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Go Back   The Soviet Military Awards Page Forum > Soviet Awards Forums > Union Of Soviet Socialist Republics > Soviet Orders > Researched Soviet Orders > Researched Orders Of Suvorov

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Old 07-04-2002, 01:01 PM   #1
W. C. Stump
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Suvorov III,2210,Commander,2nd Machine-Gun Company,1285th Rifle Regiment

I guess everyone loves a great heroic war story and when you deal with the Soviet medals you can sometimes get a great story by researching the recipient and his awards. In the case of my favorite award a great story of heroic action in the face of almost certain odds of not surviving the mission comes with the award.

On January 16, 1945, a lowly Sr. Lieutenant by the name of Mikhail M. Sorokin was a commander of the 2nd Machine-Gun Company of the 1285th Rifle regiment, 60th Sevsk Rifle Division attached to the 47th Army. He has served in the Soviet Army since 1941, was wounded four times and had won the Order of Red Banner and the Order of the Red Star by the time the action took place that earned him the Order or Suvorov, 3rd Class. The citation and records state that Lt. Sorokin "displayed bravery, resoluteness and skills during the crossing of the Vistula River near the village of Novy Dvur, Poland". It seems that Lt. Sorokin, along with two other machine gun companies sent across the Vistula River to probe the enemy strength prior to a major offensive by the 47th Army. All who volunteered were told that the mission was vital, but the chances of surviving were slim to none.

The citation further reads, While under heavy enemy artillery and machine-gun fire, despite mortal danger, his company made a daring dash over the water obstacle. During the following day the enemy launched four counter attacks against his infantry position. Comrade Sorikin's company pounded the enemy with intense machine-gun fire, inflicting heavy loses in manpower. The company held the occupied position and developed further offensive, thus accomplishing the important task given to it by the command." As a result of his heroic action, Lt. Sorokin was awarded the Order of Suvorov, 3rd Class and only held the rank of Senior Lieutenant. This award was designated to be awarded only to Regiment, Battalion and Company Commanders. Lt. Sorokin was the only officer of his rank to ever receive this order during the Patriotic War.

Order of Suvorov 3rd Class.
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File Type: jpg suvorov, 3rd class serial number resized.jpg (41.2 KB, 176 views)
File Type: jpg suvorov, 3rd class obverse resized.jpg (43.1 KB, 164 views)

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Old 07-05-2002, 11:23 AM   #2
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Great story! Thanks! Please post some more if you have some..
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Old 07-05-2002, 09:38 PM   #3
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ALL OF THE STORY AFTER 30 YEARS

In 1975 a journalist from a local newspaper visited with Mikhail Mikhaylovich Sorokin and wrote a most interesting story. He looked back on Sorokin's military career and the story is most interesting and tells the story of one brave man from 1941 until 1945.. If this sounds like a story everyone would like to hear, I will post the translated version here on the forum.
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Old 07-05-2002, 10:46 PM   #4
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W.C., sure! you needn't ask, just post away...
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Old 07-06-2002, 01:36 AM   #5
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TRANSLATION OF THE NEWSPAPER ARTICLE OF 1975

COMPANY COMMANDER AWARDED AN ORDER OF SUVOROV

Mikhail Mikhaylovich Sorokin, house painter and artist, is listed as gunner in his military ID. this record indicates the first military occupational specialty, the most prestigious in the Army, it was made after the war on the basis of the ID owner's service record between 1941 and 1945.

I have never met Mikhail Mikhaylovich, we share no memories, have no common combat friends, yet I understand him immediately because he had been fighting with the infantry.

Before the war the infantry was regarded as the main branch of the armed forces by the Army regulations. The war proved it to be true. On June 22, 1941, the infantry together with frontier units were the first to meet the enemy that stated the war. Raising of the Victory Banner above Berlin is also its fighters' handiwork. Queen of the Fields, our Mother-Infantry required from its sons not so much special technical knowledge as superhuman stamina and bravery, incredible power of endurance. Feats committed by its sons are not always noticeable; they usually lack magnificence and romanticism being stern as the war itself.

The person with whom I am talking is a true infantryman, one of those who are, as they say, able to shave themselves with an awl and warm themselves with smoke. He knows what soldier's blood and a handful of ammunition really is really worth. He appreciates the actual value of the infantry shovel which novel writers in their dilettantish way often call "small sapper spade".

Sorokin participated in his first fight as a member of the 1st Guards Division of the Leningrad Militia. The re-training of Mikhail Sorokin, turner of Voroshilov plant, for a machine-gunner did not take long. The enemy was no interval between explanations given by an instructor and baptism by fire. The enemy was on the approaches to the city of Leningrad, and on August 11th, Private Sorokin dug his first trench near the village of Moloskovitsy.

A machine-gun is the infantry's most powerful weapon and the main target for the enemy. Sorokin became aware of this fact from the first minute of the fight when next to him his fellow machine-gunner fell dead burring his nose in the ground and when his Maxim machine-gun overwhelmed the attacking fascists.

As the common expression says, a fighter needs to smell gunsmoke to acquire some combat expertise. Throughout the war Sorokin smelt gunpowder except for several "breaks" in the hospital where he recovered from wounds. For the first time he was wounded, in the hip, while defending Leningrad. he was put in a hospital and evacuated to the rear. After convalescence he was enlisted to a regimental school where he received sergeant training. Someone noticed that the former worker from Leningrad had good commanding skills, his excellent school results also played a positive part. Therefore, he was sent to the junior lieutenant training classes. After finishing the classes he rejoined the front troops.

I have an article cut from a front newspaper. It is entitled "Becoming a Member of the Communist party." It read, "Junior Lieutenant Sorokin, platoon commander, recently received his Communist party membership card. He deserves to hold this high title. He justified it when fighting on the front against the German invaders. the Motherland highly honored his combat exploits by awarding him with the Order of the Red Star."

On April 9th, 1944 Sorokin was wounded for the second time as an explosive bullet hit him in the face. He thinks that he was lucky to get off pretty easy. After another stay in the hospital he returned to his platoon. That's all, but there are still tiny fragments of that bullet is in his flesh under the scars, iron wartime souvenirs, traces of the bitter soldier's "luck".

Soon after returning to his unit he took command over the company. Now he had more subordinates under his command and a wider sector of the front-line in which to advance. He had more duties and less rest. the company just like the platoon doesn't have any rear; all men from company commander to orderly fight in the same trench when maintaining defense and move in the same line during attacks. According to prewar regulations the company commander was to be armed with a revolver, but the war put a machine-gun in his arms.

Sorokin received his second decoration, an Order of the red Banner, for personal courage and valor. There were fights of local importance in the sector of their 60th Division. Our troops were about to launch an offensive.

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Old 07-06-2002, 01:37 AM   #6
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REST OF THE STORY

"Once I was summoned to the battalion commander", Mikhail Mikhaylovich recalled, "He said that the regimental commander ordered me to take the unnamed height. This dominant height was of great tactical importance securing the initial position for the oncoming advance of the division. So I rose my company and we started out. Under the cover of artillery fire we pressed the attack. we had just reached the height when the enemy opened up point blank fire. If we laid down, I thought, we'd be unable to rise to our feet afterwards. We must go forward. Finally we succeeded and took the height".

"We succeeded"! Again, how deceptively simple these words sound. The truth is, there were several attempts to seize the heights before. Sorokin's company was not the first to try, but it was the one to capture the heights. At the decisive moment of the attack when the enemy brought upon sudden fire and caused some of the fighters to waiver, Sorokin stood firm. He knew that in his company he was fighter number one and the others were following his example.

"If you saw it one just once, You will remember forever", goes a song. Sorokin not only "saw" it more than once, but played an active role in these events as a key person for his fellow-soldiers and was a principal target for the enemy. In the infantry it isn't considered an act of heroism. During the fight the company commander was simply in his proper place and performed as the situation required.

There is an order of Suvorov among our military awards. It was issued to decorate senior officers (regimental and divisional commanders, and supreme command of the armies, for displaying examples of military leadership).

Hardly the regimental school commander where Sorokin received his sergeant training in 1942 could conceive that this candidate for the officers classes was going to display such an outstanding leadership as to deserve an Order of Suvorov, 3rd Class. Marshall of the Soviet Union, Zhukov, commander of the 1st Belorussian front, put high value on his achievements as a company commander and personally awarded him this decoration which was suitable for a high commander.

It was forty years ago and our units were preparing to cross the Vistula. "We weren't quite sue whether we managed to deceive the enemy or the latter found out about our intentions"..So we decided to conduct intensive reconnaissance-in-force", (from G. K. Zhukov "MEMORIRS AND REFLECTIONS, page 570). Sorokin's company was among the units selected for the reconnaissance-in-force. Supported by machine-guns and anti-tank rifles, the company went across the Vistula River covered with ice. Despite encountering the fire from the steep bank occupied by the fascists it broke into forefront enemy positions and owing to its resolute actions took a small bridgehead.

"Before the Operation", recalled the commander, "the first stage of the combat task, the capture of the enemy bank, seemed to be the most difficult. But further events overthrew this views. It occurred that holding the occupied position was the most difficult part."

In the course of two days, Sorokin, together with his fighters maneuvered skillfully with the available weapons and repelled seventeen enemy counterattacks while making not a step back. Although partly encircled Sorokin personally directed the fight and achieved victory.

According to its statute, the Order of Sovorov is given as a reward to skillful commanders for defeating a numerically superior enemy. The same words one can read in the award commendation of this first and only company commander, holder of an Order of Suvorov, whom I have ever met.

During the fight for the town of Torun, Mikhail Sorokin was wounded again. The bullet that went through a fighter's knee turned out to be the last one to hit him on the fields of war.

All unit servicemen put on allowance are usually referred to as "personnel". It is an official military term. There is also an unofficial one invented in wartime and it is "active bayonets". It applies to the persons whom the commander counts before an attack, the persons whose life is always hanging in the balance as long as the war goes on. During the war Mikhail Sorokin, a volunteer members of the people's militia, fought as an "active bayonet" throughout the entire war, from Leningrad to the German Border. Sometime he walked, sometimes he crawled. In 1941 he was a private, in 1945, a company commander. What difference does damn make? It is not necessary to examine his award book to evaluate his combat contribution, list in your mind military positions he occupied for you to understand.

This story tells of his life; and that of his wife which can make a separate story. For a quarter of a century Anna Ivanovna Sorokin taught young industrial workers of Leningrad. She has got her own bitter recollections, her own combat scars. here is a record from her document that speaks for itself "1941-1945+ Front-line, artillery regiment medical instructor".

There are four apartments on the floor where the Sorikins live, four quite identical doors differ only in apartment numbers and quantity of bells. When I left the apartment I turned to the doors and imagined a plate engraved with the well-known line from a post-war song. "Here lives the family of a Russian Hero.." This would be the right and just place to put it.

Postscript:

For a collector living so far from his beloved city of Leningrad, in 1999, when I acquired this brave man's medal, I wondered where he is now, if he is alive, and why he parted with his cherished award. I am now the custodian of an award that is a one of a kind for an officer of the rank of Sorokin held when he was awarded this medal of valor. I will proudly care for it as did Mikhail Sorokin did for so many years. I hope the next custodian of this medal will feel as equally proud to have it and tell the story of this brave warrior of yesteryear.

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Old 07-06-2002, 02:28 AM   #7
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Great post W.C., it reads like a movie, but this is real..

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Old 07-28-2002, 12:08 AM   #8
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ADDENDUM TO MY REPORT

I was filing some data and came across another researched award that I mention in my initial report and that being the Order of the Red Star. Lieutenant Sorokin was company commander of a Machine-gun company, 1285th rifle regiment, 60th Sevsk rifle Division of the 4th Army on April 7, 1944. During the fight for the town of Kovel', Volyn' Region Sorokin bravely commanded his platoon despite heavy enemy machine-gun fire. While repelling the enemy counterattack he brought upon the enemy accurate machine-gun fire thus inflicting on teh enemy infantry heavy losses in personnel. When the enemy broke into our trenches Sorokin fired his rifle point-blank and eliminated eleven Germans thus facilitating the repulsing of the enemy counterattack.

Decree #064 of the 60th Sevsk Rifle Division, 47th Army dated 4-20-1944 reads:

On behalf of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR to award following person for exemplary completion of the combat tasks of command on the front of struggle against German invaders and for valor and bravery shown in the course of action, with the Order of the Red Star to Junior Lieutenant Mikhail Mikhaylovich Sorokin, machine-gun platoon commander, 1285th Rifle regiment.
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Old 07-28-2002, 09:44 AM   #9
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W.C., more great stories..thanks! Now that's what I call earning an Order of the Red Star! Would you mind posting the serial numbers of his Order of the Red Banner and his Order of the Red Star? I don't know about anyone else, but I would like to see what serial number ranges his awards fall in.

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Old 07-28-2002, 02:10 PM   #10
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REGRETFULLY NO NUMBERS

Unfortunately, all I have are copies and translations of his award commendation for the Order of The Red Star. I have nothing on his Order of The Red Banner.
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