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

    Order of the Patriotic War, 2nd cl, Type 2 "Starback" variation (Krasnokamsk Mint), #135209, posthumously awarded on 23 April 1944 to Private Mirza Sultanov.

    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 Ukrainian Front.

    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 squad leader.

    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 War II."


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