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     Home > SOVIET ORDERS AND MEDALS > Soviet Bravery and Good Conduct Military Medals

    Nakhimov Medal, Variation 1, #1237, with a document (order booklet), awarded on 5 January 1945 to Seaman Petr Korzh, Baltic Fleet.

    Nakhimov Medal, Variation 1, #1237, with a document (order booklet), awarded on 5 January 1945 to Seaman Petr Korzh, Baltic Fleet.

    In brass; measures 36.1 mm wide, averages 2.7 mm thick on the edge; weighs 20.5 g not including the suspension and connecting link. The serial number is engraved in the manner standard for Variation 1 (serial number range from 1 through approximately 1550). There is strong - albeit anecdotal - evidence that some of the pre-numbered Variation 1 specimens hadn't passed the quality inspection due to inherent weakness of their eyelet construction; those were melted down at the mint. Therefore the true number of Variation 1 specimens ever issued may be as little as 70% of what the serial number range alone would suggest.

    The medal is in very fine to excellent condition. The medallion is free of edge knocks or bumps. There are some tiny dings and minor scratches throughout, but no significant flaws. The bas-relief exhibits mild wear to the raised posing, while its details are well-preserved overall and nicely defined. Both sides show beautiful even toning to the brass, without blemishes or oxidation spots. The eyelet is slightly bent backwards, but this is neither very noticeable nor detractive, and its attachment is sound (we wouldn't risk however trying to straighten it out.) Comes on original WW2 era suspension, a two-layer model in steel with self-locking pin. The connecting link appears to be original and its ends are soldered. The ribbon is old; although it shows minimal soiling and wear to the edges, we find it far more attractive than a brand new ribbon (however, we will gladly include a sufficient length of new ribbon at no extra charge at buyer's request.)

    The document is a standard WW2 type order booklet, filed-out on 22 October 1944. At that point, three numbered decorations were entered in the document including a Medal for Combat Service (#1418653), the Nakhimov Medal, and an Order of the Red Star. Another award, an unnumbered Combat Service Medal, was added at a later date, probably around 1950. The date for the start of special privileges is 1 December 1944 which corresponds with a November 1944 award date for the chronologically first decoration - in this case, the first Combat Service Medal. The document is in excellent condition.

    Petr Korzh joined the Soviet Navy in 1940 at the age of 20. Early during the Patriotic War, he took part in the defense of Leningrad. Despite being a seasoned fighter and a trained radio operator, he still had the rank of enlisted seaman in the summer of 1944 when he served in the reconnaissance company of the 260th Naval Infantry Brigade, Baltic Fleet.

    On 21 June, Korzh was in the first wave of the amphibious landing on the Piisaari Island (aka North Beryozovy, one of the Finnish islands close to shore in the Gulf of Finland not far from Vyborg). His radio station got damaged by seawater during the assault, but he was able to repair it on shore and established a radio link with his command. The radio was then disabled several times by enemy fire in the subsequent fighting, but time and again Korzh was able to restore it. While maintaining the vital communication channel, he also took part in repelling a number of counterattacks fighting at close quarters at the forefront of his detachment. Assisted by his officer, he corrected the fire of naval artillery that thwarted all enemy attempts to dislodge the Soviet marines. For his bravery during this operation, Korzh was awarded with his first decoration, a Medal for Combat Service.

    He distinguished himself once again in the storming of the Ruhnu Island on 15 December 1944, when he was a part of the advance reconnaissance detachment of the 260th Naval Infantry Brigade. While disembarking from the ship into a small boat during a Force 7 gale (on Beaufort scale) in -8 C temperature (17 F), his boat capsized. Incredibly, he would not let go of his radio station and ammunition while clinging to the overturned boat in raging sea until he was rescued by the other marines. After reaching the bank, instead of changing his ice-covered clothes or trying to dry up, he immediately deployed the radio station and established radio link with the ships supporting the operation off shore. The flawless work of his radio greatly helped his command in coordinating the entire operation. On 28 December, Korzh was recommended for an Ushakov Medal by the commander of the Marine Reconnaissance Company, 260th Naval Infantry Brigade. Although this would seem as a relatively humble decoration considering his feat, it was inexplicably downgraded to Nakhimov Medal which was awarded to Korzh on 5 January 1945.

    Korzh earned his final award of the war on 26 April 1945, in the Soviet naval assault on the Frische Nehrung, a long sandy spit west of Koenigsberg separating Vistula Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. From the moment he reached land, he maintained uninterrupted radio communications between his naval infantry unit and the Soviet warships. While so doing, he was in the first line of attacking marines fighting at close quarters and repelling numerous German counterattacks. In the battle he personally killed 10 enemy soldiers. Three days later, Korzh was recommended for an Order of the Red Star by his recon company commander.

    Judging by the unnumbered Combat Service Medal that appeared in the order booklet - most likely awarded in 1950 for length of service - Korzh remained on active duty in the Navy after the war. This courageous sailor was also awarded with a Medal for the Defense of Leningrad and a WW2 Badge of Excellent Signalman.

    Research Materials: photocopy of the award commendations for the Nakhimov Medal, Combat Service Medal and Order of the Red Star. Detailed information about the 260th Naval Infantry Brigade and its amphibious operations can be found in the Volume VII "Red Death" of the Soviet Order of Battle in WWII by Charles Sharp.


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