Ukrainians in Luftwaffe service

Discussions on the foreigners (volunteers as well as conscripts) fighting in the German Wehrmacht, those collaborating with the Axis and other period Far Right organizations. Hosted by George Lepre.
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thezerech
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Ukrainians in Luftwaffe service

Post by thezerech » 01 Oct 2020 23:38

Hello, I recently stumbled upon this quote from Axis Air Forces: In Support of the German Luftwaffe which I found online.
More than 1,000 Galician youngsters volunteered for ground personnel duty with the Luftwaffe. When they turned 18, some transferred to engine mechanics’ school, labor battalions for airfield maintenance, or medical corps. Beginning after New Year’s 1943, Ukrainians with language skills attended translator courses in German, Russian, and English at Prague. They graduated as officers with their own Luftwaffe uniforms, including ceremonial daggers, and a special cuff title emblazoned with their country’s blue-gold national colors and the word, Dolmetsche, for “Translator”.

Eastern Europeans with extraordinary physical and intellectual abilities were eligible for flight training, and some became exceptional pilots in the Luftwaffe. Paul Pianchuk flew 31 combat missions against the Soviets; and Ivan Sushko, together with several other Ukrainian fighter pilots, received the Iron Cross First Class. Serafyma Sytnyk, a former Ukrainian major in the Red Air Force, was the only female pilot in the German Air Force serving at the front.’ Anton Kyivskyj became a wing leader, but the highest-ranking officer of his kind was Major Severyn Saprun, who commanded all Ukrainians in the Luftwaffe. They were distinguished by a blue-gold shield sewn on the shoulder sleeve, signifying the Ukrayins’ke Vyzvol’ne Viys’ko, or Ukrainian Liberation Army, which numbered 80,000 volunteers by war’s end.’

Earlier, many Ukrainians had enlisted in the air arm of the Komitet Oborony Narodov Rossii (“Army for a Free Russia”), created by the former Red Army General Andrei Andreyevich Vlassov, to unite all former Soviet-dominated nations against the USSR, although 20 Ukrainian flight officers signed a petition to Hermann Goering, requesting the formation of a separate all-Ukrainian fighter squadron. The Luftwaffe chief regarded them so highly, he assigned Pavel Olejnyk to command an all-jet unit of Messerschmitt Me-262 Stormbirds for the defense of Berlin, but their operational life was cut short by the close of hostilities in early May.
I had never heard of any Ukrainian luftwaffe personnel beforehand, either within German units, attached to ROA units, attached to Ukrainian Liberation Army units or bearing UVV insignia. If any of the Ukrainophiles on this board have got any further information on Ukrainians in luftwaffe, units they were attached to, or personal histories of these people I would greatly appreciate it. Any sources in any language would also be appreciated.

I would love to know anything more about this subject, or where the author of this book (I don't own a copy) got this information. That Ukrainians were going to fly a unit Me-262s seems almost fantastical, although German command was certainly prone to flights of fancy and delusions of grandeur so I feel comfortable in believing that this may in fact be true.

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Sturmschwein
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Re: Ukrainians in Luftwaffe service

Post by Sturmschwein » 02 Oct 2020 01:48

For me Ukrainians in Luftwaffe is also a very interesting topic. Sadly i didn´t know that much about this topic because information is rare but I have some photos of Ukrainians in Luftwaffe.

Image

Image

Image

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thezerech
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Re: Ukrainians in Luftwaffe service

Post by thezerech » 04 Oct 2020 17:33

Does anyone know any general Luftwaffe databases in which it would be possible to find information on records of pilots or service? I might cross post this in the Luftwaffe board too, if that's okay, I'd love to know which planes were flown, in Luftwaffe or ROA colors by Ukrainians.

There is a certain tragic irony in Ukrainians flying for both sides, so to speak, Ivan Kozhedub was the highest scoring allied ace, and a Ukrainian. That it is possible that he could have shot down another Ukrainian flying for the Luftwaffe is rather symbolic of the role of Ukrainians during the war as a whole.

Any other information on ROA rosters of air units would be appreciated.

Any of you familiar with academic research or resources for ww2 could give any pointers? This has really peaked my interest and, pending possible research avenues, I might want to dedicate some more time to digging up this info.

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Askold
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Re: Ukrainians in Luftwaffe service

Post by Askold » 16 Oct 2020 23:50

Hi Sturmschwein

That first photo, what a fantastic pic, i have never seen it before! The black tabs would indicate that members of YBB Luftwaffe belong to Pioneer unit. Is this a photo from your collection?

thezerech

The author's information comes from a number of sources, including a website i used to have - he pretty much copied my chapter here :) The last bit about Olejnyk is completely wrong though, Olejnyk was born from a mixed Ukrainian-German family, but he served in regular Luftwaffe and had nothing to do with volunteer movement.

Re databases - there is a Czech website somewhere which lists all the Luftwaffe kills per pilot - you can dig up the kills of Ukrainian volunteers also.

P.S. The information on Ukrainians in Luftwaffe (and on most volunteers in Luftwaffe for that matter) is quite scarce. I have written an article on a subject that was published in Visti Kombatanta. If you can read Ukrainian, message me your email and I can send it to you.

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Askold
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Re: Ukrainians in Luftwaffe service

Post by Askold » 16 Oct 2020 23:52

Some extra pictures
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Askold
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Re: Ukrainians in Luftwaffe service

Post by Askold » 17 Oct 2020 00:05

YBB Luftwaffe Flak unit, located near the city of Jeger. Note the large yellow-blue flag - such flag was used by both YBB Luftwaffe units and Ukrainian Flakhefers.
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Re: Ukrainians in Luftwaffe service

Post by Sturmschwein » 20 Oct 2020 01:13

Askold wrote:
16 Oct 2020 23:50
Hi Sturmschwein

That first photo, what a fantastic pic, i have never seen it before! The black tabs would indicate that members of YBB Luftwaffe belong to Pioneer unit. Is this a photo from your collection?
Hi Askold

That photo is not from my collection. Sadly I dont remember anymore where I found it.

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