced to conduct a fierce battle with an NKVD unit.
"Bukovyna v Borotbi" (Bukovyna in Combat) is an excerpt form a longer typewritten summary of UON and UPA activities in the western part of Chernivtsi oblast from April 1944 to December 1946. It includes a description of raids by UPA unis, local self-defense detachments adn OUN Security Service units, and a listing of UPA officers and OUN leaders killed in action.
The final section is a repring of a brief memoir written by Lt. Gen. Hotegem, entitles "My Meeting with UPA". As a young First Lieutenant in the Royal Dutch Army during World War II, the author was captured by the Germans and together with 2400 other Dutch officers was being held in a POW camp near Stanyslaviv (Western Ukraine).
With the approach of the Red Army in early January 1944 the entire population of their camps's inmates were loaded in echelons on special trains, which headed West. Along the way some of the Dutch officers attempted to escape. Most of he escapees were killed or recaptured, but the author was among those who made contact with UPA and thus remained free. He describes all escape preparations, while still in camp, and then his successful jump from a moving train. Later, while attempting to walk westwardly with another Dutch officer, they were picked up by members of UPA intelligence network and escorted to a collection point. Other Dutch officer-escapees were also brought there and their group increased to 10 in total.
After long discussions with Ivan Butkowkyi (then Commander of UPA MD IV) and others, assigned to verify their authenticity as POW camp escapees, it was arranged, as requested, to have them escorted to safely in Hungary. The author them describes in some detail their march across the Carpathian Mountains, all the while accompanied by UPA liason escort.
The Dutch officers reached Budapest safely and, after the war, were repatriated to Holland in November 1945. The author reinstated in the Royal Dutch Army, eventuually rising to the rank of Lieutenant General, with command of an army corps. In 1967, when he finally retired from active service, he suddenly learned of Lt, Col. I. Butkowskyi's death, and in order to honor his memory, he chose to put down his memoirs on paper. They appear here in translation.