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Red/Soviet Army Award Groups Award Groups of Red/Soviet Army Personnel of the Great Patriotic War, Cold War and other conflicts.

 
 
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Old 11-01-2011, 02:01 PM   #1
medals73
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Prohvatilov, Semen Petrovich, T-34 Company Commander, 5th Guards Tank Division

An interesting researched/documented group.

-- Red Banner -- 428547
-- OPW 1 (1985) -- 2342739
-- OPW 2 -- 2714487
-- Red Star -- 2933147
-- Combat Service Medal -- 3056309

As written up by a previous custodian, summarising the research:

Quote:
He joined the Red Army in February 1934, and trained until October 1934 to become a mechanic-driver on a T-26 tank. In 1935, he commanded his own T-26, and in 1938, he was commissioned as a tank officer. He took command of a tank company in the 29th Light Tank Brigade, and during that time fought in Finland as a T-26 tank company commander.

When the war broke out, he was commanding a heavy tank company in the 43rd Tank Regiment, 22nd Tank Division. Interestingly, even though it was classified as "heavy", the division was only armed with 235 T-26 tanks - the same tank as the "Light Tank Brigade" above!

The Division had the unlucky distinction of being DIRECTLY on the border on 22 June 1941, and when the German artillery barrage that began Operation Barbarossa began, they were attacked while still in their barracks!

Most of the artillery for the division was captured immediately by the attacking Germans of Guderian's 2nd Panzer Group, never having a chance to fire. The infantry dispersed into the Pripet marshes, leaving the tanks to operate on their own. By 1000 on 22 June 1941, the Division had lost 175 tanks, with only 60 remaining operational!

On 19 July 1941, the remnants of the unit were trapped in the Minsk encirclement and were destroyed. Our Lieutenant managed to escape, however, and made it back to Soviet lines. What's the good Soviet thing to do with escaped troops? Send them to the Stalingrad Tank School! Here, he commanded a company of motorized tractors (perhaps for artillery?) and later commanded a company of officer candidates all the way until July 1943.

For two months, he commanded a T-34 tank company in the 2nd Reserve Tank Regiment, and finally took them out into combat on 18 September 1943. Unfortunately, fate would deal it's evil hand again and less than a month later, outside of Poltava, he was heavily wounded on 12 October 1943. Because of the wound, he remained in hospital until March 1944, when he was then transfered to become a student at the Leningrad Highest Officer Tank School. Continuing his education he then transfered to the 1st Officer Tank and Motor Vehicle Training Regiment of the Red Army from October to December 1944.

Why send someone highly trained back out to the front, when you can make him guard the HQ? That's exactly what happened next... He was sent to be the Deputy Battalion Commander in the 201st Tank Brigade. Though the 201st was carried as an active unit on paper, it was in reality a training unit for the Moscow Military District, and it remained east of Moscow until Victory Day in May 1945.

During this time, he qualified for his 10-year For Military Merit medal, which was awarded in March 1945. As you can tell from the tone of the citation, he was THRILLED to be at the unit...

Was assigned to the Brigade as the deputy Tank Battalion Commander on 9 December 1944. At that time, he displayed discipline and knowledge of tactics. However, he now fails to exhibit any initiative in his activities even notwithstanding the low level of discipline in the battalion as well as cases of breaching military discipline by the officers as well as by the NCOs (enlisted). The procedures for standing guard in the battalion, for which he is personally responsible, are not in order.

Morally stable. Has authority with his personnel. Does not require re-training.

Conclusion: With some assistance he will be successful in the deputy Tank Battalion commander position. For the continued service in the Red Army deserves to be awarded 'For Military Merit' Medal.


Though the writing of the citation is relatively adverse (the first adverse one I've ever seen!) my translator says that the tone of the citation isn't that bad, as they put it - if it were truly adverse, our Lieutenant would have been sent to the Gulag instead of given a medal!

Interestingly, he was a participant in the Victory Parade in Moscow [hardbacked red document], as undoubtedly his unit was as "spit and polish" as they came!

Things sped up a little with the start of the War against Japan though and in August 1945 the unit fought against the Japanese for the short battles on the "other" front.

The War ended, but not the career of our unhappy Lieutenant (note that he's been a Junior and Senior Lieutenant since 1938!) and through a unit transfer wound up in the 21st Tank Regiment, who apparently had a bit of pity on him. Two years after the end of the War, they nominated him for a Red Star, which then became a Patriotic War 2nd Class. Interestingly, this is NOT a delayed citation, but an actual citation written well after the end of the War!

Comrade Prokvatilov, since assigned to the position has showed himself as a disciplined, skilled, exacting officer with good initiative. He is serious and conscientious in relation to his official duties, pays much attention the well being and political {position} of the battalion personnel, and supervises maintenance of the unit’s materiel and weapons.

He has fought against the Finnish invaders, in the Patriotic War and war with the Japanese. He repeatedly displayed courage and bravery in combat; his right hip was severely wounded during a bombing in the town of Poltava, when he was assigned as the Tank Company Commander with the 41 Guards Tank Corps.

For his displayed courage and bravery, having been severely wounded in the battle for the Soviet Motherland and having no governmental awards for combat honors, he deserves to be awarded the governmental award – the Order of the Red Star.


I don't know what happened to him following this. By 1955, he was a Major and was in command of a tank battalion in the 42nd Guards Tank Regiment. I would not be surprised if he was retired as a Major in 1958 having put in 20 years commissioned service. He was awarded a Red Star for long service in 1950, and a Red Banner for 20 years in 1954. He never received a long service medal, which he would have received in 1959 had he still been in the service.
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Last edited by medals73; 11-01-2011 at 02:04 PM.
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