This forum was recommended to me by marcotk. Hello Marco!
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.
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.
Theoverview map of Vistula-Oder offensive. The path of 5th Guard Army is marked as well as the bridgehead location.