MILITARY HISTORY OF HALYCHYNA - GALICIA IN THE 20th c.
During the 20th c. Halychyna - Galicia was the area of wars. Some of them have greatly influenced the world history. The wars have left not only the dramatic memory, but many memorial places – military memorials and cemeteries, battlefields, different military installations – barracks, forts and other fortifications, some very powerful and impressive, various exhibits and findings of that period. You have a good chance to see the memorial places, to know about the legendary events of WW1 and WW2 at the territory of the Eastern Halychyna. CONTACTS OF THE AUTHOR.
(Interest to tragic and contradictive events of the military history of the 20th c. has no attitude to the stiring up of national hatred or propaganda of totalitarian ideology, in particular - to bolshevik or nazi propaganda. The author strictly opposes such views. At the same time, he supposes that only interest and attention to the tragedies and mistakes of the Past may guarantee from their repetition in the Future.)
1. LVIV FORTIFICATIONS.
We traditionally treat old Lviv as a gem of architecture, trade and productive centre. But medieval Lviv presented a powerful fortress, which only during the Northern War, in the early 18-th c. was taken by the enemy – undefeatable at that time Swedish army of Charles XII.
In spite of the further Lviv development and subsequent losses, many elements of old Lviv fortifications have survived. One could see the fragments of the city walls and ground ramparts, the picturesque Powder tower, armories, powerful fortifications of the abbeys around Lviv. Constructions adjoining the ancient walls of Lviv, in particular the towers of Latin and Armenian cathedrals, the Korniakt tower – also had the defensive significance. The core of the defensive system of the city in the 19th c. comprised the magnificent city citadel.
All these survived and restored Lviv fortifications present an important element of the unique architectural ensemble of the Lviv city centre and are of great importance for the fans of military history, architecture and battlefield tours. Conducted walking tour takes 3 hours. CONTACT WITH THE GUIDE.
2.UNDER IMPERIAL BAYONETTE (military infrastructure of the city in the 19th – early 20th c.c.).
Until the beginning of WW1 Lviv was one of the major military centers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In the early 20th c. Lviv garrison included 10000 officers and men. Lviv was used for the distribution of troops of the XI Austrian Imperial and Royal corpse - several infantry, cavalry and artillery regiments, numerous smaller detachments, such as Feldjaeger battalions.
Moreover, every regiment of the Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal armed forces had it’s own history and traditions, in particular the uniform peculiarities, the regimental day, regimental Colour, Commemorative Date (victorious campaign or battle), Regimental March, the official regimental language, special privileges or honours.
The history of every regiment has got the deserving continuation during WW1.
Between WW1 and WW2 Lviv barracks were used by the regiments of the Polish Army, which was engaged in WW2 at the very beginning of the war.
Different elements of old military infrastructure – the powerful complex of the 19th c. citadel, numerous barracks, stables, riding-houses, stuff and administrative buildings, stocks have been well preserved and are of great importance for the fans of military history and architecture.
CONTACT WITH THE GUIDE.
* (As the most elements of military infrastructure are now in the possession of army, police, private institutions, the access at the territory of some objects is limited, and, sometimes, prohibited).
3. LVIV MILITARY MEMORIALS, CEMETERIES AND GRAVES.
The unique monuments of Lviv necropolises in laconic and expressive language of sculpture tell us about the outstanding figures of the past and, among them – about the heroes of wars, uprisings and guerilla. You will see the memorials of Polish insurgents of the 19th c., graves of the Napoleonic era warriors - heroes of Somosierra and Aspern, combatants of Polish-Ukrainian war (1918-1919); the tombstones and cenotaphs of Ukrainian Insurgent Army heroes and of many other soldiers of different armies who fell on the Ukrainian soil and out of it’s limits. Conducted walking tour takes 2 hours. CONTACT WITH THE GUIDE.
4. WW1: THE EASTERN FRONT, GALICIAN BATTLE.
One of the decisive events of the Eastern Front of WW1 was the Galician (Halychyna) battle – in August-September 1914. Totally nine armies and two millions of soldiers from both -Austrian and Russian - sides took part in it. The battle took place at great territory. As a result, Eastern Halychyna was taken by the Russians and remained in their hands until the Gorlice - Tarnow breakthrough and the great Austrian – German offensive of 1915. At the territory of the Eastern Halychyna - Galicia many memorials of Galician battle have remained.
You will see the survived and restored joined – Austrian and Russian - military memorials and cemeteries. One of them is the greatest in Europe Austrian military memorial of the Imperial and Royal Tiroler Kaiserjaegers – elite Austrian mountain troops. During the guided tour the tour guide will show You the battlefields of Galician battle – around picturesque cities and villages of the Eastern Halychyna - Galicia. And You may also visit the private museum with the unique findings from the Galician battlefields.
The tour is devoted to the last and decisive stage of Galician battle - the so called 2nd battle of Lemberg, when the Austrians were forced to leave Lviv - Lemberg but continued fierce counterattacks trying to take Lemberg back and change the situation in theif favour. CONTACT WITH THE GUIDE. 5. WW1, the EASTERN FRONT: PRZEMYSL FORTS. (travel across Lviv Region).
"The three of us have left the village,
We were the best guys in the village,
And two of us have remained
In the cold soil of Peremyshl."
"The song of Peremydhl"(Russian folk song)
At the beginning of WW1 Przemysl (Peremyshl city) presented one of the most powerful fortresses in Europe. The fortress had up to 1000 canons, the garrison included 120000 men and the general system of defense was formed by about 40 forts and many other fortifications. The long and bloody siege of Peremyshl in 1914-1915 and it’s surrender to Russian army are the most well-known events at the East front of WW1. After WW2 the south-east part of the Peremyshl system of defense – the area of the most intensive battles – appeared at the Soviet and later - the Ukrainian territory, not far from Lviv.
The story about cyclopic defence system of Peremyshl and the history of three sieges of the fortress would be of great interest for the fans of military history and battlefield tours. CONTACT WITH THE GUIDE.
7. LVIV IN THE POLISH-UKRAINIAN WAR OF 1918-1919.
Every big earthquake is followed by several smaller aftershocks. A big war is oftenly followed by several local but rather important and tragic military conflicts.
After WW1 Lviv was the area of principal events of the Polish-Ukrainian war of 1918-1919, one of the post-WW1 wars, which defined the destiny of the Eastern Halychyna for the 20 years forward. Beautiful streets, squares and buildings of Lviv were the area of battles of this tragic conflict between two neigbouring and friendly nations. Remarkable and didactive details of the War and associated with them constructions, streets and memorial places of Lviv would be interesting for the fans of military history and battlefield tours. CONTACT WITH THE GUIDE.
8. WW2: GERMAN-POLISH WAR, SEPTEMBER 1939 – LVIV BATTLE. (travel).
At the beginning of WW2, in September of 1939 Lviv repulsed the furious attacks of German mountain troops - the jaegers of elite Edelweiss detachments, who attacked Poland from the South, via the Slovak territory, instantly, in the best Blitzkrieg traditions reached Lviv and with unprecedented boldness sieged the city with more numerous garrison. At that time three Polish divisions of General Sosnkovski were breaking out to Lviv from Przemysl. On this way, in spite of their efforts, Polish detachments heroically perished. Few days later Lviv was reached by the Soviet Army who crossed the Polish border from the East. Finally, at the end of September Polish garrison surrendered to the Russians. Germans took the city only in June-July 1941, at the beginning of the German – Soviet war.
The story about dramatic events of the early WW2 would be of great interest for the fans of military history. CONTACT WITH THE GUIDE.
9. WW2: THE EASTERN FRONT, JULY 1944 – BRODY POCKET.(travel across Lviv Region).
At the beginning of WW1, during the Halychyna battle of 1914 Russian army took Halychyna from two directions – from the North and from the East. Twenty years later, in July 1944, at the end of WW2 the 1st Ukrainian Front of Soviet Army after the unique operation near Koltiv village breakthrough the German defense lines also from the North and from the East. Minimally seven German divisions appeared in the encirclement, one of them - "Halizien" Division, the only detachment with complete staff; it was sent at the front line few days before the Soviet breakthrough and appeared most deeply in the pocket. Great territory between the cities of Lviv and Brody became the area of furious battles – the Germans did their best to escape from the encirclement, but few managed to do it. As in 1914, this battle decided the destiny of the Eastern Halychyna – beautiful medieval Lviv was taken undamaged by Soviet Army.
You will see the battlefields area, picturesque military memorials and cemeteries. The guided tour may be combined with visiting of unique Renessans castles-museums (fortified manor-houses) of Olesk, Pidhirtsy and Zolochiv with remarkable collections of medieval art, which are situated within the area of former battles. CONTACT WITH THE GUIDE.
Visiting of the 20-th c. military memorials, cemeteries and graves at the territory of Lviv and Halychyna is available (in particular, WW1 memorial of Czechoslovak Legion). Other guided military history/battlefield tours are available upon request.
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