Historical re-enactment group of UPA - Ukrainian Insurgent Army

This  group  is  dedicated  to  the  memory  of veterans of UPA Ukrainian Insurgent Army and other military formations that fought in the name of Ukrainian independence and whose members resisted both totalitarian regimes, those  of  Nazi  Germany  and  the  Communist  USSR for  over  a decade during and after the Second World War. Our goal is to preserve the memory and traditions of this period  of  Worlds  history,  by  means  of education, demonstration, public performances, and by taking part in living history and re-enactment events. Main purpose of  the  group is  to  study and popularize history of Ukrainian military formations that struggled for Ukrainian Independence  during  the  first  part  of  20th  Century:  Ukrainian Insurgent Army, Ukrainian Galician Army, and foreign formations such as Ukrainische Sitschower Schützen and 14 Waffen Grenadier Division der SS.

Ukraines  role  in  both World Wars is often misunderstood and underestimated. Although Ukraine existed as an independent state only short periods of  time  during  this  era,  but  being  biggest  Central-European  Country,  Ukraine  and its people carried enormous weight of the war and provided hundreds of thousands soldiers for every major power in conflicts of the last century. 

Membership requirements:
*Member of the group has to become a member of WW2 Historical Re-enactment Society.
*A person with criminal record cannot become a member of the group.
*In order to take part in battle re-enactments and to purchase firearms members of the group should have FOID card.
*New member has to fill and sign application form.
*People that openly demonstrate extremists and radical views cannot become members of the association,.
*Members of the group have to be able to understand basic commands in Ukrainian.
*In order to become a member, person needs to have minimal gear and equipment. In this case he is awarded title Novak.
*In order to become a regular member, new member has to participate in at least 3 public and/or tactical events, own a Light Combat gear package, purchase historically appropriate blank adapted or blank firing weapon. Then he can be awarded title Strilets.
*Every member of the group can leave the group anytime at his own will.
*If a member shows low interest and activity in the group he can be excluded from the group.
*Keeping good physical condition and neat appearance is an important task for group members. 

NEW!!! Full list of gear requirements and impressions HERE 

Odnostriy uniform:
The  Ukrainian  Insurgent Army  had  their  own  uniform  project  and  insignia  system  but  it  was  never  implemented  due  to the nature of their underground work.  At first, modified civilian  clothes were used;  the jackets resembled WWI British  tunics, called french  (named after British Field Marshal John Denton French).  During WWII UPA  used captured Soviet, German, Hungarian, Romanian and Polish uniforms, usually a combination of the two. In special  operations full sets  were utilized  in order to blend in with  the enemy.

In our re-enactment group, we use the original modified ivilian french jackets, as well as a combination of Soviet M40/43 EM/NCO galife pants with a German  M36/40/43 EM  feldbluse or Polish  kurtka mundurowa wz.36  tunics. The shirts used are Soviet gimnastyorka, Ukrainian vyshyvanka with  narrow embroidering,  or period appropriate white/dark or  square pattern shirts.  The headwear used are the mazepynka  or petliurivka  field caps. Captured headwear can be used  as well,  examples of these  are  the Soviet or  German side caps,  Polish wz.37 rogatywka  and  German M43 cap.

Click on pictures below for a larger image.

*Mazepynka/petliurivka field caps can be ordered by contacting povstanets.kiev.ua AT ukr.net
*Enemy headgear has to be worn with Ukrainian tryzub cockade. 
*Enemy belt buckles can be used with their emblem filed off, or covered with the handmade tryzub emblem.
*The french jacket can be subtituted with a modified open lapel collared German tunics LW M35 tuchrock or DAK M40 drillich feldbluse.
*Enemy tunics are worn with zubchatka collar tabs. 
*The German M40/43 wool tunic with 14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS insignia (without the shoulder eagle) is permitted to use in public or tactical re-enactments portraying the period of May-September 1944. As this formation consisted mainly of Ukrainian volunteers, a number of them defected and joined up with UPA after the battle of Brody.  

Field gear:
The  UPA  soldiers  full  combat  package  would  contain  the  most  important  things  to  be  used  in  raids  and the actual fight. The package was considerably lighter than one of a soldier of a regular army at the time not more than 15lbs. not including weapons. Sewing kits and patches would replace extra clothing;  a shoe repair kit acts as a substitute for spare boots; a grooming and medical supplies kit would be carried in the bread bag. Mess kit, food, weapon care kit, plasch-palatka half-shelter (used as bedding and as a tent) and few other bare necessities which might come handy in an insurgents life . A German or Soviet equipment belt was used, usually with some load carrying system like German koppeltragegestell (Y-belt) or Soviet portupeya with two cross-straps.

*Soviet and German mess kits and canteens can be used in the re-enactment.
*When using Soviet canteen, the correct thin-threaded (war-time) cap canteen must be used.
*German zeltbahn shelter-quarter cannot be used, as there are only 3 photographs of its use in UPA.
*Soviet sukharnaya sumka, Polish chlebak and German brotbeutel can be used in the UPA re-enactment.
*Both German rucksack and Soviet M1930 vesch-meshok can be used in the re-enactment.

The  Ukrainian  Insurgent Army used a number of captured Soviet and Axis weapons. All weapons used in the re-enactment must be in safe working order especially because by now many of them are quite old and must be checked for damage before every event. Newer, blank firing replicas of the original  weapons are available  and their use is encouraged. 
Units in the westernmost parts of the UPA territory combat zones would use Hungarian weapons more often, for example,  the Mannlicher rifles  and Kiraly submachine guns. Soviet weapons also got  the widest use;  German small arms were used about equally  in all areas of UPA  activity despite decreasing numbers  available after  German forces were  completely forced  out of the Ukrainian territory in November 1944. German weapons would still be used up until the end of UPA's activities. Here are the weapons mainly used by the UPA:

Bolt action rifles: Mauser 98k/98az/vz24, Mosin-Nagant M91/30 and M38/44 carbines, Mannlicher M.95/30 rifles and carbines, FEG 35.M.
Semi-automatic rifles: SVT-38 and 40, AVT-40, Walther G43.
Assault rifle: StG-44.
Sub-machine guns: PPD-40, MP-35, MP-38 and 40, PPSh-41, PPS-43, Danuvia 39.M.
Pistols: Nagant M1895, TT-33, Luger P.08, Walther P38, ViS wz.35, Frommer 37.M, Steyr M1912.
Machine guns: MG-30, MG-34, MG-42, DP-27, Solothurn 31.M, ZB-30, RKM Browning wz.1928.
Grenades: F-1, M39, M24 and RG-42. 

NEW!!! Firearms identified in photos of the Yavoriv Archive HERE

The  right  to  carry  a  pistol  is  reserved  to  the  squad  leader [royovyi],  medic [sanitar],  machine gunner [kulemetnyk]  and  civilian  messenger [zvyazkovyi]. The use of  submachine guns  was widely spread  and  is  not limited  by rank, and in  the sense of re-enactment - if you can afford it - you can carry it.  Grenades were very widely used  in UPA, and are very important in tactical re-enactments, everyone  should have at least two.