Briefly about the creation of the Marine Corps in Ukraine

Briefly about the creation of the Marine Corps in Ukraine

In 1918, the formation of the first regular part of these troops, the Marine Brigade of the Ukrainian state, began. The Marine Brigade, in accordance with the above-mentioned decree, was divided into three parts. One of them was supposed to perform its duties on the territory from the western border of the Ukrainian state to Sychavka, the second — from Sychavka to Stanislav, and a third — from Stanislav to Perekop. In addition to the main tasks, the duties of Marine Regiments included the protection of the property of the Marine Department. By the same decree, regimental commanders and heads of departments were appointed. At the first stage of the brigade’s deployment, first of all, the formation of three Marine battalions in each of the Regiments was begun.

Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky

A year earlier, Black Sea sailors actively picked up the wave of Ukrainization in the army and in the Navy of the former Russian Empire. The first in the Black Sea Fleet, the coastal part was Ukrainized — the Sevastopol half-crew, which was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Volodymyr Savchenko-Bilskyi. Officers and sailors of the Sevastopol naval half-crew formed a separate naval kurin named after Petro Sahaidachny, which left the Crimean Peninsula to strengthen the garrison in Kyiv.

Ukrainian Marines from the Hetmanate. Early twentieth century.

At the same time, during the Hetmanate, the process of creating the Marine Corps of Ukraine became systematic. On May 23, 1918, Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky issued Order No. 70 “On the beginning of the formation of a Marine Brigade consisting of three regiments for service”. Each regiment consisted of three kurin (battalions), which had four infantry and one machine-gun hundred (company). On July 15, the Marine Corps uniform appeared. It is worth noting that the soldiers of the kurin fought with the Bolsheviks on the streets of Kyiv in February 1918.

Galun sleeve honours and shoulder straps are insignia of the Marine Corps in 1919

In 1919, the second Marine Regiment was formed, and on the basis of two regiments, Marine Divisions were created under the command of the former Maritime Minister Mykhailo Bilynskyi. Then the first Hutsul Regiment became part of the 12th Division of the Kyiv group of the UPR Army, and later in the Kyiv national division. Before that, in the same year, the first Hutsul Regiment advanced in the direction of Khrystynivka in the Cherkasy region. It was the time of the Offensive on Kyiv — Odessa, the great offensive of the United Ukrainian armies. The Marines were victims of a typhus epidemic that weakened the Ukrainian army and led to the “Triangle of death” in December 1919. But they did not lay down their weapons, going on the First Winter campaign in the rear of the Denikin and red invaders.

Senior Lieutenant Svyatoslav Shramchenko in the uniform of the UPR Maritime Department and Lieutenant Kost Mandryka in the uniform of the 1st Hutsul Marine Regiment, Kamianets-Podilskyi, 1919

In 1920, the UPR Army created another naval unit, the 1st Naval half-crew, which later became known as the Military Flotilla. The sailors were manned on the armoured train ”Chornomorets”, on which on November 21, 1920, the sailors of the Military flotilla ensured the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops to the Polish side of the Zbruch River near Pidvolochysk, detaining the opponents to the last.

Order of the Main command of the UPR troops on the formation of the 1st Naval half-crew in Kyiv, May 27, 1920

The Marines met the First Winter campaign as an infantry hundred of the 5th Combined Foot Regiment of the Kyiv division. Horse hundred of “Hutsuls” became part of the Kyiv Horse Regiment, where many infantrymen from the regiment went. The Marines took part in all the battles with the Volunteer Army and the Bolsheviks.

Among their biggest battles can be noted Voznesensk, where the soldiers received replenishment with weapons and ammunition, Balta, Vapnyarka, the transition through the front to the 3rd Iron division in the area of Yampil in Podilia. Sustainability of “Hutsuls” in the battles of the First Winter campaign, was noted by the commander General Omelianovych-Pavlenko: “In the Kyiv division, the sailors distinguished themselves. They were formed in the Hutsul region by the former Maritime Minister, Senior Lieutenant Bilynskyi. In general, the “Kyivans” had a comparison of well-organized infantry”. The campaign of 1920 was conducted by the remains of the Hutsuls as a separate 1 hundred of 29 Infantry Kurin.

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