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Gentleman's Military Interest Club

Order of Glory III to T-34 gunner for action on 12.01.1945

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Please, meet Guards First Sergeant Kniazev Ivan Mitrofanovich, a T-34 gunner of 226th detached tank regiment. His T-34 was "one of first tanks to reach river Elbe", the meeting point of the Soviet Army and the American Allies. 

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Kniazev was awarded order of Glory III class for the action on 12 January 1945, on the first day of the Vistula-Oder offensive. His tank was taken out by the German AT battery and he was badly wounded. 

Here is the citation:

  • Tank gunner First Sergeant KNIAZEV showed exceptional military skill in delivering precise artillery fire and courage on the battlefield during the breaking of enemy defences 12.01.1945.
  • The tank rushed into enemy defence position at village BOREK reference point 228,9 and was met with dense AT fire from the edge of the woods west of MAGIEROW. Comrade Kniazev one by one took out 3 AT cannons, 1 fortified AT position. When the tank reached the woods edge it was hit by the AT fire and caught fire. Comrade Kniazev was wounded, but despite that he dismounted machine gun from the burning tank and opened fire at the retrieving enemy infantry killing 8 hitleriets and capturing 4.
  • For courage, bravery and resourcefulness in battle, comrade Kniazev is worthy of order of Glory III class.

This was Kniazev's 3rd sustained wound. He was lightly wounded in 1942 and badly in 1944. 

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The "edge of the woods west of Magierow" is still there in 2016.



A tank from 226th Detached Tank Regiment of 5 Gv.A.

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226th Tank regiment commander KOROBEINIKOV




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5 Gv.A commander's plan for the first 3 days of Vistula-Oder offensive. The location of the Kniazev's action is marked.

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Red Army force disposition on the starting position just prior to attack on 12/Jan/1945:

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Who would expect... two awards came to my colection from opposite sides of the globe, yet the awardees served practically tougher, supporting the same rifle unit at the same time and on the same theatre of operation... Two pieces of the puzzle have just clicked tougher...

Kniazev on his T-34 (226 Tank regiment) and Lihomanov on his SU-76 (8 SABR) were both supporting 34 Guards Rifle Corps, 5 Gu.A in January 1945. 


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Edited by Egorka

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Discovered interesting bit today.Regiment Commander KOREBEINIKOV is visiting US 3rd Armored Division ("Third Herd"), Leipzig, 26 April 1945. Getting a tour of M-24 "Сhaffee".


Edited by Egorka

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