“Black Infantry” is going into battle again

27 July, 12:40 PM
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Mobilization in occupied territories. Illustrative photo (Photo:REUTERS / Олександр Ermochenko)

Mobilization in occupied territories. Illustrative photo (Photo:REUTERS / Олександр Ermochenko)

The “Black Infantry”, the black shirts, or the black jackets – these terms are little known to us.

Despite the fact that it concerned thousands, hundreds of thousands of our compatriots who were unlucky enough to live during the Second World War.

Even those who are interested in that war don’t always know about the “black infantry”. After all, there are no references to these people in the documents of the time.

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Officially, they do not exist.

Moreover, Soviet propaganda films about the war, which for many are the basis of their ideas about the war, didn’t talk about them. In Soviet cinema, millions of volunteers rushed to war, and the command barely had time to train them.

In reality, those who were hastily mobilized were thrown into battle not only untrained but unequipped and sometimes didn’t even have weapons.

Those who were hastily recruited by the so-called “field soldiers” during the Red Army offensive in 1943-44 were contemptuously called the black infantry or black jackets.

Dressed in civilian dark cloaks, they didn’t even have uniforms, their weapons consisted of one rifle for ten people. Others had sticks, or like the famous Ukrainian writer Anatoly Dimarov, a piece of brick.

“You throw your bricks, and let the Germans think they are grenades!” he recalled his orders. “The Germans let us in and hit us with targeted fire. It was impossible to turn back – the Smerch members were sitting there with machine guns aimed at our backs…A mine exploded, I was concussed again, I fell. When they picked me up, unconscious, they couldn’t pull the brick out at the hospital, I was grabbing onto it and it froze to me.”

For the most part, the “black infantry” were young boys, aged 16-18 who reached conscription age during the occupation. German documents state that the Red Army threw 15-year-old conscripts into the battles near Kharkiv. Men over 60 were also forced into the army.

The only task of these “black infantry” was to direct fire on themselves, to force them to spend as much ammunition as possible, to exhaust the enemy. The Germans scornfully called the black infantry the “trophy soldiers” because no other army treated their soldiers in this way.

For Soviet command, this mobilization was not only a way to replenish the army but it was also about punishing Ukrainians who remained on the territory occupied by the Nazis and were therefore considered traitors.

Participation in the “black infantry” was supposed to be an atonement before Stalin.

And in western Ukraine, unprepared young men were grabbed and thrown into battle in order to stop the replenishment of the UPA ranks at the same time.

The “Black Infantry”, who were herded to the front of the troops, took part in the battles for the Left Bank in 1943. Many Ukrainians threw themselves into forcing the Dnipro crossing in the Kyiv and Cherkasy regions. In order to have time to take Kyiv before the next communist holiday, the river was literally filled with thousands of bodies.

According to historians’ estimates, between 3-4 million people, i.e., more than 10% of the population, were sent from the Ukrainian territory into the ranks of the Red Army between 1943-1945. Many did not return.

As was intended by those who drove them into the “black infantry”. The fewer Ukrainians who remained in Ukraine, the better.

The use of Ukrainians as cannon fodder in the interests of Moscow is not a thing of the past.

The violent mobilization of men from the Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia is a reality today.

The forced conscription of the so-called L/DNR began just before the massive invasion– on 19 February 2022.

We are talking about thousands, and possibly tens of thousands of people, whom Russia immediately threw into battle not only in the Donetsk and Luhansk but also in Kharkiv, Sumy, Mykolaiv, and Zaporizhia oblasts.

Many were killed, wounded, or captured.

Just like the Red Army, the DNR terrorist group raised the mobilization age to 65. The situation looks similar in the Luhansk area.

 “They grab men, throw them immediately to the front, to fight against Ukraine," Serhii Hayday, head of the local military-civilian administration has said.

"They are not prepared, they do not own weapons at all, and they do not know how to use them. There is no protection. They are thrown like cannon fodder right into the heart of the battles. It’s just hell there.”

Local Ukrainians are trying to resist. In particular, women defend their husbands. In response to this, the terrorists’ punitive bodies have begun their repressions. A human rights group reported in June about the detention of women in Yenakiieve and Rovenki.

Russian occupation administration is equipping units of the 2nd Army Corps of the Russian Armed Forces with forcibly mobilized units, the spokesman for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Oleksandr Motuzianyk said on July 5.

According to the Institute for the Study of War, as of mid-June 2022, only in the temporarily occupied Donbas, Russia has mobilized about 140,000 people, a third of whom were immediately transferred to the front.

So, Russia much like the Soviet Union, continues to throw the “black infantry” into battle. This time it is Ukrainians against Ukrainians.

Many do not know and do not want to know the true history of the Second World War, so it is being repeated, showing those terrible pages that you will not see in any Soviet or Russian films about the “Great Patriotic War.”

Today, our most important task is to stop this spiral: to defeat the enemy, and not forget the true history of our century-old war with Russia.

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