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Large certificate for the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, issued on 22 April 1946 to Guards Private Fyodor Tyumentsev who was given the Title of Hero on 10 April 1945 for exceptional bravery during the forced crossing of the Oder.

The document is enclosed in 8 ˝ " by 12" leatherette folder with gold impression "To a Hero of the Soviet Union" on the cover. The internal pages contain a citation from the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet "For your act of heroism performed while executing the tasks given by the command on the front of struggle against German invaders"

The document shows that the title of Hero was bestowed upon Tyumentsev on 10 April 1945. The date of issue of the certificate, 22 April 1946, is near the bottom, just above the certificate serial number 9772 (as it was often the case, it took quite a long time between the award decree and the official award ceremony in Kremlin when the medal and certificate were issued to the Hero). The right side of the same page is hand-signed by Nikolay Shvernik, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (nominally, the head of state) and Aleksandr Gorkin, Secretary of the Presidium.

The certificate is in very good condition. There is the usual wear to the corner and spine, the latter showing minor separations of the leatherette wrapping. The binding is nevertheless tight and completely stable. The cover has only a few minor spots, no significant soiling; its red color is vivid and unfaded. The gold impression is completely intact and bright. The silk backing of the hard folder likewise has minor spots that are not detractive, free of tears or significant soiling. The internal pages show only normal age toning as well as typical soiling along the lower corners; there are no water stains, mildew, or tears. The retaining vertical strip of red silk tape is missing, as is usually the case. The printed and hand-written text as well as the gold impression of the Soviet state emblem are bold and clear. Overall, this is a very attractive Hero document that has normal wear but no serious damage of any kind.

Fyodor Tyumentsev was born in 1912 to a peasant family in the Krasnoyarsk Territory of Siberia. Prior to the war, he moved to the city of Krasnoyarsk where he finished seven grades of school and worked as a longshoreman. In June 1943, at the age of 18, he joined the Red Army and in February of the following year was sent to the front.

Appointed as a submachine gunner to a reconnaissance company of the 17th Guards Mechanized Brigade, 6th Guards Mechanized Corps, 4th Tank Army (later renamed 4th Guards Tank Army), 1st Ukrainian Front, Guards Private Tyumentsev distinguished himself almost immediately. On 11 March 1944, he was with a recon group that attempted to infiltrate a German position in the Ternopol region of western Ukraine. The scouts were spotted as they were approaching the front line and came under small-arms fire. Not losing presence of mind in what was one of his first - if not the first - combat actions, Tyumentsev managed to kill three German solders with his submachine gun thus opening a path into the enemy rear for his group. The raid proved successful in reconnoitering the German defenses, and Tyumentsev was subsequently decorated with a Medal for Valor for his role in it.

In January 1945, Tyumentsev showed extraordinary bravery during the Vistula-Oder strategic offensive. He was in one of the eight assault teams, each consisting of 8 to 12 hand- picked scout volunteers, who were given the task to force the Oder River northeast of Breslau near the German village of Köben (ceded to Poland and renamed Chobienia after the war). The location chosen for the crossing was deemed strategically important: the capture of a bridgehead there would open for the Red Army a path into the industrial heartland of Eastern Germany.

In the pre-dawn hours of 26 January, the assault groups embarked on their perilous journey. They were discovered when still in the middle of the river and came under massive fire. One by one, nearly all the boats were sunk and some forced to turn back, Tyumentsev's boat being the only one to reach its destination. As soon as they were on the enemy side of the river, Tyumentsev and four other surviving scouts stormed a German pillbox, a massive two- to three- stories concrete structure bristling with as many as eight machine guns and four artillery pieces. Fortunately for the Soviet soldiers, the Germans had been retreating so rapidly in this sector that the pillbox didn't yet have its full crew and was held by a relatively small contingent of Volkssturm.

Tyumetsev was the first to break into the pillbox where he wiped out a machine gun crew. Although lightly wounded, he continued to fight alongside the other scouts tenaciously holding on to the pillbox and the tiny patch of riverbank it commanded. During the next six hours, while their brigade's combat engineers were hastily building a pontoon bridge, the group of five scouts repelled 10 German counterattacks killing 110 enemy soldiers and taking prisoner 15 enlisted men and an officer (they successfully transferred at least some of the POWs to the east bank by ordering them to row the only available boat under the threat of death). The actions of Tyumentsev and his comrades thus succeeded in establishing a strategic bridgehead on the Oder. For their heroic deed, all five scouts were immediately recommended for the Title of Hero.

After he was made a Hero of the Soviet Union on 10 April 1945 by a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Tyumentsev earned one more combat decoration. On 24 April, during the Battle of Berlin, he with a forward recon group covertly approached a bridge in the German rear and in a bold attack, eliminated its sentries thus opening a valuable avenue of advance for their brigade. The scouts also took prisoner two German soldiers armed with Panzerfausts. On 13 May 1945, Tyumentsev, then already a Guards Corporal, was awarded for this feat with an Order of the Red Star. During the following year he was released from active duty having the rank of Guards Sergeant. Following his retirement from the military, he settled in the city of Bobruisk in Belorussia where he took a job as a factory worker. After Fyodor Tyumentsev died in 1998, a monument in his honor was erected in the Alley of Heroes memorial park in Bobruisk.

Research Materials: photocopy of the award commendations for the Title of Hero of the Soviet Union, Order of the Red Star and Medal for Valor; Xerox copy and English translation of the article about Tyumentsev in the official catalog "Heroes of the Soviet Union" (contains his photo). Ample additional information about him is available on the Russian website; among other things, the webpage has an excerpt from the war memoirs of General of the Army Lelyushenko, a wartime commander of the 4th Tank / 4th Guards Tank Army, which provides an excellent account of the battle for the bridgehead on the Oder and mentions Tyumentsev by name.

Item# 36753

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