Order of the Patriotic War, 2nd cl, Type 2 "Starback"
variation (Krasnokamsk Mint), #135209, posthumously awarded
on 23 April 1944 to Private Mirza Sultanov.
Silver, 14 K gold (hammer and sickle emblem), enamels.
Measures 46.8 mm tall, 44.3 mm wide; weighs 24.9 g without
screw plate. There is a small maker mark "7" stamped near
the screw post at approximately 10 o'clock. This specimen
features curved down mint mark and very pronounced star-
shaped relief to the reverse. It belongs to a relatively
small series of "Starbacks" by Krasnokamsk Mint, one of some
35000 made in total according to current estimates.
The order is in very fine to excellent condition. There is
a single small, shallow surface chip near the tip of the
lower right arm, not penetrating to silver and therefore not
very noticeable. Besides that, there are only some
microscopic contact marks and flakes that obviously came
from storage, not wear. The enamel retains all of its
original luster. The silver and gold parts are almost
completely free of the usual dings. There is very attractive
even patina to silver on both sides. The screw post is
characteristically long, over 14 mm - has not been reduced.
Original silver screw plate is included.
Mirza Sultanov, an ethnic Tatar, was born in 1918. He
resided in the Soviet Far East prior to being drafted into
the Red Army in 1942. According to a statement in his award
recommendation, he fought as a partisan in 1942-43 -
probably after his unit had been cut-off by the Germans.
After rejoining the regular army, he was appointed a
reconnaissance scout in a separate reconnaissance company of
the 162nd Rifle Division, 27th Rifle Corps, 13th Army, 1st
Private Sultanov showed exemplary bravery and skills
throughout his short combat career. He repeatedly
distinguished himself in recon missions behind the enemy
lines. On one of such raids on 3 December 1943, he and the
other members of his scout team stormed an enemy-held
village where they killed 100 German soldiers and destroyed
two artillery pieces and a motor vehicle. Sultanov was
wounded in this skirmish but remained on the battlefield
until the fighting was over. For his bravery in this
operation he was recommended with his first decoration of
the war, an Order of the Red Star bestowed in February 1944.
After a short convalescence in a hospital, Sultanov returned
to his reconnaissance company and was ultimately promoted to
His final battle took place south of Lutsk in western
Ukraine on 20 March 1944, when he took part in an audacious
raid on a highway deep in the enemy rear. Over the course
of the attack Sultanov and his scout group inflicted
tremendous losses on the enemy. They destroyed 12 German
motor vehicles, up to 20 horse-drawn wagons loaded with
ammunition, and killed as many as 100 enemy soldiers. By
doing so they completely disrupted enemy traffic on the
highway. When confronted by German armor near the village of
Gutniki, Sultanov showed utter contempt of death jumping
forward with a hand-grenade. He managed to blow up an
armored personnel carrier before being killed in a duel with
a Nazi tank.
Shortly after the battle, Sultanov was recommended for a
posthumous award of Order of the Patriotic War, 2nd cl. by
the reconnaissance company commander. The award was bestowed
on 18 April 1944 by a decree of the 27th Rifle Corps.
This posthumous award is extremely uncommon. Most Soviet
decorations were never or very rarely recommended, let alone
awarded, to people who were no longer alive. One notable
exception is the title of Hero of the Soviet Union: as many
as 30% of its wartime issues were posthumous. A little-known
fact however is that the Gold Star Medal was never issued in
those cases. At the very most, the family of the deceased
hero could receive the so-called "Large Certificate" after
the war, not the actual decoration. The Order of the
Patriotic War was one of only deviations from this practice:
the closest relative of the late recipient could be allowed
to keep the award as memory. Of course even with the Order
of the Patriotic War posthumous issues were a tiny fraction
of the overall total awarded during the war.
Research Materials: photocopy of the award commendations
for the Orders of the Red Star and the posthumous Patriotic
War 2nd cl.; copy of the page from the Russian archival
record showing the serial number of the Patriotic War and
name of the recipient. Information on the 162nd Rifle
Division is available in the Volume X "Red Swarm" of
the Charles Sharp's series "Soviet Order of Battle in World