Russia – Soviet: A Final Day of the War Award of the Order of Glory 3rd Class to Sergeant Major Stepan Mikhailovich Potapov, Deputy Commander of a Sapper Platoon in the 218th ‘Order of Alexander Nevsky’ Regiment, 80th Rifle ‘Lyuban’ Order of Kutozov Division, 53rd Army, 1st Ukrainian Front for mine clearing operations, he had previously been decorated with a Medal for Combat Merit, a Medal of Courage, and an Order of the Red Star. At the moment of the German surrender he personally discovered mines on three bridges in the Arnsdorf Region and removed them.
Order of Glory 3rd Class, 2nd type the reverse numbered 483515
Condition: Good very fine
Sergeant-Major Stepan Mikailovitch Potapov was a Russian born in 1916. He joined the Red Army on 7th April 1940 from the Suzemskii Regional Military Command, Orlovskii Oblast. He was wounded twice, on 14th September 1942 and 9th October 1943. Potapov was a veteran of the Siege of Leningrad and for numerous military achievements he was decoratd with the Medal for the Defence of Leningrad, Medal for Combat Merit on 13th February 1943:
‘On 13th February 1943 in the area of our infantry he laid a minefield near Siniavino and personally dug up 13 anti-tank mines. In the midst of a counterattack he personally destroyed 13 fascists.
On 30th April 1944 he was awarded a Medal for Valour:
‘On 6th April 1944 Union Sergeant Potapov, in defending against a counterattack of the enemy, personally destroyed 15 German soldiers and officers in the area of Pitaniia.’
Then on 5th February 1945 he was awarded an Order of the Red Star:
‘Senior Sergeant Potapov worked as an engineer with an artillery park and showed great imagination and good work. On 29th June 1944 in the region of Lepel, some motor vehicles with wagons were hit by bombs from enemy aircraft. Potapov worked on them and repaired them. He had a good operational plan for the repair of the motor vehicles and demonstrated good technical ability. He also worked as a comrade chauffeur. For his well-organised and superior work he is recommended for the high government award of the Order of the Red Star.’
This Order of Glory 3rd Class was awarded on 16th May 1945:
‘On 7th May 1945 in the region of Arnsdorf, in the middle of the night, Sergeant-Major Potapov with 3 soldiers entered three paths in the lines of the enemy and personally removed 100 enemy mines. Sergeant Major Potapov was an active veteran of the Great Patriotic War beginning in June 1941. On 8th May 1945, in the moment of surrender of the enemy, Sergeant Major Potapov personally discovered mines on three bridges, which he removed personally. For his active participation in the battle with the German occupiers and for personal bravery he is recommended for the high award of the Order of Glory 3rd Class.’
Potapov left the Red Army on 11th November 1945, and was a resident in Szemenogorna, Brianskii Oblast.
He was later issued an Order of the Patriotic War 2nd Class in 1985 in commemoration of the 40th Jubilee of Victory in the Great Patriotic War.
The Order of Glory was established on 8th November 1943 as the highest “soldier’s only” - enlisted men and NCO’s award, and was given only for direct combat with the enemy.