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    The tanker's military file and the story of the "From Shulga's father to Kisenko's son" tank

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    Hello Community,


    As you all know, historical documents and photographs are my true passion. Today, I'd like to share a rare find from my collection. By chance, I acquired a personal military file from a tanker (Kisenko Ivan Afanasyevich) some time ago. The reason it caught my eye was a photograph showing the recipient wearing a medal for the liberation of Belgrade. In addition, the personal files include documents with the SS rune (captured typewriter), maps with handwritten notes, and a Chinese blank paper used for notes.




    Service list + award list


    Captured SS typewriter (visible SS runes)


    Map used for notes


    Handwritten reference on a Chinese blank document



    Upon examining the file further, I came across a handwritten autobiography with the intriguing sentence: "Since September, I fought on my own T-34-85 tank." This sparked my curiosity, and I delved deeper into researching these files and anything related to personalized tanks during WW2. The Soviet Army had over 70 tanks named during World War 2, a rarity that makes this document and story truly unique.

    Handwritten sentence from the autobiography "Since September, he fought on his own T-34-85 tank."


    The "From Shulga's Father to Kisenko's Son" T-34-85
    Another personalized tank, the "From Shulga's Father to Kisenko's Son" T-34-85, holds a particularly touching story. Yakov Shulga, a collective farm chairman from the Dnepropetrovsk region, purchased the tank with his own savings and gifted it to his adopted son, Lieutenant Ivan Kisenko. The tank was presented to the crew at the "Krasnoe Sormovo" plant and fought alongside the 4th Guards Mechanized Corps, participating in the liberation of Shulga's home village. This tank also saw action in Yugoslavia and Hungary.



    Lieutenant Kisenko's Crew and the Fate of the Tank
    Lieutenant Kisenko's crew first saw combat in October 1944 as part of the 36th Tank Brigade during the liberation of Belgrade in Yugoslavia. Tragedy struck during the battles for Hatvan, Hungary, where the tank was hit, resulting in crew member casualties. Lieutenant Kisenko himself was seriously injured and hospitalized, while the tank underwent major repairs.


    After the war, the "Kisenko tank" was sent to the Far East. For nearly 25 years, its whereabouts remained unknown. Remarkably, during a routine equipment check in a Sakhalin tank unit, a sign reading "From Shulga's Father to Kisenko's Son" was discovered on the back of the turret.


    The tank was subsequently sent to Lugansk, where it stood as a monument on Oboronnaya Street for decades. In 2013, the tank was restored and participated in the 70th-anniversary celebration of the liberation of the Luhansk region. Unfortunately, due to the outbreak of conflict in Donbas, its scheduled appearance in the 2014 Victory Parade was canceled. As of today, the tank remains on display in Lugansk.


    From the memoirs of Alexander Ionov:
    “Even after the end of all the fighting, I remember this especially vividly, a funeral was held for our dead people. In total, the corps then lost 900 people for Belgrade. They loaded them with 4 coffins per tank. Here are 14 tanks, including the Kisenko tank, which we now see on the pedestal. From that moment on I remembered him well. And Kisenko stands in the tower with a red flag. It’s a pity that I don’t have a photograph of this.”


    In 1971, Kisenko’s tank moved under its own power onto its seemingly eternal pedestal. The tank gun, of course, was immediately demilitarized. This is how the combat vehicle stood for decades. Until there were veteran tank crews who, with sheer enthusiasm, took on the restoration of the symbol of Victory.



    In 2013, within two months, the tank was thoroughly repaired and painted in its original color. Upon completion of the work, it was put into operation.



    On September 3, as part of the celebrations dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Lugansk region from the Nazi invaders, the T-34 drove along the main street of Lugansk - Sovetskaya, after which it was left in the city center near the Pylon of Glory.


    Some interesting stories of other famous named tanks


    The 10,000th Anniversary T-34-85: "Avengers of Donbas"
    In March 1945, a significant milestone was reached – the 10,000th T-34-85 tank rolled off the production line. This special tank was a gift to the Zolotko brothers and their cousin, Boyko, who purchased it with their own funds. The crew named their tank "Avengers of Donbas."


    The "Krasnoe Sormovo" Plant and Personalized Tanks
    During World War II, the "Krasnoe Sormovo" plant built combat vehicles funded by Soviet citizens. These machines were given unique names, with even schoolchildren contributing to the cause.


    "Gorky Pioneer" tank
    In September 1941, students from a Gorky school appealed to the region's youth to raise funds for a T-34-76 tank. By January 1942, the completed tank was delivered to the active army. In total, seven tanks were built using funds raised by schoolchildren from the Gorky region.


    Related links to the Kisenko's tank and information on named tanks


    Lugansk T-34 tank: history and restoration


    Personalized tanks


    Tanks and tank columns with personal names




    “From Shulga’s father to Kisenko’s son.” Registered tanks of the Krasnoye Sormovo plant video



    I wish you all a great and peaceful Monday.




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    30 minutes ago, TracA said:



    Amazing documents, photographs, and write-up. Thank you for sharing this wonderful information.


    All the best,



    Hello, Tracy,


    Thank you for your interest and time reading my story.


    I have several other interesting documents that I will share here as well.


    I wish you a wonderful day.



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