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

    Order of the Red Star, Type 3, Variation 2, Sub-Variation 2 (according to Strekalov classification), #3931, awarded on 22 February 1938 to Major Gavril Mazhurin.

    Order of the Red Star, Type 3, Variation 2, Sub-Variation 2 (according to Strekalov classification), #3931, awarded on 22 February 1938 to Major Gavril Mazhurin.

    In silver and enamels. 48.1 mm tall, 49.7 mm wide; weighs 29.4 g without screw plate. Features so-called "Large Mondvor" mint mark approx. 8 mm wide, with characters measuring about 2 mm in height. The order is from the first series of the second version with the larger "Mondvor" mint mark, manufactured at the Leningrad Mint in 1937 (with the serial number range of 3317 - approx. 5400 according to the Order of the Red Star by Strekalov and Durov). The enamel light red shade is of trademark early quality matching that of the Type 1 "Goznak" Red Stars.

    The order is in good to fine condition. The enamel is missing on the top arm of the star. The upper right arm has surface chips and extensive flaking along the edges; none of the chips however penetrate to silver. The lower right arm has a single chip at the base, likewise not penetrating to silver and therefore not too conspicuous. The enamel on the lower and upper left arms is perfect and pristine, free of flaking, contact marks or any other noticeable wear. In general, there is very little overall wear or rubbing to all the enamel that is still intact on this piece, and its magnificent luster and beauty is fully visible. The center medallion shows only minimal wear to high points of the soldier and the outer edge of the medallion; the details are overall nicely preserved and crisp. The reverse is practically pristine and exhibits very attractive patina to silver. The screw post is of full length, approx. 10.5 mm. A scarce original silver screw plate of pre-WW2 style is included.

    Gavril Mazhurin was born in 1898 in a village of Rostov province. Very little is known about his early career in the military based on currently available archival documents beside the fact that he joined the Red Army in 1918, early during the Civil War. By February 1938, he had reached the rank of major and was selected as one of the Army, Navy and NKVD officers to be awarded with an Order of the Red Star in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Red Army. The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet award decree had the "all- inclusive" headline: "to award?.for shown courage and selflessness in combat with the enemies of the Soviet power and for outstanding success and achievements in combat, political and technical readiness of units and subunits of the Workers and Peasants Red Army".

    Being one of the cadre officers of the Red Army, Mazhurin took part in the Patriotic War almost from its first days. By then already a colonel, he commanded the 605th Rifle Regiment, 132nd Rifle Division, 21st Army, Western / Central Fronts during the early defensive battles in Belorussia north of Gomel. Starting from 11 July 1941, his regiment and division tried to hold a defensive line and then covered the retreat of the 20th Rifle Corps. From 19-26 July Mazhurin led his regiment first in the breakout and then defense on the Sozh River when his troops held the enemy attempting to establish a bridgehead on the southern bank near Khristoforovka. He was then reassigned to command the 771st Rifle Regiment of the 137th Rifle Division, 13th Army engaged in the Battle of Smolensk. On 7 August, Mazhurin was soon severely wounded in combat on the Minsk-Moscow Highway (the fighting was so heavy that by the end of the month, his division would have an equivalent of only two or three rifle battalions remaining in its ranks.)

    Mazhurin was taken to a hospital and apparently due to severity of his wound, would be assigned only to non-combat posts through the rest of the Patriotic War. In addition to his pre-war Order of the Red Star, by the end of the war he had been awarded with an Order of the Red Banner and Order of Lenin for length of military service. In June 1945, while serving as instructor at an officer advanced training school in the Ural Military District, he was belatedly recommended for an Order of the Red Star for his month-long combat service in the beginning of the Patriotic War. The recommendation of his commanding general resulted in an award of Medal for Valor - a highly uncommon decoration for a long-serving officer with the rank of colonel such as Mazhurin! He remained on active duty at least through 1949 when he still held a position of senior instructor in an infantry officer school.

    Research Materials: photocopy of the award record card and award commendation for the Medal for Valor. Information about is available in the Volume VIII Red Legions of the Charles Sharp's book series "Soviet Order of Battle, World War II".

    Item# 36026


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