Monday 19 October 2015

Panther Hero

I didn't know it at the time of writing this article, but it turns out that the guy who captured and used the Panther received a Hero of the Soviet Union for his efforts!

"Award Order
  1. Name: Firsov, Nikolai Aleksandrovich
  2. Rank: Senior Technical Lieutenant
  3. Position, unit: tank squadron commander, 198th Tank Regiment, 6th Guards Cavalry Division
    is nominated for the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
  4. Year of birth: 1922
  5. Nationality: Russian
  6. Party affiliation: VKP(b) member since 1943
  7. Participation in the Civil War, subsequent combat action in defense of the USSR, Patriotic War: Stalingrad Front from August 23rd, 1942 to September 26th, 1942, Kalinin Front from August 14th, 1943 to September 5th, 1943, First Baltic Front from September 5th, 1943 to February 25th, 1944, Second Baltic Front from February 25th, 1944 to June 11th, 1944, Third Belarussian from June 11th, 1944 to present.
  8. Wounds or concussions in the Patriotic War: none
  9. In the Red Army since: October 1940
  10. Recruited by: Fatezh recruitment office, Kursk oblast
  11. Previous awards: Order of the Red Star (order of the 6th Guards Cavalry Division #19/N on December 9th, 1943), "Defense of Stalingrad" medal.
Brief and specific description of heroism or achievements: On June 25th, 1944, Firsov's squadron was ordered to penetrate enemy defenses in the vicinity of the Cherv. Lug village in order to provide a breakthrough for the division. While fulfilling these orders, Firsov's tanks encountered an organized defense with a large amount of enemy firepower, and a fierce battle ensued. Three anti-tank gun batteries were firing on the deployed squadron. Dense mortar fire resulted in tank riders dismounting. Leading the attack, comrade Firsov was the first to burst into the settlement, crushed three guns, forcing the rest of the gun crews to flee and making a path for cavalry that was waiting for his signal. Continuing his pursuit of the retreating enemy, comrade Firsov was cut off from the rest of his squadron near Guta village when he crossed a bridge which was then destroyed by an enemy shell. Firsov ended up in front of an enemy tank ambush, which opened fire. The commander entered into a duel with five German tanks. Skilfully maneuvering and shooting, comrade Firsov destroyed one German tank. The result of the battle with a numerically superior enemy was decided by tenacity and heroism. Retreating to cover, comrade Firsov reversed the roles: the German tanks were now attacking, and he was shooting from cover. The battle lasted for over two hours. As a result, three knocked out German tanks remained on the battlefield, the rest fled. A Panther tank was captured in this battle, and comrade Firsov's tankers quickly learned to use it and repaired it. The tank marched for over 600 km, participated in all of the regiment's battles, and dealt significant damage to the enemy. Continuing his mission, comrade Firsov's squadron assisted in rapid capture of Buda, Nereysha and Kureysha. Penetrating deep into the enemy's rear, near Aleksinichi village, he completed an encirclement of an enemy group. While defending against the breakout attempts on July 26th, 27th, and 28th in deep swampy forests comrade Firsov captured the Mikhashuvka settlement and climbed height 133.1 in the enemy rear, causing panic. The tank squadron kept moving and penetrated into the rear of two well entrenched infantry battalions near height 132.4 and Krulevo Voda forestry district. Partially destroying and scattering the enemy, comrade Firsov allowed the 25th Guards Cavalry Regiment to capture the forest and reach the region of Narny Brud. 

In all aforementioned battles, Senior Technical Lieutenant comrade Firsov completed his orders with honour, risking his life. Comrade Firsov's crew destroyed 1 Panther tank, 4 PzIV tanks, 17 cannons, 27 mortars, 32 cars, 180 enemy soldiers and officers.

For courage, heroism, and personal initiative in battle, comrade Firsov is worthy of the highest government award, the title of Hero of the Soviet Union."

CAMD RF 33-793756-50


  1. Lost souls of 14 241 000 Soviet soldiers should be no reason to be proud of?

    “We established the number of irreplaceable losses of our Armed Forces at the time of the Great Patriotic War of about 13,850,000.[40] A more recent compilation made in March 2008 of the individuals listed in the card files puts total dead and missing at 14,241,000 (13,271,269 enlisted men and 970,000 officers)[41] This database is incomplete and does not include all men killed in the war; currently graves registration teams in Russia are identifying war dead that are not currently included in the database”
    Sergey Aleksandrovich Il’enkov – Graduated from the Kalinnin Suvorov Military Academy, the Higher Military Academy, the Moscow State Historical-Archival Institute. Assistant chief for scientific work of the Central Archives of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. Co author of many scientific works on the history of the Great Patriotic War.
    Voennno-Istoricheskiy Arkhiv
    No. 7(22), 2001, pp. 73-80″

    1. Yes, thank you, I can see when comments are posted, no reason to spam this everywhere. I don't see what the total loss of life has to do with this one award order. Also if you actually bother reading Krivosheev's book instead of plucking out individual figures with no context, you will find that the losses were comparable to Germany+its allies on the Eastern Front.