The Soviet experience of warfare was very different from that of its Allies, Britain and the United States. Large in territory and population, the Soviet Union was poorer than the other two by a wide margin in productivity and income. It was Soviet territory that Hitler wanted for his empire, and the Soviet Union was the only one of the three to be invaded. Despite this, the Soviet Union mobilized its resources and contributed combat forces and equipment to Allied fighting power far beyond its relative economic strength.

These same factors meant that the Soviet Union suffered far heavier costs and losses than its Allies. After victory, Hitler planned to resettle Ukraine and European Russia with Germans and to divert their food supplies to feeding the German army. He planned to deprive the urban population of food and drive much of the rural population off the land. Jews and communist officials would be killed and the rest starved into forced migration to the east.

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Legion Roland

Just like Legion Nachtigal, Roland was set up by OUN prior the German Invasion to Soviet Union. The training began in May 1941 and vas done in complete secrecy in the castle Saubersdorff in Austria. Supplied with the German instructors the Legion was trained very harshly, spending a lot of the time in the Alps. From Ukrainian side the commander of the Legion was Pobihyshyj and from German side captain Novak. The Legion was outfitted in the old West-Ukrainian Army Uniforms with blue and yellow ribbons on the shoulders.

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desired to serve in the German army. The number of such volunteers was constantly increasing. There are no precise data, but approximately 1.500.000 Soviet citizens had served in Wehrmacht. From the very first day of the World War II a lot of Soviet captives and deserters suggested their help to Germans in subsidiary services. Germans called those volunteers Hiwi (from Hilfswillige-voluntary aide). Those volunteers served as drivers, cooks, hospital attendants, stable-men in the rear services. Thus they gave Germans the possibility to serve in the forward position. And in the battle sub-units Soviet volunteers served as ammunition carriers, sappers and messengers. Hiwi had personal arms for the case of danger. Originally Hiwi continued to wear Soviet uniform and badges of rank, but gradually they were given the German uniform. Sometimes only the armband with the words “Im Dienst der Deutschen Wehrmacht” was the proof of the fact that Hiwi belonged to Wehrmacht.

Another category of volunteers — Osttruppen — was joined in battalions (Ostbataillonen) that were the sub-units of German army. The first battalions were formed according to German commanders’ initiative. Soviet citizens of the non-Russian nationalities were the bases of those battalions: Ukrainians, Balts, Caucasians and Cossacks. The task of the ‘Ostbataillonen’ was to guard the rear. In November 1941 the first six battalions were formed as a part of the “Centre” army group, and soon the high command of Wehrmacht gave its official permission to form such sub-units but with some restrictions. The restrictions did not permit to form the battalions with more than 200 servicemen in them, and they could be used only for guarding the rear.

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Ukrainian National Army (UNA)

The Ukrainian National Army became the largest Ukrainian formation during the war and included most of the Ukrainian volunteers from the German Army. The Ukrainian National Committee which was formed in 1944 and approved by Alfred Rosenberg had elected former officer from UNR (Ukrainian People’s Republic 1921) Pavlo Shandruck as the general and supreme commander of UNA. Members of his staff had included Dr. Kubijovych from the Military Board, representatives from Eastern Ukraine, and both OUN-M (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) and OUN-B factions. Chief of staff was Col. Vyshnivsky and chief of communications V. Serediuk. Other generals included O. Pavlenko …

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Polesskaja Setsch

In August 1941 Taras Bulba-Borovets formed the “Polesskaya Host” detachment — the Ukrainian militia armed unit. It had German arms and counted about 3.000 persons. Its mission was to clean the swampy and woody region of north-western Ukraine (and partially Byelorussia) from the remains of Red Army and Soviet partisans. On the October 15th, 1941 the detachment was disarmed and dismissed. Lack of equipment was the official reason, but the pressure of SD — the true one.

Bataillon Nachtigal

Bataillon Nachtigal The formation of the ‘Nachtigal’ battalion (‘Nightingale’) began in Krakov in March, 1941. The formation centre was located in the suburb in former “Arbeitdienst” barracks. German instructors trained there the volunteers that wore the “Arbeitdienst” uniform for security. Those students who had pretensions to get sergeant-major posts finished their training in Germany. Others (50 students) were moved into the Barvinok school. In Neuhammer the volunteers got the Wehrmacht uniform and arms. The strength of the battalion was 330 soldiers and officers. It had four companies.

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The UVV armlet

In spring 1943 the Ukrainians who served in Wehrmacht and in some of the Schutzmannschaft Bataillonen were put together into Ukrainian Liberation Army (UVV). The former ‘hiwi’, some UPA members, volunteers from Eastern Ukraine, 200 persons from Vlasov Officers’ school in Saubersdorf and Soviet prisoners of war also became also the members of UVV.

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For those interested in how many Soviets, civilians and military personnel, died in the Second World War here is an excellent breakdown created by an Axis History Forum member Nick Terry:

There are so many different estimates simply because most of them are done by incompetent researchers.

Here’s how TOTAL demographic losses were calculated by Goskomstat (State Statistics Committee) during the Gorbachev period:

USSR population on 22 June 1941 — 196.7

USSR population on 31 Dec 1945 — 170.5

Of them, born before 22.06.41 — 159.5

Total population loss — 37.2

Children prematurely died during the war — 1.3

Natural mortality est. from 1940 level — 11.9

Total EXCESS population loss during the war — 26.6

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