Russia – Soviet: A Fine Last Day of the War in Europe Order of Glory 3rd Class to Guards Senior Sergeant Ivan Sevel’vich Tolstoba, an Anti-Tank Gun Commander, 89th Guards Artillery ‘Kishinev’ ‘Orders of Kutuzov and Alexander Nevsky’ Regiment, 41st Guards Rifle Division, 69th Army, awarded for knocking out three tanks in the city of Amshtetten, Lower Austria.
Order of Glory 3rd Class, 2nd type, the reverse numbered 381111.
Ivan Sevel-vich Tolstoba was a Belarussian born in 1920. He joined the Red Army from the Pushainskii Regional Military Command, Kalininskii Oblast in January 1940. During the Great Patriotic War he was wounded twice on 24th September 1941 and 18th August 1942.
In September 1943, Tolstoba received a Medal of Bravery numbered 389105. His award sheet indicates he was in occupied territory a portion of his service with the regiment.
This Order of Glory 3rd Class was awarded for his actions during end-of-war operations in Lower Austria, with the following recommendation: ‘On 8th May 1945, in the region of the city of Amshtetten, he was in a group of soldiers who met a large group of enemy soldiers, and with his gun he destroyed three tanks. He was in the Patriotic War from June 1941’. Dated 17th May 1945 and signed by Lieutenant Colonel Kuroaiatnipov, the Commander of the Regiment.
The Order of Glory 3rd Class was established in 1943 as the highest ‘soldiers only’ (enlisted men and NCOs) award and was given only for direct combat with the enemy. Its statutes defined 32 specific feats for which the award would be granted. One of those was the disabling of 2 or more enemy tanks.
The 41st Guards Rifle Division saw much action during WW2. It was wiped out at Kiev in September 1941. It was reformed in March 1942, only to be destroyed again at Izyam in May 1942. Reformed again, the unit fought at Kursk, and into Poland and Germany with the Vistula-Oder Operations. It was with 69th Army of the 1st Belorussian Front in May of 1945. The 8th May was the last day of the war in Europe as the capitulation document was signed in Berlin later that night. The enemy troops in the recommendation were perhaps trying to escape westwards to surrender to the Americans as large numbers of German forces were attempting to do at this late stage. Good very fine