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February 19, 2012 at 12:21 am #12285
This is my first WWII Soviet group and already my favorite. It includes the Victory Over Germany and Liberation of Prague Medals with a Guards badge – All with issuing documents, even the Guards badge!
Awarded to Gds. Jr. Sgt. Mikhail Yakovlavech Demkov, 173rd Guards Rifle Regiment, 58th Guards Rifle Division, 34th Rifle Corps, 5th Guards Army, 1st Ukrainian Front.
There is an attractive looking large citation from the 1st Ukrainian Front awarded to Demkov, citing his service with the Front, and the battles which the Front fought in. From his records it appears he began service with the Front in the summer of 1944 which would be in line with the Vistula-Oder operations I believe. The citation is signed by Marshal Konev (don’t believe it is actually in ink though).
Also included are his ID booklet, three citation documents indicating service in various battles throughout the Silesian operations in Poland, Germany and the liberation of Prague, and finally his 1985 OPW 2nd Class award book (no badge unfortunately).
There is much to research, I translated most of the documents using my computers word program and an online translator, took some time but worked quite well. Still trying to translate the cursive Cyrillic from his ID booklet (in small ink writing) but have some words figured out.
He was born in 1912 but his records only show his service from Jan 44 with the 140th Rifle Regiment, he was wounded on 21 Feb 44 presumably fighting in Krivoi Rog (unconfirmed but lines up as the 140th was under the 8th Gds Army who served in this operation during that time).
I was surprised also to discover that the 173rd Rifle Regt was the unit that met Lt. Robertson’s patrol (US 69th Div, V Corps, 1st Army) in Torgau on 25 Apr 45, the historic link up of West and East at the end of the War. I think it is safe to say Jr. Sgt. Demkov was in the vicinity of Torgau and may have even participated in the festivities with the Americans that followed, very exciting and fascinating research and much more to do!February 19, 2012 at 12:25 am #15609
Here are a few photos from his ID booklet with his picture. They state his birthplace, wounds, and awards. If anyone is able to translate the cursive that would be very appreciated, especially what his wounds were and the word above his VOG and Prague Medals (has and !) Thank you.February 19, 2012 at 12:30 am #15610
The 1st Ukrainian Front Citation reads:
Guards Junior Sergeant Mikhail Yakovlevich Demkov
Dear Comrade! The Great Patriotic War [has] victoriously completed. [The] Red Army [fought] in fierce battles against the Nazi invaders to defend the honor, freedom and independence of our Motherland, providing millions of people the opportunity of life at the front again to return to peaceful creative labor. You return home with a VICTORY.
In the grim years of war, you honestly fulfilled your patriotic duty – adequately served in the army of [the] valiant First Ukrainian Front, and deserve your feats of arms the universal love of our people.
The banners of military glory of the First Ukrainian Front forces recorded outstanding historic victory. They defeated the powerful blows of the enemy in the middle reaches of [the River] DON, [after the] Nazis inflicted unprecedented damage in the area of the Kursk Bulge, [they] heroically crossed the DNIEPER RIVER [and] liberated from Nazi occupation the ancient Russian city – the capital of Soviet Ukraine – KIEV.
Swiftly advancing, surrounding and destroying [a] large enemy group in the Ukraine, [they] liberated the cities of – ZHITOMYR (UKR, former HQ for Himmler in Ukraine), EXACTLY, PROSKUROV (UKR, later named Khmelnytskyi in 1954), VINNYTSIA (UKR, Site of 1937-38 Massacre by Stalin’s NKVD and Former Eastern-most Front HQ of Adolf Hitler), KAMENETS-PODOLSKY (UKR, Hube’s Pocket), KOVEL (POL, later UKR, fighting 5th SS Panzer Viking Div), TERNOPIL (POL/UKR), CHERNIVTSI (UKR), STANISLAU (UKR, later named Ivano-Frankivsk) DROHOBYCH (UKR), and LVIV (UKR).
With fierce fighting taking place in the south of Poland, crossing the Rivers SAN and the VISTULA, [they] liberated the second Polish capital city of KRAKOW and the most important industrial region of Upper Silesia.
Storming into Germany – the facist beast’s lair, [they] crossed the Rivers ODER, NEISSE (173rd crossed 16 April, 1945), SPREE and went out to the River ELBE in Germany to join forces with our Allies. (3rd PL, 6th Coy (Sr. Lt. Grigori Goloborodko) of the 2nd Bn, 175th Gds Rifles under Lt. Col Alexander Gordeyev, 58th Gds. Div (Maj. Gen Rusakov), 34th Rifle Corps, 5 Gds Army met a U.S. patrol (Lt. Kotzebue) from a Bn of the 273rd Inf Regt, 69th Div, V Corps, 1st Army (Lt. Gen. Hodges) near Strehla during the day on April 25th 1945. The second meeting was later that day between the 2nd Bn, 173rd Guards Rifles (Lt. Silvashko) who sighted the Americans (Lt. Robertson’s patrol) waving a flag in the belfry of Hartenfels Castle in Torgau – the historic rendevous of Soviet and American troops.)
Together with the valiant troops of the First Belorussian Front [they] routed the Germans, the Berlin group and raised the flag of victory over Berlin. (The 173rd/58th/5 Gds Army had pushed west while other forces of the 1st Ukrainian pushed north into Berlin around April 19th so Jr. Sgt Demkov did not receive a Capture of Berlin Medal but would very likely have been in the vicinity of the historic East-West meeting at Torgau on the 25th.)
[With] shattering blows, destroying the remnants of enemy troops [they] occupied the city of Dresden and completing the final defeat of Nazi Germany freed the capital of our ally, Czechoslovakia – Prague.
Seventy-four [mentions] of gratitude [have been] announced in his Order of the Day – The Great Stalin [to] troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front for excellent fighting.
I am confident that the infinite love of the Soviet Motherland, inspired you in the Great Patriotic War, will be an inexhaustible source of your labor feats in the days of peaceful labor.
Many thanks for excellent service in the armed forces of the front I wish you health and success at the front of the peace for the benefit of socialist labor and happiness of our country, in the name of the great ideas of Lenin – Stalin.
Signed – Commander of the Troops of the First Ukrainian Front, Marshal of the Soviet Union I. KONEV
– A Member of the Military Council of the Front, Lieutenant-General K. KRAYNYUKOV
– Front Chief of Staff Army General I. PETROV – July 1945
post-12138-0-66564300-1327184175.jpgJanuary 14, 2015 at 10:36 pm #17408docParticipant
I really like the documentation of this group. Great find!!! It shows that even medal only groups can yield a wealth of information.
DocJanuary 15, 2015 at 2:44 am #17411
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