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Gerd Becker

Research OGPW 1st class Nr. 72620

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Hello gents,

finally i have a researched OGPW 1st class. And it looks interesting, but the citation is unfortunately handwritten and i have a hard time to gather any info at all from it.

Interestingly this research came with three award cards. One for this OGPW 1st class:

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now to the handwritten citation, the ink obviously came through the original document and makes it even more bad readable. Here is the first half of the obverse:

Edited by Gerd Becker

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Gerd,

:jumping: VERY NICE!!! :jumping: I'll have to get my sole OPW, 1st Class researched.

:beer: Doc

Thanks, Doc, but i suggest, you better get one in a group, if possible :beer:

Gerd

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Yeah, that's hard to read in both directions simultaneously.

Guards Junior Lieutenant and later Gds Lieutenant Nikolai Georgievich Stepachev was a rifles platoon commander in 233rd Gds Rifles Rgt, 81st Gds Inf Div.

What I can read says on Stalingrad front since 26 July 1943, wounded 20 November 1943 (which is the action date on which he was wounded), and in Red Army since 10 March 1942.

Actual citation says that in combat for Hill 163.5 in area of the village of Fodyana on 20 November 1943 in Kirovograd Province, Comr. Stepachev found himself the senior officer in his company. The company he was now leading made 4 attacks, getting into the trenches of the enemy, destroying by rifle and automatic fire 30 Hitlerites-- with his pistol personally accounting for an enemy officer.

That still leaves a lot of gaps, but that's what I get on a first pass through without squinting too much.

Still, what you have here is attack after attack after attack on enemy positions during which his company's senior officers were killed or wounded until he was the senior survivor, finally getting into enemy trenches, being wounded himself (though that is not even mentioned in the citation itself, only in the comments above it). I can't quite make out when or where he was born, but it looks like 190X so he was not young. One more failed attack and he'd have been dead too, most likely.

Because of both sides showing through the paper, I cannot read the name of his regimental commander, but he was Gds Major, Hero of the Soviet Union Somebody.

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Thanks, Rick.

Quite a high award for a Junior Lieutenant, but he already got a Red Star(obviously for the Kursk Battle) and a Bravery Medal.

I wonder if Comrade Stepachev survived the war...

Here is a map, i found on http://rkkaww2.armchairgeneral.com (Its about Kursk though...)

Thank you very much again, Rick.

Gerd

Edited by Gerd Becker

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What I can read says on Stalingrad front since 26 July 1943

You're right about that, however there was no Stalingrad Front at that time. The Stalingrad Front was disbanded 31-12-1942. :unsure:

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You're right about that, however there was no Stalingrad Front at that time. The Stalingrad Front was disbanded 31-12-1942. :unsure:

Auke its not unusual that in these documents is refered to with the old names of the Fronts.

best,

Gerd

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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.
Edited by Ferdinand

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Thank you for sharing, Auke!

Could not help digging a little in after reading. Have you seen that STEPACHEV's officer's service record is actually available, which is unusual: 

00001804.JPG

00001803.JPG

 

Events of 05 Dec 1944. The 233 GuRR advanced 400m during the assault on the 05.12.44. Losses: 5 KIA, 11 WIA.

The map of the area. The height 241 is between Ecséd and Lőrinci. You can see the 400m advance on 05.12.44 (the distance between the purple and black lines).

5a35891804a04_ScreenShot2017-12-16at20_57_55.thumb.jpg.973da2ed49c01ba7e015152d9b553f32.jpg

00000228.thumb.jpg.6c6a4cddc3bc10ca1b46d38d82d10f18.jpg

00000250.thumb.jpg.88d47cfd0e4d2e297f0ec1540c198e67.jpg00000251.thumb.jpg.afe0ac37a26aa389da5f0c2bf11a9944.jpg

STEPACHEV's burial place is not to be found... I think, he ended being reburied as unknown soldier. Shame... 

His death record states his burial place as "2km West of Ecséd". I think, he was buried somewhere on that 400m stretch taken on that day. There are basically just fields and forest patches. 

Edited by Egorka

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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 :beer:

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On ‎12‎/‎16‎/‎2017 at 17:01, Ferdinand said:

 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. 

Ferdinand,

  Your above comment is certainly spot on.  Huge credit to the Russian Ministry of Defense and other entities for the monumental feat of bringing to light primary source material that otherwise would have been too difficult for most to access.  Credit, too, to the web-design team responsible for the database search tools which allow for tailored, precise and rapid queries.  I've found very few instances of incorrect data input (resulting in bad search results) as they built/loaded the site e.g., actual NL on podvig is for a BM, however, the podvig web page graphics/info for that award indicate it's for a CSM.    

  My only wish is that the powers to be would finally include all the NLs for the 15 MAY 46 PSS decree - in my case for the Full Cavaliers of the Order of Glory.  While HSU NLs associated with the 15 MAY 46 decree are available on podvig (based on the official awarding stamp on these HSU NLs' reverse side), those for the Full Cavaliers approved via the 15 MAY 46 PSS decree are not.  I find this odd especially considering the fact other post-1945 PSS decrees e.g., for wound awards, are available.

Regards,

slava1stclass

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