Order of the Red Banner 4th Award, Type 5, Variation 1, Sub-
variation 2, #2058, awarded on 13 June 1952 to Hero of the
Soviet Union Major General Nikolay Serebryakov.
Silver gilt, enamels. Measures 44.2 mm in height (including
eyelet), 36.2 mm in width; weighs 24.9 g not including the
suspension. Features shallow rounded depression in the
center of the reverse. The torch has three flames in the
lower row and one flames above. The mint mark is in two
lines with the first word "Monetnyi" in noticeably smaller
font. This specimen is from the series manufactured in 1951
at the Moscow Mint /see The Order of the Red Banner
by Durov and Strekalov (pp. 166, 167)/.
In outstanding, excellent condition. The enamel is perfect
having only microscopic traces of wear that are barely
detectable even under 10x magnification. The details of the
wreath are likewise pristine; the gilt is very nicely
preserved and bright. Very attractive even patina to the
reverse. The connecting link, although cut, appears to be
original. Comes on a period suspension device, a two-layer
model in steel with new ribbon.
Nikolay Serebryakov was born in 1913 to a peasant family in
the Tula region of Russia. While working at the famous Tula
weapon factory, he enrolled in an OSOAVIAKhIM flight school.
Immediately upon finishing the program in 1932, he joined
the military and thus started professional career in the Air
Force. After graduating from the Borisoglebsk Pilot School
he volunteered to join Soviet pilots fighting on the
Republican side in the Spanish Civil War.
While on his tour in Spain in 1937-38, Serebryakov completed
113 combat missions on a Tupolev SB high speed bomber. By
1937, with the arrival of the new Messerschmitt Bf-109s of
the German Condor Legion, the tables had been turned on
hitherto nearly invincible Soviet bombers. The unprotected
SBs no longer had advantage in speed, and scores of them
soon fell prey to the marauding German fighters.
Serebryakov was one of the lucky Soviet pilots who survived
the ordeal. Unlike some other participants of the undeclared
Soviet war in Spain who got prosecuted upon their return,
Serebryakov was not only decorated twice - with an Order of
the Red Star and Order of the Red Banner - but also quickly
promoted when he came home.
In September 1939, Serebryakov was given command of a bomber
regiment and later that year, took part in the Soviet
invasion of Finland. Based out of Murmansk, his 5th High
Speed Bomber Regiment inflicted significant destruction on
the Finnish targets in the interior of the country.
Serebryakov himself flew 7 missions during the Winter War,
while his unit completed 567 sorties in total and shot down
5 enemy fighters. For its performance in the war the
regiment was awarded with an Order of the Red Banner, while
its commander Serebryakov was recommended for the Title of
Hero of the Soviet Union. The award was bestowed upon him on
7 May 1940, making him one of only 412 people to receive the
Title of Hero for the Winter War.
Serebryakov fought in the Patriotic War from its first day,
initially as commander of the 58th Bomber Regiment of the
Northwestern Front. He flew many missions himself, first on
an SB bomber and later Pe-2 dive bomber. In the first two
years of the war, he served under various fronts and took
part in the defense of Leningrad, Moscow, Stalingrad and
Caucasus. After finishing advanced training program in the
Zhukovsky Air Force Academy, he was appointed aide and
later, senior aide to the Inspector General of the Red Army
Bomber Air Forces, an extremely important position that
required frequent visits to the frontline aviation units.
Even in this capacity, Serebryakov continued to fly
occasional combat missions to provide hands-on leadership
and training to the less experienced pilots. By the end of
WW2, he had the rank of Colonel and added 73 sorties to his
already impressive pre-war tally making it a grand total of
183 missions flown in three separate wars.
After the war Serebryakov remained in the military and in
1952 graduated from the prestigious Voroshilov General Staff
Academy. In 1953, already a Major General, he served on the
special committee tasked with purging and reorganizing the
air arm of the Moscow Military District in the wake of
arrest of its commander Vasiliy Stalin (son of the late
Joseph Stalin.) Later he become commander of an air division
and then air corps, and served on the General Staff of the
Soviet Long Range Aviation. By the time of his retirement in
1973 with the rank of Lieutenant General, he had over a
dozen decorations including two Orders of Lenin, an Order of
Alexander Nevsky and at least four (or possibly five) Orders
of the Red Banner. He passed away in 1988.
Research Materials: photocopy the award record card
(several versions compiled at different times) and award
commendation for the Title of Hero of the Soviet Union; copy
of the article about Serebryakov in the official catalog
Heroes of the Soviet Union (the article contains his
photo.) Additional information about him is available in
various Internet sources such as www.warheroes.ru