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     Home > SOVIET ORDERS AND MEDALS > TOP Soviet Military Orders

    Order of Alexander Nevsky, Type 3, "Deep Dish" version, #21795, awarded on 2 February 1945 to Lieutenant Colonel Vasiliy Shevchenko.

    Order of Alexander Nevsky, Type 3, "Deep Dish" version, #21795, awarded on 2 February 1945 to Lieutenant Colonel Vasiliy Shevchenko.

    Silver gilt, enamels; measures 51.1 mm in height, 50.0 mm in width; weighs 40.2 g not including the screw plate. Features a distinctive concaved "deep dish" shape, mint mark in almost straight lines, and comparatively wide bands at the lower ends of the battleaxes.

    In very fine to excellent condition. The enamel shows beautiful luster and appears almost perfect to an unaided eye. Careful examination with a 10x loupe reveals a couple of tiny flakes: at the tip of the upper left arm and bottom edge of the lower left arm. There are also many tiny contact marks that are nearly unnoticeable without magnification. The center medallion has a couple of tiny dings and scuffs but very little wear to details of the bas-relief that remain beautifully crisp and essentially perfect. The original gold plating on the wreath, battle axes, sword and quiver is subdued but clearly visible - far better preserved than on most other examples. There is magnificent patina to silver on both sides of the badge with a distinctly lighter area on the reverse in the center where it was covered by the screw plate. The screw post is nearly 10 mm in length; i8t has been reduced by a few mm for convenience as was customary. Original silver screw plate is included. In general, this is a very attractive early specimen with just minimal wear.

    Vasiliy Shevchenko was born in 1908 in a village of the Rostov (Don Cossack) region. In 1930, he was drafted in the military and sent to a cavalry NCO school. Soon after finishing it and briefly serving as deputy cavalry platoon commander, he went on to further his military education in an infantry school in Ordzhonikidze. He thus became a career military officer rising through the ranks and receiving additional training as a military translator during the rest of the 30s. In 1939, he took part in the Soviet invasion of Poland and later, the Winter War against Finland. By early 1941, Shevchenko had become a staff officer in a motorized rifle division of Kiev "Special" Military District and served in this capacity in the initial period of the Patriotic War. In November of that year however, he was transferred to command a rifle battalion of the 240th Rifle Division, 3rd Army in the battle of Moscow. Henceforth, he remained on purely combat posts taking short breaks from the fighting only when convalescent in a hospital (before the end of the war, he would be wounded in combat five times.) In September 1942, Shevchenko earned his first decoration, an Order of the Red Banner, for leading an infantry assault and personally killing 20 enemy soldiers near Voronezh.

    In August 1943, Shevchenko was given command of the 458th Rifle Regiment of the 78th Rifle Division, then a part of the Voronezh Front, and during the following month, was promoted to lieutenant colonel. He remained with that unit for the remainder of the war, proving an exceptionally capable commander in numerous battles including the liberation of southern Ukraine, Yassy-Kishinev operation and invasion of Romania. By the end of 1944, his regiment was awarded with an Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky 2nd cl. - an unusually high honor for unit of that size - and was given an honorific title of "Debretsenskaya" for its role in the capture of Debrecen. Shevchenko himself was decorated with an Order of Suvorov 3rd cl. for his leadership in storming the city.

    In the early 1945, Shevchenko and his troops continued to perform with exceptional heroism and proficiency while storming numerous German strongholds in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. On 1 February 1945, shortly before the last German counter-offensive at Lake Balaton in Hungary, he was once again recommended for an Order of the Red Banner by his division commander. The award was changed to an Order of Alexander Nevsky - technically a downgrade but clearly a more appropriate decoration - in an award decree issued literally on the following day by the 27th Army, 2nd Ukrainian Front. Shevchenko remained on active duty in the military for a long time after the war and retiring only in 1955 with the rank of colonel. By that time, his impressive chest of decorations included Orders of Alexander Nevsky, Suvorov 3rd cl., three Orders of the Red Banner, and two Orders of Lenin.

    Research Materials: Xerox copy and English translation of the award record card, award commendation for Order of Alexander Nevsky, and service record (the later includes his photo); copy of the commendations for the 1942 Red Banner and the Order of Suvorov, 3rd cl.


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