Red Banner for forcing Oder in Jan 1945

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Egorka
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Red Banner for forcing Oder in Jan 1945

Messaggio da Egorka » sab nov 05, 2016 9:44 pm

This is my first post on this forum, so hello everyone!
This forum was recommended to me by marcotk. Hello Marco! [hatt
Unfortunately I do not speak Italian, so the material will be in English.

You may recognise this order of red Banner #189449. It was advertised here previously. Now it has a new home, and I would like to share the research on this award and the veteran who received it.
This is one of those little gems and joys one can find being involved in phaleristics.

Please meet the cavalier: First Sergeant Nikolay Ivanovich Lihomanov, a SU-76 driver-mechanic of 1st troop, 1st squad, 8th SABR (Self-propelled Artillery BRigade), 5th Guard Army (as of Jan 1945).
N.I.Lihomanov distinguished himself by being in the first wave to establish one of the bridgeheads after forcing Oder river on 23/Jan/1945 at the end of the Vistula-Oder Offensive. Was involved in widtholding the bridgehead agains intensive German counterattacks in the following days.
Below are the photographs of N.I.Lihomanov and the crew of his self-propelled gun. Fotos are taken in February 1944 near town Vitebsk, i.e. a year before the described Oder forcing took place. Lihomanov survived the war and worked as head of tractor park at the agricultural farm. He was born 05/May/1919, and died in 1963 of tuberculosis.
Screen Shot 2016-10-08 at 14.11.27.png
Screen Shot 2016-10-08 at 14.12.37.png
BKZ 189449 back copy 2.jpg
BKZ 189449 front copy 2.jpg
Here is the citation for Lihomanov's order.
Originally he was recommended by the squad commander for the Order of Glory III class, which is a lower in rank award compare to Red Banner. This recomendation was approved by the Brigade commander Colonel Kochin (see his image below). But armour corp commander of 1st Ukrainian Front General Colonel General Novikov changed it and awarded Lihomanov with Red Banner, recognising significance of establishing bridgehead on the western bank of Oder river. Generally speaking, Lihomanov was a quite decorated service man considering his rank - he was not an officer.
Here comes the description of personal feat and merits form the citation:
First Sergeant N.I.Lihomanov is disciplined, brave and skilled mechanic-driver. His vehicle covered 1300km in battle conditions without a single mechanical failure since it was taken into service. Thanks to professional care taken, the engine is in perfect condition despite that it already has 185 machine hours.
During the offensive near village Chrzanów, Poland 12/Jan/1945 and in the later offensive advances, comrade Lihomanov skilfully maneuvering on the battlefield evaded enemy artillery fire and facilitated his crew with delivering direct fire at enemy position. During the offensive (remark: Vistula-Oder offensive) 12 - 23 January 1945, his crew destroyed 2 field cannons, one 85mm truck mounted AT gun with its supplies, 3 mortar positions, 1 heavy machine-gun position, and up to 25 enemy troops.
Comrade Lihomanov with the crew was the first to cross Oder 23/Jan/1945 near Dobern (remark: now Dobrzen, Poland) and entered the battle on the western bank. There his self propelled gun destroyed 1 personal carrier and unto 15 troops
Recommend First Sergeant Lihomanov for the state Order of Glory III class. Commander of the 1st artillery squad, Captain Postnikov.
citation BKZ 189449 part 1.jpg
citation BKZ 189449 part 2.jpg
The events on 23/Jan were taking place at the end of the Vistula-Oder Offensive operation, in which in a little over two weeks, the Red Army advanced 500km from the Vistula to the Oder. It was essential to secure bridgeheads on the western banks of Oder to secure further course of offensive.
Theoverview map of Vistula-Oder offensive. The path of 5th Guard Army is marked as well as the bridgehead location.
map 4.jpg
Bridgehead capture diagram based on the 8 SABR and 34 Guard Rifle Regiment report (incl. the battle report by 178th Guard Rifle Regiment). The SPGs were tactically attached to this 178 Gv.SP and followed it's advance.
bridgehead copy.jpg
The view across Oder at the bridgehead location, where the SPGs grossed Oder river together with 178th Gv.SP on 23/Jan/45.
bridgehead 2016.jpg
more material to follow... [hatt
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Egorka
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Re: Red Banner for forcing Oder in Jan 1945

Messaggio da Egorka » sab nov 05, 2016 11:51 pm

8 SABR consisted of 3 squads plus support units (Brigade Staff, Headquarters company, Recon company, Motorized machinegun company, AA company, Technical support company).
Each of the 3 squads consisted of 21 SPGs SU-76M, and was devided into 4 troop by 5 SPGs each + 1 squad commander vehicle. N.I.Lihomanov served in the 1st squad, 1st troop. This is known from documents, can also be read on the insignia on Lihomanovs SPG (see photo above). F.ex. on this foto you see SPG from 8 SABR, which belongs to 2nd squad (2 bars), 3rd troop (3 triangles).
Tactical signs 8 SABR.png
Screen Shot 2016-10-08 at 14.17.50 copy.jpg
This one belonged to 2nd squad, 4th troop.
Screen Shot 2016-10-08 at 14.18.21 copy.jpg
Here is the light tank T-70 of the Brigade commander Colonel Kochin. His tanks insignia does not have squad and troop marks.
Screen Shot 2016-10-08 at 14.13.15 copy.jpg
SPGs from 8 SABR refuelling, February 1944. Some pictures are courtesy of tankfront.ru
Screen Shot 2016-10-08 at 14.17.38.png
Screen Shot 2016-10-08 at 14.17.24.png
Screen Shot 2016-10-08 at 14.17.05.png
Screen Shot 2016-10-08 at 14.16.52.png
Under pursuit of the enemy, the SPG squads were attached to different Rifle units and were under their tactical control. The 1st squad under command of Captain Markovkin was attached to 178 Guard Rifle Regiment, 58 Guard Rifle Division, 34 Guards Rifle Corp.

This "Markovkin's group", as called in the reports, consisted of 6 SPGs, which seems to indicate that only 6 out of 21 SPGs were left in the 1st squad at the end of the Vistila-Oder offensive.
These SPG were used to carry SPG-borne infantry to facilitate the pursuit. In the Brigade report conclusion was the SU-76 were exceptionally effective in such capacity. Being light and having enough motor power they could carry 12-15 troops with their gear in any road conditions, thus each replacing 2 ordinary personal carriers. Markovkin's group og 6 SPG was specially mentioned as being successful.

The 8 SABR report briefly describes the course of actions of Markovkin's group, which lead to subsequent forcing of Oder on 23 Jan 1945:
  • 22/Jan 15:30 - two SPGs from the group reseived objective to advance to eastern bank of Oder from Turawa (app. 10km). No active enemy resistance except air attacks. 4 other SPG were ordered to different objective. Seems Lihomanov was operating one of these 2 SPGs.
  • 23/Jan 04:30 - Markovkin's goup reached easter Oder bank together with the infantry from 175th Guards Rifle regiment. It's objective was rot facilitate the river crossing.
  • 23/Jan 17:00 - temporary crossing was established and part of the infantry managed to cross to the western bank, but the crossing then was destroyed by enemy air bombardement. The enemy delivered intensive artillery and mortar fire.
  • 23/Jan 19:30 - 6 SPGs crossed to western bank.
  • 23/Jan 20:30 - SPGs reached Eisenau and held the line until 25/Jan. During this period MArkovkin's group repelled several counterattacks inflicting following damage to the enemy: 2 tanks and 2 personal carriers destroyed, up to 150 troops. Group's losses: 1 SPG burnt, 1 damaged, no personal losses.
  • By the end 25/Jan the group reached Folwark Waldhof.
ODER bridging 8SABR #1.jpg
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Egorka
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Re: Red Banner for forcing Oder in Jan 1945

Messaggio da Egorka » dom nov 06, 2016 12:26 am

The 178th rifle regiments battle report does not mention the SPGs, but adds some details to the 8 SABR report.
On the night 22-23 Jan, a group of 60 riflemen with radio attempted to cross the river, supported by rifle, artillery and mortar fire. But was met with dense heavy machine-gun and small caliber AA fire. The first forcing was not successful. After the dark, 18:00 the regiment moved to Dobern, where 175th Rifle Regiment was preparing for crossing, and crossed right after 175th (with the attached SPGs). By app. 21:00 it was at the position 1.5km north of Eisenau, and was preparing for charge. At 03:00 the regiment shouting "Hooray!" charged Eisenau and by 08:00 24/Jan took it. In the subsequent 3 hours the regiment (with SPG support) repelled three German counter attacks (supported by 2 tanks and 2 APCs). Each time Germans reached the outskirts of Eisenau, but were thrown off with large losses. Regiments losses: 15 KIA, 55 WIA. Enemy losses: 125 killed, 30 captured, 1 tank destroyed.

The 178th continued advance and by 05:00 25/Jan reached vicinity of Folwark Waldhof. At 17:00 25/Jan the enemy counters attacked regiments left neighbour (50 Guard Rifle Regiment, 15 Guards RD) and routed it. 178th supported its neighbor (SPGs must have been involved too as they were located near Waldhof). Losses: 12 WIA.

The map from 34 Gu. Rifle Corps report. Position by 17:00 25/Jan (after the German counter attack routed 50 Gv. SP). SPGs location is marked.
58 GvSD map 25jan1945 part.jpg
And this is the actions of 50 Gv. SP and subsequent German counter attack by 20 SS Rifle Division.
50 GvSP map 25jan1945 copy.jpg
By 30/Jan the bridgehead was expanded as seen in the 34 Guard Rifle Corps
map 34 GvSK 30jan1945 copy.jpg
We stop our story at the end of 25/Jan when Lihomanov's SPG was located near Folwark Waldhof.
This is how the place looked almost 60 years later in 2011: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/42719673
Folwark Waldhof 2011.png
A small insight into the price that was paid...
Graves location of the 175 Gv.SP soldiers in he bridgehead area.
bridgehead and graves.jpg
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filo
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Re: Red Banner for forcing Oder in Jan 1945

Messaggio da filo » dom nov 06, 2016 7:09 pm

Egorka ha scritto:This is my first post on this forum, so hello everyone!

You may recognise this order of red Banner #189449. It was advertised here previously. Now it has a new home, and I would like to share the research on this award and the veteran who received it.
This is one of those little gems and joys one can find being involved in phaleristics.
Excellent debut on the forum, and gorgeous research, the kind I like, full of additional information. [257

I don't see his Record card, how did you make the research by serial number, without it?
Sii il vento, e non la foglia - С уважением, filo [hatt

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Egorka
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Re: Red Banner for forcing Oder in Jan 1945

Messaggio da Egorka » dom nov 06, 2016 11:51 pm

filo ha scritto:Excellent debut on the forum, and gorgeous research, the kind I like, full of additional information. [257
I don't see his Record card, how did you make the research by serial number, without it?
Hello Filo! Thanks! Likewise!
Right, the record cards. No way around them, is there... Here it is.
I can also deliver research by serial number. PM me if you want to know more. :)
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filo
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Re: Red Banner for forcing Oder in Jan 1945

Messaggio da filo » lun nov 07, 2016 7:52 pm

Wow! Igor, fantastic record. :arrow: download/file.php?id=159238

* OPW1 - S/n 4991
* ORS - S/n 156306
* kaucasus medal
* ORS - S/n 774822
* ORB - S/n 189449
* OG3 - S/n 478802
Sii il vento, e non la foglia - С уважением, filo [hatt

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Egorka
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Re: Red Banner for forcing Oder in Jan 1945

Messaggio da Egorka » lun nov 07, 2016 9:29 pm

Yes, for a private he was quite decorated serviceman!
Note, I think, that ORB and OG3 are actually representing the same personal feat. I believe some administrative inconsistency happened due to the fact that he was first recommended for OG3, but later it was changed to ORB. There is no way to know for sure now, I think. But there is also question mark on the record card next to OG3 line.
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filo
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Re: Red Banner for forcing Oder in Jan 1945

Messaggio da filo » lun nov 07, 2016 11:12 pm

Sii il vento, e non la foglia - С уважением, filo [hatt

Regaleco
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Re: Red Banner for forcing Oder in Jan 1945

Messaggio da Regaleco » mar nov 08, 2016 3:20 pm

Moved this impressive research in the forum proper section. Outstanding work Igor!

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SergioV
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Re: Red Banner for forcing Oder in Jan 1945

Messaggio da SergioV » sab nov 12, 2016 10:36 pm

Fantastic research [278
Кто к нам с мечом придет тот от меча и погибнет

vix19
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Re: Red Banner for forcing Oder in Jan 1945

Messaggio da vix19 » sab nov 12, 2016 11:04 pm

Great job, great looking [278 [278

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marcotk
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Re: Red Banner for forcing Oder in Jan 1945

Messaggio da marcotk » dom nov 13, 2016 12:52 am

Nice write up Egorka, thanks for sharing with us! ..and very nice research :) I knew from the look of the ORB that it had to be a nice one, glad it found a new home where it is taken care of! [0008024
Saluti, Marco (marcotk) - http://www.rkka.it

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