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Carpathian Sich

Carpathian SichDescription : The Carpathian Sich were irregular soldiers of the short-lived state of Carpatho-Ukraine.The Carpathian Sich was formed in November 1938 under the newly elected moderate Ukrainian nationalist prime minister of the Subcarpathian Autonomous Region within Czechoslovakia, Avgustyn Voloshyn. The Carpathian Sich was based in Khust. It was led by Dmytro Klympush and Ivan Rohach, and performed paramilitary and police duties in adjust with Czechoslovak forces. Although the Carpathian Sich's leaders we... Page:c

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The Carpathian Sich were irregular soldiers of the short-lived state of Carpatho-Ukraine.

History

Hungarian Border Guard troops after executing Carpathian Sichs near Yasinia.

The Carpathian Sich was formed in November 1938 under the newly elected moderate Ukrainian nationalist prime minister of the Subcarpathian Autonomous Region within Czechoslovakia, Avgustyn Voloshyn. The Carpathian Sich was based in Khust. It was led by Dmytro Klympush and Ivan Rohach, and performed paramilitary and police duties in adjust with Czechoslovak forces. Although the Carpathian Sich's leaders were local Transcarpathian Ukrainian nationalists, most of its forces consisted of Ukrainian activists who crossed over the mountains from Galicia. In opposition to the government of Avgustyn Voloshyn, the Sich began to terrorize local Russophiles and Jews. It also engaged in cultural work such as publishing a newspaper and operating a theater, the Shooting Star (Letiucha Estrada). As Czechoslovakia fell apart in March 14, 1939, the Sich with German encouragement prepared a coup against the Carpatho-Ukrainian government of Avgustyn Voloshyn and attacked Czechoslovak troops, resulting in the deaths of several Czechoslovak soldiers and Sich members.

On March 15, 1939 Hungary invaded Carpatho-Ukraine. Avgustyn Voloshyn chose to flee to Romania along with the Czech military rather than to fight the invading Hungarian forces. The Carpathian Sich declared him to be a traitor and issued an illegal decree calling for armed resistance. Its poorly armed forces along with unarmed gymnasium and seminary students proved to be no match for the Hungarian military, which by March 18, 1939 had captured all of Carpatho-Ukraine. During this fighting hundreds of Carpathian Sich members died in battle, and many prisoners were illegally executed by the Hungarians afterward. The fighting between the Hungarian military and the Carpathian Sich was the first armed conflict in central Europe prior to the Second World War.

In September 1939, 600 veterans of the Sich were authorized by German intelligence (the Abwehr) to form a battalion-sized combat unit that participated in the German invasion of Poland. It was disbanded soon afterward.

Notwithstanding its own links to Nazi Germany, due to its struggle against invading German-allied Hungarian forces the Carpathian Sich is celebrated as a symbol of bravery and resistance against fascism in Ukraine.

Numbers and Organization

By February 1939 the Sich had up to 15,000 members, although only 2,000 were organized to fight. The Sich had five garrisons. Its barracks housed a total of 2,000 people, of whom only 300-400 were armed. Its ranks were called Otaman (commander), Sotnyk (company commander), Chotar (Platoon Commander), Desiatnyk (NCO), Starshyie Sichovyk (Senior Private) and Sichovyk (private). Uniforms were adopted in February 1939 and consisted of a four button tunic with open collar and breeches. Insignia were not standardized. The Sich used Czech arms.

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