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Vsevolod Pshepiurskyi:

Retreat and Return


The author was a member of the regional SB. He did not take part in the night attack on Hrubeshiv. However, he was the duty officer of the SB combat groups in the Oborivtsi forest, where, on May 27, before the attack, a meeting and conference took place between Ukrainian and Polish partisans. During the attack he was on the northern edge of the Bohorodytsia woods with higher-ranking Polish and Ukrainian officers, observing the operation. On the morning of May 28, he took over command of the SB combat groups, consisting of about 65 soldiers, along with Teodor Harasymiak ("Dunaiskyi"), who provided local expertise. They spent the day in the Tereshcha forest, had their evening meal in the Polish village of Pidhirtsi and during the night moved to the Adelinka forest, where they quartered. From 3 PM they were obliged to manoeuvre, because the NKVD and Polish police troops were conducting raids into the forest. Along the way, they joined forces with the "Vovky 2" subunit, commanded by Yevhen Yashchuk ("Duda"). During their manoeuvering they had several skirmishes with the enemy. The author provides a detailed description of what he saw and heard in the region.

The author first describes the arrival of the Polish officers, "Wiktor" - Captain Stefan Kwa niewski, commander of Hrubeshiv county; "Wyrwa" - Captain Stanis aw Ksi ek, commander of the WiN Zamo Inspectorate; "Mlot" - Lt. Henryk Lewczuk, commander of the WiN company in Kholm county; and "Sliepy" - Lt. Czes aw Hajduk, commander of the WiN company in Hrubeshiv county, for a conference with UPA officers. He gives detailed descriptions of each one - his age, height, bearing, physical appearance, dress, weapons, behaviour, manners, etc. He recounts what they did, what they discussed, how they reacted to the questions they were asked. He also describes in detail the discussion of the plan for the attack on Hrubeshiv. After the conference, he went with "Sliepy" to meet with the UPA watch, who had detained a forester. This was a disciplinary matter, because the WiN command had forbidden anyone to go into the forest on these days. The author gives an interesting account of how "Sliepy" rebuked and punished the forester. There are also many interesting observations in the description of the meeting of UPA and WiN units. During the night, the author went with the Polish representatives to the woods near the village of Bohorodytsia, from where they observed Hrubeshiv. "Wyrwa" and "Ostoja" (Jan Zatr ga, chief of the WiN's Lublin region information and propaganda bureau) became very nervous as the time of the start of the action approached, and even more so after 12 o'clock, when they did not hear any weapon fire. When rocket fire burst out, far to the side, the Polish colleagues fell to the ground. The pessimism was increased by the first retreating WiN soldiers, who did not succeed in their attack on the MO.

Later, the author describes the supper eaten by the unit in the Polish village of Pidhirtsi. He focuses on the Poles' attitude towards Ukrainians and the UPA, as well as the effectiveness of the Polish underground administration in the region. He also describes the actions and behaviour of his unit. After supper, the Polish village leaders supplied some wagons, which took the insurgents close to the village of Adelinka. There the wagons left them, and following tracks through the fields, they entered the Adelinka forest, where they quartered for a day.

At 2:45 PM weapon fire was heard and the author sent out a reconnoitering party of four soldiers, including the military district secretary, "Horyn". Subsequently, other watch or reconnoitering parties reported that the WP was approaching from the west. The subunit set out eastward, not waiting for the return of their reconnoitering party. The unit traversed the Adelinka forest, crossed a muddy river and was moving along the edge of the forest near the village of Miake, while their wagons travelled on the road along the forest. Periodic machine gun fire sounded from the opposite forest. It was the WP shooting at the reconnoitering party, which was catching up to the unit through open meadows. This happened in full sight of the soldiers riding on the wagons. Sgt. Major Hryts Rudenko ("Sushko") fired a torpedo in the enemy's direction. The enemy dropped down and retreated to the forest. During this incident, two Ukrainians were killed, including the UPA military district secretary "Horyn." The unit manoeuvered further without incident. Only near the village of Dibrova did they encounter police forces (KBW) from Lublin. They called out to them, pretending to be "soldiers from Waria ". When the enemy came near, they opened machine gun fire and Hryts Rudenko ("Sushko") fired a rocket to scare them. The surprised police force retreated without firing. The Ukrainians also retreated and headed south; at the edge of the forest, they rested for two hours. In the evening, after 8 PM, they set out in the direction of the Lyskivtsi hamlets, to join up with the wagons. This time, they encountered the KBW from Gdynia. They called out to them, then fired at them from a range of 70-80 meters. The enemy feebly returned fire. The Ukrainians withdrew, capturing a prisoner. He was a member of the KBW from Gdynia and had come with his unit to Lublin to fight against the UPA. Later, under cover of night, the unit left for more familiar territories.

Issue 5,    Winter 2000    Litopys
Published by Forum for the Studies of the History of the UPA
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