Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Another Raseiniai

Here is an interesting scenario, very similar to the Battle of Raseiniai just over a year earlier: a KV tank stuck with no support turns back a vastly numerically superior German force. However, Raseiniai was reconstructed entirely from German documents, whereas this award order was composed after investigating the area and questioning nearby villages.

"Award Order
  • Name: Konovalov, Semen Vasilyevich
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Position and unit: KV tank commander, 1st company, 1st tank battalion of the 15th Tank Brigade
  • Year of birth: 1920
  • Nationality: Russian
  • Service in the Red Army since: 1930
  • Party membership: VLKSM
  • Wars fought in: Patriotic War
  • Wounds or concussions: none
  • Previous awards: none
  • Recruited at: Tenkov recruitment office, Tatar ASSR
On July 13th, 1942, near the N-Mityatinskoye region, Lieutenant Konovalov's KV tank was immobilized by a breakdown. The crew was repairing the tank. At this time, two German armoured cars were spotted. Comrade Konovalov opened fire, and burned up one armoured car, the other got away. A column of tanks followed the armoured car, first 35, then 40 more. The enemy was moving towards the village. Lieutenant Konovalov, using his position in a camouflaged tank, decided to face the enemy in battle. At 500-600 meters, the tank opened fire. 4 tanks were destroyed. The enemy did not engage, and retreated. Shortly after, the column repositioned, and attacked the village with 55 tanks. Lieutenant Konovalov decided to continue fighting the enemy vehicles, despite their numeric superiority. The crew torched 6 more enemy tanks, forcing them to retreat. The enemy attempted a third attack, but the heroic tankers decide to fight to the last shell. They destroyed 6 more enemy tanks, 1 amoured car, and 8 vehicles carrying enemy soldiers and officers. The Soviet fortress fell silent. The enemy opens fire from a 105 mm gun from a range of 75 meters. The heroic crew, along with Lieutenant Konovalov fell in this uneven fight. Protecting our Motherland, Lieutenant Konovalov demonstrated heroism worthy of a posthumous award of the title "Hero of the Soviet Union", with the Gold Star and Order of Lenin.

1st tank battalion commander, Senior Lieutenant Vasiliyev"

There is also another difference between this and Raseiniai: the crew did not all die. Three crewmen (including Konovalov) managed to leave the KV through the "hatch of heroes", wander around the enemy rear until they "found" a tank, and drove it back to their lines.


  1. If I may inquire, is there information on what sort of tanks did the Germans deploy at the action? This isn't an attempt to undermine the brave actions of the Soviet crew at the fight, I was merely interested in what units the Germans attempted to deploy to meet the KV-1. If the award source you had posted included that then I must apologize for not seeing it; I do not possess the capability to speak Russian.

  2. Born in 1920, in RKKA since 1930?

    1. In the movie fortress of war they had an army base where children where part of a military band and getting educated if i am not mistaken because their parents served there.

      Perhaps a similar thing applies here.

      strange that he was awarded a medal posthumously and then reading he survived the battle (maybe he died in a later battle but before getting the medal for this one ?)

    2. He was presumed dead when he was awarded. He later came back from the dead and claimed his medal.

  3. It serves nothing to try to find facts in that yarn. Chalk it up to 'research' by the propaganda bureau to boost morale in a time of defeat. Honestly, the exact number of enemy tanks determined by interviewing the villagers.