Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky 2nd Class #1334
Awarded to Lt. Colonel Konstantin Nikolaevich Evstratov (Константин Николаевич Евстратов)
For efficiently leading his troops in a successful enemy strong defense breakthrough operation on January 14, 1945, and continuing to lead them until the rifle corps reached the Vistula River. His leadership prevented casualties and cleared 2,225 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines, along with 16 time bombs in the corps’s path. He also personally oversaw bridge and crossing construction, facilitating the timely movement of our forces across water obstacles
Lt. Col. Evstratov was mentioned in the book ‘From Moscow to Stralsund’ for his ingenious plan of digging a tunnel to get behind the enemy trenches
Made of solid gold and silver, it measures 50.61 mm in width, 54.50 mm in height, and weighs 39.1 grams without its screwplate. The serial number and the mint mark “Monetni Dvor” are located at the bottom of its reverse.
In excellent, well-above-average condition, its details are perfectly crisp, and even the raised parts on the gold center medallion, like Khmelnitsky’s face, show only light wear. Its reverse is in superb condition as well, with few dings and scratches, and it exhibits an appealing silky shine. There have been no repairs to the order, and the screw has not been shortened. The order comes with its time-period and well-fitted silver screwplate.
A beautiful and rare piece with interesting research!
Brief and specific description of the personal feat or merits:
Lt. Colonel EVSTRATOV led efficiently the engineering troops assigned to the rifle corps during the enemy strong defence breakthrough operation (14 January 1945) and later all the way until the rifle corps reached the river Vistula. His efficient command enabled unhindered advance of all our armed branches and prevented any cases of casualties (people, vehicles, tanks) on enemy minefields.
During the combat period, there were disarmed 2225 anti-tank and antipersonnel mines and 16 time bombs in the sector of corps advance. The rifle corps force force-crossed the rivers Vkra, Drvenca, and Vistula.
Lt. Colonel EVSTRATOV personally led bridge and crossing constructions, which ensured the timely construction and transport of our troops across the water obstacles.
Below you can read the full translation of the research:
From the book “From Moscow to Stralsund : the combat path of 354 rifle division”, 1985.
Mentions personally engineer EVSTRATOV.
In June 1943, the division headquarters took measures to strengthen intelligence. There was a need to capture an enemy prisoner for interrogation. But it was not possible. The division chief of staff, Lt.Col. FRENKIN and the division engineer Mj. EVSTRATOV, developed a plan to capture such enemy prisoner by constructing a tunnel under the neutral zone. In the area of the village of Berezovets, there was a deep ravine in the division sector. This allowed to to contemplate and proposed to carry underground work and build a tunnel towards the enemy. In mid-June, construction of an unusual structure began. Logs and other necessary fastening materials were secretly transported along the ravine. The work area was cordoned off. The work was supervised by the deputy commander of the 476 separate sapper battalion Captain N.A. BOROVOY, and the direct underground work was led by former miner, Sr.Sgt. EREMIN. The tunnel was 190cm high, 220cm wide, and 130m long.
The battle plan called for a surprise attack through the tunnel to break into the enemy trenches south of Berezovets and capture a strong point at a commanding height. The troops assigned to support the operations: 257 separate army penal company, the 420 separate reconnaissance company, one rifle and one mortar company from the 1199 and 1203 regiments, two 120 mortar batteries and two artillery squadrons of the 921 artillery regiment. Preparations for the battle were carried out from June 25 to July 18 under the leadership of the deputy division commander, Mj.Gen. FURTH and the head of the political department, Lt.Col. BUTSOL.
18 July, the construction of the tunnel and the preparation of units for combat with the aim of capturing prisoners and destroying an enemy stronghold were completed. When the tunnel reached under the enemy trench, our sappers prepared a breach and laid explosives.
19 July @14:20, the sappers carried out an explosion. The ground collapsed creating a breach 4 meters away from the enemy trench. The 257 Penal Company, wearing gas masks, passed through the tunnel, quickly jumped out of the hole and burst into the enemy trench, attacking the enemy with daggers and bayonets. The 1st platoon commanded by Lt. DEBOLSKY led the way. In the very first minutes, the crews of two enemy machine-guns were captured and a reconnaissance observer was captured.
Following the first wave, a reconnaissance platoon of the 1199 regiment came out through the tunnel and burst into the enemy’s second trench along the line of communication. Here, the squad of Sr.Sgt. VEPRENTSEV captured a enemy NCO and eliminated up to 10 troops. Then the attack was enforced by 2 platoons of the 420 separate reconnaissance company headed by political officer Lt. RYAZANTSEV, specially trained companies of the 1199 and 1203 regiments. This reinforcements were supported of artillery and mortars and seized control of the main hill in the area. Conditions were created for capturing the enemy’s third trench. However, the enemy launched counterattacks. To avoid unnecessary losses, the division commander ordered the units to be withdrawn to their original position and the tunnel to be demolished.
Lt.Gen. BATOV issued an order expressing gratitude to all personnel who took part in the preparation of the tunnel and in the battles to capture prisoners. 138 people were bestowed.
More information on Lt. Col. Evstratov can be found here
Next to the ‘standard’ research we have added the following information in the picture gallery:
- an infosheet
- a scan of an original picture of Lt. Col. Evstratov showing him wearing this order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky 2nd class among other awards
- several documents and maps among which the tunnel he designed
Please contact us with questions