Dog handler MAZEPA – rescuing wounded from the battlefield

Please, meet Sgt. MAZEPA Fedor Mikhailovich 1925. Dog handler of 58 separate dog medic transport detachment.

War service history: Kalinin front 08.1942 – 12.1943 at rifle ski battalion of 90GuRD; 2 severe wounds 26.12.1943; Recovery; 3 Belorussian front since 02.1945. Due to his wounds, he was acknowledged as limitedly capable for active duty. On 16 August 1944, he was transferred to the dog handler unit.

Citation for the Bravery Medal 2279579 awarded in May 1945: 
“During 13-17 April 1945, he participated in the engagements of 87 Guards rifle division for elimination of the German group in the Eastern Prussia, which was encircled at he Baltic sea coast. As a dog handler of dog medic transport unit, he evacuated 17 severely wounded soldiers with their weapons from the field of enemy fire. Hi bravery and skill allowed for fast evacuation of the wounded and reduction of the casualty rate. He deserves a state award – medal “For Bravery”.
Signed: Commander of 58 58 separate dog medic transport detachment. 
Captain VASILIEV15 May 1945.”

MAZEPA’s dog medic transport detachment supported the 87 Guards rifle division in 13-17 April 1945. This was just after the fall of Koenigsberg and the actions took place just West of the city (around Gross Heydekrug).Nice little war grunt group with all the documents. Bravery medal, Victory medal, Koenigsberg capture medal, Jubilee OPW2.

About medic dogs: From a veteran’s interview.
STRELKOV Georgij Aleksandrovich 1924:
I tell you a story. Once we were to make passages in minefields. Five hundred meters to our line, two hundred meters to the the German line. Suddenly, one of the guys accidentally touched the barbed wire to which the tin cans were wired. The Germans heard a noise and started shooting at the sound. It was winter, we were lying in the snow in camouflage coats. One of the guys was killed in front of us. We, seeing this, did not dare to move back, a kept laying and freezing in the snow. We were dressed quite warm: underwear, a quilted jacket, felt boots, and even on a belt, each had a flask of alcohol, for an emergency. But, I always remembered the commander’s instructions not to drink on the mission, so I didn’t even dare to bask in this way.
But two hours later, my Uzbek partner, began to lament and sigh, and I could do nothing to help him. Soon he went silent, passed away. And I also started feeling my arms and legs beginning the get numb. But to get up means to immediately fall under enemy fire. I continued to lie down. I understood that in such frost temperature, I will be finished by the morning hour.
I was already starting to doze off, and this is a sure way to die of cold, when suddenly something wet and warm passed over my face. I was stunned – there was a wolf in front of me! Having come to my senses a little, I noticed a red cross on his side, and I realized that it was a medical shepherd dog. But my hands were so cold that I could not do anything. The dog soon ran away. I thought to my self: “That is it. Now, now one, for sure, can help me”.
But soon I saw a nurse girl crawling towards me. She had a shepherd dog and a wooden boat with her. The nurse put me on a sled with a dog harnessed, and the two of them pulled me out of the no-man’s land. I was taken to a field hospital, put in a ward. First, they gave me the sniff of ammonia and hundred grams of vodka. Then they cut the boots and freed their legs. But in a warm room, I immediately lost consciousness.
My hands quickly recovered, but my legs were worse and worse. Soon the surgeon announced a disappointing sentence: my legs would be amputated – gangrene started. But his colleague, a Georgian dude, because he spoke with a strong accent, asked for an awl. He stuck it in my leg, there are still traces left, I cried out in pain. “It’s alive! It’s alive!” – said the Georgian, and I realized that they will heal my legs instead of an amputation.

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