Documented Group of 2 Decorations to Fyodor Maloshtan including Order of Suvorov, 3rd class, #3143, 26 February 1945 issue; Order of Kutuzov, 3rd class, #7717, 15 September 1944 issue.
Details and Condition of the Decorations:
Order of Suvorov, 3rd cl. is Type 2, in silver and enamels. Measures 46.2 mm in height, 49.8 mm in width; weighs 22.7 g not including the screw plate. The serial number is engraved in standard manner at 5 o'clock position.
The order is in excellent condition. The enamel on the letters is perfect (a small unfilled area in the letter "У" appears to be a manufacturing flaw, not a result of wear or damage). There is mild wear to the high points of the bas- relief and a few tiny dings to the background, but the details of the center medallion are very well preserved overall. The rays of the starburst are crisp and almost completely free of noticeable wear. Both the obverse and reverse exhibit very attractive patina. The screw post is full length, approx. 13 mm, and includes original silver screw plate.
Order of Kutuzov 3rd cl. is Type 2 in silver. Measures 43.9 mm in height, 42.1 mm in width; weighs 25.5 g not including the screw plate. Features both the mint mark and the serial number at 6 o'clock position - a very scarce combination that has been observed on only a few specimens, all of them in the 7000 serial number range (most other orders with a mint mark at 6 o'clock have serial number at 5 o'clock). This sub-variation has a smooth middle segment of the Kremlin steeple immediately above Kutuzov's head (the other sub-variation of the die has horizontal lines in this part of the tower).
In excellent condition. There is only mild wear to the high points of the Kutuzov's bas-relief, its details are nicely preserved. There are only a few tiny dings to the rays of the starburst. Extremely attractive even patina to silver on both sides. The screw post is full length, approx. 15 mm. Original silver screw plate is included.
Order booklet, issued on 2 November 1946. The document contains entries for six decorations three of which - Red Star #166319, Kutuzov 3rd cl. and Suvorov 3rd cl. - had been awarded by the time when the document was first filled-out. Three other awards, all of them apparently for length of service, were added later: a Combat Service Medal, another Red Star, and an Order of the Red Banner. The June 1943 date for the start of special privileges corresponds with the May 1943 award date for the first Red Star.
The order booklet is in very good condition. Shows minor wear to the edges and spine, and there is some discoloration to the cloth cover, but the binding is tight and sound. The internal pages have only minor spots, no tears or significant soiling.
Fyodor Malashtan was born in 1916 in the city of Sumy in the Ukraine. In 1936, he enlisted in the Red Army and after serving a stint remained in the military as an NCO. In March 1941, he graduated from the Odessa Infantry School and was commissioned rifle platoon commander. Maloshtan was wounded in combat on 22 June 1941, literally the first day of the Patriotic War, and received another, more serious wound during the following month of July while serving with the 173rd Rifle Division, Western Front. After convalescing in a hospital, he returned to the front as company commander and in this capacity took part in the battle for Stalingrad. In May 1943, Maloshtan was awarded with his first decoration, an Order of the Red Star.
In August 1944 Maloshtan, by then already a Major, distinguished himself in the forced crossing of the West Bug River in the Brest region. He commanded a battalion of the 1201st Rifle Regiment, 354th Rifle Division, 65ht Army, 1st Belorussian Front, which was the first assault unit of the division to reach the opposite bank of the river. By capturing a bridgehead, Maloshtan's battalion not only made it possible for the rest of the division's infantry to safely cross the river, but also for the combat engineers to build a permanent bridge that was later used by the armor.
By the end of the first day of the offensive, the Germans had made seven determined counterattacks against the bridgehead. Maj. Maloshtan and his soldiers not only held their ground, but actually expanded the bridgehead after defeating every attempt to throw them back into the river. They had killed as many as 100 Nazi soldiers without taking significant losses of their own. Following in the footsteps of Maloshtan's battalion, another Soviet rifle division then arrived on the scene pushing the enemy away from the riverbank.
The success of the river crossing operation was credited to the exceptional skills and personal bravery of Maloshatan. It was especially noted in the subsequent award recommendation that he accomplished the task well ahead of schedule by acting decisively, on his own initiative. On 16 August, Maloshtan was recommended for the Title of Hero of the Soviet Union by his regiment commander. Unfortunately, the recommended award was inexplicably lowered to Order of the Red Banner by the division commander. It was changed once again to a more suitable Order of Kutuzov, 3rd cl. by the commander of the 105th Rifle Corps. On 5 September, the award was approved by commander of the 65th Army Col. General Batov and on 15 September, officially bestowed upon Maloshtan by a decree of the 1st Belorussian Front.
Maloshtan distinguished himself again during the Vistula- Oder offensive in January 1945 while commanding a battalion of the 676th Rifle Regiment of the illustrious 15th "Sivash" Rifle Division, 65th Army, 2nd Belorussian Front. On 14 January, the first day of the operation, he was wounded in action but after receiving medical help, returned to his battalion on the following day. On the same day, he successfully led the battalion's assault to the village of Golenkovo (in the area of Ciechanow, north of Warsaw, northeastern Poland). On the night of January 17, his battalion approached the town of Lopacin where it was met with heavy fire from the front and flanks. The Germans had an extremely advantageous defensive position there: three lines of trenches with pillboxes ringed by barbed wire, with open terrain in front of them. Under the skillful leadership of Maloshtan, his battalion captured the first two lines of trenches in nighttime hand to hand combat and consolidated its position. In the morning, supported by another battalion, it captured the final line.
On the following day, the Germans was desperately trying stop the Soviet advance on the Wkra River in the area of Liberadz. Their attempts were foiled as the regiment forced the river in yet another determined nighttime assault. As before, Maloshtan's battalion led the way inflicting severe losses on the enemy. In the process, it destroyed two German armored personnel carriers and captured another one intact.
In the aftermath of the battle, Maj. Maloshtan was recommended for an Order of Suvorov 3rd cl. by his division commander. Once again, the award was downgraded by a higher commander, this time to a Kutuzov 3rd cl. (which would have been Maloshtan's second). Nevertheless, the 65th Army command reverted to the original recommendation of Suvorov 3rd cl., and this decoration was bestowed upon Maloshtan on 26 February by a decree of the 2nd Belorussian Front.
After the war, Maloshtan remained on active duty serving as motorized rifle battalion commander through the rest of the 40s and reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel by 1950. In 1951, he was transferred to Turkestan Military District where in 1954-55 he served as a military commissar of a district in the Semipalatinsk Region of Kazakhstan (interestingly, the same area was used at the time as the testing ground for Soviet nuclear bombs). He retired in 1955.
Research Materials: Xerox copy and complete English
translation of the service record (containing a photo),
award record card, and award commendation for the Orders of
Suvorov 3rd cl. and Kutuzov 3rd cl. Information on the 354th
and 15th Rifle Divisions can be found in the Volume IX
"Red Tide" of the Chales Sharp's Soviet Order of
Battle series (the 15th Rifles was an especially
distinguished unit: by the end of the war it had two
honorific titles, "Stettin" and "Sivash", and as many as
five decorations bestowed upon it including an Order of
Lenin, two Order of the Red Banner, Order of Suvorov, and
Order of the Red Banner of Labor.)
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