[LITOPYS UPA: Chronicle of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army]

Taktychnyi Vidtynok UPA, 26-y "Lemko", Lemkivshchyna i Peremyshchyna : Dokumenty i materialy - [UPA Tactical Sector 26th"Lemko"] redaktsiia Petro J. Potichnyi i Ivan Lyko. - Toronto: V-vo Litopys UPA, 2001.900 p.: 117 ill., 24 cm. (Litopys Ukrains'koi Povstans'koi Armii; t. 33) Includes bibliographical references. ISBN: 0-920092-48-9


This volume contains documents and materials that pertain to Tactical Sector"Lemko", commanded by Maj. Vasyl Martyn Mizernyi ("Ren"), which was part of the UPA 6th MO "Sian" under command of Maj. Myroslav Onyshkevych ("Orest"). The Peremyshl Battalion was commanded by Col. "Konyk", and after his death in 1946, by Maj. Petro Mykolenko - Mykola Savchenko ("Baida"). The second, the Lemko Battalion for the entire period of its existence was commanded by V.M. Mizernyi ("Ren"), who was also the commander of the Tactical Sector"Lemko". Most of the documents come from the Peter J. Potichnyj Collection on Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in Ukraine, located at the University of Toronto. Some of the documents come from the Archive of ZCh OUN, or from the private collection of Mr. Stepan Golash ("Mar"), who functioned as the Leader in Nadraion "Beskyd" and was able to bring with him to the West many of his reports. The Memoirs of Dr. M. Ripeckyj ("Horyslav"), were donated by him, and the memoirs of Mykhailo Ozymko ("Zalizniak") were received from his wife with the help of Mr. Julian Kotlar ("Levko").

The book is composed of six sections, each one of which illustrates various aspects of the Tactical Sector's activity. The first section offers information on the history of the "Lemko Battalion", beginning with its organization in the autumn of 1944, crossing the front lines, return to Zakerzonskyi Krai and its reorganization and activities in 1945. The document "UPA na tretiomu etapi", relates the situation in which the UPA units found themselves during the crossing of the front lines, and also about the Lemko Zahin (Division), and the Lemko Battalion (Kuren) in the period of August 1944 and June 1945.

An important document which highlites the history of this battalion are the memoirs of Dr. M. Ripeckyj ("Horyslav"), who not only served in this unit but also helped organize it. Later on, until his departure by reid to Western Germany in 1947, Dr. M. Ripeckyj was the Nadraionm Chief of the SB in "Beskyd". The remaining documents of this section are "Zahalnyi zvit po zhovten' 1945" with some objections of M. Onyshkevych ("Bilyi"), which presents the activities of military units until October 1945, "Operatyvni zvity poodynokykh viddiliv" for January- November 1945, prepared by the Commander "Ren", "Vidpysy operatyvnykh zvitiv from Nadraion "Beskyd" and "Kholodnyi Iar", two documents of unknown authors, for 1945, which discuss the reorganization of the UPA units at that time, a manuscript of a Tactical Sector report by unknown author and the letter "Druzhe Komandyr!", by Capt. M. Onyshkevych ("Bilyi"), probably to his superior Commander "Shelest", in which he informs him about the inspection of the 26 UPA units in Tactical Sector"Lemko". The materials of this section present a clear view of the organizational and military aspects that existed on the territory of the Tactical Sector "Lemko".

The second section contains exclusively "Operatyvni zvity" (Operational Reports) sent by the Commander of the Tactical Sector"Lemko", "Ren" to Commander of the 6th MO "Sian" Maj. Myroslav Onyshkevych ("Orest"). These reports encompass the most active period of the UPA units in this terrain, namely, December 1945 and July 1946. All of them are prepared very professionally, and in addition to detailed descriptions of the more important battles with the Polish Army, illustarted by "Operational diagrams", they present important details about the condition, training, successes and failures, officers and non-commissioned officers, and own and enemy casualties. The information about the enemy casualties are only assessments and should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism. But their own casualties in men and materiel, the moral conditions among soldiers, gives us a clear picture of the situation in which the UPA units of this Tactical Sector operated.

In the third section are found reports of individual companies or units, that were active in this terrain. All of them come from the period between August 1945 and March 1947. Most of them desribe the activities of the UPA units in Lemkivshchyna (the companies of "Khrin", "Myron", "Didyk", Brodych", "Stakh"), but among them are found also interesting documents about the UPA actiions in Peremyshl region, such as the attack on Bircha, and Kuz'myna I October 1945, the battle in Iavirnyk Rus'kyi in July 1946, the capitulation of an UPA platoon in August 1945 in a bunker. Encircled by the Polish troops all UPA soldier surrendered (except one who was able to escape) with the exception of the political officer "Lahidnyi" (Lev Futala), who not only did not give up, but fought back, and for his stand and wounds was decorated by the Gold Cross of Military Valor II Class. Here are also presented Chronicles of companies 94a (commanded by "Burlaka"), and 96a (commanded by "Krylach"), although they are not complete and do not cover the activities of these units for the period of their existence.22

The fourth section collects several orders, instructions and correspondence of the MO "Sian" Commander with the Commander of 22 For amore detailed information of the Peremyshl Battalion see: Litopys UPA, Peremyshchyna-Peremys'kyi kurin. Knyha persha-Dennyk viddilu "Burlaky" (Volodymyra Shchyhel's'koho, "Udarnyky" 4, 94 a), vol 13. Toronto, Litopys UPA, 1986, and Litopys UPA, Peremyshchyna-Peremys'kyi kurin. Knyha druha-Dennyky sotni "Krylacha" (Iaroslava Kotsiolka), "Udarnyky" 6, 96 a. vol. 14, Toronto, Litopys UPA, 1987. 27 Tactical Sector"Lemko", and Company Commanders "Hromenko", "Burlaka", "Khrin", drafts of posthumos nominations of the UPA soldiers, decorations and awarding of stars for the wounded soldiers of the Tactical Sector "Lemko". Very interesting are the covering letters from Commander "Ren" to "Oleh" (Myroslav Onyshkevych) because they show the periodicity and character of reports. Instructions ("Vkazivky..." on how to write monthly military reports were probably written by "Ren", but later formally aproved by the MO Commander, show high organization and discipline among the UPA units in Zakerzonskyi Krai. One of the most important orders, is the "Nakaz, usim komandyram viddiliv UPA, boivok ta inshykh zbroinykh chastyn na tereni VO 6". This order dated 9 September 1945 and its attachment also of the same date, signed by "Lir" (another pseudonym of Iaroslav Starukh), the highest political leader in Zakerzonskyi Krai, gives clear instructions and tasks for the UPA units, to obstruct the policy to resettle Ukrainians to the USSR, and where this is impossible to destroy all Ukrainian villages and in this way, to prevent the settlement of Poles in the territory. The use of the resettlement action for the purposes of legalizing sick members of the underground and their transfer to Eastern Ukraine is also quite interesting. No less important is the prohibition to burn Polish villages, and also to "give the action the anti-Bolshevik, and not an anti-Polish character".

These are followed by the Orders of MO Commander Maj. Myroslav Onyshkevych ("Orest"), and Tactical Sector Commander Maj. Vasyl Martyn Mizernyi ("Ren"). From the point of miliotary discipline is the Order Nr. 3 from 1946 from Vommander of Tactical Sector"Lemko". In it are reported some abuses of individual soldiers and commanders with respect to the underground "civilian network", Ukrainian and Polish population, and his demand to court martial all deserters, but also all members of the underground that participate in pillage, marauding or hard drinking. The order also emphasizes greater need for conspiracy, and duties of commanders and soldiers with respect to fallen and wounded comrades. This order also regulates disciplinary punishments, and the reporting of company commanders, because, as the order states "the monthly report is not simply a reflection of military proves of the commander of a unit or a subunit, and his work and the work of his unit, but, most importantly, is a source for the history of the UPA liberation struggle. These reports should be written in a manner so that one can learn about all efforts of the UPA soldiers which they gave in the building of the Ukrainian Sovereign United State."

The fifth section contains reports of the UPA raids on the territory of TS"Lemko", as for example in Krynytsia region, but also in Slovakia, Polish territories in Peremyshl region, and the Great Raid of the UPA units to Western Germany in 1947 written by the Platoon Leader of "Hromenko" company, Mykhailo Ozymko ("Zalizniak").

The report about the raid in Krynytsia region gives interesting information about the situation of Ukrainian population in this territory during the months of November-December, 1945, a a detailed description of villages after the resettlement action, but also talks about difficult organizational dillemmas, that the underground must solve in this westernmost part of Ukrainian lands.

The detailed reports of Commanders "Myron", "Karmeliuk" and "Taras" (U-6), about the raids in Slovakia come next, followed by a report about the meeting of "Khrin's" company with the soldiers and officers of the Czechoslovak Army, and descriptions of several raids of platoons of "Hromenko" company in Polish areas of Peremyshl region.

The memoir of the Platoon Leader Mykhailo Ozymko ("Zalizniak") is valuable because it shows a difficult situation in which the UPA units found themselves during the Akcja Wisla on the terrain of the Tactical Sector "Lemko". He ends his memoir with the entry for June 30, 1947, having described in detail the previous 28 days of the march of "Hromenko" company in Slovakia, which after heavy fighting with the Polish Army and harrassment by the Czechoslovak troops with heavy losses (from 140 men only 36 came to Germany as an organized unit), nevertheless made it to Germany and surrendered its weapons to United States occupational authorities on September 11, 1947.

The sixth section contains documents which illustrate how the question of training of military cadres was dealt with in the UPA. The documents of the Col. "Konyk" Non-Commissioned Officers School show the six week program of the school, the list of participants, results of the exams and its battle activities against the Polish Non-Commissioned Officers School. The materials of the book give us a broad and interesting view on the situation in the Tactical Sector"Lemko" and the activities of both UPA battalions in this territory.

The editors are grateful to Members of the Lemko Advisory Commission, Mr. Stefan Golash, Dr. Modest Ripeckyj and Irena Kaminska for their invaluable suggestions and advice.

Petro J. Potichnyj
Ivan Lyko

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