Tuesday 24 November 2015

Resilient Gunner

"Award Order
  1. Name: Unzhakov, Aleksei Fillipovich
  2. Rank: Senior Sergeant
  3. Position, unit: Gun commander, 1620th Light Artillery Regiment
    is nominated for the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
  4. Year of birth: 1923
  5. Nationality: Russian
  6. Party affiliation: VKP(b) member
  7. Participation in the Civil War and the Patriotic War (where, when): 1943: Bryansk, 2nd Baltic, 3rd Belorussian, 1st Baltic Fronts
  8. Wounds or concussions in the Patriotic War: one wound
  9. In the Red Army since: 1943
  10. Recruited by: Toboyansk recruitment office, Omsk oblast
  11. Prior awards: "For Performance in Battle", June 26th, 1944
Brief and specific description of heroism or achievements: On August 20th, 1944, near Bogachi village, the enemy attempted a large tank attack with the goal of penetrating the front. 52 German tanks were thrown at a region defended by only two artillery squadrons. 12 tanks headed for Sergeant Unzhakov's gun. They drove at full speed, firing from their guns and machineguns, tank riders firing their submachineguns. Sergeant Unzhakov kept up his crew's morale with jokes and words of encouragement, motivating them to stand to the death, unafraid of the enemy's superior numbers, preparing for the uneven fight. When the closest tank reached a range of 400 meters, the first shot knocked off its turret. The remaining tanks neared with every second, aiming to crush the brave men with their tracks. Unzhakov shot them up at point-blank range. One after another, a second, third, and fourth enemy tank burst into flames. The Germans wavered and turned back. SPGs supporting the enemy tank attack hit the gun. Unzhakov's gun was destroyed, the crew disabled, and he himself was wounded. In a few minutes, the Germans repeated their attack in greater numbers. This time there were 22 tanks, supported by a Ferdinand from the flank. Unzhakov, while wounded, saw a nearby gun that was functional, but its crew was dead. With all his will, the 21 year old Siberian crawled to the gun and opened fire, one man against many steel beasts. Losing blood, the heroic artilleryman destroyed two more tanks and an armoured car. The remaining enemy tanks, seeing that they are faced with powerful artillery fire, were forced to retreat. However, before they left, they dropped off their tank riders. 70-80 fascists were coming for Unzhakov. They split up into two groups, looking to flank him. With his last remaining shell, he dispersed one group, and fought with grenades and his submachinegun against the second until he was carried off by other artillerymen, unable to fight from blood loss. In a difficult and uneven battle with the enemy Senior Sergeant Unzhakov personally destroyed 4 Panther tanks, 2 medium tanks, 1 armoured car, and up to 50 fascists.

He is worthy of the title of Hero of the Soviet Union with the award of the Gold Star medal."

CAMD RF 33-793756-49

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