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     Home > SOVIET ORDERS AND MEDALS > TOP Soviet Military Orders

    http://collectrussia.com/DISPITEMWINDOW.HTM?item=32055

    Order of Alexander Nevsky, Type 2, #9822, awarded on 2 August 1944 to Major Fyodor Stepanyuk.

    Order of Alexander Nevsky, Type 2, #9822, awarded on 2 August 1944 to Major Fyodor Stepanyuk.

    Silver gilt, enamel, riveted 3-piece construction. Measures 49.7 mm in height, 48.8 mm in width; weighs 38.3 g without screw plate. Shows stamped "Monetnyi Dvor" mint mark to the center medallion under the screw post. The serial number is engraved at the mint over another number which had been erased- as standard for Type 2 Nevsky in this serial number range. Moreover, there was an error by the engraver who mistakenly put "7" as the second digit and then corrected it to "8". The style of the alteration leaves no doubt that it was done at the mint and that the serial number 9822 is totally legitimate.

    The order is in very fine to excellent condition - extremely uncommon for a Type 2 Nevsky. The enamel is beautiful, free of any significant flaws. There are only minor scratches and rubbing to the upper arms, but no chips or noticeable flaking. The center medallion is well preserved showing only very light wear to the highest points of the bas-relief portrait such as the beard and helmet. The details are overall well-preserved and crisp. A good amount of the original gilt finish is present on the battleaxes; traces of it are also visible on the sword, quiver and wreath. The reverse shows beautiful untouched patina. The rivets are tight; the attachment of the parts of the badge is very sound. The screw post is characteristically long measuring over 15.5 mm, has not been reduced. Original silver screw plate is included. To reiterate, a Type 2 Nevsky in this condition is a very uncommon find, and this piece is certainly among the best we have handled.

    Fyodor Stepanyuk was born in 1916 in a small town in the Poltava region of Ukraine. He enlisted in the Red Army in 1938 and despite having only elementary school education prior to that, soon got commissioned officer. He took part in the Soviet 1939 attack on Poland and in then in the Winter War against Finland.

    Stepanyuk earned his first decoration of WW2 in July - September 1942, while serving as tank company commander with the 171st Separate Tank Battalion, 4th Shock Army. He took part in several tank assaults in the area of Toropets, a part of the offensive aimed at liquidating the bulge from which German Army Center could still threaten Moscow. Over the period of less than three months, Stepanyuk and his company eliminated 350 Nazi soldiers and destroyed 7 artillery pieces. On 21 October, Stepanyuk's tank made a path for the Soviet infantry through wire entanglements and was the first to break into the enemy position. In just that single skirmish he and his crew wiped out 30 enemy soldiers, 1 antitank gun, and 3 machine gun nests. On 12 December 1942, Stepanyuk was awarded with an Order of the Red Star for these feats.

    Stepanyuk distinguished himself again in January 1943 during the battle for the town of Velizh in Smolensk Region. On January 17, his tank was the first to break through a Nazi defensive position and then entered the town taking control of three city blocs. Over the following hours, Stepanyuk and his crew helped to repel two counterattacks and when their tank got immobilized, repaired it by themselves under fire and then rejoined the fight. For his bravery and leadership in the liberation of Velizh Stepanyuk was decorated with an Order of the Red Banner on 5 March 1943 - a very early date for an award of this level.

    By mid-1944, Stepanyuk had been promoted to Commander of the 171st Tank Battalion. During the Soviet Bagration Offensive in Belorussia, he led the battalion in a lightning attack to the town of Zelyonyi Gorodok and into the northern suburbs of the city of Polotsk. In doing so and by skillfully coordinating his actions with the other branches, Stepanyuk created favorable conditions for the liberation of Polotsk, an important city in Belorussia. His battalion was also instrumental in taking several smaller towns and villages. For his actions throughout the Bagration Offensive and in particular for his contribution to the capture of Polotsk, Stepanyuk was recommended for an Order of Alexander Nevsky. The recommendation submitted on 30 July by the commander of the armored troops of the 4th Shock Army bot approved almost instantly, and on 2 August, the order was bestowed upon Stepanyuk by a decree of the 4th Shock Army.

    Stepanyuk went on to be promoted to Guards Colonel and given command of the 694th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment (that incidentally had an honorific title of Polotskiy for its role in the liberation of Polotsk.) By the end of WW2, he had received an unusually large number of decorations: in addition to the ones mentioned above, an Order of Suvorov 3rd cl. (#2947, awarded in May 1945), two more Orders of the Red Banner, and an Order of the Patriotic War 2nd cl. After the war he served in Germany with the Soviet Army of Occupation and remained on active duty at least through mid- 1949.

    Research Materials: Xerox copy of the award record card and award commendations for the Order of Alexander Nevsky, Order of the Red Star and the 1943 Order of the Red Banner.


    $3,200.00  

     
       
     
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