In 1950-51, several Soviet nationality groups were organized according to their ethnic components into "guard companies," near Landsberg, Germany. The purpose of these CIA organized groups was purely Paramilitary or Political Action activities during a period of hostilities with the Soviet Union. 

Here is the protocol between CIA and the émigré organization Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council – ZP/UHVR in December 1951. In 1948, the CIA’s Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) had recognized ZP/UHVR as the “most reliable, best organized and operationally most experienced group for use in exploiting anti-Communist activity of the Ukrainian resistance group then active in Ukraine.”  



1. The fundamental policy of the United States towards all peoples is self-determination. 

2. The United States will encourage the anti-Stalin struggle on the part of all peoples of the territories now controlled by the Soviet Union. 

3. The United States will not coerce any national group to change their political views nor interfere with their freedom to propagate their own concepts. 


1. Training for current operations shall continue separately from other activities. Personnel for current operations will include those men already in the Kaufbeuren training area, any Landsberg trainees willing to return to the homeland, and approximately six to eight new recruits to be spotted in or outside of Germany by members of the ZP UHVR. In addition to partisan warfare, the recruits for current operations shall be thoroughly trained in every aspect of current Soviet life and clandestine underground tactics so that they will be able to maneuver and operate on their own should that prove necessary. The main purpose for this training will be to provide support and reinforcements for the underground movement in the homeland. One responsible member of the ZP UHVR (UHVR) will be assigned to the training area to assist in the successful completion of the program. 


2. A Ukrainian Guard Company composed of two hundred men will be formed and given general military training to prepare them as wartime reserve units. The ZP UHVR (UHVR) may place qualified officers and men to the extent of its ability to recruit them. Should the ZP UHVR not be able to recruit the entire guard complement, the remainder will be recruited from among other Ukrainian groups and from the memberships of the various Ukrainian emigre parties. Emphasis will be placed on paramilitary training, and the cadres will be made available to the ZP UHVR (UHVR) for the spotting of qualified men for current operations. If this first attempt at establishing a Ukrainian guard company proves successful and desirable, it is conceivable that other Ukrainian guard companies will be established later. 

3. Those trainees at Landsberg who have qualified for political action training will be sent to the United States as soon as their clearances have been received. 

4. Those trainees at Landsberg who are not qualified either for P/A or current operations and who do not wish to become members of the guard company will be released from Landsberg and returned to civilian life immediately. 


5. The primary concern of American-ZP UHVR (UHVB) collaboration is the continued existence of the Ukrainian underground movement. However, the gathering of intelligence information by the Ukrainian underground and its transmittal to us by any feasible means is regarded as a most desirable aspect of United States ZP UHVR (UHVR) cooperation, 

How the training was carried out

The first group of trainees arrived in the area on July 19, 1951. The remainder reported for training on July 29, 1951— the total number was twenty-one. 

Secrecy of the site was paramount. A twenty-four-hour guard in a U.S. Army fatigue uniform and armed with a U.S. rifle was posted at the main entrance to the area. No Germans were permitted to enter the area without the guard first notifying one of the American staff personnel on duty. Americans, likewise, were not allowed to enter the site if they were not known to the guards as American staff personnel authorized to enter the area. In case of doubt, one of the American staff personnel was notified. At least one member of CIA staff in Munich was on call on the base 24 hours daily, seven days per week. Incoming calls to the base were taken by the guard in the guard room at the entrance to the area. The guard either answered it directly and asked the calling party to hold the line, or he summoned one of the American staff.


Training during the period Aug. 27 – Sep. 30, 1951, included these subjects:

(a) Map Reading 

(b) Scouting and Patrolling 

(c) Planning Patrols (classroom work) - combining fieldwork and class work of subjects (a) and (b) above. 

(d) Demolitions - classroom work and practical work in the field. Included calculation of charges and planning. 

(e) Weapons familiarization and familiarization firing, detailed field stripping, and cleaning weapons. 

(f) Judo - unarmed defense. 

(g) Guerilla exercises and calisthenics. 

(h) Organized athletics - volleyball and soccer. 

(i) Classroom instruction in Mathematics and English. 

(j) Training films on Demolitions, Scouting and Patrolling, and Judo. 

(k) Documentary films shown in the evening (at least three times weekly) - training and entertainment. 

Recreation included - three miniature chess boards, two checkerboards, a mandolin, a guitar, a piano, German newspapers and periodicals, a radio/phonograph combination with a generous supply of Ukrainian and American records, an occasional Ukrainian newspaper, a volleyball, a soccer ball, a punching bag, and two bottles of beer a day. Training and a limited number of documentary films were also used for entertainment. 

Until approximately Sep. 20, 1951, a guard was posted in an observation tower (the highest point in the area) of one of the area buildings during the daytime to observe and report trespassers. Field telephones in the observation tower and the guard room at the main gate were used to report on activities in the area. Training in field demolitions, the numerous posting of signs to that effect, and the occasional apprehension of trespassers eventually made this post unnecessary. 


Why the project failed

On Sep. 24, 1951, six trainees were removed from the area. Their release was either requested by the trainees themselves or they were selected by ZP UHVR personnel for release. The reasons for this 'selection' were unknown. All six trainees released were paid their due salaries plus a 'goodwill' bonus of DM 200. Security oaths in Ukrainian and English were signed by the six before their release: “I pledge on my word of honor to maintain in strict secrecy the place and purpose of my stay at the camp, and everything relating to it from the time of my entry to the time of my release from the camp. I know the consequences that would befall me should I fail to keep my pledge."

None of the trainees volunteered for dispatching to Ukraine: each said that he had his share of the discomforts and dangers of partisan life and would like to wait until war before returning to Ukraine. 


Project Landsberg ended in the summer of 1952, the trainees were relocated or dismissed from the operations. The Landsberg Project was considered by one CIA officer to have been a fiasco.

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