Thursday 21 January 2016

IS-2 Hero

"Award Order
  1. Name: Fedotov, Mikhail Alekseevich
  2. Rank: Guards Starshina
  3. Position, unit: IS tank commander, 86th Independent Guards Novozybkov Order of the REd Banner Heavy Tank Regiment
    is nominated for the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
  4. Year of birth: 1916
  5. Nationality: Russian
  6. Party affiliation: none
  7. Participation in the civil war, subsequent combat actions in defense of the USSR, Patriotic War: South-Western Front from February 3rd, 1942 to July 22nd, 1943, 2nd Belorussian Front since November 30th, 1944
  8. Wounds and concussions in the Patriotic War: heavily wounded on July 22nd, 1943, lightly wounded on February 14th, 1945, lightly wounded on March 27th, 1945.
  9. In the Red Army since: 1937
  10. Recruited by: Kaban recruitment office, Buryat-Mongolian ASSR
  11. Prior awards: "For Battle Merit" medal
Brief and specific description of combat heroism or achievements: In battle for the Emaus settlement on March 27th, 1945, comrade Fedotov was left alone when three enemy heavy Ferdinand SPGs surrounded Fedotov's tank and tried to destroy it. The situation was grim. There was only one solution: to fall back, but this would also mean that our infantry would fall back, and Fedotov decided to stand to the death. Launching a smoke grenade, the brave commander changed positions and knocked out a Ferdinand with two shots. When a second SPG approached to recover the wounded, Fedotov also knocked it out.

Wounded and left with only a loader, he continued the battle, destroying an APC. When shells ran out, he burst into an enemy mortar battery and crushed it with his tracks, killing the crew with grenades. The path for infantry was clear.

During battles in 1945, the heroic tanker destroyed 6 German tanks and SPGs, 11 guns, 2 mortar batteries, 3 APCs and about 100 Germans.

He is worthy of the title of Hero of the Soviet Union."

CAMD RF 33-793756-50

Since it was very common for any German tank destroyer to be called "Ferdinand", it is most likely that these "heavy SPGs" were actually Jagdpanthers.


  1. what is the "civil war" mentioned under 7? The invasion of Finland?

  2. That would be the invasion of the foreign armies in support of the white armies that where trying to overthrow the bolsheviks.

    lasted from 1917 until 1922.

    1. This guy was born in '16, he'd have been like *six years old* in '22 so kinda guessing that's not what it's referring to...

    2. It is referring to the Russian Civil War, I'm pretty sure the form for awards literally never changed. You still see the "did not serve in Tsarist army" stamp of approval in files of people born after 1917.

    3. "Red tape... red tape never changes."

  3. Perhaps he was part of a military band or something those used children.

    1. Likely his "participation" at so young an age was in some kind of non-combat role.

    2. Even back in the "musket fife and drum" times 6-year olds were too young period. If nothing else they were too small for the instruments.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. looked up a few citations in older posts: it must be part of the form.
    The actual service is the bit after the colon:
    Had forgotten how old-fashioned printed forms work ;-)
    So no little drummer boy, Piet.

  6. I totally blame the movie "fortress of war" for jumping to that conclusion.

  7. Another described action of one IS-2 when more than one shot was fired to destroy or knock, enemy tank or SPG, when all shots hit the target. This is highly in contrast to commonplace data about maximum aimed rate of fire of 3 RPM when this crew fought against three Jagdpanthers. Fedotov had cold head like steel of his tanks when instructing driver and gunner.

    1. "Another described action of one IS-2 when more than one shot was fired to destroy or knock, enemy tank or SPG, when all shots hit the target."

      To be honest, hard to say what occurred. We don't have any information about the ranges these battles happened, and it's moreover possible that Fedotov's first hit disabled the Jagdpather (the first hit could have inflicted significant damage to the gun or sight, or wounded the loader or gunner. If nothing else, on a turretless vehicle merely blowing off a track means its ability re-acquire a moving target becomes extremely limited).

      Fighting off three Jagdpanthers is impressive enough in my book. I don't think Fedotov's IS-2 won the battle because they outshot (in terms of ROF) the Jagdpanthers, I think they won because of skill, good luck, and that their IS-2 being more survivable than the Jagdpanthers. Even being hit by a 88/L71 didn't prove to be an automatic kill, apparently.

    2. Bigger suvivability is also given by smaller penetrable hitzones. PaK 43 can penetrate IS-2 model 1944 to the lower plate or to the 1,1 m wide front turret section from its total 2,3 m wide.