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

    Order of the Patriotic War, 1st class, Type 1, Variation 3, #23731, awarded on 25 December 1943 to Colonel Vasiliy Kudinov.

    Order of the Patriotic War, 1st class, Type 1, Variation 3, #23731, awarded on 25 December 1943 to Colonel Vasiliy Kudinov.

    Gold, silver, enamels; medallion measures 47.4 mm in height (incl. eyelet), 42.7 mm in width; weighs 26.0 g not including the suspension and connecting link; total weight with suspension and screw plate is 42.5 g. The suspension measures 21.6 mm in height (not including the projection at the bottom for the connecting link), 32.6 mm in width. The serial number is engraved in standard manner at 7 'clock. There is a small maker's mark that appears to be a Cyrillic E on the reverse of the golden starburst at approximately 8 o'clock position.

    The order is in fine to very fine overall condition. It has not been converted to screw back and retains its original eyelet and suspension. The enamel on the top arm is completely replaced with epoxy-based "cold enamel" which appears to be an old repair (the top arm is the usual weak spot of the first type of the Order of the Patriotic War). The red enamel on the other four arms is practically perfect with the exception of a few miniscule contact marks, mostly near the tip of the lower right arm. It shows beautiful original luster and is completely free of flaking, rubbing, scratches or other wear visible to the naked eye. The white enameled band is absolutely pristine, and so is the red enamel on the center medallion. The details of the golden starburst and hammer & sickle emblem are perfect and crisp. The rivets are intact and tight.

    The suspension device is original and complete, with rectangular back plate, hexagon nut, full size screw post (approx. 13 mm long measured from the back plate) and mint marked screw plate. The immaculately clean ribbon is old, possibly original or at least of the period. The connecting link between the suspension and medallion has been replaced, probably at the same time when the upper arm was repaired. To summarize, despite the partial enamel repair, this is still a very attractive piece in better condition than most other surviving Type 1 awards.

    Vasiliy Kudinov was born in Moscow in 1896. He had completed 6 grades of school prior to being drafted to the Russian Imperial Army and taking part in WW1. In 1917, he joined the Bolsheviks and for the following three years took part in the Civil War. He then became a career military man and by the time of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, occupied position of the 27th Army's Chief of Artillery Supplies. At the beginning of the Patriotic War, the army was initially deployed along the shores of the Gulf of Riga as part of the Northwestern Front, and then took part in a defensive battle on the Daugava (Western Dvina) River near Daugavpils. In August 1941, the army attempted a counteroffensive near the town of Staraya Russa and later fought it the area of the infamous Demyansk bulge. In December 1941, it was transformed into 4th Shock Army, and during the following month, was resubordinated to the Kalinin Front and took part in the fighting in the area of Toropets.

    Kudinov's responsibilities in the army included supervising procurement and delivery of the artillery ammunition as well as keeping the artillery pieces and prime movers in good working order. Despite the chronic dearth of available transportation, poor road condition and overextended communication lines, he performed his tasks brilliantly starting from the first day of the war. On several occasions in throughout 1942 he personally led in combat a defensive screen preventing the enemy from capturing ammunition stores. When the Germans broke into the rear of the army, Kudinov organized the defense and repelled the attack. He was subsequently recommended for an Order of the Red Banner, but the award was later downgraded to an Order of the Red Star which was bestowed on him in January 1943.

    In October 1943, Kudinov, by then already a colonel and Deputy Chief of the Artillery of the 4th Shock Army, was nominated for his second decoration of the war. This was to be a cumulative award for his excellent service from the beginning of the war but in particular for his performance in the fighting near the town of Nevel southwest of Velikie Luki (the offensive was a prelude to the much larger Nevel - Gorodok Operation in late December 1943; in the latter the 4th Army would play a role of "sledgehammer": it crashed and prevented an escape of four German divisions trapped near the town of Gorodok in the northeastern of Belorussia, at the juncture of the Army Groups Center and North.)

    On 27 October, Kudinov was recommended for an Order of the Patriotic War, 2nd cl. by the 4th Army Chief of Artillery. Unlike the previous case, the award was upgraded by the army command to the 1st cl. rather than downgraded. The order, Kudinov's second decoration of the war, was bestowed on 25 December 1943 by a decree of the 1st Baltic Front.

    Kudinov went on to be promoted to Deputy Commander of the Artillery Supplies of the 1st Baltic Front and by the end of 1945, earned three Orders of the Red Banner and an Order of Lenin. No information about his further service is available, but he probably retired at some point in the second half of 1940s.

    Research Materials: photocopy of the award record card and award commendations for the Order of Patriotic War 1st cl., the 1943 Order of the Red Star, and one of the Orders of the Red Banner (awarded in September 1944 for the liberation of Vitebsk and Polotsk and the offensives in Latvia and Lithonia).

    Item# 36348


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