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     Home > SOVIET ORDERS AND MEDALS > Soviet Bravery and Good Conduct Military Medals

    Medal for Combat Service, Type 1 Variation 3, "Thin" sub- variation, #348701, awarded on 18 July 1943 to Corporal Viktor Morozov, gun layer of the 664th Artillery Regiment, 129th Rifle Division, 63rd Army, Bryansk Front, for the Battle of Kursk.

    Medal for Combat Service, Type 1 Variation 3, "Thin" sub- variation, #348701, awarded on 18 July 1943 to Corporal Viktor Morozov, gun layer of the 664th Artillery Regiment, 129th Rifle Division, 63rd Army, Bryansk Front, for the Battle of Kursk.

    The medallion is in silver and lacquer; measures 2.1 mm thick, 32.2 mm wide. The suspension is in silver with brass screw post; measures 25.1 mm wide at the top, 17.2 - 17.4 mm tall not including the ribbon and lip for the connecting link.

    In very fine condition, well above the average for the early type. There are chips to the fragile red lacquer in the letters, but over half of it remains intact - an uncommon case for an early Combat Service Medal. Both sides of the medallion have only very tiny dings and contact marks that are mostly unnoticeable to the naked eye; no bumps, scratches or other noticeable flaws. The details of the lettering and artwork are well preserved and crisp. Very attractive dark patina to silver on both sides.

    The medal includes original suspension device, complete with the brass rectangular back plate, hexagon nut and mint marked screw plate. The screw post is of full length, approx. 10.5 mm measured from the back plate. The perfectly preserved ribbon is old, although not of the same vintage as the medal itself. The connecting link appears to be original and its ends are still joined with solder.

    Viktor Morozov was born in 1913. He was drafted into the Red Army in 1941 the town of Kineshma of the Ivanovo Region of Russia and at the end of the year took part in the Battle of Moscow. As of early July 1943, Morozov had the rank of corporal and served as a gun layer in the 664th Artillery Regiment, 129th Rifle Division, 63rd Army, Bryansk Front. Positioned just north of the Kursk salient, the 63rd Army stayed on the sidelines in the first week of the German Operation Zitadelle but just as the German thrust in the northern sector was starting to run out of steam, it went over to the offensive. On 12 July, the 63rd and several other armies of the Bryansk and Western Front launched Operation Kutuzov, a massive three-pronged counteroffensive aimed at the city of Orel and threatening the rear of the already struggling German II Panzer Army and IX Army. The 63rd Army was advancing on the left flank of the Bryansk Front in the area closest to the German main effort on the northern side of the Kursk Salient; it was thus striking where the enemy was at its strongest and was apparently facing the stiffest opposition. It nevertheless steadfastly moved forward and along with the other attacking Soviet armies that soon opened wide gaps in the German defenses. Within a day, the IX Army was forced to divert two panzer divisions, half of its Ferdinand assault guns, and substantial part of its artillery and rocket launchers to meet the new threat thus depleting its already strained resources. This development was one of the major reasons that compelled Hitler to cancel Zitadelle only a few days after its start.

    Corporal Morozov showed proficiency and valor in the first days of the Soviet counteroffensive. Firing over open sights, he destroyed a German antitank gun, a mortar, and two wagons loaded with artillery ammunition. Morozov and his gun crew were also credited with eliminating up to 60 enemy soldiers. On 18 July, he was awarded with the Medal for Combat Service - one of some four dozen Valor and Combat Medals awarded by his regiment on the same day for the Battle of Kursk. Interestingly, he also received an Order of the Red Star on 1 August 1943 for what seems to be the same exact achievements - apparently the type of error that happened sometimes in the chaos of war, especially in the periods of rapidly changing situations at the front. The regiment commander who submitted the commendation for the Red Star in late July was clearly not aware that Morozov had already been awarded with a Combat Service Medal by that time. It is worth mentioning that Morozov's 129th Rifle Division was given the honorific title of Orlovskaya - i.e. "Of Orel Fame" - for its performance in the counteroffensive.

    After receiving his first two decorations, Morozov continued to serve with distinction through the remainder of the war. In less than a year, he had been promoted to Junior Sergeant and in June 1944, took part in the Operation Bagration, the massive Soviet offensive that effectively destroyed the Army Group Center in Belorussia. On 29 June, Morozov with his crew disabled a Ferdinand assault gun and two armored cars. His gun crew also engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat eliminating 32 German soldiers and capturing 14 POWs - a very uncommon feat for a crew of a field gun. On 2 August 1944, Morozov was decorated with an Order of Glory 3rd cl. by a decree of the 129th Rifle Division.

    Morozov, then already a sergeant, earned his last decoration of WW2 in action in East Prussia southwest of Koenigsberg on 22 February 1945. On that day, he showed bravery in repelling a strong armored counterattack. He and his crew silenced three German machine guns, destroyed two mortars, and eliminated 12 enemy soldiers. On 17 April 1945, Morozov was awarded with an Order of Glory, 2nd cl. by a decree of the 3rd Army, 3rd Belorussian Front. He thus ended the war with four combat decorations - an uncommonly large number for a Soviet NCO!

    Research Materials: photocopy of the award record card (containing a partial record concerning only the Medal for Combat Service), relevant pages of the award decree for the Medal for Combat Service (containing description of the feat), and award commendations for the other three decorations. Information about the 129th Rifle Division is available in the Vol. X Red Swarm of the Charles Sharp's book series on the Soviet order of battle in WW2.

    Item# 36429


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