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Egorka

OPW2 #52344 for a tank company commander

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Hello,

The OPWII 52344 was awarded 29 July 1944. The citation is on the way.

Please meet, Lt. Ivan Ivanovich STEPANOV who by June 1941 was serving as a Company Commander in 44 Tank Regiment (tanks T-26) of 22 Tank Division, 14 Mechanised Corps, 4 Army. 
Severely wounded by a bullet in the leg in April 1942. After that on less active service positions. Still by 1956 he got his long service Lenin order.

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The 22 TD (143 and 44 tank regiments, 22 Motorized Infantry Regiment) was located in Brest fortress on 22 June 1941 and was hit heavily by artillery barrage during the first hours of German offensive. The division lost most of it's tanks, fuel supplies, and ammunition. The remnants of the division had several heavy engagements in the following days. But by 28 June 1941 it lost practically all tanks and most of the personnel and was disbanded. 

So Lt. STEPANOV must had been MIA from June 1941. The formal decree formalised the MIA status on 16 Feb 1942. It was formally cancelled in 1952. 
But he was back in service by the beginning of 1942 or even earlier, I think. He was awarded medal for Combat Service (a big deal by at that time) in March 1942 for the action on 08/Feb/1942. He served in 143 (a different 143rd, I think) Tank Regiment of 2 Gu. Motorised Rifle Division (earlier 107 Motorised Rifle Division)

Here is the decree stating that Lt. STEPANOV is declared MIA. The hand written text is cancellation dated 08/May/1952. 

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22 TD was in action for 6 days. 
On 22 June 1941 it had 235 tanks, 34 cannons, and 8800 personnel. 
As follows from the 4 Army report issued on 28 June @21:00, the division had only 450 people, zero tanks, 45 trucks, and 85 officers left...
The personnel loss was about 90% in 6 days. 
Not all of them were killed, but some were imprisoned.

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Edited by Egorka

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