Uniforms of the Sic Guard of Ruthenia over 1938-39?

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Sid Guttridge
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Uniforms of the Sic Guard of Ruthenia over 1938-39?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 27 Feb 2021 13:41

The Sic (or Sich) Guard was the self defence force of Ruthenia in 1938-39. Its aim was to make Ruthenia, then the eastern end of interwar Czechoslovakia, an independent Ukrainian state. It was taken over by Hungary in March 1939 after a few hours combat by the Sich Guard on the approaches to the capital.

The book Republic for a Day has a few photos of Sic Guards but it is not possible to distinguish too many details of their uniforms, which are described as sky-blue in colour. They were apparently first adopted in February 1939.

Have any examples of the Sic Guard uniforms survived?

Are there any other photos other than those in Republic for a Day?

The only one I can find on the internet is not too helpful: https://en.wikipedia-on-ipfs.org/wiki/C ... _Sich.html

Many thanks,

Sid

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Uniforms of the Sic Guard of Ruthenia over 1938-39?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 27 Feb 2021 14:15

Of course, having posed the question, I then find quite a few photos and even a book with uniform drawings:

Book:

https://www.yakaboo.ua/ua/karpats-ka-si ... raini.html

Women's section uniform:

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=i&url=h ... AdAAAAABBg

Officers:

http://www.studiolum.com/wang/deaktamas ... to/003.jpg

Barely uniformed and unarmed other ranks assembling to oppose the Hungarians on 14 March 1939:

http://www.studiolum.com/wang/deaktamas ... to/004.jpg

More officers:

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=i&url=h ... AAAAABCCAQ

Cheers,

Sid.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Uniforms of the Sic Guard of Ruthenia over 1938-39?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 27 Feb 2021 14:39

A map apparently showing the deployments of the Sic Guard against the Hungarian invasion (K-= machine guns, C = Sic Guards):

https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9A%D0 ... %D1%83.jpg

This is from a Ukrainian Wiki article: https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9A%D0 ... 1%96%D1%87

The Ukrainian-English Google translator seems quite good: "Modern researchers have the opportunity to name more accurate data on the losses of both parties. In the central direction, Sich battles with Hungarian troops took place in Chinadiyev, on the outskirts of Svalyava and Irshava. On March 17, Hungarian troops lost 37 killed and 134 wounded. The Sich lost about 200 killed and more than 400 wounded; about 300 people were taken prisoner."

Sid.

Peter89
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Re: Uniforms of the Sic Guard of Ruthenia over 1938-39?

Post by Peter89 » 06 Mar 2021 16:06

"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

Peter89
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Re: Uniforms of the Sic Guard of Ruthenia over 1938-39?

Post by Peter89 » 06 Mar 2021 16:08

Btw a bilateral study can be found here:

http://real.mtak.hu/104372/1/karpatalja1938-41.pdf
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Uniforms of the Sic Guard of Ruthenia over 1938-39?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 06 Mar 2021 18:46

Hi Peter89,

Many thanks.

I have been testing the Hungarian-English translator on some of the text. The Sic Guard seem to have put up a fierce, if under-equipped and doomed resistance for several days, almost to the last, against the Hungarian Army, which suffered several hundred casualties and appears to have been pretty ruthless with Sic prisoners.

The most fanatical Sic Guards appear to have been the refugees from Soviet and Polish rule with nothing left to lose. Apart from youths, the local Ruthenes seem to have been generally less hard line, perhaps because they had more to lose.

Sic Guards had nowhere to flee. Even the Romanians, normally no friends of the Hungarians, handed them back to the Hungarians for fear that they would contaminate their own Ukrainian population in Bukovina with Ukrainian nationalism.

"According to the statement of Prime Minister Avgusztin Voloshin, the population of the Carpathian region is 640,000 people, of which 75% are Ukrainian, 12.75% Jewish, 4.06% Hungarian, 3.75% Czech and Slovak and 1.04% German.".

Is there any military account from the Hungarian side?

Cheers,

Sid

Peter89
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Re: Uniforms of the Sic Guard of Ruthenia over 1938-39?

Post by Peter89 » 07 Mar 2021 08:39

Huzar megpróbálta összehangolni a Szics és a katonaság fellépését. A Vezérkar hamar szétfutott, Romániába vagy Szlovákiába menekültek, Huzar viszont kitartott. A fõ erõt azonban a gimnazisták képviselték, akiket Yakiv Holota tanító vitt ki a harcmezõre. A harc kegyetlen és véres volt. Magyar források szerint 230 Szics-tag és cseh katona esett el, számosan megsebesültek (a pontos számadat nem ismert), és 450-en kerültek fogságba. Súlyosan megsebesült Huzar ezredes. Kossakkal együtt az utolsó pillanatig a harcmezõn maradtak. A magyarok elfogták és néhány nap múlva Aknaszlatinánál agyonlõtték õket. A foglyul ejtettek többségét, a kortárs Y. Hymynets szerint, helyben kivégezték.
A magyar hadsereg is nagy veszteségeket szenvedett. A felderítésük adatai szerint legalább 160 katona és tiszt esett el, mintegy 400-an megsebesültek.
Hello Sid,

the main battle took place on the Red Field, where the numerically and tactically inferior Sic forces, led by Huzar, tried to make a stand. Accounts differ from this point on; what they all agree is that most of the staff fled to Romania and that most of the Sic force - numbering some 2000 - were high school kids, led by a teacher called Yakiv Holota. The youngest of the fallen kids were no more than 13 years old.

According to this source, the Sic and the Czech military has lost 230 KIA, an unknown number of WIA and 450 POW. The Hungarians have lost 160 KIA and 400 WIA.

The Hungarians executed most of the POWs, which was particularly outrageous given their young age or no real stake in the conflict (Czech soldiers wanted to go home as even Slovakia was independent at this point).
Március 16-án és 17-én Bilkéért és Dolháért folyt a harc. A Nagyszõllõstõl,
Komjátiból, Ilosváról visszavonuló Szics-tagok helyezkedtek védekezõ állások-
ba. Közel 200 Szics-tag halt meg, kétszer ennyien sebesültek meg és mintegy
300-an kerültek fogságba. A magyarok vesztesége 37 halott és 134 sebesült.
Beregszászból érkezõ segéderõkkel vonultak tovább Kovácsrét felé.
Another clash has happened around Bilke and Dolha, where the Sic lost 200 KIA, 400 WIA and 300 POW, while the Hungarians have lost 37 KIA and 134 WIA.

The ethnic composition of the area was much in question. The area which now belongs to Ukraine, was divided by the First Vienna Awards, giving the Hungarian majority areas to Hungary prior the invasion. However, I've seen reports about the Kamanets-Podolsky massacre of the Jews, where the quasi-deported "Jewish" population was linguistically or culturally assimilated into the Hungarian nation, which was the case with most of the Jews in Hungary prior WW2.

Also the Sic, when still part of Czechslovakia, appointed András Bródy as its first leader, giving a hint that local Hungarians actively formed local politics. As well as Germans, btw.

My estimate is that the overwhelming majority belonged to Ruthenians linguistically and felt the Slavic cultural presence more and more; however, the number of those who belonged to Hungarians both linguistically and culturally, would definately exceed the number of ethnic Hungarians.
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

Sid Guttridge
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Posts: 10157
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Uniforms of the Sic Guard of Ruthenia over 1938-39?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 07 Mar 2021 09:55

Hi Peter89,

Thanks.

There is a documentary on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQ_FprMmjNs) that contains similar statistics as the source you put up.

It also states that over 18-21 March the Hungarians handed some 500 Sic Guard prisoners originally from Galicia to the Poles. Between them, the Poles and Hungarians shot all of them near the border. The bodies were apparently exhumed on 6 August 2011.

Cheers,

Sid.

Peter89
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Re: Uniforms of the Sic Guard of Ruthenia over 1938-39?

Post by Peter89 » 07 Mar 2021 10:25

Sid Guttridge wrote:
07 Mar 2021 09:55
Hi Peter89,

Thanks.

There is a documentary on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQ_FprMmjNs) that contains similar statistics as the source you put up.

It also states that over 18-21 March the Hungarians handed some 500 Sic Guard prisoners originally from Galicia to the Poles. Between them, the Poles and Hungarians shot all of them near the border. The bodies were apparently exhumed on 6 August 2011.

Cheers,

Sid.
Yes exactly, the extrajudicial execution and torture of POWs and politically involved civilians was quite widespread - I guess also because of the inferior feeling what a soldier must have felt after decades of indoctrination, which labeled this territory "Hungarian", and they did not find any ethnic Hungarians. The same happened in every country in the past 100 years.

Also, the systematic killing of local Jews was a habit of the Hungarian armed forces; like in Kamanets-Podolsk in 1941 or in Újvidék (Novi Sad) in 1942.
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

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