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     Home > FEATURES > WW2 Soviet Pilots

    "Great October 60 Years," 4 ", 1977, porcelain table medal commemorates the simultaneous anniversaries of the 1917 October Revolution and the famous Orshanskiy Fighter Air Regiment.

    "Great October 60 Years," 4 ", 1977, porcelain table medal commemorates the simultaneous anniversaries of the 1917 October Revolution and the famous Orshanskiy Fighter Air Regiment.

    4 " (11.3cm), obverse features the badge of the Order of the October Revolution on the obverse and the inscription "60th Anniversary of the Great October". The reverse has the slightly shortened name of the air unit: "60 [anniversary of the] F. Dzerzhinsky Order of the Red Banner, Order of Suvorov Orshanskiy Fighter Air Regiment". The unit's complete name was:15-й истребительный Оршанский Краснознаменный ордена Суворова авиационный полк им. Ф.Э.Дзержинского. Gold highlights overall, bright gold trim around the edge. Excellent condition.

    One of the first if not the first Soviet aviation units which took part in the Civil War on the Bolshevik side in as early as 1917 (hence its official anniversary coincides with the anniversary of the October Revolution), at the time as an air squadron. In 1925, the squadron was given the title in honor of Feliks Dzerzhinskiy for its performance throughout the Civil War. In 1935, it became 106th Fighter Air Squadron and three years later expanded into 15th Fighter Regiment. In 1939, it took part in the attack on Poland and in early spring 1940, in the war against Finland. At the onset of German invasion in June 1941, the regiment was equipped with obsolete I-16, I-15 and I-153 fighters as well as new Mig-3s, deployed in Lithuania. On the first day many of the fighters including most of the Migs were destroyed on the ground; more were shot down in the following few days necessitating the regiment being pulled back from the front for refitting in mid July. In mid August it was back on the front and took part in the defense of Leningrad until December 1941 during which time it claimed 78 aerial victories. In December, it was re-equipped with Lagg-3 fighters and attached to the 2nd Air Army of the Bryansk Front. From 4 - 24 September, it fought at Stalingrad losing all of its airplanes in less than 3 weeks and nearly all of its pilots killed or wounded.

    On 15 October 1942, it was sent east of Stalingrad for refitting with new La-5 fighters and some more Lagg-3s, and for training new personnel. Back on the front on 24 October, whereupon it flew many missions at Stalingrad in support of ground attacks in IL-2 Shturmoviks and claimed 26 German airplanes shot down. Again it lost large number of airplanes and by early November, was pulled back for another refitting and then returned to the front once more in late November 1942. In late December 1942 pulled to Siberia for complete overhaul where it received an extra squadron (making total of 4, all equipped with brand new Yak-7b fighters). Back to the front in February 1943. In April -June, it took part in the great air battle in Kuban region. In July - August, fought at Kursk using the Yak-9s, then took part in the liberation of the Crimea. In June-early July 1944, the regiment distinguished itself during the Bagration offensive in Belorussia and was instrumental in the capture of the strategic railway hub of Orsha, for which it was given the honorific title of Orshanskiy.

    For outstanding performance during the further actions in Belorussia and Lithuania, especially during the capture of Wilno (Vilnius), the unit was awarded with Order of the Red Banner. For its role in the Berlin offensive it was awarded with an Order of Suvorov 3rd cl. thus becoming one of the most decorated regiments in the Soviet Air Force.

    This commemorative was probably meant to be displayed on a veteran's desktop on a small easel or used as a paperweight.


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