Russia – Soviet: A Soviet Counter-Offensive to Operation Fruhlingserwachen (Spring-Awakening) Medal of Courage to Guards Private Vladimir Ivanovitch Maltov, a Crew Member of a Katyusha Rocket Launcher of 3rd Battery, 29th ‘Lower Dnieper Guards Mortar Brigade, 3rd Ukrainian Front, awarded for reloading the Launcher under heavy fire during a night battle.
Medal of Courage, type 2, variation 1, reverse numbered 2148377
Condition: Good very fine
Vladimir Ivanovitch Maltov was a Russian born in 1923. He joined the Red Army in 1941 from the Military Commissariat of the Stallinskii Region. Maltov was assigned as a gun crewman in the 29th Guards Mortar Regiment. He was a candidate member of the Communist Party.
‘Guards Mortar’ was the then secret designation given to the Red Army’s ‘Katyusha’ multiple rocket launchers. Also known as ‘Stalin Organs’ these mobile rocket artillery batteries delivered devastating salvos of explosive rockets upon the Nazi enemy. Although these weapons had a range of 12 miles, they were often used at much shorter ranges with devastating effect.
Maltov served on the Southwestern Front and was wounded in combat by gunfire in 1942, but he subsequently recovered and returned to his unit.
This award, the Medal of Courage, was given for his heroic actions during the battle for the city of Varpalota in Western Hungary, as recorded by order of the 29th Guards Mortar Brigade:
‘Acted in battle on ‘Operation Zakhatgikali…. He fought with energy, resolution and bravery as a guard. In a night battle for the city of Varpalota on 21st March 1945, he showed bravery and courage. Comrade Maltov, under heavy enemy fire, with no concern for his life, courageously loaded the gun, supporting the counterattack of our section.’
The award recommendation was signed and approved by Guards Major General Tevertskii, the Commanding Officer of the 29th Guards Mortar Brigade on 26th March 1945.
The German Operation ‘Fruhlingserwachen’ (Spring Awakening) was Hitler’s final offensive of note on any front. It attempted a pincer move around Lake Balaton to surround several Russian Armies and safeguard his last oil supplies which were in the area. In order to facilitate this offensive he had withdrawn most of his major units from the Ardennes Offensive and the Western Front, these included several SS Divisions, including the 1st SS Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler Panzer Division, it was as a result of the Soviet defeat of this offensive that Hitler issued his ‘Armband Order’, ordering the 1st SS-LAH to remove their honorary cuff-titles as a show of his displeasure at their fighting during the operation. During the operation the Germans had advanced slowly over a period of just over a week, before the Red Army counterattacked regaining all lost ground in a day, and then advancing on to Vienna