Soviet Union. Order of Glory 3rd Class, numbered 755178 to reverse. Awarded to Sergeant Bronislaw Anastas’evich Gnetetskii, commander of a signals section of the 37th Separate Machine Gun – Artillery Battalion

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Soviet Union. Order of Glory 3rd Class, numbered 755178 to reverse. Awarded to Sergeant Bronislaw Anastas’evich Gnetetskii, commander of a signals section of the 37th Separate Machine Gun – Artillery Battalion, a part of the 119th Fortified Region in the 33rd Army, who in Konstantin Rokossovsky’s northern encirclement operations during the attacks across the Oder and the establishment of the bridgehead on the west bank prior to the assault towards Neubrandenburg, Stralsund and Rostock,

‘near the village of Wiesenau provided uninterrupted signals to the company and personally carried out up to 30 repairs on telephone lines. During the progress of the battle he continued to take part in operations to repulse the German counter-attack. Though wounded, he did not shirk from the battle, but fought the enemy with great energy.’

Gnetetskii was of Ukrainian original but of Polish descent, was born in 1921 in the village of Isakovka, part of the Zhitairskii Oblast, in the Volodarskii-Volyinov Region of Poland, which later became a part of the Ukraine. He joined the Red Army on 18th April 1941 prior to the German invasion and would later become a member of the Communist Party in 1944. During the opening stages of the Great Patriotic War he served on the Western Front Fighting the German and Axis forces between 9th July and 3rd August 1941. When he was wounded in action, and after recovery, he saw service on the 1st Belorussian Front from 1943 onwards. Promoted to Sergeant, he was made commander of a Signals section of the 37th Separate Machine Gun – Artillery Battalion, a part of the 119th Fortified Region in the 33rd Army on the 2nd Belorussian Front. Gnetetskii received the Order of the Red Star for his service during the Vistula River operations, and was then recommended for a second Order of the Red Star that was then downgraded to this Order of Glory 3rd Class and the award was eventually issued to him in 1969, and was awarded to him for his participation in the offensive over the Oder River on 17th-18 April 1945 during the opening stages of the Battle of Berlin. The recommendation for the award was made on 21st April 1945, but was not actually awarded to him until 1969, this was often the case with badly wounded soldiers who disappeared from the Regimental control. The job of linesman was one of the most dangerous, with the enemy often targeting all available fire on to these soldiers. At the time of the event that led to his award, Gnetetskii’s unit was part of the 2nd Belarussian Front under Marshall Rokossovsky, which was fighting on the Northern Flank of the German Army Group Vistula in the encirclement of Berlin. Gnetetskii later served as a zoo technician on the ‘Ukraina’ educational farm near Cherniakov. Good very fine