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  “ОТЛИЧНЫЙ” (OUTSTANDING) BADGES OF WW II

These badges were issued to the members of various branches during WW II who excelled at performing their duties as members of their units.

   My complete collection

Guards Badge on the left was issued to troops belonging to units designated as “Guard Units”.  This designation was awarded to those combat units exhibiting outstanding valor in accomplishing their missions.

It took a while to collect all these badges.  Some of them were bought from the original owners who wore them in combat and thus they are a bit worn.

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This T-34-85 tank outside of Moscow is a good example of a “Guard Unit” tank. The slogan on the fuel tank reads “for our Motherland”.  The T-34-85 is an upgraded version of  the earlier T-34, with a larger 3-man turret, and a more powerful 85 mm gun that could slice through any German tank that came within its killing range.    The T-34-85 was undoubtedly the best medium-size tank of WW II for harsh combat operations.                                                                                                          


All T-34 versions were faster, more mobile, and more dependable in rough terrain than any German tank. The T-34’s brilliance lay in its design simplicity which facilitated manufacture by the tens of thousands, while at the same time, it possessed advanced tank design concepts far superior to the German tanks at the start of the war.  The ingenuity of the Russians frustrated the Germans.  When glass mirrors were no longer available for T-34 optics, the Russians used polished steel.  When rubber was no longer available for the T-34 road wheels, the T-34s rode on bare steel wheels each fitted with a small shock absorber. The Russians dumbfounded Germans with their resilience and ability to fight back long after others would have surrendered. 


By 1943, Germany built a technologically more advanced medium tank - the Panther.  This German tank was a work of art in tank design which copied some of the novel features of the T-34, had better optics and crew comfort than the T-34; however, it was not as robust and dependable as the T-34, and often broke down.  The Panther was difficult to maintain and repair in the field because of its complexity.  The T-34, on the other hand, could be repaired by the crew with only a crowbar, hammer and a screw driver.  The T-34s were roughly built, in comparison to the more refined German tanks,  but they were more than adequate for defeating the enemy.  The Russian tanks overwhelmed their opponent with their vast numbers and by the bravery of their crews.  A burning T-34 would at times deliberately ram into a German Tiger tank - exploding both.  


Germany paid a heavy price for emphasizing complex technical superiority over mass production. Germany was able to produced only 6,000 Panther tanks during the war.  Russia produced over 50,000 T-34 tanks alone, and thousands of other tanks.  Hitler once told the Finns that had he know how many tanks and airplanes the Russians could produce, he might not have invaded. The strength of the Russian armament industry was well know to the German officials familiar with the USSR, and they had warned Hitler against invading.  Unfortunately for the German people, Hitler didn’t heed their warnings, and relied on his impulsive nature to initiate a war he could not possibly win.  

This T-34-85  is on the road leading from Narva to Narva Jõesuu, in Estonia.  Russian newlyweds come to this monument  to toast their marriage and leave flowers and ribbons on the tank.


The Germans never produced a tank that would serve them as well as the T-34 served the Russians.  The T-34 tank is a symbol of pride for the Russians.

MILITARY SERVICE BADGES - T-34

“Don’t Cry My Soul”,  Vika Tsyganova.                              

T - 34 TANK

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19th century oil painting of Russian landscape, V. Zaxarov.

These type paintings are popular with art collectors.  

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