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.