Tuesday 4 October 2016

Heroic IS-85 Commander

"Award Order
  1. Name: Prikhodtsev, Vasiliy Ivanovich
  2. Rank: Guards Lieutenant
  3. Position: Tank commander, 1st Independent Guards Tank Regiment of the Supreme Command Reserve
    is nominated for the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
  4. Year of birth: 1921
  5. Nationality: Russian
  6. Party affiliation: VKP(b) candidate since 1943
  7. Participation in the civil war, other combat actions in defense of the USSR, Patriotic War: did not participate, in the Patriotic War since June 22nd, 1941
  8. Wounds or concussions in the Patriotic War: wounded twice
  9. In the Red Army since: 1940
  10. Recruited by: Putivlinsk recruitment office, Sumskaya oblast
Brief and specific description of personal heroism or achievements: In offensive battles since March 4th of 1944, he demonstrated limitless devotion to the Motherland and heroism. In battle on March 29th, 1944, when attacking the enemy around Maryanovka village, he was hit by powerful fire from an anti-tank gun. It was well hidden in the village. Maneuvering under fire, he began careful observation. Soon he detected the gun and destroyed it with his tank's cannon. While fighting in the village, he noticed that the IS-85 tank next to him caught fire. He immediately directed his tank towards this tank and, ignoring enemy SMG fire, towed the burning tank to cover. Shells in the tank's ammunition rack stated to cook off, but comrade Prikhodtsev ignored all danger and personally put out the fire. Continuing the battle, the cleared the village of enemies, destroying a large amount of enemy personnel and materiel.

In battle on March 30th, 1944, during the capture of the Smotrichevsk-Sloboda village, an enemy anti-tank gun fired on our tanks and did not let them move forward. Comrade Prikhodtsev  decided to destroy it. Taking cover behind structures, he closed in. When there was no longer a way to move stealthily, he crushed the gun at full speed with its crew. The assault was so sudden that the Germans did not have time to shoot. The other Germans, seeing the fate of the gun crew, fled from the village.

In battle of March 31st, 1944, the tank burst into the Chernoye village and occupied it. In these battles, the tank received 12 penetrations but remained combat capable. From March 28th to March 31st of 1944, he destroyed over 200 soldiers and officers, 1 tank, burned a 150 mm SPG, 6 AT guns, over 15 machineguns, 3 mortars, and burned over 15 cars.

For heroism in battle against German invaders, he is worthy of the government award of the title of Hero of the Soviet Union."

CAMD RF 33-793756-38

The story with this award order is a little more complicated than usual. The commander of the armoured forced of the 1st Guards Army did not consider this feat worthy of the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, and forwarded the award order with a note "worthy of the Order of Lenin". Luckily for Prikhodtsev, the commander of the armoured forces of the 1st Ukrainian Front agreed with the original assessment and the hero received his title on May 24th, 1944.


  1. What appears curious to me is that "shells in the tanks ammunition rack started to cook off" -and the tanks commander (not even the loader) had enough time not only to survive but also to quench an ammunition fire. Sure this can be correct?

    If a shell cooks off, it explodes inside the tank, which for a 122mm shell will be lethal regardless of the efforts directed against it.

    If a cartridge cooks off, the burn will be slower but generate a lot of heat and overpressure, enough to lift the turret out of the hull or to set alight nearby cartridges. There is a small chance to stop the fire if You immediately either remove the cartridge or quench it, though it´s a matter of fractions of a second before it´s too late.

    Or alternatively, is MG ammo instead of "shells" ment instead?

    1. Only 85mm shells, not 122mm. Not every round is going to burst at once and it also depends on if it was a propellant charge, HE, or AP round that went off.