Legion of Ukrainian Nationalists

Holodomor AvatarThe Legion of Ukrainian Nationalists was a Ukrainian military formation in the German army during WWII. The unit was formed initially in Austria of former soldiers of the Carpathian Sich, who in June 1939 had been released from Communist internment in Hungary. In April 1941 the military department of the OUN recruited two battalions with the approval of German military (Wehrmacht) circles. The northern battalion, Spezialgruppe Nachtigall, consisted of three companies that underwent final military training near Neuhammer, in Upper Silesia. The southern battalion, Spezialgruppe Roland, was trained near Wiener-Neustadt in Austria. With the outbreak of the German-Bolshevik War, Nachtigall Battalion marched alongside the German army through Radymno, Lviv, and Ternopil. However, during the latter part of August, Nachtigall was taken out of the combat zone and transported to Cracow, where it was returned to Neuhammer. Similarly the Roland Battalion marched through Romania and Moldavia and entered Ukraine on 25 July but in August, before it could see any action, it too was recalled to Austria. In mid-October 1941 at Frankfurt an der Oder, both units were integrated into Schutzmannschaftbataillon 201 under a one-year contract. The entire chain of command (22 officers) was Ukrainian. The battalion’s initial strength was over 600. On 19 March 1942, after intensive retraining, it was sent to Belarus to protect communication lines and to combat Bolshevik partisans. In November 1942 the soldiers did not renew their contract and were disarmed in Mahiliou, discharged, and sent home. However, by September 1944 the Ukrainian Liberation Army (UPA) formed over the spring and summer of 1943 had established headquarters in Berlin under Bandera and was receiving German financial, material, and personnel support.

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