Third Iron Rifle Division of the Army of the Ukrainian National Republic

Third Iron Rifle Division of the Army of the Ukrainian National Republic [Третя залізна стрілецька дивізія Армії УНР; Tretia zalizna striletska dyviziia Armii UNR]. A division formed in June 1919 out of the infantry unit led by Col Mykola Yu. Shapoval, the battalions under Col Volodymyr Olshevsky and Col Pavlo Shandruk, and the Bukovynian Battalion of 1919 under Capt O. Kantemyr. The division consisted of three infantry regiments (7, 8, and 9), a cavalry regiment, a light artillery regiment of Sich Riflemen, a technical unit, and reserves. Its commander was Col Oleksander Udovychenko, and his deputy was Col V. Olshevsky. At its peak in August 1919, the division had 2,200 infantry and 150 cavalry. For its bravery and endurance in combat against the 14th Red Army in August 1919, the division officially received the name Iron. During the autumn of 1919 it sustained heavy casualties in battles with Anton Denikin’s forces. Commanded by Col Valentyn Trutenko in the First Winter Campaign, it was decimated by typhus, and crushed by the Whites on 25 December.

In March 1920 Col Oleksander Udovychenko revived the division in Mohyliv-Podilskyi and renamed it the Second Rifle Division. Together with the Sixth Polish Army it fought against the Red Army. After the reorganization of the Army of the Ukrainian National Republic the division’s old name was restored (9 June 1920). It continued to fight the Red Army until it was forced to retreat across the Zbruch River on 21 November and was disarmed by the Poles.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]




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