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
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
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.