I was doing a research lately and an interesting situation was observed in the paperwork. The citation was written for one medal and went all the way through approval channels without modifications. But the final decree was for another medal.
This alone is not something very unusual. But in this case the twist was, that the original recommendation in the citation was for a civil medal "For Labour Valour", but the final decree for military medal "For Battle Merits". This natural raised a questions: "How come?" and "Is this paperwork for the same award or different ones?"
Well, the answer is rather simple actually - human factor. The awardee (a woman) was a civilian while performing her duties as typist/secretary/bookkeeper for Army HQ. Her immediate superiors were not properly informed on the relevant award statutes, and decided to recommend her for a civilian award. Later the central award comity corrected the error and issues decree for medal "For Battle Merits".
So this story led me to think of one of the documents describing such discrepancies and human factor in Soviet paperwork.
23 April 1943. 106 Rifle Corps Command, Personnel Section. To all Heads of Staff.
Despite the existence of regulations regarding awarding personnel distinguished themselves in the fight against the German invaders elementary requirements for proper paperwork are still not fulfilled. More specifically:
- Award decrees are written on non-standard issue paper, carelessly, often with misspelled names.
- The citation are often filled in inappropriately, with a lot of abbreviations and shortenings, the front side questionnaire is not fully answered.
- There are instances when the responsible personnel lacks knowledge of order statutes, and often recommend servicemen for an inappropriate award. F.ex. according to statute, the order of "Aleksander Nevsky" is reserved for platoon, company, battalion, regiment, or division commanders. But there were cases when deputy Heads of Staff and Heads of Staff were recommended.
- There are cases of recommendations for inappropriately low award. Or f.ex. a group of officers were recommended by personnel without high enough authority.
- There were recorded instances when recommendations were hastily submitted again for the same feats without allowing for proper paper processing time. This introduces lots of confusion and excessive paper exchange.
- The personnel of the detached units, which are assigned to the direct control of armies and fronts, are recommended by decrees issued by their own commanders. But sometimes the papers are wrongly submitted directly to the army HQ, which lead to double award for same single feat. In all the cases, the recommendations approved by the direct superiors are to be submitted directly to the HQ of the appropriate armed forces.
- In paperwork strictly follow the following guidelines: A) all the award decrees issued by authority of regiment and division commanders are to be signed by ink, wax sealed and submitted to HQ of 106 Rifle Corps in two copies, amended by a copy of recommendation, and two copies of statistical overview (form #4). The second copy of recommendation is to be kept in the unit. B) When filling in the questionnaire on the recommendation front side the items “position” and “unit” are to be filled in without shortenings and abbreviations; in “participation in Patriotic war” write since what time and on what front; in “party membership” write party seniority and membership booklet number; in “wounds” item do not write the date, sevirity and front; in “previous awards” write previous awards and the decrees # and date; in “home address” write family members full names. C) When approving the recommendation don not abbreviate the unit names, f.ex. “SP”, “SD”, “AP”, “OSISB” and others have to be written as full names. D) Do not stitch together the submitted document.
Instruct all the relevant personnel in order to eliminate the aforementioned flaws in award process, which is a very important work.
Head of personnel section of 106 Rifle Corps, Sr. Lieutenant VELICHKO
Aid to Head of personnel section 106 Rifle Corps, Captain MIKHAILOV