Thursday 25 December 2014


If you've seen the movie "Fury", you may remember a scene where the crew of the immobilized titular tank remains to repel a German assault. Complaints have been made that the scene wasn't particularly realistic, as the crew did not favourably position themselves properly before battle. Here's an award order for someone that handled a similar situation in a much better way.

"Award Order
  1. Name: Skvortsov, Aleksandr Egorovich.
  2. Rank: Guards Senior Lieutenant.
  3. Position and unit: Tank commander, 254th Tank Battalion, 50th Tank Brigade.
    Is recommended for the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
  4. Year of birth: 1919.
  5. Nationality: Russian.
  6. Party affiliation: VLKSM.
  7. Participation in the Civil War or subsequent combat in defense of the USSR: Participated in the Patriotic War from June 22nd, 1941 to August of 1941, then from January 1st 1943 to February 23rd, 1943.
  8. Wounds or concussions: wounded 3 times.
  9. In RKKA since: 1937.
  10. Commissioned at: Popov RVK, Kursk Oblast.
  11. Prior awards: Order of the Red Star.
  12. Permanent address of the awardee or family: Plobushnya village.
Brief and specific summary of heroism:

In battle against the German occupants, in the region of the Ocheretino village, comrade Skvortsov and his crew demonstrated examples of courage, bravery, and heroism. Comrade Skvortsov's T-34 tank ran for 308 hours of the required 225, but his engine was too worn out to go any further. Comrade Skvortsov was ordered to remain in place and watch for the enemy coming from Andreevka and Mihailovka. Upon the enemy's appearance, repel him with fire. After all ammunition has been expended, take the armament off the tank, destroy it, and escape with the crew.

On February 24th, 1943, the 110th Motorized Infantry Brigade of the 10th Tank Corps was retreating through Ocheretino. In order to cover their retreat, comrade Skvortsov remained in the tank with his gunner, Senior Sergeant Gnusarev. The driver, Starshina Luzin, was placed on top of a house with a submachinegun to watch for enemies, and the radio operator Lovanov was placed in ambush with the task of keeping infantry off the tank. Covering the retreat of the brigade, the heroic crew met the enemy with fire from the tank, submachinegun, and machinegun.

Over the course of an 8 hour long uneven battle, comrade Skvortsov destroyed 8 German tanks from his immobilized tank, 3 of which burned, one AT gun, 3 cars towing carriages and guns, 4 trucks of submachinegunners, and up to two infantry companies. Machinegunner comrade Lobanov destroyed up to 60 enemy infantrymen, driver comrade Luzin killed up to 10 infantrymen, while observing the enemy and correcting tank fire. He pointed out the AT gun firing at the tank to comrade Skvortsov, which was promptly destroyed. After 8 hours, when all ammunition was expended, comrade Skvortsov blew up the tank, took off the machinegun, and led his crew out to safety and reunion with the 10th Tank Corps.

Overall, fighting near Kramatorsk and Ocheretino from February 2nd to February 24th, 1943, comrade Skvortsov destroyed 11 tanks, 2 AT guns, 3 AT rifles, 3 75 mm guns, 3 SPGs, 15 cars, 5 observation points, 1 HQ, and up to 500 enemy infantrymen.

For exemplary completion of a battle objective and display of initiative, bravery, and courage, comrade Skvortsov is worthy of the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.

Commander of the 254th Tank Battalion, Major Berezin"

CAMD RF 33-793756-44

I am going to omit the next page of the award, which is just confirmations of his worthiness of the title from each level of command above him, up to the Award Commission of the People's Commissariat of Defense.

This document also contains a mention of the reliability of the T-34. I already have a record of T-34-85s pulling 250-300 engine-hours in 1945, but no figures from earlier in the war, until today. As you can see, Skvortsov's tank reached 300 engine-hours back in 1943, with an expectation of 225 engine-hours. The jump from 100 expected engine-hours in 1941 seems to have happened fairly quickly, and then remained this way for the rest of the war.


  1. Could you upload the document? Thanks!

  2. Nice.

    People keeps saying the Soviets weren't good fighters due to the fact that they lack heroic deeds, unlike the Germans (which, at this point were mostly overpropagated). Now I have one more story to throw at them. Keep up the good work.

    1. Wow, really? That's the first time I've ever heard that claim. Podvig Naroda does nothing else but scan in award orders, and the complete set of Heroes of the Soviet Union is available through torrents.

  3. Party affiliation?
    Why would that be of interest?

    1. The party loved trumpeting up heroic deeds done by party members in newspapers, in order to raise prestige. This addition made it easy for an editor to flip through a stack of orders and pick out some members and candidates of the party and affiliated organizations for his newspaper to write about.

  4. wow.......
    Nothing is impossible. really.
    the men who have a reason to fight can do everything.

  5. "After all ammunition has been expended, take the armament off the tank, destroy it, and escape with the crew."

    I can't help but read this as instructions to remove all of the weapons from the tank, including the main gun, and carry it with them as they retreat.

  6. "The party loved trumpeting up heroic deeds done by party members in newspapers, in order to raise prestige."

    So when the Germans did it, it was propaganda but when the Soviets do it, it's to "raise prestige". Just call a spade a spade.

    Hard to take this account of heroism without a pinch of salt considering this same blog is almost dedicated to demonstrating that you shouldn't believe everything a war-time totalitarian government reports.

  7. archives revisionism, all facts, no propanganda. but when germans claim something, oh boy...

    1. When the Germans claim something that is wrong, I prove that it is wrong. If you don't like what's written here, you are welcome to prove it wrong.