Saturday, September 13, 2008

Brigade SS Druzhina

In April 1942 the Fighting Union of Russian Nationalists was formed in the town of Suvalki. It was headed by the former headquarters chief of 229th rifle division V.V.Gil, who took pseudonym Rodionov. The 1st Russian national SS detachment 'Druzhina' (militia unit) was formed from the members of 'БСРН'. The detachment consisted of 300 companies and household units. Its strength was about 500 persons. Gil-Rodionov was its commander. 'Druzhina' was armed with rifles, 150 sub-machine-guns, 50 light and heavy machine-guns, 20 mortars. Its mission was to guard the occupied territories, to fight against partisans and on front line. 'Druzhina' proved its reliability and high battle quality in the combats against Polish partisans near Ljublin. In December 1942 the 2nd Russian national SS detachment was formed there and its commander was former NKVD major E. Blazhevich. In March both detachments were expanded into the 1st Russian national SS regiment with Gil-Rodionov as its commander. Its strength was about 2.000 persons. It consisted of 3 rifle companies, artillery battalion, transport company, air detachment and training battalion. In May the regiment stationed in Byelorussia in the town of Luzhki and fought against partisans. There the regiment was expanded into the 1st Russian national SS brigade with three regiment compliment. Its strength was 3.000 persons. It was armed with 5 76mm field-guns, 10 45mm anti-tank-guns, 8 battalion and 32 company mortars, 164 machine-guns. The brigade took part in many antipartisan operations near Begoml-Lepel, but with low success. On August 16, 1943 the brigade destroyed the German intercommunication headquarters and took the partisans' side.

Uniform. In 1943 the personnel of the regiment and then the brigade under the command of Gil-Rodionov had the common uniform of SS troops -- grey jackets with black tabs and 'eagle' on the left sleeve, forage caps with 'dead head', brown shirts with ties. Golden distillates were for the officers. There was also the armband with the inscription "Za Rus" ("For Russia").

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