Nikolai Georgiyevich Stepachov
Order of the Patriotic War, 1st Class nr. 72620 was awarded by Order of the 49th Rifle Corps of December 30, 1943 to 38-year-old Guards Lieutenant Nikolai Georgiyevich Stepachov (Николай Георгиевич Степачев), rifle company commander in the 233rd Guards Rifle Regiment, 81st Guards Rifle Division, 49th Rifle Corps, 7th Guards Army, 2nd Ukrainian Front.
Nikolai Stepachov was born in the Smolensk Province on December 6, 1905. He joined the Red Army in March 1942, was sent to the front in July 1942, and was commissioned in November 1942, while serving with the 64th Army, just south of Stalingrad. He started out as a rifle platoon leader, but before long he was given command of a company. Following his service at Stalingrad, he fought at Belgorod right at the height of the battle of Kursk and was awarded an ORS there, advanced through Ukraine and Romania, and then moved northwest toward Hungary.
Apparently Stepachov usually emerged from battle unscathed, since records show that the wound mentioned in his first OPW1 citation - sustained in November 1943 - was his only one. Eventually his luck ran out, though, and he was killed in battle less than a year after this OPW1 was awarded.
Stepachov's final attack occurred on December 5, 1944, one day before his 39th birthday, and the day Budapest was encircled. His regiment took part in the pincer movement around the Hungarian capital. As Stepachov's regiment enveloped the city from the northeast, Stepachov was given orders to take the northern slopes of height 241. The company accomplished its orders and captured the height, killing up to a platoon of enemy infantry, but Stepachov didn’t survive the battle. That same day he was buried at the divisional cemetery in the village of Ecséd, northeast of Budapest.
Stepachov had been awarded all of his decorations in a fairly short span of time. He was awarded an ORS in July 1943, a Medal for Courage in September 1943, and an OPW1 in December 1943. A few days after he had died, he was awarded another OPW1 posthumously, but it seems it never made it to his wife Ksenia.
Record card of an award recipient
Last name: Stepachov
Home address: Village of Kamenka, Smolensk Oblast. 49th Rifle Corps, 2nd Ukrainian Front
1. Year of birth: 1905
1. Last name, first name, and patronymic: Stepachov, Nikolai Georgiyevich
Nominated for: Order of the Patriotic War, 1st Class
4. Year of birth: 1905
Brief, concrete description of his feat of arms or achievements:
On November 20, 1943, during the fighting for height 163.5, near the village of Vodana in the Kirovograd Province, comrade Stepachov commanded his rifle company and showed himself an audacious officer. Under his command the company fought off 4 attacks, rushed into the enemy’s trenches, and in the process killed 30 Hitlerites with rifle and submachine-gun fire. Comrade Stepachov himself killed an enemy officer with his pistol.
For his boldness and courage in battle and for successfully executing his combat missions, comrade Stepachov deserves to be nominated for the Order of the Patriotic War, 1st Class.
Commanding officer of the 233rd Guards Rifle Regiment
Order of the Patriotic War, 1st Class nr. 72620, obverse and reverse
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