Jump to content
Gentleman's Military Interest Club
slava1stclass

U.S. Army Decorations Awarded to Red Army Personnel in World War II

Recommended Posts

The following U.S. Army decorations were awarded to Red Army personnel for heroism or meritorious service in World War II:

Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) - 53

Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) - 20

Silver Star (SS) - 119

Legion of Merit (LOM) - 321

By degree:

- Chief Commander - 7*

- Commander - 35

- Officer - 85

- Legionnaire - 194

Bronze Star Medal (BSM) - 40**

Notes:

*Documentation is available to verify the award to MSU Zhukov. Awards of the LOM in the degree of Chief Commander to MSUs Govorov, Meretskov, Rokossovskiy, Vasilevskiy as well as General of the Army Eremenko and Chief Marshal of Aviation Novikov, however, are based solely on photographic evidence.

**Information available in an OMSA publication suggests that the number of BSMs awarded to Red Army personnel was higher. This is likely true since many BSMs were awarded at the U.S. Army corps level and below. The number above reflects only those BSMs to Red Army personnel authorized by War Department General Orders.

I came across no hard evidence to confirm that either the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) or Soldier's Medal (SM) was awarded to Red Army personnel. This same OMSA publication, however, indicates that three DFCs and one oak leaf cluster (OLC) to the DFC as well as one SM were awarded.

As with awards of the BSM, it is also likely that the number of LOMs awarded to Red Army personnel may be higher for the reasons cited above.

Should you wish to confirm the award of any one of the above U.S. Army decorations to a specific Red Army soldier, please contact me via private message. I will be happy to check my list and furnish specific information concerning the awarding authority.

The U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal awarded to top Soviet ace Pokryshkin (Triple HSU) is clearly seen in the below photo.

Regards,

slava1stclass

Edited by slava1stclass

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HSU A.P. Voloshin was one of the 119 Red Army personnel awarded the U.S. Army Silver Star during World War II/the Great Patriotic War. It is clearly visible in the below photo. For the majority of the war, Voloshin served as a Battery Commander in the 271st Rifle Regiment, 10th NKVD Rifle Division (later redesignated the 18th Stalingrad NKVD Rifle Division). He was wounded five times during the course of the war.

Approved for award of the Silver Star on 12 July 1944, he was personally decorated by President Roosevelt's Special Advisor, Harry Hopkins, in the Sverdlovsk Room of the Kremlin in October 1944. Averill Harriman, the U.S. Ambassador to the USSR, the U.S. Defense Attache, Moscow as well as Secretary of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, Gorkin, were among those who attended the ceremony.

Voloshin would later march in the 24 June 1945 Victory Parade in Moscow where he carried the unit colors of the Moscow Artillery Academy.

Regards,

slava1stclass

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And here's a LOM awarded to an HSU. I've got his name, but I'm at work at the moment.

The interesting thing about this photo is that it was offered to me direct from the recipient's daughter together with his LOM in case of issue. At the time, the LOM was excessively expensive ($900) and I passed on it - but kept the scan of the photo. After putting the photo on my website, a friend of mine contacted me - he had the guy's entire group, just missing the LOM! I tried to get the medal, but by that time it was unfortunately too late... Ouch!

Dave

IPB Image

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great photos.

The OMSA publication is a reformatting of a report the Army published in 1947, with statistical entries for all WWII decorations. It is certainly not definitive, but gives a very good breakdown of general numbers.

The numbers of awards to foreigners is suspect for the reasons noted above, but it's what the Army reported in 1947.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not the best picture, but a twofer:

Dave,

Very nice picture. DSM winner to the left and DSC winner to the right. Who is the gentleman in the center? Do you know their names?

I should be able to identify both the DSM and DSC winners. More to follow.

Regards,

slava1stclass

Edited by slava1stclass

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was a nice article in JOMSA on this topic not so far back. Will look it up and post bibliographical information.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As referred to in this thread http://gmic.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=8394...t=0entry80903 here is the certificate for the LoM to Lieutenant-General V.S. Bodrov. Sorry for the quality.

And the citation for same with Truman's autopen signature (I presume) as mentioned in the thread.

Kind Regards

Steen Ammentorp

The Generals of World War II

Steen,

Thank you for the LOM example. As stated in thread referenced above, I saw 15-20 of these in one batch back in the mid-90s. All of them were in exceptional condition.

Note, however, that at some point between June 1944 and April 1946 they switched to using a typewriter-like machine to enter the information on the award certificate. In the case of my DSC certificate and Wild Card's Silver Star certificate (both dated in 1944) a wonderful handwritten calligraphy script was used.

Regards,

slava1stclass

Edited by slava1stclass

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice picture. DSM winner to the left and DSC winner to the right. Who is the gentleman in the center? Do you know their names?

The DSC recipient is Major General of Aviation Ivan Diomidovich Antoshkin (Иван Диомидович Антошкин). The DSM recipient is Junior Lieutenant Nikolai Vasilyevich Arkhangelskii (Николай Васильевич Архангельский). Both were cited in War Department General Order No. 3 of 1944.

The photo caption, from a Russian aviation site, identifies the man in the middle as the "personal representative of the President of the USA Rickenbacker" (личный представитель президента США Рикенбекер), but he is far more famous as the top American ace of World War I.

Antoshkin bio (in Russian): http://www.allaces.ru/p/people.php?id=4208

Arkhangelskii bio (in Russian): http://www.allaces.ru/p/people.php?id=4143

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The DSC recipient is Major General of Aviation Ivan Diomidovich Antoshkin (Иван Диомидович Антошкин). The DSM recipient is Junior Lieutenant Nikolai Vasilyevich Arkhangelskii (Николай Васильевич Архангельский). Both were cited in War Department General Order No. 3 of 1944.

Dave,

Thank you. It would appear as if Rickenbacker made the trip to Moscow to present the decorations on the U.S. government's behalf. Arkhangelskiy would go on to become a HSU on 26.10.44 only to be later KIA on 14.01.45.

It's interesting to see how decorations to foreigners were handled back then - a DSM to a junior lieutenant. I say this only because the DSM ranks as the third highest award among American military decorations. A DSM award to an American officer of similar rank would be unheard of.

Part of the reason the American military's LOM was created with four degrees (for foreigners only) was to allow it to be awarded to a wider range of ranks.

Regards,

slava1stclass

Edited by slava1stclass

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's interesting to see how decorations to foreigners were handled back then - a DSM to a junior lieutenant. I say this only because the DSM ranks as the third highest award among American military decorations. A DSM award to an American officer of similar rank would be unheard of.
This actually only appears to have been the case with the USSR.

Going by Apgar's compilation of DSM awards from 1942 to 1969, the lowest-ranking British recipient was Brigadier Vivian Dykes, Chief of the Secretariat of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, and then-Commodore Thomas H. Troubridge, RN, commander of Naval Task Force Centre in the North Africa landings. The only Canadian was then-Lt. Gen. Harry Crerar; the only Chinese Gen. Chiang Kai-Shek, the only Frenchmen G?n?ral d'Arm?e Alphonse Juin and G?n?ral Jean de Lattre de Tassigny (both later Marshals of France).

What is odd is not that the DSM was awarded to junior personnel, but that it was only awarded to junior personnel: 2 colonels, 2 lieutenant colonels, 3 majors, 4 captains, 5 lieutenants, 3 senior sergeants and 1 sergeant. That seems to reflect a conscious decision to apply different award criteria and to distribute the awards among the grades.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This actually only appears to have been the case with the USSR.

What is odd is not that the DSM was awarded to junior personnel, but that it was only awarded to junior personnel: 2 colonels, 2 lieutenant colonels, 3 majors, 4 captains, 5 lieutenants, 3 senior sergeants and 1 sergeant. That seems to reflect a conscious decision to apply different award criteria and to distribute the awards among the grades.

Dave,

Colonels should by no means be considered junior. While uncommon, it's not unusual for a U.S. Army colonel to be awarded the DSM. Although usually reserved for general officers, colonels are generally the lowest rank to receive it with most of them receiving it in conjunction with retirement after 30 years commissioned service.

I agree that it is indeed very odd the U.S. Army awarded Soviet personnel in the rank of lieutenant colonel and lower a DSM. Back in those days, however, the Army didn't have the plethora of lesser ranking awards it now has e.g., Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal etc. This may be the real explanation. Someone then likely realized the LOM (established in 1942) was a much better fit and later the Bronze Star Medal even more so (once authorized in 1944). This possibly explains the very low number of DSMs (20) awarded to Soviets.

Regards,

slava1stclass

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dave,

Colonels should by no means be considered junior. While uncommon, it's not unusual for a U.S. Army colonel to be awarded the DSM. Although usually reserved for general officers, colonels are generally the lowest rank to receive it with most of them receiving it in conjunction with retirement after 30 years commissioned service.

I agree that it is indeed very odd the U.S. Army awarded Soviet personnel in the rank of lieutenant colonel and lower a DSM. Back in those days, however, the Army didn't have the plethora of lesser ranking awards it now has e.g., Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal etc. This may be the real explanation. Someone then likely realized the LOM (established in 1942) was a much better fit and later the Bronze Star Medal even more so (once authorized in 1944). This possibly explains the very low number of DSMs (20) awarded to Soviets.

Regards,

slava1stclass

Colonels are junior to generals. :P You're right that DSM awards to them are not unusual, just far less common than to generals; they account for roughly 20%, with generals taking up the other 80% (awards to lower ranks are statistically insignificant*), yet there are roughly 10 times as many colonels as generals in the Army.

The point is, colonels are at the bottom end of the spread of awards to Americans, but the top end of awards to Soviets.

More importantly, the distribution of awards and the fact that they came in the same general order seems to indicate some sort of decision to allocate a group of awards to the Soviets, rather than apply the criteria we would to our own awards. Further evidence of this is that GO3 of 1944 not only awarded an even 20 DSMs to Soviets, but exactly 20 DSCs too. So likely someone in the War Department suggested recognizing our Soviet allies, and someone chose 20 of each as the number to be awarded.

My guess is we left it to the Soviets to suggest recipients. For the Soviets, the distinction was less between bravery and meritorious service than it was that the DSC was higher than the DSM. Thus the breakdown for DSMs noted above and the breakdown for DSCs here: 4 lieutenant generals, 8 major generals, 2 colonels, 3 lieutenant colonels, 1 major, 1 junior lieutenant and 1 senior sergeant.

By contrast, if you look at the other 33 awards of the DSC, which came though the Military Mission to Moscow, you see a grade distribution more typical to US Army awards of the DSC: 4 colonels, 1 lieutenant colonel, 3 majors, 2 captains, 4 lieutenants, 2 sergeants major, 3 senior sergeants, 6 sergeants, 1 junior sergeant, 2 corporals and 5 privates. Also, the citations I've seen for this latter group do read like typical DSC valor citations, e.g., Capt. Mikhail Vasilievich Pilipenko "... swam across the Dnepr to the Town of Svidovol [sic] at the head of a battalion under heavy artillery, mortar and hand machine gun fire of the enemy during the night of 13 November 1943, and engaged in a hand to hand struggle after penetrating into the trenches of the enemy on the right bank. He drove back 3 counterattacks of 20 tanks with enemy infantry and after disrupting enemy resistance occupied the Town of Svidovok on 13 November 1943, captured armored cars, cannon and tracked vehicles and destroyed 15 tanks, up to 400 enemy officers and soldiers and 7 tanks." (BTW, Pilipenko's name is misspelled in his citation as Pimpenko and in Gleim & Harris as Pilpenko).

As a slight aside, you are correct that most colonels who receive the DSM receive it as a retirement award, but I would add that most colonels who retire at that grade do not receive a DSM. The Legion of Merit is the most common retirement award for colonels, LTCs and sergeants major, and a surprisingly large number of colonels only receive an MSM.

____

* During World War Two, the Army awarded approximately 9 DSMs to lieutenant colonels, 2 to majors and 2 to enlisted personnel: Joseph L. Lockard and George E. Elliott Jr., the radar operators who detected the attack on Pearl Harbor but whose report was dismissed by their superiors as the B-17 flight inbound from the States. Several of the LTCs and majors were officers involved in the defense of the Philippines and were killed or captured by the Japanese. Others were Army Air Corps/Army Air Forces officers killed in flight (often, a higher award is authorized in these cases based on the notion that death truncated an otherwise distinguished career that would have merited the award). These include LTC Townsend Griffiss, shot down accidentally by the RAF while returning from a mission to the USSR to design ferry routes, MAJ Lewin B. Barringer, an expert on gliders killed in a crash on a flight from North Africa, and MAJ William G. Benn, pilot of a B-25 declared missing on a reconnaissance mission over New Guinea in January 1943 (and not found until 1957).

____

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Dave has a good point... It may well have been left up to the Soviets to determine who received the awards. Giving out high awards to enlisted personnel was a very "communist" anti-rank thought (like they actually followed it, but politically it sounded good!) I know that for numerous foreign awards to Americans, the nation giving the award offered the specific award to a certain unit, and the unit was then allowed to determine who the award went to. Thus, you had situations like that which involved a good friend of mine, who had been recommended for a Medal of Honor, but was downgraded to the DSC. Because of this, his unit put him in for a foreign award from every nation that offered it to the Division, and thus he ended up with the British DSO, Soviet Nevsky, among others.

Just a thought!

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gentlemen,

Below is a photo from Victory Parade by G. Drozdov and E. Ryabko showing a double winner (Distinguished Service Cross and Legion of Merit) in formation with the 1st Ukrainian Front at the 1945 parade. To his right is 3x HSU Pokryshkin who is shown more clearly in another picture to be wearing a U.S. Distinguished Service medal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wid Card,

Thanks for the posting. In the above picture, the sharp-eyed observer will note that Guards Maj Gen Baklanov is wearing the American LOM in the degree of Commander. He's jury rigged it to a pinback configuration.

This appears to have been common practice among Soviet marshals and general/flag officers who were awarded a foreign neck decoration. Another great example (from the same Victory Parade book) is the British CBE awarded to the admiral who commanded the Soviet naval contingent in the 24 June 1945 Victory Parade.

Regards,

slava1stclass

Edited by slava1stclass

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) The point is, colonels are at the bottom end of the spread of awards to Americans, but the top end of awards to Soviets.

2) More importantly, the distribution of awards and the fact that they came in the same general order seems to indicate some sort of decision to allocate a group of awards to the Soviets, rather than apply the criteria we would to our own awards.

3) For the Soviets, the distinction was less between bravery and meritorious service than it was that the DSC was higher than the DSM. Thus the breakdown for DSMs noted above and the breakdown for DSCs here: 4 lieutenant generals, 8 major generals, 2 colonels, 3 lieutenant colonels, 1 major, 1 junior lieutenant and 1 senior sergeant.

4) As a slight aside, you are correct that most colonels who receive the DSM receive it as a retirement award, but I would add that most colonels who retire at that grade do not receive a DSM. The Legion of Merit is the most common retirement award for colonels, LTCs and sergeants major, and a surprisingly large number of colonels only receive an MSM.

Dave,

1) Concur

2) Concur

3) Generally concur with the exception I've previously noted that the majority of the Soviet DSC winners were also HSUs. This would tend to argue for the valor element associated with the DSC as the DSM is a service and not valor award. The point I earlier raised concerning the lack of more appropriate lower-range awards in the U.S. Army inventory also definitely plays a role here.

4) Generally concur, however, it is inaccurate to state that most LTCs receive a LOM at retirement. The award of a LOM in such instances is often tied to two factors: a) total years served e.g., is he/she an on- the-number 20-year retirement or does it involve more years of active federal service and b) the duty positions the LTC previously held e.g., was he/she a former battalion commander.

... It may well have been left up to the Soviets to determine who received the awards.

Dave

Dave,

Concur.

Regards,

slava1stclass

Edited by slava1stclass

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To all:

A nice shot of Col Gen Alexander V. Gorbatov, Commander, 3rd Army seated with LTG William M. Simpson, CG, 9th U.S. Army taken on 28 May 1945 in Braunschweig, Germany. Note that Gorbatov has just been awarded the LOM in the degree of Commander.

Regards,

slava1stclass

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I came across no hard evidence to confirm that either the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) or Soldier's Medal (SM) was awarded to Red Army personnel. This same OMSA publication, however, indicates that three DFCs and one oak leaf cluster (OLC) to the DFC as well as one SM were awarded.

To all:

My apologies to OMSA. I have recently discovered photographic evidence to confirm the awarding of the DFC to at least one Soviet officer. The below picture of said unidentified Soviet company grade HSU aviator was taken just prior to the 24 June 1945 Victory Parade in Moscow.

Regards,

slava1stclass

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4) Generally concur, however, it is inaccurate to state that most LTCs receive a LOM at retirement. The award of a LOM in such instances is often tied to two factors: a) total years served e.g., is he/she an on- the-number 20-year retirement or does it involve more years of active federal service and b) the duty positions the LTC previously held e.g., was he/she a former battalion commander.

I mistyped as I was revising one statement: what I meant was the Legion of Merit is most commonly seen as a retirement award for those three grades. Thus, for example, of 2,908 Legions of Merit awarded in 2003, 2,398, or 83%, were retirement awards. Of these, 757 went to O-6s, 485 went to O-5s, and 479 went to E-9s. Thus, retirement awards to colonels accounted for 26% of all LOMs and 32% of all retirement LOMs; for lieutenant colonels, 16.7% of all LOMs and 20.2% of all all retirement LOMs; for sergeants major, 16.5% of all LOMs and 20% of all all retirement LOMs.

Most lieutenant colonels, though, receive the MSM at retirement. Of 1,110 retirement awards to O-5s in 2003, 589 (53%) were MSMs. 35 only received an ARCOM and one lieutenant colonel managed only an AAM. One caveat: this only covers lieutenant colonels who received retirement awards, not necessarily all lieutenant colonels who retired. I suppose there may be a few who received no retirement award because of the circumstances under which they were allowed to retire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As the editor of the OMSA publication on US Army awards to foreigners, let me reiterate what that publication is. It's a reformatting of a study the Army did in 1947 counting up awards made by Army and Army Air Forces commands. They clearly did not have all the GOs, as Brandon Weigand's recent publications demonstrate. Also, awards continued to be made for a number of years after the war. And, any typing or arithmetic error was likely to be magnified.

The object of the study was to determine the pattern of awards to try to adjust the peacetime awards system, so they weren't really looking to know where every Bronze Star went.

The problem with awards to foreign recipients is that such awards were often made on short notice and with little preparation. If the senior general to be decorated with an LoM shows up with his G-3 in tow, somebody was likely to dig into their bag of tricks and come with an LoM/Bronze Star/something to give to the staffer so that nobody's feelings got hurt. That award may never have had any real paperwork, although Truman made every effort, after the war, to get documents out to wartime Allied recipients.

Good, bad or simply ugly, it's a base line from which to work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just out of curiosity, anyone have a clue what an LOM certificate and citation to a Soviet NCO might be worth? Still negotiating on the one I was offered, but I haven't a CLUE what these are worth!

Thanks!

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×