Soviet Order of the Red Banner #81497 ‘Swallow Tail’



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Order of the Red Banner #81497


Awarded to motorboat ace Guards Sergeant Ivan Fedorovich Sapronov (Иван Федорович Сапронов) 


For fearlessly leading the charge across the treacherous Dnieper River, making 30 perilous trips under enemy fire from 



Made of silver and enamels. Measures 36.95 mm in width, 44.56 mm in height and weighs 22.2 grams without its suspension. The reverse shows the serial number and stamped mintmark.


In excellent, above average condition. The details are all visible and even the higher laying parts like the center wreath and the flame on top of the torch show light wear only. The white enamels are flawless and the red enamels are generally well preserved but shows small repairs on the 3 and 9 o’clock rays of the center star, barely visible for the untrained eye. Its suspension and ribbon are time period to the order and its connection ring has been cut


In June 1943, new regulations altered the design of Red Banner orders, replacing screwbacks with a distinctive five-sided suspension. To adapt previously made screwback orders, the Moscow Mint modified them into a suspension style known as ‘Swallow Tail’ or ‘Coat Hanger’ due to the unique eyelet shape. These converted orders have serial numbers ranging from a minimum of 77483 to a maximum of 84243, but their total count is significantly lower due to serial number overlaps.


A scarce and desirable piece!


Brief, concrete description of his feat of arms:

On 24 October 1943, Guards Senior Sergeant SAPRONOV was the first to sail his motorboat across the river Dnieper during the forced crossing operation by our troops. He made up to 30 tours across the river until 01 November [1943].

Fearless motorboat sailor SAPRONOV manoeuvred his motorboat exceptionally efficiently under enemy fire and escaped casualties.

Brave Guardsman motorboat sailor SAPRONOV deserves state award order “RED BANNER”.


The full translation can be read below:

– register card

– citation


More information on Sgt. Sapronov can be found here


Also included in the picture gallery are the combat diary of the 4th Guards Guards separate pontoon-bridge construction battalion of October 1943 and a demobilization paper of Sapronov on the 5th of May 1947



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