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Hero of the Soviet Union statistics.

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe February 1943 to End of War' started by C.Evans, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. IRu

    IRu Member

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    November 4, in Russia, a new film about the WWII came to hire– «Brest Fortress». One of the main characters of this film is Major Gavrilov. This is a real character. I would like to tell about this amazing man and his feats in more detail.
    June 21, 1941 Major Gavrilov was the commander of 44 Regiment, 42 th Infantry Division. This regiment was placed inside the Brest fortress. As far as I know, the use of the fortress, as defensive structures, are not planned. Therefore, at the time of the invasion, June 22, the fort was no unified command. There were scattered military units from the company to a regiment. There were lived family of the officers and also - a military hospital. The troops inside the fort housed a very crowded (there were 7-8 thousand people). And all this were for a few hundred meters from the German troops.
    Therefore, when the 3.15 am, June 22, the shelling started, just killed many people and started panic and confusion. Among the few people who could organize a defense was the major Gavrilov. I must say that the defense was not centralized, and there were several individual pockets of resistance. One of them was a detachment of Major Gavrilov (about 400 people).
    Under the plan the German command, the fortress was to be occupied at 12.00 on June 22. In fact, organized defense of Red Army soldiers continued until June 30. And the longest-organized defense was by a group of major Gavrilov. This is not surprising. Major Gavrilov finishing the Military Academy and was an experienced officer. Amazing happened after that.
    After the massive bombing and attacks on June 30 from Detachment Gavrilova left about 20 people. All of them took refuge in underground cellars. And then, without food, water, any news about the Red Army, during the day this group was hiding on the territory of the Brest fortress, and at night attacked the Germans and continued to cause them loss. After the fight on July 12 they left 3 people, but after July 15 - Gavrilov was left alone.
    Gavrilov was captured on July 28, at 37-day defense of the fortress.
    As far as I understand, the Germans estimated strength of a Russian officer and placed him in a military hospital (Gavrilov was unconscious).
    Next quote memories doctor who was treating of major Gavrilov:

    «He was in full captain's uniform, but all his clothes turned into rags, her face was covered with soot and dust, powder and overgrown beard. He was wounded, was unconscious and looked exhausted to the extreme. It was truly a skeleton covered with skin. To what extent has reached exhaustion, can be judged from the fact that the prisoner could not even make a swallowing motion: it was not enough to force it, and doctors had to use an artificial diet to save his life. But the German soldiers who took him prisoner and brought to the camp, told doctors that the man, whose body has barely warmth of life, just an hour ago, when they caught him in one of the casemates of the fortress, let alone met with they fight, throwing grenades and firing his pistol and killed and wounded several Nazis»
    Yes, I certainly heard of the Japanese samurai, who was hiding on the Philippine island 29 years and continued to fight. It is worthy of respect. But it seems to me to make war on a 2-square miles of ruins of the fortress during 37 days, without food, water and any hope - is also a feat.
    In the film are his words, addressed to the remnants of his squad: I order you! As long as possible to stay alive! To destroy the enemy!
    Gavrilov survived in captivity. I have read his memoirs. One day after he was able to get up, he was taken out into the yard and put up against the wall. He thought that he was now shot. But the Germans began to photograph him. I think for them he was an unusual man.
    (I could not find these photos on the Internet. If someone came across - please post a link)
    He was released in 1945, restored to the rank and appointed Chief of the Japanese POW camp in the Far East (lucky that he was not shot or imprisoned in the GULAG - it was not unusual for those who have so long remained in German captivity)
    He did not think heroism about their actions in the castle. And it's not someone to write a petition for his award. None of his commanders did not remain alive.
    And only in 1956 after the Soviet historian Smirnov investigated and published data on the defense of the Brest Fortress, the Decree of 30 January 1957 he was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.
    Peter M. Gavrilov died in Krasnodar, January 26, 1979. According to his testament, he was buried in Brest.
     
  2. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Hi IRu, I got them in this morning and that is one fantastic list. I look forward to going through all of them however long it takes. I owe you a favor bigtime and would like to eventually get to send you something for my thanks if interested? ;-))

    I replied through my email account so hopefully you will recieve it?

    Thanks again friend--Sincerely--Carl.
     
  3. IRu

    IRu Member

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    Hi Carl
    I'm glad I could help you. I got your message in the e-mail and also replied
    I wish you success in your important work
     
  4. IRu

    IRu Member

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    In the period from 22 June 1941 on 9 May 1945 there were only three cases where the title of Hero of the Soviet Union got all soldiers of one branch. The last such incident occurred in March 1944 during the liberation of the city Nikolayev (Ukraine).
    As conceived by the military command of the Red Army, in the rear of the German forces intended to land troops in order to create panic and divert attention and eliminate the possibility of escape through the sea port.
    For this purpose was established team of volunteers from 68 people. There were 55 Marines, 12 Red Army soldiers and one civilian man - a conductor. Commander of the detachment was first lieutenant Olshansky.
    On the night of March 26, a detachment approached the sea port in boats, landed on the shore. Neutralized port security, they took a perimeter defense in a big building.
    In the morning, finding this force, the Germans began to attack him. This small group Olshansky fought behind enemy lines just two days before the main forces came. 55 soldiers were killed. 13 members of the squad were wounded but survived.
    Until the end were Germans confident that led the fight with a large landing.
    Captive Oberleutnant Rudolf Schwarz testified:
    «Garrison Command of Nikolaev city was very concerned that such a short time was destroyed almost the entire battalion. We seemed incomprehensible how such a large Russian forces were in the port area.»
    On March 28 the city was liberated from German troops.

    There are two interesting points in this story.
    First - a willingness to sacrifice these people.
    There are specially-trained teams of saboteurs. I know that they live every day like the last one. They are taught this and prepare for death. This is the one-off people (I apologize for the cynicism - but it is). But the detachment Olshansky was not a specially trained saboteurs. They were simple soldiers - volunteers.
    And the second unfortunate point.
    When this feat was told Stalin, he was instructed to reward the whole squad the title Hero of the Soviet Union.
    But since this unit was created in haste, the names of some participants could not be established.
    Knowing that Stalin would not tolerate if its order is not executed, the front commander included in order to award the other 12 people. They, too, makes the feat, but in other places and they were not relevant to this case.

    It became known only after the war. In 1965, the title of Hero was awarded the civilian guide Andreev. Another 4 people could find by a historian - enthusiast from city of Nikolayev. The names of the others 8 real participants are still not known.
     
  5. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Cheers IRu/ this is outstanding to read. I can hardly wait to see what you can get on Sergeant Pavlov. An Australian author ive beein in touch with from time-to-time was toying with the idea of writing a book on 'Pavlovs House".
     
  6. IRu

    IRu Member

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    I think, everyone who is interested in the history of WWII knows or has heard about the Battle of Stalingrad.
    For Germans, the capture of Stalingrad and access to the Volga River meant to implement the plan Barbarossa and the end of the war.
    To the Russians, loss of Stalingrad meant the loss of the Caucasus. Plus, the emotional component: Stalingrad - a city of Stalin.
    I think you know what ended the battle. And I would like to tell you about one episode of this battle for the city of Stalingrad.
    The city is located on the west bank of the Volga River and stretches along it for about 50 miles. Its width is only 3 miles. Essentially there are three broad streets, stretched out along the river.
    In September 1942, the fighting was already in the city. There was not a front line at all. Since the fight was over each building, it was situations where were Russian and German in different parts of a same building. Such tactics (to keep closer to the Germans) Russian applied specifically to deny them the ability to apply air and artillery power.
    Thus, there was a next situation: One house was surrounded on three sides by buildings, where were the Germans. But they could not capture this house within 2 months.
    This house still exists now. It was rebuilt. It is called "Pavlov's house" because the official version is: Sgt Pavlov led the defense at home.
    For this feat, in June of 1945, Pavlov was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.
    Unfortunately it's not very fair. It is now well established as follows:
    Evening, September 27 of 1942, Sgt Pavlov has received order to investigate a 4-storey house, which stands at the center of a small area, and to specify how many Germans there. Pavlov and three other soldiers, in the dark, crept to the house. The room, which was located on the edge, they found civilians who have been told that the Germans in a nearby stairwell.
    Germans were few and Pavlov and his soldiers threw grenades at them. After that they decided to defend the house, so it had a good position. Day of Sept. 28 they repulsed several attacks by the enemy, and on the night of September 29, they received a support (help) - a platoon of lieutenant Afanasyev. And then, within 57 days, the house defended 25 people. Lieutenant Afanasiev was the led of them.
    At night they carried water and ammunition from the disposition of Russian troops. And the day they had fired on the Germans
    Interestingly, the observation point to the Soviet division was only 100 meters. And buildings, that are occupied by the Germans - 70 meters. And it lasted two months.

    The Germans were unable to reclaim the house. I found the information (not audited by me) that Field Marshal von Paulus, was captured, said during an interview: "Trying to seize the house, we lost more soldiers than the conquest of the whole of France."
    November, 25 the Russian offensive began. On this day they all went on the attack. Pavlov and Afanasyev were both wounded, were in the hospital and then continued the war in various parts. The fate of the others defenders has developed in different ways: some died, others survived until the end of the war. But they all received only the medal «For Defense of Stalingrad». Only Pavlov was awarded the title Hero. Why?
    Unfortunately, it worked propaganda here.
    At first, there was an article in the front-line newspaper (after first day of defense). The journalist called this house «Pavlov’s house». In December 1942, war-film documentary (military newsreels) was taken place fighting in Stalingrad. Before you shoot the Pavlov’s house, they wrote on it with paint, "This house is within 57 days was defended by Sergeant Pavlov."
    This film was watched by many, including Stalin. The inscription was clearly visible. Result: Pavlov was awarded the title of Hero. The rest - were offended. More than that. There are currently 23 names are carved house counsel. Two names are missing.
    Alex Suppa - after Stalingrad he fought on other fronts, he was captured, then became a collaborator.
    Garya Hoholov was kalmykian as a nationality. After the war, all of this nationality has been recognized as traitors and evicted from their land.
    Lieutenant Afanasyev during the war was wounded twice. After the war, because of the injury he was blind. In 1950 he, being blind, published the book "House of a soldier's glory," which described the defense of "Pavlov's house". For some time he lived in Borisoglebsk (city, where I was born too), then moved to Volgograd, where he died in 1975. During his life he was unable to disprove the myth that the house was defended only by Pavlov.
    Yakov Pavlov after the war he worked in the Communist Party, engaged in public work. He died in 1981.
    There are many more details on this episode of the war, but I think many of them are not interesting.
     
  7. IRu

    IRu Member

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  8. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Thank you for all of this IRU, as well as the Documentary. Thi s is some outstanding info and I am greatly appreciative of your efforts on it. I learned much that I had not known previously about Sgt Pavlov.

    Thanks again and take care-_Carl.
     
  9. IRu

    IRu Member

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    Some more interesting facts about the awards.
    Everyone knows that in addition to the immediate war in the trenches was still a secret war of spies and saboteurs on the one hand and counter-intelligence - on the other. In my opinion, this war (or rather one episode of it) was well shown in the book by Bogomolov "In August of 1944." There is a movie with the same title.
    So I would like to tell that the Germans, sending their scouts to the rear of the Soviet troops, was given special attention to awards and other ammunitions. Thanks to proper ammunitions can be lost in the crowd of other soldiers. And the awards were given trust and respect, and could be any pass (or ID). The Germans took the award for the prisoners and killed Russian soldiers and officers. On the Internet I found a reference to a spy, whose task was to organize the assassination of Stalin. So he had a real Order of Lenin and the real Star of Hero of the Soviet Union. But they are not always enough. Sometimes the Germans forged awards. And there had been incidents. For example.
    These real Russian orders and medals were made of silver, gold or platinum. The Germans made them out of brass and only the surface coated with silver. The result on the convexity of the order or medal was shown yellow.
    A fake Red Star, which was stamped by the Germans was made more serious mistake. There was a picture of soldiers in the short-boots, but at the real Order, he was in high boots:cool:.
    http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A4%D0%B0%D0%B9%D0%BB:ZV0053764.jpg
     
  10. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Hi Iru, im out of time to look today but will do so tomorrow. Thanks again for this extra bit. Take care-_Carl.
     
  11. IRu

    IRu Member

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    Lydia Litvyak, is entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the female pilot, having gotten the highest number of victories in aerial combat. Flew 168 sorties. Won 12 individual victories, plus 4 - in the group. Died Aug. 1, 1943. She was only 23 years old.
    Command wrote to the presentation of her to award her the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. But it was given only in 1990. The fact is her plane crashed into the territory occupied by the enemy. She was listed as missing. Researchers have found a place of her death in 1979. In 1988 this place was built a monument.
    Here more detail about her
    Lydia Litvyak - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Here is the photo of the monument and article by Henry Sakaida
    The Soviet Military Awards Page..The Memorial to Soviet Ace Lydia Litvyak 1/4
    Here is the link to a description on another forum
    female soviet fighter ace Lilya Litvyak, KIA on 01.08.43 - Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum
    Here is the photo
    Female Soviet Pilots of WWII
     
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  12. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Thanks IRu, and im taking this one as an early Christmas gift ;-))
     
  13. IRu

    IRu Member

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    During the existence of a title, «The Hero of the Soviet Union», 44 foreigners were awarded by it. Among them were five Germans. One of them was the spaceman from the German Democratic Republic, three others - German Communists - the Party members from GDR. Fifth award, Fritz Paul Shmenkel, received the HotSU for participation in hostilities during the WWII. This is very unusual. And this is the only case where a former member of the Wehrmacht crossed the Red Army and received the highest military award. Fritz's father, a worker, was killed during clashes Nazis and workers. I think, therefore Fritz hated the nationalist movement and sympathized with the Communists. In October 1941, he was the Eastern Front. In November 1941, he deserted and hided for a long time in a village in the Smolensk region. Then he joined with partisan unit.
    Naturally, at first, he was not trust. But over time he proved that moving to the Red Army was out of conviction. Thanks Fritz guerrillas carried out several successful operations. Germans learned that former Wehrmacht soldier fight as a partisan. A big reward announced on his head - 25000 marks and 2 months vacation. In June 1943, Fritz was sent to the school of spies. In December 1943, he was sent on a mission behind the German lines. But in January 1944, he was caught and executed by the Germans.
    Interestingly, that the Soviet propaganda knew former Wehrmacht soldiers fought as a partisan. But it did not use this case. At least very few people in Russia knew and knows about this Hero. I found two explanations for this. The first – there was not widely told about Fritz because he had relatives who remained in Germany. Gestapo could kill them. Second - in those years Communist propaganda drew just one way the Germans - is an enemy. Fritz did not fit into this image.
    In 1964, the KGB of Tver region investigated the case of the betrayal of a Russian man during the WWII. In that time was an accidentally discovered archive, telling about Fritz Shmenkele. After a further collection of materials about his actions as a partisan, it was decided to assign him the title of HotSU.
    There is a short article about him, in German: Fritz Schmenkel
     
  14. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Hi Iru, thank you for this and THIS is definately something I never knew happened or was even possible.
     
  15. IRu

    IRu Member

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    The first woman, who received the title of HotSU during the WWII, was Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya. Decree on her award (posthumously) was signed on February 16, 1942. Her feat was widely touted by Soviet propaganda. In Russia there are more than 20 of her monuments, 3 museums. It was filmed two movies, written books. Her name is given to two marine vessels, an asteroid, and streets in many cities. So I have decided to tell about her here.
    November 17, 1941 the Supreme Command issued an order number 428. It was a very cruel order. It was ordered to burn ALL the houses on the frontline of the territory occupied by the enemy. This meant death from the cold not only for the German soldiers, but civilians too. To carry out this order were recruited volunteers. Among them was Zoya. There were many such groups. They have almost no weapons, only bottles with gasoline. They crossed the front line and set fire to homes. Sometimes they burnt together with the residents. The Germans detained Zoe on November 28. After the torture she was hanged.
    There is a photo, which was found from dead German soldier. Inscription on the plate means – «the Arsonist». http://pohodd.ru/gal/v/Voennyj_albom/lyudi/200090925-zoya.jpg.html
    There is another version that she was detained not Germans, but civilians, when she set fire to their house. And they passed her on to the Germans. In the end, Zoya died. In official documents it was written that she had behaved bravely before his death and did not ask for mercy.
    I find, it hard to judge how much the value of her feat comparable with the honor, which was rendered to her. But that is another story of the nearly 12-thousand awarded the title of HotSU in this war. By the way, among them were only 90 women.
     
  16. IRu

    IRu Member

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    The beginning of war against Russia. The southern flank of Army Group "South". There were the 11th German and 3rd and 4th Romanian Army. Behind them was a strategically important area - ​​Ploiesti (oil). Apparently so, June 22 Hitler held the attack of the 11th German Army. Only the Romanian parts attacked there during the first days of war. Thanks to this, parts of the 9th Army (Read Army) were able to do a few offensive attacks and intelligence on the Romanian territory.
    Sgt. Durdy Kurban (Turkmen nationality) was a commander of rifle squad of 389 Infantry Regiment of 176 Infantry Division. He took part in one of them. June 26, his team, crossed the Prut River, explored the firing of the enemy and captured several POWs.
    June 27, Sgt. Durdy Kurban`s team were participated in the counterattack against the parts of the Wehrmacht.
    Next, I quote his awards list:
    "Sgt. Durdy Kurban with his team went on the attack three times and even though badly wounded - separation of the hand - picked up the severed hand under his arm - once again went on the attack, after which the company`s commander stopped him and sent him to the medical unit."
    I can't imagine the reaction of the enemy when he was attacked a soldier running with a torn hand under his arm. In general, for this fight, he was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. And, I think, he deserved it.
    Here is photo of him http://www.warheroes.ru/hero/hero.asp?Hero_id=277


     
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  17. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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    Thanks for translating that story for us. I am sure there are many great stories from the Eastern Front that we will never know.
    RK
     
  18. IRu

    IRu Member

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    Thanks, rkline56
    Sometimes it is very interesting to investigate the circumstances in which the feat was accomplished. The fact that the lists of Heroes, published for the public, contain only a general description and they are not always accurate. So I try to find the documents that show the situation from several sides. I will definitely continue to write about other interesting feats of Russian soldiers.
     

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