Pyotr Petrovich Voloshin
Order of the Red Star nr. 45073 was awarded by Order of the Western Front of July 15, 1942 to 23- or 24-year-old Private Pyotr Petrovich Voloshin, partisan in the 2nd Company, 208th Comrade Stalin Partisan Detachment.
During the rapid German advance of 1941, many Soviet units – even complete armies – were unable to withstand the onslaught or withdraw fast enough and found themselves surrounded. One of these units was the 208th Mechanized Division, which was stationed at the Polish-Byelorussian border when the war started. The division was rapidly pushed back across western Byelorussia, suffering heavy losses during relentless German attacks. On July 1 the division commander, Colonel Vladimir Nichiporovich, decided not to try and link up with the main body of the Red Army. Having lost communications with corps and army headquarters and facing strong German forces to his rear, he instead decided to resort to partisan warfare. The 208th was one of the dozens of Soviet divisions lost in the massive Białystok pocket and was officially disbanded, but Nichiporovich led the remainder of his men, some 400 troops, eastward.
Upon reaching Minsk in September – by then already occupied by the Germans – Nichiporovich established contact with the underground Soviet authorities, who were seeking to unite all Red Army forces in the area who had found themselves behind enemy lines. Nichiporovich's diversionary operations in Minsk had little success, but in late December Nichiporovich became the commander of the 208th Partisan Detachment, its number being a reference to the old division. Composed of the remnants of Nichiporovich's division and some other fragmented units, the detachment set out to the area southeast of Minsk. As his base Nichiporovich chose the vast woods near Cherven, between Minsk and Bobruisk. On December 30, the Pokrovsky and Sergeyev partisan detachments were merged into Nichiporovich's outfit. Nichiporovich was elected its commander, given his extensive military experience. At this point the detachment had some 670 men with rifles, machine guns, and a couple of mortars.
In his memoirs Nichiporovich recalls how his detachment destroyed all German garrisons in a 100-kilometer radius, essentially controlling the Rudensk – Uzda – Pukhovichi – Cherven area. The Germans responded by setting up a blockade around the area. In early March, heavy fighting broke out near Klinok when two Germans infantry regiments, supported by aircraft and artillery, encircled some 400 partisans. The 208th managed to break through the German lines, however, and according to Nichiporovich killed or wounded over 300 Germans. Nichiporovich set up his new base farther east, near Klichev.
On July 15, 1942, many partisans of the 208th Detachment were decorated. The order awarded 7 Orders of Lenin to senior commanders, including Vladimir Nichiporovich, his chief of staff, Colonel Vaak Airapetov, and his military commissar, Brigade Commissar (Brigadier General) Konstantin Yakovlev, the former deputy commander of the 5th Rifle Corps. 66 men earned the Order of the Red Banner, and 34 troops were given the Order of the Red Star. Voloshin was one of them.
In early April 1942, Nichiporovich met with the other local partisan commanders, who decided – in order to improve coordination and cooperation and step up their activities – to combine their six detachments into one large partisan formation, to be headed by Nichiporovich, with Airapetov staying on as chief of staff and Yakovlev as military commissar. By September 1942, the ranks of Nichiporovich's partisan formation had swelled to 2985 men, serving in 17 partisan detachments.
Order booklet nr. V-029193
1. Last name: Voloshin
14. List of all awards he received:
Signature of the recipient: [signed]
I confirm the correctness of the data and the signature of the awardee (position and signature):
Military commissar of the Snigiryovka District
Of the Western Front
July 15, 1942 – Nr. 0758 – Operational Army
On behalf of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, for the exemplary execution of combat missions at the front in the struggle with the German invaders and the valor and bravery displayed in the process, I award:
In the 208th Comrade Stalin Partisan Detachment:
The Order of the Red Star to:
3. Private Pyotr Petrovich Voloshin, soldier in the 2nd Company
Commanding officer of the Western Front
Member of the Military Council of the Western Front
Order of the Red Star nr. 45073, obverse and reverse
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