Order of the Patriotic War, II Class (Variation I)
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The Order of the Patriotic War was the first Soviet award established during the Second World War, on May 20, 1942. Originally it was intended to be awarded to servicemen, civilians, foreigners, units and institutions for actions against German invaders, however on December 16, 1947, it was changed and no longer included civilians, units and institutions. On July 18, 1980, foreigners were also dropped from the statutes.
This Order was conferred upon enlisted and officer ranks of the Army, Navy, NKVD Troops, and Partisan Detachments in recognition bravery and courage during the Great Patriotic War. This Order was awarded for many acts of bravery such as attacking enemy positions, destroying enemy vehicles, showing initiative, saving life and other such acts of courage. By the end of the war, there were 951, 652 II Class decorations awarded, and by the end of 1991 a total of 6,688,497, including the 1985 issues.
Type I, II Class were produced from the introduction of the order until June 19, 1943 and has four variations. All Type I decorations are attached to the clothing by a rectangular suspension.
Variation I was made from four pieces and was either soldered together or employed rivets. A stickpin was on the reverse to limit movement of the decoration. The screwback plate on the suspension is marked with a Monetny Dvor in raised letters. The plate measures 25mm in diameter. The serial number was hand-engraved on the reverse of the star, and is usually located at the 7 o'clock position. The serial numbers range from roughly 1 to 2,000. These decorations were only made during the first few months of production and are therefore very rare.
Variation II has a large suspension device, measuring 32mm (w) x 21.5mm (h). A separate ring connects through the integral ring at the top point and the suspension ring. The serial numbers range roughly from 2,000 to 13,600. The lowest observed number is 2,682, while the highest is 13,631.
Variation III does not have a stickpin. The serial numbers range from roughly 14,000 to 61,000. The lowest observed number is 14,229 and the highest is 61,250.
Variation IV has the enamelled star attached to the back piece by three rivets instead of soldering. This variation seems to have taken place in the 35,000 to 38,000.
The obverse Russian inscription translates to: "Patriotic War".
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