Russia – Soviet: Order of Glory 3rdClass awarded to Sergeant Aleksandr Petrovich Solovnichenko, 44thIndependent Anti-Tank battalion, 218thRifle Division for fighting in the city of Breslau, where he scouted 3 enemy machine-guns which were subsequently destroyed using the data he provided, he had previously been wounded at the fighting at Rzhev in June 1942 and north of Kursk in July 1943 as part of Operation Kutozov.
Order of Glory 3rdClass numbered 296130
Condition: Good very fine
Sergeant Aleksandr Petrovich Solovnichenko, Senior Scout in the 44thIndependent Anti-tank Battalion, 218thRomodan-Kiev Red Banner Rifle Division was born in Bessonovsky Rural Municipality, Mikoyanovka Raion, Kursk Oblast during 1922, and joined the Red Army in September 1941, seeing frontline service with the Kalinin Front from October 1941 which at that time was heavily engaged in the Defence of Moscow and then in the subsequent winter counter attacks that began on 5thDecember 1941.
The Kalinin Front was left partly exposed after the counterattacks ended in the spring of 1942, and was subsequently engaged in the Rzhev area in one of a number of operations which incurred such heavy losses that the Red Army troops began to call it the ‘Rzhev Meat Grinder’. Solovnichenko was wounded in a defensive action on 30thJune at a time when the Germans were trying to clear bulges in their line, and regroup in order to appear to mount a credible threat to Moscow once more. He is noted as serving with a Smolensk Front between September 1942 until July 1943 although no such front existed by that name, this could refer to the Bryansk or Orel Fronts which would have served in the region at that time.
Solovnichenko was wounded for a second time on 14thJuly 1943, this most likely during the opening stages of Operation Kutozov the attack which began on 12thJuly in response to Operation Citadel and which sought to pinch off and encircle the troops in the Orel bulge which were forming the northern pincer of the attempted German encirclement of the Red Army’s troops in the Kursk Bulge.
In May 1944 he was to join the 1stUkrainian Front which was involved in the fighting in the Western Ukraine, and was to win his first award a Medal for Courage by Order of the 218thRifle division on 1stJune 1944, continuing to fight with this unit, he would have taken part in the fighting in the Lvov-Sandomierz offensive that sought a bridgehead on the west bank of the Vistula River in the summer of 1944, and then in the important Vistula-Oder offensive that began in January 1945.
It was during his unit’s advance across Poland, and in the attempt to crush the German fortress city of Breslau that Solovnichenko was to receive his second award, this Order of Glory 3rdClass by Order of the 218thRifle Division on 17thMarch 1945 with the following citation.
‘Sergeant Solovnichenko, a senior scout, took part in the street fighting in the city of Breslau, displaying bravery and courage. Positioned among the advancing infantry units, he discovered 3 enemy machine guns, which were destroyed with direct fire using the data he provided.
During an assault on one of the buildings he took 2 prisoners.
He deserves the Order of Glory 3rdClass.’
Commander of the 44thIndependent Antitank Battalion, 218thRomodan-Kiev Red Banner Rifle Division, signed by Captain Tarasenko.
Solovnichenko appears to have left the Red Army in January 1947 and by April 1948 was working at the Krasny Partizan (Red Partisan) Kolkhoz, Mikoyanovka Raion, Kursk Oblast, whilst living in the same Bessonovsky Rural Municipality that he was born