Please, meet Quartermaster III rank BLITSHTEIN David Isaakovich 1906, who served as a sailor on the cruiser “Aurora” during 1928-1931. The cruiser “Aurora” is currently preserved as a museum ship in Saint Petersburg. Aurora was one of three Pallada-class cruisers, built in Saint Petersburg for service in the Pacific. All three ships of this class served during the Russo-Japanese War.
The FCM 60197 medal bestowed for the period of Odessa defence by decree of 29.12.1941 by the Black sea Navy.
Citation: “He reliably provided refuelling capability to the vessels and other units in the difficult circumstances of the constant enemy air raids, bombardments, and artillery barrages against our fuel depots. Close proximity of the front line required proper fuel supplies, which was provided by his department. During the Odessa defence, the fuel was always supplied in time despite the difficulties, like f.ex. delivery to the town Ismail, to the artillery batteries, and to the ships; despite enemy artillery barrages and barges being damaged, or barges personnel being wounded and taken out of action. The supplies were delivered in time despite large quantity of ships in the port. I recommend comrade BLITSHTEIN for a state award medal “For Combat Merits”. “
Please, meet the bestowed: Lt. Col. BALASHOV, the commander of 144 mortar regiment of the Supreme Command reserve, for the action in March 1945 near Ostrava (Moravia). The special about this OAN # 27795, is that the cavalier was bestowed in total with THREE orders of Aleksander Nevsky. There were only 5 men like him ever.
Citation: “He provided fire support to 315 Guards rifle regiment, 128 Guards rifle division in the operation for enemy defence breakthrough north-west of Ostrava (Moravia) and commanded the infantry artillery support group. He arranged for efficient operation of the artillery support group and the coordination with the supported rifle units. As the result of this effort, the fire delivered by the support group on 14 April 1945 completely disabled the enemy firing positions on the first line and in to the close depth of the enemy defence: destroyed 10 machine-guns, 2 mortar batteries, 2 guns on open sight positions, suppressed 105mm artillery battery, annihilated 50m of trenches. Our rifle units took control of the settlement Gorzyce practically without any losses, and later on crossed the river Olza. He acted bravely and courageously during the engagement. He was severely wounded while being present at his commander post in immediate vicinity of our rifle combat formations. He deserves a state award – order “RED BANNER”.“
The initial recommendation for ORB was changed to OAN. He was bestowed by the decree on 04 June 1945 by 4 Ukrainian front.
Please, meet Lt. SHICHKO Gennadij Andreevich (1922-1986), the commander of the 2nd combat station (gunnery) of the gunboat “USYSKIN” of the Volga Flotilla. Severely wounded during the artillery fire correction mission on 15/10/1942 defending the northern face of the Stalingrad city. 1,5 years in hospitals. After the war, he graduated as a psychologist and became known in the area of substance misuse prevention and treatment, developed his own sobriety method.
Red Star citation: “Lieutenant SHICHKO Gennadij Andreevich has been the interim commander of the 2nd combat station (gunnery) of the gunboat “USYSKIN”. Being on the observation post under enemy fire, he excellently corrected the gunboats artillery fire and exhibited courage and bravery in the struggle for Stalingrad. With the gunboats firepower, he provided mighty fire support to the Colonel GOROKHOV’s land force. During the combat period between 26/Sep/1942 and 15/Oct/1942, lieutenant SHICHKO inflicted the following losses to the enemy: 3 tanks set ablaze and 4 tanks were hit; 2 six barrel rocket launchers and one 105mm artillery battery suppressed; 11 loaded trucks destroyed; eliminated up to a company of the enemy troops. On 15 October 1942, while manning the observation post in the settlement RYNOK, lieutenant SHICHKO corrected the gunboats artillery fire being subjected to constant enemy artillery and mortar fire. Utilising the gunboats firepower, he fended off an enemy attack directed at the settlement RYNOK and inflicted them sever losses. But, he himself sustained severe wounds in both of his legs in this combat engagement. At present, he is undergoing medical treatment in a hospital. Lieutenant SHICHKO deserves state award – order “RED STAR”.
SHICHKO’s both legs were severed and the danger of amputation was looming due to inflammation. The chief doctor insisted on amputation, SHICHKO denied. “No need to waist medicine on the doomed man” – replied the doctor. But the medics managed to save his both legs. After the recovery in 1944, SHICHKO began pedagogical work at the Naval Department of the Institute of Precision Mechanics and Optics in Leningrad. In 1954, he graduated as a psychologist at the Leningrad University, and achieved Ph.D. title in 1956 with the work “On the question of the higher nervous activity of an adult“.
Some of the paper titles authored or collaborated by SHICHKO: “On dosage of air jet during the production of conditioned blinking reflexes” 1959, “On the mechanism of the formation of conditioned reflex” 1965, “Changes in the ultrastructure of the cerebral cortex in rats during learning and in disorders of higher nervous activity” 1975.
For 32 years, SHICHKO worked in the Institute of Experimental Medicine in Leningrad. He developed his own none-medicinal psychological method of substance misuse (drugs, alcohol, smoking) treatment and prevention.
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.“
Please, meet Guards captain BALYAEV Sergej Grigorievich, 1900. The veteran volunteered to service in Leningrad front in June 1941.
The Red Star № 1848016 was bestowed in May 1945. At this time, the veteran was the head of finances of 278 Guards rifle regiment, 93 Guards rifle division. Finances – not much shooting, is it? But, in fact, the reason for such position was a severe wound sustained on 05 March 1942 during the Leningrad battle, when BELYAEV was a rifle platoon commander.
It is, unfortunately not known which rifle unit BELYEV served in March 1942. Maybe officer service record contains the answer? But after recovery in October 1942, it appears, he was sent to either 92nd or 97th (13GuRBr) separate rifle brigades (7RC, 64A). Both were Naval infantry units and played very important roles in Stalingradbattle. 92nd was defending Mamayev Kurgan, 97th – Lysaya Gora.
In April 1943, the new 93 Guards rifle division was formed out of the 92RBr and 13GuRBr (97RBr). BELYAEV served in the newly formed 278GuRR through the remainder of the war.
Please, meet Sgt. MALIENKO Petr Vakulovich, 1911. He was an ammunition supply squad leader of the 199 separate light-artillery brigade. Wounded in 1941.
Citation: “During the combat period since 16 April 1945, comrade MALIENKO worked as ammunition supply squad leader. He proved himself as a courageous and brave commander. On 22 April 1945 near town Cottbus, the supply truck column was subjected to unexpected attack by the enemy submachine-gunners. Comrade MALIENKO, being in the in the leading vehicle, jumped out and braced for defence against the enemy submachine-gunners. The fight resulted in MALIENKO personally killing 3 enemy submachine-gunners and one officer. He deserves state award – order Patriotic war II class. 29 April 1945. Battery commander 199 separate light artillery brigade Guards Sr. Lieutenant /NESTEROV/“
The veteran also earned a Bravery medal in December 1943 for the actions during the Dnieper crossing. But shortly before that, MALIENKO was in a penal company of 195RD and was declared MIA on 27 October 1943. As the document states: “During the assault one the village Grushevka, an enemy force broke through and the contact to the penal company was lost.“ But MALIENKO didn’t perish as we know from this later citations. The veteran lived at least until 1985, when he got his Jubilee OPW2.
Please, meet signals squad leader KLOCHKO Sergej Sergeevich, 1920. 302 rifle regiment, 29 rifle division, 23 rifle corps, 47 army, Voronezh front. The veteran also earned order Glory III class in August 1944.
The Bravery medal bestowed for the actions during Belgorod-Kharkov Offensive Operation (direct continuation of the Kursk battle southern side).
Citation: “Signals squad leader of the 1st rifle battalion Sr.Sgt. KLOCHKO Sergej Sergeevich is awarded for his action during the period 17-20 August 1943, in which he managed to provide uninterrupted communication lines between the battalion commanders and the rifle companies.“
Please, meet sr. sergeant ULCHENKO Nikolaj Dmitrievich, 1918. He was a 76mm field gun commander of 140 rifle regiment, 182 rifle “Dno” division. The order is bestowed for the “Rezhitsa-Dvina offensive”.
Citation: “In the engagement for the village Zhuki, Sebezh district, Kalinin region, on 13-14 July 1944, comrade ULCHENKO rolled his gun out to an open direct fire position while subjected to the enemy heavy fire. From a distance of 50m, he blasted rapidly spot blank at the attacking German infantry. The enemy could not stand the fire and retreated to his original position, leaving many casualties on the field. Just on 13th July, comrade ULCHENKO’s gun repelled 6 enemy counterattacks, destroying 3 enemy firing positions and about 30 enemy troops. For courage and bravery exhibited in the struggle agains the German occupants, comrade ULCHENKO deserves a state award order Glory III class. Commander of 140 rifle regiment Guards Major /RODIONOV/“
According to the combat diary of 140RR, the German units involved in the action was “the assault battalion of 463 Inf.Reg. of 263 Inf.Div. , which replaced beaten up battalion of the 322 Inf.Reg.“. The combat diary also describes, how the Soviet 171RR suffered heavy losses lost control due to lack of reconnaissance and unfavourable terrain, which forced the troops to concentrate and being subjected to German artillery strikes. The 140RR was sent to replace 171RR, and that is when the action described in the citation took place.
Please, meet private first class BEREZIN Pavel Evgenievich, 1917, a rifleman of the 7 rifle company, 536 rifle regiment, 114 rifle “Svir” division, 7 army, Karelian front.
In service since May 1942, wounded lightly in his leg on 20.09.1943. The veteran was also awarded with OG2 № 26933 in November 1944. The OGIII was awarded for the “Svir-Petrozavodsk offensive” (Suurhyökkäys Syväriltä).
Citation: “In the engagement for the village Obzha, Olonets district, on 24 June 1944, he was the first into the enemy trenches and thus showed the way to the rest of his unit. He took one soldier prisoner and eliminated 8. Captured two submachine guns. For courage, bravery, and personal leadership, private first class BEREZIN deserves a state award ORDER GLORY III CLASS. Commander of 536 rifle regiment /OGORODNIKOV/“
Sr. Lieutenant MIROSHNICHENKO Pavel Antonovich, 1916. He was in service since 1937. Retired in 1940. Recalled in May 1941 again. Artillery battery commander of 45mm AT guns, 1043 rifle regiment, 285 rifle division. WIA in August 1941 defending Kiev. Hospitalised until July 1942. After that he was in serving in 103 reserve artillery regiment, 37 reserve rifle division. There is a MIA report on him from January 1943. Not clear for me why, as the reserve units were not usually participating in combat. Unless there was some kind of dramatic situation, in which the front line was broken and a reserve unit had to step in. Retired from the Army in Sept 1943. Reinstated in the internal NKVD/MVD forces right away as air defence artillery unit Head of Staff. He served as Head of Staff for the air defence in the southern Ukraine region till 1960.
The first Red Star was awarded in 1947 according to the decree “for wounds sustained in Patriotic war”. The citation is written after veterans recollection of the events in August 1941. The second Red Star is a long service award for his service in MVD air defence in the Southern Ukraine region (around towns Nikolaev, L’vov, Uzhgorod). Because it is a late MVD issued award, it is not found in his register card, but only in his award booklet.