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     Home > SOVIET ORDERS AND MEDALS > Order of the Patriotic War

    Order of the Patriotic War 1st class, Type 2 Variation 2, #317985, with a document, awarded on 3 November 1944 to Guards Junior Lieutenant Boris Kalinin.

    Order of the Patriotic War 1st class, Type 2 Variation 2, #317985, with a document, awarded on 3 November 1944 to Guards Junior Lieutenant Boris Kalinin.

    In solid gold (14 K), sterling silver and enamels; measures 46.3 mm in height x 44.2 mm in width; weighs 32.1 g without screw plate. This version features a two-line mint mark. The spokes on the reverse of the golden sunburst are at 2, 6 and 10 o'clock positions.

    The order is in excellent, near mint condition. The enamel is literally flawless, free of even microscopic contact marks that could be found under 10x loupe. The starburst, rifle and sword are likewise perfect, with exceptionally crisp details and free of visible dings or scratches. There is very attractive toning to both gold and silver throughout. The screw post is full length, approx. 11 mm long measured from the reverse of the gold starburst. Comes with original screw plate in white metal.

    The order booklet was issued on 12 September 1973. It shows entries for two decorations, the Patriotic War 1st cl. (specifying that it was awarded on 3 November 1944 by a decree of the 3rd Guards Rifle Corps) and an Order of the Red Star (#893770). The Red Star was entered into the booklet first, with the Patriotic War apparently added soon thereafter. We have absolutely no doubt that both entries are legitimate and guarantee it. Just like the award itself, the booklet is in near mint condition. It is interesting to see that the Order of the Patriotic War was delivered to the recipient long after the war, in the 70s - a clear case of what Russians usually refer to as nagrada nashla geroya i.e. "the award found the hero". Situations like this were not particularly uncommon: the paperwork was often lost or misplaced in the chaos of war, and many of the recipients only discovered that they had been decorated many years later, sometimes by chance.

    Born in 1925, Boris Kalinin joined the Red Army in 1943, after reaching the draft age of 18. He was in combat from August 1944 having the rank of Guards Junior Lieutenant and serving as commander of a machine gun company of the 160th Guards Rifle Regiment, 54th Guards Rifle Division, 3rd Guards Rifle Corps, 28th Army, 3rd Belorussian Front. Within a month, he earned his first decoration, an Order of the Red Star, by killing 15 German soldiers during the forced crossing of the Western Bug River. This award was bestowed upon him on 1 September 1944.

    On 22 October, Kalinin distinguished himself once again as his unit crossed the border of Lithuania into East Prussia aiming toward Koenigsberg. During an assault northwest of the railway station of Goritten (now village of Pushkino, Kaliningrad Region), Kalinin effectively supported the advance of Soviet infantry with the fire of his heavy machine gun. While on the move, he spotted a group of German soldiers preparing to strike into the flank his unit. Immediately recognizing the danger, Kalinin on his own initiative redirected the fire of his platoon completely wiping out the enemy group. In the skirmish he personally eliminated six Nazi soldiers and silenced two weapon nests. Although wounded, he refused to leave the battlefield until the fighting subsided.

    Five days later, Kalinin was recommended for an Order of the Patriotic War, 1st cl. by his regiment commander. By the end of the month the award had been approved by division commander; on 3 November 1944, it was officially bestowed by a decree of the 3rd Guards Rifle Corps. We can only guess that at the time Kalinin must have been convalescent in a hospital in the rear, far from his rapidly advancing unit, and thus the award decision was never made known to him until almost three decades later.

    Research Materials: photocopy of the award commendations for the Orders of the Patriotic War 1st cl. and Red Star. Detailed information about 54th Guards Rifle Division is available in the Vol. IV "Red Guards" of the Charles Sharp's WW2 Soviet Order of Battle book series.

    Item# 32533


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