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Hero of the Soviet Union #2073



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Hero of the Soviet Union #2073



Awarded to Hero of the Soviet Union and T-34 driver Mikhail Ivanovich Bushilov (Михаил Иванович Бушилов)


Bushilov fought against Panzergrenadier Division “Gross Deutschland” at the Battle of Kursk. Bushilov’s tank was credited for destroying 16 tanks (of which a Tiger, a Panther and 4 Ferdinands), 250 vehicles, 180 enemy soldiers, damaging an armored train and taking 5 prisoners 


Made of solid 23 carat gold. It measures 31.97 mm in height including the eyelet, 29.97 mm in width and it weighs 19.7 grams. The the text Герой СССР (Hero of the USSR) is located at the centre of the reverse right underneath the serial number ‘2073’. The suspension is authentic to the medal and measures 25.89 mm in width at his widest point and 21.44 in height without the eyelet.

In very fine, about average condition with all parts complete and original. Both sides show medium wear on the higher laying parts like the lettering on its reverse and the centre of the front but all details are still perfectly visible. The very tips of the star show the usual wear and both sides show several dings and scratches. The top part of the eyelet has been worn thin due to the friction with the connecting link as a result of the weight and softness of pure gold but is still intact and without repairs.

The suspension includes its time period and original ribbon, rectangular plate, hexagon nut and uncut connection ring. Just like the eyelet of the medallion, the lower part of the suspension has been worn very thin by the weight and friction with the connecting link. Subsequently, a small metal ring has been soldered on the reverse of the hole of the suspension to provide additional support.


A rare piece with extensive and amazing research!!!


Biography and achievements of Mikhail Ivanovich Bushilov:

Mikhail Bushilov was born in November 1924 in a village of the Kostroma region of Russia. After finishing seven grades of school and completing a tractor driver training program, he was employed as agricultural machinery operator in a village of the Ivanovo Region east of Moscow.

Immediately upon reaching the draft age of 18 in November 1942, Bushilov enlisted in the Red Army and owning to his prior experience as a tractor driver, was sent to a tanker school. Starting from March 1943, Bushilov was at the front serving as a mechanic / driver with a crew of a T-34 tank in the 14th Tank Regiment, 1st Mechanized Brigade, 3rd Mechanized Corps, 1st Tank Army.

After the relatively quiet period that had lasted through July, the army was deployed in the defensive phase of the Battle of Kursk under the Voronezh Front. It faced the 48th Panzer Corps on the most critical southern sector of the Kursk salient near Belgorod while its 3rd Mechanized Corps and Bushilov’s regiment stood directly in the path of the elite Panzergrenadier Division “Gross Deutschland”, the strongest of the German divisions on the southern flank. In the fluid and chaotic battle that ensued, Bushilov’s tank crew showed outstanding proficiency and valor.

On 7 July, during an engagement near the villages of Lukhanino and Syrtsevo north of Belgorod, they set on fire two German medium tanks and damaged a PzKpfw VI Tiger. Throughout the tank-on-tank melee, Bushilov maneuvered his T-34 with utmost confidence and skills making a major contribution to the success of his crew.

On the following day, as the Battle of Kursk was just reaching its climax, Bushilov was awarded with a Medal for Bravery by the command of the 14th Tank Regiment. His first decoration of the war was a very uncommon award in terms of being issued so early during the defensive part of the Battle of Kursk. Over the course of the Soviet counteroffensive at Kursk, the 3rd Mechanized Corps spearheaded the advance of the Voronezh Front and then performed very well in the follow-up offensive in eastern Ukraine. In late October 1943, in recognition of its achievements it was elevated to Guards and re-designated 8th Guards Mechanized Corps while its 1st Mechanized Brigade became 19th Guards Mechanized Brigade and the 14th Tank Regiment turned into 67th Guards Tank Regiment.

When the fighting had shifted to the west bank of the Dnieper in late December of that year, Bushilov and his crew took part in the massive armored breakthrough near the city of Berdichev west of Kiev.

On 28 December, Bushilov’s T-34 was the first Soviet tank to break into the town of Kazatin (now known by its Ukrainian name Kozyatin) in Vinnitsa Region. Rolling “over the corpses of slain Nazis” as stated in the subsequent award recommendation, the tank rampaged through the town inflicting an almost unbelievable amount of damage on the reeling garrison. In this single engagement, Bushilov and his crew destroyed four enemy tanks including a heavy PzKpfw V Panther, two medium PzKpfw IVs and one PzKpfw III; five Ferdinand tank destroyers (heavy assault guns); and three high-caliber field guns. Bushilov’s tank left a veritable path of destruction smashing with its threads 250 various motor vehicles and damaging with its main gun a German armored train. Bushilov and his crew were also credited with killing as many 150 enemy soldiers.

Major losses suffered by the enemy in Kazatin soon had major repercussions in speeding up the liberation of the cities of Berdichev and Zhitomir. On 31 January, the commander of the 67th Guards Tank Regiment recommended Bushilov and his tank commander Lt. Petr Gribolev for the Title of Hero of the Soviet Union (two other crewmen got recommended for lesser awards). On the first day of the new year, Bushilov’s recommendation was approved by the commanders of both the 19th Guards Mechanized Brigade and 8th Guards Mechanized Corps. On the following day, it received the approval of Guards Lt. General Katukov, Commander of the 1st Tank Army. Given the enormity of the feat, it is little wonder that the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR bestowed the Title of Hero upon Bushilov in an incredibly short time on 10 January 1944.

Just days after being made a Hero of the Soviet Union, Bushilov distinguished himself once again. On 14 January, he with his crew took part in repulsing enemy counterattacks near the village of Strutinka (Strutynka) some 10 miles east of the city of Vinnitsa. On that day, Bushilov’s T-34 destroyed two Mark IV panzers, wiped out a mortar battery, and eliminated up to 35 enemy soldiers. On 28 January, he was recommended for an Order of Glory 3rd cl. by his regiment commander. The award was bestowed on 10 February by a decree of the 8th Guards Mechanized Corps, making Bushilov one of the very few Heroes of the Soviet Union to be awarded with an Order of Glory.

Bushilov continued to show exemplary valor later that year while fighting in Western Ukraine. On 9 May, incidentally exactly one year before the end of the war in Europe, his unit was counterattacked by as many as 1000 enemy soldiers attempting to recover several important heights in the area of the village of Puzhniki, southeast of the city of Stanisławów (aka Stanislav, now known as IvanoFrankivsk). Bushilov skillfully maneuvered his vehicle smashing with the tank threads 30 German soldiers, three machine gun nests along with their crews, and three mortars. In so doing, he opened a path of advance for the Soviet infantry. He with his crew also took prisoner five enemy soldiers – a very uncommon achievement for a tank crew! In recognition of that, Bushilov was recommended by his regiment commander for an Order of the Red Banner – which would be an uncommonly high decoration for any NCO. The recommendation however was subsequently downgraded to Order of the Patriotic War, 2nd cl. by the commander of the armored and mechanized troops of the 18th Army who bestowed the award by a 21 May 1944 decree.

The Order of the Patriotic War turned out to be Bushilov’s final combat decoration, although he remained on active duty through the remainder of WW2 and beyond. 1946, he graduated from the Ulyanovsk Tanks school and was commissioned lieutenant. In 1967, he was transferred to the reserves having reached the rank of lieutenant colonel and afterwards worked in the regional military commissariat of the city of Odessa. He passed away in 1974 and was interred in the Tairovskoe Cemetery in Odessa


More info about on T-34 Driver Bushilov can be found on wikipedia, and


Source of the pictures of the tank in the village of Kazatin: starina44



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