Vasily Ivanovich Kostev - Face To Face with The Enemy

resistanceunit
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Vasily Ivanovich Kostev - Face To Face with The Enemy

Postby resistanceunit » Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:49 pm

A few years ago I bought a battered Soviet medal "For Courage" from a guy on the WAF. He was a mainly a collector / dealer of Third Reich militaria, and so like many didn't see any value in soviet awards. I picked up this piece for $2..


A little on the medal, i know Paul has shown one of these, its buried in the medal forum, but said little on the background of them, so here's a quick overview from the web

The Medal "For Courage" was created by the decision of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on October 17, 1938. It was awarded to soldiers of the Soviet Army, Navy, border and internal troops and other citizens of the USSR, as well as to persons who are not citizens of the USSR, for personal courage and bravery displayed in battles against the enemies of the socialist fatherland, while protecting the state border of the USSR, during the performance of military duties in circumstances involving a risk to life.

The first three Medals for Courage were awarded only three days later to three border guards for acts of bravery during the Battle of Lake Khasan.

More than 4,2 million were awarded during WW2 (the Great patriotic War).

From its creation in 1938 to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, 4,569,893 medals were awarded, many posthumously.

It was possible for a soldier to earn more than one of these, it did not go up in grades like the Iron Cross. There were also several other higher awards for outstanding acts of Valour that could be earnt as well.

The design of the medal has pretty much remained a constant, although the style of suspension has changed.

Interestingly the medal is still awarded, being reinstated in 1994, although the CCCP text has been removed from the design.

More interesting is that being as the Soviet Union were the victors, precious material wasn't scarce after the war. The medal is made from solid 925 silver and is 37mm in diameter, weighing in at around 28 grams.

Even more interesting is that up until 1947, the medals were individually engraved with serial numbers tying them to a particular recipient, and due to the bureaucratic nature of the Soviet system it is still possible today to track down the individual records in the archives. Many of the wartime archives have also been digitised and put online for free, although you still need a name rather than a number for website searches, so to get the name you still need to employ the services of someone with access to the archive.

This medal is numbered 2623651.
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Last edited by resistanceunit on Sun Jul 22, 2018 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

resistanceunit
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Re: Vasily Ivanovich Kostev - Face To Face with The Enemy

Postby resistanceunit » Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:56 pm

Here are the scans from the wartime documents from the archives concerning the awarding of the medal as recieved from the researcher...
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resistanceunit
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Re: Vasily Ivanovich Kostev - Face To Face with The Enemy

Postby resistanceunit » Sun Jul 22, 2018 7:24 pm

This particular medal was awarded to Vasily Ivanovich Kostev.

Vasily was Ukrainian by birth, and had been drafted into the war quite late, in February 1945. He was just 21. His records indicate he worked on his own farm after the war, so whether he had been previously exempt from the war as a worker involved in the increased need for food production I do not know. He joins as a Private, an Infantry Rifleman in the 121st Rifle Regiment, part of the 4th Ukrainian Front.

The 4th Ukrainian Front spent the early part of 1945 fighting to retake Poland and Vasily is drafted in Krakow. The Front went on to spend the rest of the war fighting through Czechoslovakia, and it was here during the battle to take a small village where Vasily would earn his medal.


From the archive documents:

On April 25, 1945, during the fighting for the village of Branka, he audaciously and vigorously pushed forward, firing his rifle and killing one German. During this engagement he was wounded.

Its interesting to me, as towards the end of the war the number of medals given for acts of Bravery increased dramatically, with many Soviet commanders exagerating their tallies and the feats of their troops in order to impress Stalin. This one seems to stand in contrast to that. Two men, one death.


Thanks for reading. i hope this has given you an insight into the research potential of Soviet awards, and the stories they can tell. This is my first one to be researched, but i have a few others left to do..!

Christopher Ailsby
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Re: Vasily Ivanovich Kostev - Face To Face with The Enemy

Postby Christopher Ailsby » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:50 am

Thank you for a great post. I learn all the time.

Christopher

Tailgunnerdownunder
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Re: Vasily Ivanovich Kostev - Face To Face with The Enemy

Postby Tailgunnerdownunder » Tue Jul 24, 2018 2:17 pm

A great well researched thread and you are correct about Russian awards and their collectibility. Much underrated. Regards Mark

Dave_Holden
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Re: Vasily Ivanovich Kostev - Face To Face with The Enemy

Postby Dave_Holden » Wed Jul 25, 2018 4:17 am

Amazing research Mark, so much history from this one medal. Thank you for the time you have taken to put this great post together :thumbsup:

resistanceunit
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Re: Vasily Ivanovich Kostev - Face To Face with The Enemy

Postby resistanceunit » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:32 pm

Thanks guys..! Its also worth noting you can buy a intact Soviet medal for Courage, AND have a professional research it for about the same price as an EK2 :wink: To me its totally worth it to uncover these stories.

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