Researched Soviet Order of the Red Banner #31874
Rare semi-mirror reverse!
Awarded to Guards Major of the Technical Service Grigory Timofeyevich Sapega (Григорий Тимофеевич Сапега)
Made of solid silver and enamels. Measures 40.74 mm in height and 36.06 mm in width. It weighs 22.12 gram. The serial number and the mint mark Monetni Dvor are located at the 6 o’clock position of its reverse. Interestingly enough, this Red Banner is very rare and maybe even unique due to the semi-mirror reverse of it. The relief on the front of the award is well visible on its back side. This typical for pre-Patriotic War specimens but here it is much less profound.
The order is in excellent, well above average condition with all details crisp. Even the higher laying parts such as the center wreath and the torch have crisp details. The red enamel is in far better condition than most early Red Banners. It only shows some loss on two rays of the center red star. The order shows no repairs and the screwpost is full length. It comes with its time period silver screwplate.
This Red Banner has it all! Great research, excellent condition and it shows a very rare counter-relief!
Short Description of his feat of arms:
“As detachment technician he commenced combat service on August 2, 1941. During the period of combat operations, the aircraft of comrade Sapega’s detachment flew 115 combat sorties, with an overall flight time of 740 hours. In the detachment not a single mechanical defect occurred through fault of the maintenance crews. Comrade Sapega studied the workings and repair procedures of the TB-3 aircraft to perfection and teaches these on a daily basis to his subordinate maintenance personnel.
On September 11, 1941, an accident occurred when the aircraft landed outside an airfield at night in foggy conditions. As per the technical guidelines, the aircraft did not lend itself to repairs. Yet comrade Sapega pledged to repair the plane. Assisted by the aircraft’s crew and the attached repair team; comrade Sapega repaired the destroyed aircraft under field condition over the course of 16 days. The plane was repaired in such a fine manner that it flew another 150 hours without requiring additional repairs in a workshop, conducting 37 nighttime combat sorties.
As a flight mechanic comrade Sapega flew 54 nighttime combat sorties. There were two instances in which comrade Sapega resolved defects mid-flight, thus ensuring the mission could be accomplished, for example; in November 1941 the radiator burst mid-flight at night. Comrade Sapega immediately and under exceptionally difficult conditions placed a spark plug, and not until the mission was accomplished did the aircraft return to its airfield. Burning with hatred toward the enemy, comrade Sapega personally dropped 160 fragmentation bombs onto the fascist forces from his compartment; in addition to the bombs that were released from the bomb racks.
Since February 1 comrade Sapega has been discharging the duties of engineer of the nighttime squadron. During this time the squadron flew 35 nighttime combat sorties, with an overall flight time of 165 hours, and 70 sorties transporting personnel from fighter units and various sorts of cargo. The aircraft function smoothly.
For showing bravery and courage in combat with fascism; and for skillfully preparing the aircraft, thus enabling the squadron to conduct combat operations; comrade Sapega earns the Order of the Red Banner.”
Below the full translation:
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