Historical re-enactment group of
UPA - Ukrainian Insurgent Army
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 World’s 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.
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.
*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
*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.
Full list of gear requirements and impressions HERE
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
In our re-enactment group, we use the original modified ñivilian
french jackets, as well as a combination
of Soviet M40/43 EM/NCO galife pants with a German M36/40/43 EM
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.
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.
The UPA soldier’s 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 insurgent’s 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
*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/Ì44
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
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.
Firearms identified in photos of the Yavoriv Archive
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.