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Gentleman's Military Interest Club


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About Ferdinand

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    Full Member
  • Birthday July 26

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    The Netherlands
  • Interests
    Soviet Union in World War II, Battle of Stalingrad, Soviet awards (1924-1991), Mongolian awards (1924-1991), Bulgarian awards (1908-1943)

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  1. Yes, I had found that service record too. Quite unusual indeed! I also requested his service record from the archives, which turned out to be a different, albeit very similar one. I had not yet dug through Pamyat Naroda, so thank you for that map and the war diary pages! I'm still amazed sometimes at how much information can be found online nowadays. The research for some of my award groups and single awards comprises no less than hundreds of pages, all found by digging through that treasure trove. One of my groups is to a war experience officer, and I was able to find dozens of analyses and reports he wrote. Extremely interesting stuff. Anyway, thanks for posting the documents and I'm glad I'm not the only one enjoying that resource
  2. As the new custodian of this order, I thought I’d dig up this nearly 11-year-old topic and present some additional research I did on this brave officer. Stepachov was born in the Smolensk Province in 1905. He joined the Red Army in March 1942, was sent to the front in July 1942, and was commissioned in 1943. He started out as a rifle platoon leader, but before long he was given command of a company. He served in the Stalingrad area, fought at Belgorod right at the height of the battle of Kursk and was awarded an ORS there, advanced through Ukraine and Romania, and then moved northwest toward Hungary. Apparently Stepachov usually emerged from battle unscathed, since records show that the wound mentioned in his first OPW1 citation was his only one. But as our late friend Rick Research prophetically predicted, another failed attack would probably have cost this Lieutenant his life, and in fact he was killed in battle less than a year after this OPW1 was awarded. Stepachov’s final attack occurred on December 5, 1944, one day before his 39th birthday, and the day Budapest was encircled. His regiment took part in the pincer movement around the Hungarian capital. As Stepachov’s regiment enveloped the city from the northeast, Stepachov was given orders to take the northern slopes of height 241. The company accomplished its orders and captured the height, killing up to a platoon of enemy infantry, but Stepachov didn’t survive the battle. That same day he was buried at the divisional cemetery in the village of Ecséd, northeast of Budapest. Stepachov had been awarded all of his decorations in a fairly short span of time. He was awarded an ORS in July 1943, a Medal for Courage in September 1943, and an OPW1 in December 1943. A few days after he had died, he was awarded another OPW1 posthumously, but it seems it never made it to his wife Ksenia. His ORS citation (as a Guards Jr. Lieutenant and rifle platoon leader): During the fighting near Belgorod Raion’s Old Town on July 8, 1943, comrade Stepachov acted exceptionally bravely and ably, for instance: when the company commander was wounded, comrade Stepachov did not panic, but assumed command of the company, skillfully organized the defense in his sector of the line, and held it steadfastly. With his submachine gun comrade Stepachov personally killed 15 German soldiers and officers. His MC citation (as a Guards Jr. Lieutenant and rifle company commander): During the fighting on August 9, 1943, comrade Stepachov commanded his company and was given orders to take the ‘Vesyoly’ farmstead in the Kharkov Province. Having explained the importance of capturing this town to his troops, comrade Stepachov shouted ‘For the motherland!’ and ‘For Stalin!’ and led his company in the attack, killing all resisting enemy troops they ran into. Inspiring his men through personal example in combat with the enemy, comrade Stepachov operated ahead of his unit, inspiring his troops to follow him into battle. During this engagement comrade Stepachov’s company killed 50 Hitlerites and took 3 prisoners. Comrade Stepachov himself killed 9 Hitlerites with hand grenades. His first OPW1 citation (as a Guards Lieutenant and rifle company commander): On November 20, 1943, during the fighting for height 163.5, near the village of Vodana in the Kirovograd Province, comrade Stepachov commanded his rifle company and showed himself an audacious officer. Under his command the company fought off 4 attacks, rushed into the enemy’s trenches, and in the process killed 30 Hitlerites with rifle and submachine gun fire. Comrade Stepachov himself killed an enemy officer with his pistol. For his boldness and courage in battle and for successfully executing his combat missions, comrade Stepachov deserves to be nominated for the Order of the Patriotic War, 1st Class. His second OPW1 citation (as a Guards Lieutenant and rifle company commander): Comrade Stepachov, who has served at the front line in combat with the German invaders since July 1942, showed himself a bold and courageous officer. He gloriously fought his way from Stalingrad to Hungary. During the fighting on December 5, 1944, when the enemy line of defense near the village of Lerinci and height 241 was being breached, comrade Stepachov was given orders to capture the northern slopes of height 241. Rousing his company to action and leading the way, he inspired his men to accomplish their combat mission. Quickly darting across no man’s land with his company and remaining concealed, they brought down intense fire. Before long they captured the height, suffering only insignificant losses. Comrade Stepachov’s company killed up to a platoon of enemy infantry. During this battle comrade Stepachov died a brave death, and he was buried on December 5, 1944 in the village of Ecséd (Hungary). He deserves to be awarded the Order of the Patriotic War, 1st Class posthumously.
  3. name of Bulgarian order

    It's the Badge for Loyal Service under the Flag.
  4. On another website I came across this lady's work. She does a truly amazing job restoring old photos: http://digitartgallery.com/Photo_restoration_1.html
  5. Sorry, but the Nakhimov is fake.
  6. Honored Railwayworker Badge

    Very nice set! I think 'special agent' would be the best translation of оперуполномоченный in this case.
  7. I agree, and on top of that the citation was pretty good. The vagaries of the market...
  8. You need to distinguish between awarding and issuing - the first is the administrative act of bestowing a decoration upon somebody, the second is the physical presentation of the decoration to the recipient. Sometimes these two were days apart, sometimes weeks, sometimes even years. Serial numbers bear little to no relation to the award date, just the date of issue. These medals were numbered when they were manufactured. All medals manufactured after January 1947 did not have a serial number anymore, and stocks of the numbered pieces most likely ran out after a few months, so all medals issued after 1947 or so did not have a serial number. It wasn't uncommon, however, for a medal that was awarded during WW2 to be issued much later ('catch-up awards') - if such a medal was issued after 1947 it did not have a serial number. So it's possible that yours was awarded for deeds during WW2, but there's no way to tell. If you want a WW2-era specimen, just look for a numbered one - they are really common and affordable.
  9. There's an important difference between awarding and issuing - the first is the administrative act of bestowing a decoration (by prikaz or ukaz), the second is the physical bestowal upon the recipient. So your fifth statistic isn't quite clear to me, since this can't be one number. And regarding your third statistic: tens of thousands of Glories were awarded and issued after 31.12.1945...
  10. My first group....

    Igor is right - it's a very persistent misunderstanding that there's a close relation between serial number and award date (prikaz / ukaz date). In fact, there's only a real relation between serial number and date of issue. This particular situation is therefore easily explained - his May 1945 MCM wasn't bestowed immediately, as is quite common with these late wartime awards, but was issued shortly after he was awarded another MCM in November 1946. Both were issued in late 1946 / early 1947. The 2.7 mil serial numbers fit this time frame perfectly.
  11. That's what I suspected. Thanks for checking, Slava.
  12. Can we see the page with the name of the recipient? I must say I'm not wild about the entries.
  13. My first group....

    Theoretically, yes, but the system of awarding regular orders and medals for long service was abolished in early 1957, so had he still been serving after 30 years, he would have received nothing but a pat on the back.
  14. My first group....

    Apparently he served in the army from November 1931 to August 1953 - almost 22 years - so three more years and he would have been given a Lenin.