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     Home > SOVIET ORDERS AND MEDALS > Order of the Red Banner

    Order of the Red Banner, Type 4, Variation 1 (Strekalov classification), #110003, awarded on 28 May 1944 to Junior Lieutenant Georgiy Shcherbakov, a fighter pilot, for completing 26 highly successful combat missions to protect Il-2 Shturmoviks and Pe-2 bombers as well as 12 aerial reconnaissance missions.

    Order of the Red Banner, Type 4, Variation 1 (Strekalov classification), #110003, awarded on 28 May 1944 to Junior Lieutenant Georgiy Shcherbakov, a fighter pilot, for completing 26 highly successful combat missions to protect Il-2 Shturmoviks and Pe-2 bombers as well as 12 aerial reconnaissance missions.

    Silver gilt, enamels; measures 45.4 mm tall (from the bottom of the wreath to the top of the eyelet), 37.4 mm wide; weighs 24.5 g not including the suspension. Manufactured in the first half of 1944 at the Krasnokamsk Mint, this piece features a mintmark of the early style, with the mid- portion of the first letter "M" lowered to the bottom of the line. Note also that the plow on the obverse touches the flagpole - a feature typically associated with the screw back type but also occasionally seen on early suspension type Red Banners.

    In very fine condition. The red enamel on the banner is chipped in a thin strip at the upper edge immediately below the top of the torch. There is also a surface flake above the center star and very tiny amount of surface flaking along the right edge and lower right corner of the banner. None of this damage is very noticeable however, at least on the first glance; the banner still has very impressive overall appearance and nice luster. The red enamel on the arms of the star and the scroll with "CCCP" has tiny flakes but appears practically perfect to the unaided eye. The white enamel is perfect. A good amount of the original gilt finish is still present and clearly visible on the wreath, flagpole and torch.

    There is beautiful dark patina to silver on the reverse. At some point, a makeshift screw post or pin was added to the reverse of the medallion, most likely by the recipient himself (based on WW2 photos and documentary footage, Soviet pilots often flew missions wearing their decorations; from our own observations, it was rather common for them to add pins to suspension-type higher decorations to secure them from swinging around and getting damaged.) The pin or screw was later removed, with only its base remaining. It is attached by low melting-point solder; for a professional jeweler, it should be very easy to remove practically without a trace, but we prefer to keep the award in the condition we got it. Note that there are many scratches on the reverse, apparently from the amateur job of first adding and then removing the screw or pin. Some of them affect the serial number and in particular, its second digit that may appear to be 0 rather than 1. A careful examination confirms however that the serial number of the award is indeed 110003. The order comes on a late-1940s suspension device, a two-layer model in steel with integral pin. The ribbon is old but nicely preserved. The connecting link is a replacement.

    Georgiy Shcherbakov was born in 1922 to a Russian family in the town of Mozdok in North Ossetia region of the Caucasus. He had only elementary school education prior to enlisting in the Red Army in May 1941, just before the war, most likely as a cadet of a military aviation school. Starting from September 1943, Shcherbakov was at the front as a pilot of the 761st Fighter Aviation Regiment, 259th Fighter Aviation Division, 3rd Air Army. At the time, the regiment was equipped exclusively with Yak-7b airplanes. Shcherbakov flew his first combat mission during the following month tasked with protecting a group of Pe-2 bombers. Almost all of his subsequent missions from November 1943 - April 1944 were to cover formations of Il-2 Shturmovik ground attack airplanes in support of the 1st Baltic Front. Shcherbakov fulfilled this task in exemplary fashion: among all the flights he escorted, there was not a single loss of a Shturmovik due to an aerial attack. In May 1944, he was reassigned to more dangerous aerial reconnaissance role, apparently in recognition of his combat experience. He completed 11 such reconnaissance sorties within a single week in mid-May. Shcherbakov flew many of them as wingman of his squadron commander, clearly a testimony to the reputation for reliability and courage he had acquired in his unit. By May 17, he had a total of 38 successful combat missions, including 12 for reconnaissance and 26 as bomber / ground attack airplanes escort. On 28 May 1944, Shcherbakov was awarded with an Order of the Red Banner, his first decoration of WW2, by a decree of the 3rd Air Army.

    Within the remaining year of the war in Europe, he would go on to add three more decorations to his war chest: another Order of the Red Banner and two Orders of the Patriotic War, 1st cl. Shcherbakov remained on active duty through at least 1956. After the war, he was decorated for length of service with a Medal for Combat Service, an Order of the Red Star and an Order of the Red Banner (curiously, the latter was yet another "plain" version just like his previous two Red Banners, not the subsequent award with a numeral plaque "3").

    Research Materials: color copy of the award record card, award commendation, award decree and detailed list of completed combat missions as of 16 May 1944 (the latter was originally submitted by Shcherbakov's regiment commander along with the award commendation for the first Order of the Red Banner.)

    Item# 35811


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