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  ORDER OF LENIN

  # 197,223

  Issued: 1951

     ALEXANDER NEVSKY

This substantial order is a battle award presented to outstanding commanding officers during the Great Patriotic War (WW II). The earlier version of Alexander Nevsky, such as # 1,029 below, were attached to a silver suspension with a red ribbon.  Subsequent to 1943, the order was converted to a screw back version without the ribbon, such as #42,088 above.  The order is named after prince Alexander Nevsky who defeated the invading Swedes on the Neva River, and later defeated the Teutonic knights on Lake Peipus in 1242.   Alexander Nevsky is revered in Russia, and many churches in Eastern Europe are names after him, including the one in Tallinn, Estonia.  I consider Alexander Nevsky to be the most impressive of all Soviet WW II orders.


Established:  1942;  No. issued:  42,156; Metal Content (gr.):  gold: 0.04; silver: 38.3.

    #1029

Highest award of the USSR.  Many of the first awardees were heroes from the Russian Civil War and high-ranking military leaders.  The order is also issued whenever a Hero of the Soviet Union Gold Star is issued.   (The Comprehensive Guide to Soviet Orders and Medals, Paul McDaniel and Paul J. Schmitt).  This solid gold & platinum order is in immaculate condition - as is the Order Book.

Established: 1930;  No. Issued:  450,000 +; Metal Content (gr):  gold: 28.6;  silver: .85; platinum: 2.75

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    #42,088

Ilyushin - 2 “Sturmovik” (“attacker”) ground attack was one of the icons of the Russia’s WW II arsenal.                                                 

Numerous unit commanders were awarded the Order of Alexander Nevsky.   USSR produced over 35,000  Ilyushyn 2 Sturmoviks during WW II.  This was the most produced combat aircraft of the war.  Sturmovik pilots and air gunners suffered terrible losses because they were always in the thick of the fight - often without effective fighter support.  The rear gunners of an IL-2 had a very short life span because of their exposed position compared to the well-armored cockpit of the pilot.  Some pilots preferred to fly the earlier single-seat version because they didn’t want to bring back a dead body of a friend each time they took off on a mission.


The Germans feared this effective ground attack aircraft because of it’s devastating firepower of cannons and rockets, and referred to the aircraft as the “Black Death”.  The Russians called it “The Beast”. A squadron of IL-2s would form up in what is called the “circle of death” and absolutely annihilate a German tank column, as they did during the battle of Kursk in the summer of 1943. The IL-2 would attack German columns with VYA 23 mm cannons, PTAB bombs and rockets. The aftermath of a well coordinated attack was almost always total destruction of the target.  IL- 2 was roughly constructed by western standards, but, like with most Russian weapons,  it served its purpose of killing the enemy.  This plane was the T-34 tank of the skies over Russia.

    IL - 2 “Sturmovik”

SOVIET ORDERS - IL-2

Igor Svyatoslavich, defender of Old Russia (1185).


The epic poem of Igor’s Campaign is a masterpiece of Russian literature.  It is an appeal to the Russian people to unit after their defeat in order to defend the Motherland from foreign invaders. Painting by Vladimir Semenov.

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“meadowlands” - Russian Army Chorus

Issued May 1944

This book is one of a series of new books on the subject from the Russian perspective.


The book was authored by Vasily B. Emelianenko, a recipient of the Hero of the USSR Gold Star, the highest Soviet award for combat valor.  Vasily flew 92 combat sorties in the IL-2, and was shot down three times.  His memoirs provide a vivid insight into the personalities of the pilots who flew the combat missions and their humorous antics.  Interesting reading, especially about the initial unpreparedness of the units to resist the German invasion, and how they struggled to buy time to win.  Hitler misunderstood the Russian strategy. A month after the invasion, the Germans were confident that they had “won the war” - the Russians knew better.


What is remarkable about Vasily Emelianenko is not that he won the Hero of USSR Gold Star, but that he survived at all at a time when most of his fellow pilots were killed. His is a fascinating story.


Published in UK - unique photos of pilots involved.

  BOGDAN KHMELNITSKY - 2nd CLASS

This order was issued to both officers and enlisted personnel , as well as to partisan units, for outstanding service, usually for the liberation Ukraine (The Comprehensive Guide to Soviet Orders and Medals, Paul McDaniel and Paul J. Schmitt). 

Established: 1943;  No. Issued:  8,500 +; Metal Content (gr): 1st Class -  gold: 20.7,  silver: 29.5; 2nd Class -  gold: 5.13, silver: 34.3; 3rd Class: silver: 30.2

# 2111

1945

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