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Captured German mess kit with Soviet trench art-named to KIA

Article about: Hi Today I'd like to share with you my latest purchase-German M31 mess kit dated 1941 with artwork done by Soviet soldier(s). I really like these trench art stuff, especially when it's named

  1. #1

    Default Captured German mess kit with Soviet trench art-named to KIA

    Hi
    Today I'd like to share with you my latest purchase-German M31 mess kit dated 1941 with artwork done by Soviet soldier(s).
    I really like these trench art stuff, especially when it's named, geaving an opportunity to be researched.
    That's my second named Soviet mess kit but name on the first one was too common to be researched.
    Now, that's something different! Having bought it first thing I've done was putting scraped name under quick research and a result was abvious.
    There were only two documents for the one man with this last name and initials- Petr Fedorovich Tikhanovsky b.1924
    These two document were in fact quite sad, both reporting his death on March 9th 1945 near village Garden, West Pommern, near Stettin, Germany (now village's name is Gardno in Zachodnio-Pomorskie voivodship in north-west Poland, about 7km south of Szczecin.

    That's correct because mess kit comes from a collector in northern Poland and he has bought it from other man there.

    But that's not the end as artwork on mess tells much more about this mess kit.

    On the one side there's artwork done which I think wasn't done by Tikhanovsky- scraped thing reminds me monuments of fallen Soviet soldiers with a red star on the top sourrounded by flowers and flags. Above there's name of a city- Sevastopol.

    The reason why I don't think it was done by Tikhanovsky is that all that artwork was done with a different tool-leaving wider scratches than tool with which "P.F. Tikhanovsky" was scraped. Also it looks like an artwork was made later-scratches of a monument were made on name "Tikhonov"

    Also that's interesting why there's Tikhonov on one side on P.F. Tikhanovsky on the other side. I guess that someone who scraped it (whether it was Tikhanovsky himself or someone did this for him) misspelled his name and scraped correct on the other side.

    Now let me tell you more about this young man...
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Captured German mess kit with Soviet trench art-named to KIA   Captured German mess kit with Soviet trench art-named to KIA  

    Captured German mess kit with Soviet trench art-named to KIA  
    Last edited by Marinecollector42; 04-03-2019 at 04:30 PM.

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  3. #2

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    Now the story goes more interesting…
    Having read his KIA reports I know he was born in 1924, lived in Smolensk oblast' on poselok Stodolishche. Was drafted on January 1 1945 in city Nabil', but... there's NO such city, village or town!
    Also the date January 1st sounds strange.

    Anyway I started research. And found that soldier who was killed the same day from the same regiment had very similar name of being drafted written with the same day. But this time it was written as Nakil'. There was also one more man with enlistment date 3.01.1945 and draft place "city Naklya". That's all strange and similar.

    I've been looking for places with similar name thinking these three cities could be a one city place just misspelled. And I have a probable one which laid on Tikhanovsky's army patch in January 1945.

    He served in 1285 rifle regiment, 60th rifle division, 47th army, 1st Belarussian Front. On January 21 1945 47th army stumbled on a city on Polish German border from inter-war period- it's Polish name is Nakło, and German Nakel. Do I got it? Most likely that's the place and dates is almost matching.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Captured German mess kit with Soviet trench art-named to KIA   Captured German mess kit with Soviet trench art-named to KIA  

    Attached Images Attached Images Captured German mess kit with Soviet trench art-named to KIA 

  4. #3

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    So, if it's his correct enlistment place (of course this is just a theory, he could have been enlisted in late 1943/ early 1944 in Smolensk and this can be a mistake in description) what was he doing there in 1945?
    Another thing is that his canteen has date scraped with the same tool as his name was-6.-II-44. That's interesting as it's long before his enlistment, probably the date his name was scraped?

    That's pure speculation but German canteen could not only be a war trophy but maybe he was equipped with it? Not by Soviets I guess… In 1941 he was too young to be drafted before Smolensk was under German occupation untill autumn 1943. So what are the possibilities?

    1-he was deported to Germany as a worker during occupation and that's when he get German mess
    2-he was a "Hilfswillige"-in most of cases these were POWs and civilians attached to physical work at the rear of German units, they were attached as official servicemans to divisions and were equipped with German equipment. Maybe before liberation he managed to hide in a town and stated that he was a physical worker in factory or on a farm.
    But that's all speculation as I said.
    Digging further through Casualties list of 60th RD in March 1945 I found that many of these fallen men were drafted in Poland or in Germany-mostly from 47th army filtering camps or field Voenkomats.
    Also, thing differing Tikhanovsky enlistment place from other in USSR is that there was no Oblast' mentioned. If you take a look at casualties list below Tikhanovsky's name you'll see that there's a man who was drafted in city Naydom in January 1945 which I'm sure is Neudamm, near Kustrin in western Poland-captured on 31 Jan. 1945.

    Aattached photograph is Tikhanovsky's death notification sent to Stodolishche Voenny Komissaryat, Smolensk Oblast' with notification to inform his mother-Fiska Tikhanovskaya about her son's death "In combat for socialist Motherland. Someone misspelled his last name here as Tikhonovsky.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Captured German mess kit with Soviet trench art-named to KIA   Captured German mess kit with Soviet trench art-named to KIA  


  5. #4

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    Petr Fedorovich Tikhanovsky was killed on March 9th 1945 serving as rifleman of 1285 rifle regiment 60th rifle division south of Stettin. 47th Army was on positions north of Warsaw when The Great January offensive has begun. First it headed north-west, fighting for Bydgoszcz, Toruń and Nakło. Later was sent south-west to the area of Festung Kustrin, fought for seting up bridgeheads on Oder and once again headed north in February, breaking Pommeranian wall, and heading to capture Stettin.


    On March 9th 60th RD encountered heavy resistance of mixed forces of German defenders.


    On march 8th enemy with big casualties was retreating in the direction of Klebow, covering it's forces by rear guards. During the night and the day of March 9th enemy laid heavy artillery and mortar fire on combat positions of 60RD , mostly with artillery, not less than a squadron, also cunducted pointwise fire from heavy guns probably from guns of Oder fleet on river Oder and till the day 9.03.45 under pressure of our units enemy retreated and took following positions: hill 45,6, southern edge of Klebow, hill 39,5 and took defense on hills east of Klebow, Klebow, hill 39,5. From this area he conducted organized fire defense against units of 60RD.[…] 1285 and 1281 RR-norther Edge of small forest 600m S from Klebow. At 12.00 9.03.45 after 30 minutes of artillery preparation division went into attack, in result of heavy and resistant combat division reached line...

    These are the last moments of Tikhanovsky in divisional report. This mess tin is most likely a "witness" of it's owners death. Probably later taken from killed soldier by another who made this artwork on it's front. But I don't think if he made it home and this mess tin was left here in Poland, probably later taken by local farmer and used to feed animals or whatsever.

    Hope you enjoyed
    Jacob
    Attached Images Attached Images Captured German mess kit with Soviet trench art-named to KIA 

  6. #5
    mpw
    mpw is offline
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    A very interesting item and research. These personal items are fascinating, more so when the original owners story can be told. Thanks for posting.

  7. #6

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    I agree. Very interesting and you managed to make a simple messtin come back to life. Exactly this is what makes collecting so interesting!! Thanks a lot for the research. Fascinating!

  8. #7
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    Very good, Jacob!
    You solved the puzzle! Well done. My respect!
    -= Archival research Service for Soviet awards. PM if interested. =-

  9. #8
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    [QUOTE=Marinecollector42;1953428]
    ... he could have been enlisted in late 1943/ early 1944 in Smolensk ...
    Another thing is that his canteen has date scraped with the same tool as his name was-6.-II-44. That's interesting as it's long before his enlistment, probably the date his name was scraped?

    ———————

    I may be missing something, but I don’t see the problem.
    In Russian practice (and many other Eastern European countries), the date ‘6.-II-44’ would represent 6th February 1944 and, is thus, in perfect keeping with his enlistment in ‘late 1943-early 1944’; the month routinely written in Roman numerals.

    The repeated confusion over place of enlistment weakens the connection for me, but this is otherwise very good detective work!
    Well done!

    Cheers,
    Bob

  10. #9

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    [QUOTE=Kohima;1954558]
    Quote by Marinecollector42 View Post
    ... he could have been enlisted in late 1943/ early 1944 in Smolensk ...
    Another thing is that his canteen has date scraped with the same tool as his name was-6.-II-44. That's interesting as it's long before his enlistment, probably the date his name was scraped?

    ———————

    I may be missing something, but I don’t see the problem.
    In Russian practice (and many other Eastern European countries), the date ‘6.-II-44’ would represent 6th February 1944 and, is thus, in perfect keeping with his enlistment in ‘late 1943-early 1944’; the month routinely written in Roman numerals.

    The repeated confusion over place of enlistment weakens the connection for me, but this is otherwise very good detective work!
    Well done!

    Cheers,
    Bob
    Thank you!
    That's in fact a part which I wasn't able to research, meybe there will be some more documents in Russian archives which would help. Due to this confusion with date on canteen and geaven enlistment date I chcecked casualties list of 60RD to see if geaven enlistment dates are in accordance with dated geaven in award letters if availble. The result was that about 50% were correct and in case of rest mistakes were from different Rayonny Voenny Komissaryat geaven to different day, mont or even year of enlistment geaven. Unfortunately in this case there are no award documents for this soldier.

    In fact-if he had lived in Smolensk through entire occupation period he would be enlisted right after liberation in October 1943 and after basic training (usually few months) he would arrive to actual combat unit-most likely in early 1944. February 1944 would be like his first days on the frontline-maybe 6 February 1944 was the day he captured this mess tin and he scraped it to commemorate this day. Im leaning towards this version, that date geaven in KIA report was mistaken, date on canteen is strong evidence.


    On the other hand if he would be a former Hiwi and his enlistment place was Nakel (Nakło), that also not impossible. Nakel was defended by units of German 9th army-this army participied in battle of Smolensk in 1941. To recapture the city 9th army send Latvian SS volunteer division supported by 2 saper battalions of army command. One of these two was 54 bau bataillon (other unknown bataillon had nr.57). This was unit on army level destinated to build Bridges,roads etc., so much physical work-that's what Hiwi's in Wehrmacht would usually do. In autumn 1941 this unit probably stationed in Smolensk together with army Staff. Maybe hoping to get some food he went with them in 1941 and escaped in 1945 during battle of Nakel. Bu then I have no idea what would date mean.


    Same as I said before, these are just theories. Im sure of correct ID as origin of this item and fact that such combination of initials and last name matches only to one man I found in availble documents.


    Im also hoping to go to the place where Tikhanovsky was killed in March 1945. Unfortunately his remains according to what I know weren't found or weren't identified-his name figures nowhere in lists of burried on Red Army cementries in Zachodnio-Pomorskie. Maybe was burried with thousands of unknown Soviet soldiers in a mass grave, or maybe he still rest in the ground where he was killed +75 years ago.

  11. #10
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    Jacob, are all the markings made with same tool and work style?
    Secondly, there are other markings other than the “Tikhanovsky P.F. 6-II-44 ”.

    The Soviet star on the other side would somewhat contradict the Hiwi theory, if we expect It to be done also in Feb 1944.

    There is also a long inscription on the rim, I cannot read it though. What does it say?
    -= Archival research Service for Soviet awards. PM if interested. =-

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