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     Home > SOVIET ORDERS AND MEDALS > Heroes of the Soviet Union

    http://collectrussia.com/DISPITEMWINDOW.HTM?item=33114

    Hero of the Soviet Union Photo ID (aka "Small Certificate" for the Title of Hero), issued on 13 March 1946 to Lieutenant Colonel Nikolay Baranov.

    Hero of the Soviet Union Photo ID (aka "Small Certificate" for the Title of Hero), issued on 13 March 1946 to Lieutenant Colonel Nikolay Baranov.

    The document measures 3" by 4 ", similar in format to the order booklet but bound in fine maroon leather, with gold inscription "Hero of the Soviet Union" impressed on the front cover. Like many similar documents, there is a stamp "valid without a photograph" in the space provided for a photo in lieu of the actual photograph. The internal pages show the date of the award decree, 24 March 1945. There is a standard hand-written citation from the Supreme Soviet saying that the Title of Hero was bestowed "For your act of heroism performed while executing combat assignments given by the command at the front of struggle against German invaders". The document is hand-signed on the same page by Mikhail Kalinin, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (nominally the head of state) and Aleksandr Gorkin, the Secretary of the Presidium. The opposite page has the date of 13 March 1946 - which is both the date of issue of the document and also the date of the special ceremony in Moscow Kremlin when the recipient was actually given the Gold Star Medal (#5460 based on published records.)

    The document is in very good condition, much better than the average Hero's ID. There is mild, even wear to the cover which has dulled the leather somewhat; the leather nevertheless still appears attractive and "healthy", not scuffed or overly dry as is often the case. The gold impression of the state seal and inscription is completely intact and bright. The internal pages are firmly attached. There are some very light, nearly noticeable water stains to the outer edge of the pages, but they do not affect the hand-written text or stamps and just barely touch the signatures.

    It is important to remember that unlike the Large Hero Certificates and order booklets, Hero's IDs were issued specifically so that Heroes of the Soviet Union could claim various privileges provided to them by law. Therefore the owner of the ID would often carry it on almost daily basis. As a result, the surviving "Small Certificates" are usually heavily worn, and often torn and soiled. This example is certainly among the better preserved Hero's IDs.

    Nikolay Baranov was born in 1899 in a village of the Yaroslavl Region of Russia. Starting from 1918, he fought in the Civil War as a Red Army volunteer and in 1920, joined the Communist Party. After his discharge from the army in 1927 he became a party official, and was recalled to active duty in the military with the start of the Patriotic War in June 1941. He initially served as a political commissar and in 1942, earned his first decoration, a Medal for Valor, for the fighting on the Don River where he stopped retreating Red Army units and thus "fulfilled Comrade Stalin's Decree #227" (i.e. the desperate "not a step back" order issued during the German offensive toward Stalingrad.)

    By the spring of 1943, Baranov had been promoted to lieutenant colonel and given command of the 1372nd Rifle Regiment of the 417th Rifle Division. A part of the 37th Army of the North Caucasus Front, his division fought to dislodge the Germans from the infamous Blue Line in the Kuban region. In May of that year, Baranov's regiment distinguished itself by capturing a strategic height and then holding it against furious German counterattacks. By the late July, the regiment eliminated up to 1800 enemy soldiers, destroyed 41 machine guns and 12 mortars, and even managed to shot down 3 airplanes with rifle fire. In August, Baranov led a successful infantry assault breaking through a line of enemy fortifications and taking out two German battalions, one tank and one airplane. Baranov was wounded in this action but remained on the frontline in command of his unit. For his exceptional leadership and bravery in the Kuban offensive, he was awarded with an Order of the Patriotic War, 1st cl.

    In the following October, Baranov with his unit took part in the offensive near the city of Melitopol in southern Ukraine. The regiment approached the heavily fortified enemy position, repelled 18 counterattacks, and then on 22 October in a bold strike breached the defensive line. In the battle it captured 13 tanks including 3 Panzer VI Tigers apparently abandoned by the Germans, 2 fully intact artillery batteries, 7 radio stations, and a lot of other equipment. At the end of the month, the regiment with its division shifted northeast making a 200 km march to Kakhovka on the Dnieper River and braking into the center of the city on November 2nd. By the end of the day, the city of Kakhovka had been completely cleared of the Germans, and the enemy had retreated to the west bank of the Dnieper. For actions at Melitopol and Kakhovka, Baranov was awarded with an Order of the Red Banner, his highest decoration to date.

    In December 1944, Baranov showed outstanding leadership in yet another battle near Kakhovka. His regiment, a part of the 44th Army, broke through a strong German defense line near the village of Stakhanov and advanced 6 km. In five days of fighting, it eliminated 800 enemy soldiers and destroyed 12 tanks, 2 assault guns, and 15 artillery pieces. It then repelled 12 counterattacks of the enemy trying to regain the lost ground inflicting further losses on the Nazis. For his masterful command in this battle, Baranov was decorated with an Order of Alexander Nevsky.

    By the next spring, Baranov's regiment and division were reassigned to the 63rd Rifle Corps, 51st Army and in April - May, took part in the sweeping 4th Ukrainian Front offensive to liberate the Crimea. On 8 April, Baranov's regiment crossed the Sivash lagoon into Crimea and on the following day went of a whirlwind attack kicking the enemy from several key positions on the south side of the lagoon. In the follow-up attacks, Baranov and his fighters took several more fortified positions relentlessly pursing the retreating Germans and repelling as many as 12 counterattacks. The 417th Rifle Division was soon given the honorific title of "Sivashskaya" for this battle, while Baranov was nominated for an Order of the Red Banner; his role in the battle for Crimea was so apparent however that the recommended award was changed up the chain of commanded to a technically lower but more prestigious Order of the Suvorov 3rd cl.

    On 7 May, Baranov led his unit to storm Mount Sapun (Sapun- Gora), a dominant ridge near Sevastopol that was essentially the key to the city. After the third attempt, his troops broke into the first line of German trenches while hand- picked assault groups outflanked the enemy on the left side of the ridge. In a fierce three-hour battle Baranov and his men destroyed 25 pillboxes and 700 enemy troops, and captured the strategic position with one of his lieutenants raising the red flag over the peak of Mount Sapun. They pressed on the attack using the available tanks and vehicles for a swift ride to Sevastopol and cut a possible German way of retreat to the southwest of the city. For his leadership and personal heroism in the storming of Mount Sapun and Sevastopol, Baranov was made a Hero of the Soviet Union and received a Gold Star Medal (#5460.)

    In late July 1944, Baranov's regiment stormed into the city of Siauliai in Lithuania where it captured 7 intact airplanes on an airfield and took prisoner a large number of German officers. For this success, his regiment was awarded with an Order of the Red Banner - an extremely high honor for a Soviet military unit. In August, the Germans undertook a large scale armored counterattack in Latvia aiming to cut the Riga highway and encircle the city of Tukums. Baranov's regiment was completely cut-off, but after several days of incessant fighting, Baranov in a sudden strike managed to extricate his troops from the trap inflicting large losses on the Germans in the process. The actions at Tukums earned Baranov a second Order of the Red Banner - as it turned out, his final award of the Patriotic War. Baranov fell ill later that year and had to retire from the military. By that time, he had an incredible chest of decorations earned in three and a half years of combat: a Hero Star and Order of Lenin; Order of Suvorov 3rd cl., Order of Alexander Nevsky; two Orders of the Red Banner; Order of the Patriotic War, 1st cl., and a Medal for Valor.

    After the war, Baranov lived in the city of Dnepropetrovsk in the Ukraine, where he became a professor at the Mining Institute. He also made a career in the Communist Party becoming a department chief of its regional committee - a very prominent position - and a member of the Dnepropetrovsk city council. He died on 25 June 1976.

    Research Materials: photocopy of the award commendations for Medal for Valor and Orders of the Patriotic War, 1st cl., Alexander Nevsky, Suvorov 3rd cl., and two Orders of the Red Banner; Xerox copy of the article about Baranov in the official Russian-language catalog "Heroes of the Soviet Union" (contains his photo.) Detailed information about the 417th Rifle Division is available in Volume X "Red Swarm" of the Charles Sharp's WW2 Order of Battle book series.


    $600.00  

     
       
     
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