Saturday, 16 May 2015

Close Combat

"Award Order
  1. Name: Sergeev, Mikhail Yegorovich
  2. Rank: Red Armyman
  3. Position, unit: 57 mm gun loader, 3rd Motorized Infantry Battalion, 44th Polotsk Motorized Infantry Brigade
    is nominated for the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
  4. Year of birth: 1924
  5. Nationality: Russian
  6. Party affiliation: none
  7. Participation in the Civil War or subsequent actions in defense of the USSR: participant in the Patriotic War since August 1944
  8. Wounds or concussions in the Patriotic War; none
  9. In the Red Army since: April 1944
  10. Recruited by: Krivoy Rog recruitment office, Dnepropetrovks oblast
  11. Prior awards: none

Brief and specific description of heroism or achievements: On August 18th, 1944, the battalion received a task to stop a German offensive along the highway to Šiauliai, near Kosciuki. At dawn, the battalion moved out under the cover of machinegun and artillery fire. The 57 mm gun took up a position near the cemetery, north-west of Kosciuki, and supported the advance of the 8th infantry company with fire. The enemy, having discovered our forces moving to an important road, attacked with motorized infantry. The artillerymen destroyed upcoming vehicles at close range and scattered enemy infantry. Under the deadly fire of the brave artillerymen, the enemy retreated in panic, taking heavy losses in men and vehicles.

On August 19th, 1944, the enemy pulled up reserves and tanks and renewed their fierce attacks. 8th infantry company was attacked by up to 18 tanks and a battalion of infantry, aiming to reach the highway and hit the flank of the neighbouring battalion.

Red Armyman Sergeev, a loader, received an order from his commander to let the tanks come close and then fire, to ensure that not a single German tank could break through or return. Comrade Sergeev fulfilled his commander's order with distinction, replying "The order will be carried out, as long as any one of us lives, the fascist bastards will not pass." When tanks approached to 100-150 meters, the commander ordered "For the Motherland, for Stalin! Directly at the German tanks, fire!" Gunner Pisarenko knocked out 4 tanks, but he was wounded. He was replaced with breech operator Vydrenko, but he was blinded by an explosion. Then, comrade Sergeev took the gunner's position. Tanks were coming directly at the gun, but he did not falter, and knocked out a Panther tank at 50 meters. The Germans did not cease their attacks and kept coming. A direct hit from a Ferdinand knocked out the gun, but the heroic artillerymen did not leave their positions. As three tanks headed towards them, the commander yelled "Ready grenades!". The gun crew prepared their grenades and, with tanks were 15 meters away, yelling "you bastards won't get past us" pelted the tanks with grenades. An eighth tank with its crew met its end, the rest turned back. Segreev took out his submachinegun and shot up the Germans running in panic. The Germans, choking on fire and blood, rolled back, taking heavy losses in men and vehicles.

For his heroism, private Mikhail Yegorovich Sergeev is worthy of the highest reward of the Motherland: the title of Hero of the Soviet Union."

CAMD RF 33-793756-43

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