Wednesday 15 January 2020


"Award Order

  1. Name: Gryazev, Vasiliy Fyodorovich
  2. Rank: Guards Sergeant
  3. Position, unit: gunner in an M4A2 tank, 1st tank battalion 5th Guards Tank Brigade
    Is nominated for the Order of the Red Star.

  4. Year of birth: 1920
  5. Nationality: Russian
  6. In the Red Army since: 1941
  7. Party affiliation: VKP(b) candidate
  8. In the Patriotic War since: May-August 1943 near Krymsyaka, North Caucasus Front
  9. Prior awards: "For Courage" medal on May 10th, 1943 order #518 of the 5th Guards Tank Brigade
  10. Recruited by: Penza recruitment office
Comrade Gryazev showed courage and creativity in battle against German fascism.

In combat on August 8th, 1943, the tank in which comrade Gryazev served as a gunner burst into the Gornovesyeliy homestead past the enemy trenches, killing the enemy with fire and tracks. One shot destroyed a dugout with 9 Germans.

The tank destroyed a gun in a short duel, but it was knocked out and burned. The sergeant was surrounded and without a weapon. Comrade Gryazev picked up a clump of dirt and pretended to throw it at the Germans in the trench, and as soon as they ducked down he jumped over the trench and left the battlefield with 8 bullet wounds and 8 shrapnel wounds.

For courage and bravery displayed in battle against German occupants, he is worthy of the state award of the Order of the Red Star.

Commander of the 1st battalion, 5th Guards Tank Brigade, Guards Major Kuprianov
August 14th, 1943"


  1. That's another place where I putting linkage to interesting Soviet document. That's document from 5th guard Tank Army, losses from 17.01.1945 to 31.01.1945. On second page (lower part of second page) we hava data about tank losses. First (from left) column that's tank models. Next that's number of burned tanks. Next number of tanks knocked out, but not burned. Next number of tanks defeat by land mines. According document, for 124 T-34 tank losses, 68 tanks burned. That's 55%. For comparision, for 38 M4A2 Sherman tank losses, 28 tanks burned (74%). And for IS-2, 3 lossed tanks, 2 burned (67%).

    1. That ratio of burned-out tanks is higher than I expected (I am thinking that 'burned-out' is synonymous with 'irrecoverable'; correct me if wrong).

      Could that be due to a higher fraction of tanks being lost to Panzerfausts--or similarly---as the fighting moved into Germany and into more forested or built-up terrain where engagement ranges dropped, to tanks being lost to anti-tank gunfire by being hit (ie., ambushed) at very close ranges?

      I recall I have seen data saying that an increasingly high number of T-34s were being lost after a single hit during 1945. Usually that is cited by those arguing that the T-34 was lacking, but an equally plausible reason is just that in such built-up terrain with limited visibilities, a larger and larger fraction of T-34s are being ambushed and destroyed at near point-blank ranges as compared to, say, 1944.

    2. The 229th Tank Regiment equipped with Shermans complained that they lost a lot of tanks from HEAT-caused ammo explosions. This was most likely from 75 mm HEAT rather than Panzerfausts, however.

    3. @Stewart Millen- term "сгориело/sgorielo" mean "burned", and propably that's irrecoverable losses. BTW: I forgot about information about that last column: term "vsiego" mean "everything".

      I must add that in my opinion high Sherman tank burned tanks ratio is pretty strange for me- that's data from 1945, at least some Shermans propably use wet ammo stowage, but Sherman still have high burned tanks rate. In my opinion that's mean that main ammo rack inside sponsons (dry M4s stowage system) don't be a good idea. BTW: this document show that common opinion about M4 have some conotations with reality.

    4. Sponson racks are great for accessibility and carrying capacity; rather less so for safety as penetrating flank shots have a hard time NOT hitting the shells... At least the Americans eventually took steps to rectify the issue, unlike the Germans who used the same arrangement and never lifted a finger to deal with the similarly high burnout rates of their cans.

      Anyways, wet stowage was only introduced into production models in early '44 and naturally took rather longer to reach frontline Soviet units so large portion of the kit, and duly losses, of the unit ought to have been older variants.

      And fighting in "close" terrain definitely ought to have been pushing the rates up on all sides - be it concealed guns or various man-portable weapons surprise flank shots get altogether easier to pull off in such circumstances, and there's more opportunities to spare a moment to ensure the KO'd tank won't be recoverable later either if necessary.

  2. Surely that Year of Birth figure can't be accurate? I don't see any reason to have someone in the Red Army when they're 12 months old, nor would I expect most 13 year olds to be capable of such actions as described here.