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     Home > SOVIET ORDERS AND MEDALS > Order of the Patriotic War

    Order of the Patriotic War, 1st class, Type 1, Variation 3, #23335, awarded on 10 May 1943 posthumously to Captain Kalistrat Chkhaidze.

    Order of the Patriotic War, 1st class, Type 1, Variation 3, #23335, awarded on 10 May 1943 posthumously to Captain Kalistrat Chkhaidze.

    Gold, silver, enamels; medallion measures 48.3 mm in height (incl. eyelet), 43.0 mm in width; weighs 27.0 g not including the suspension and connecting link; total weight with suspension and screw plate is 44.4 g. The serial number is engraved in standard manner at 7 'clock.

    In very fine overall condition. The order has not been converted to screw back and retains original eyelet and suspension. Most of the enamel on the top arm is missing, a result of careless handling (this is the usual weak spot of the first type of the Order of the Patriotic War). The eyelet is slightly bent but completely sound. The red enamel on the other arms is practically pristine and shows beautiful original luster, as would be expected from a decoration that was never worn by its recipient. There are just a few microscopic contact marks to the red enamel acquired in storage but no rubbing, scratches or other wear visible to the naked eye. The white enameled band has a single miniscule flake at approximately 5 o'clock, otherwise perfect. The details of the golden starburst and hammer & sickle are perfect and crisp. There is very attractive dark patina throughout.

    The suspension device is original and complete, with rectangular back plate, hexagon nut, full size screw post (approx. 12-mm long measured from the back plate) and mint marked screw plate. The ribbon is likewise original and overall sound, although it shows storage age. The connecting link between the suspension and medallion is original, and its ends are soldered. To summarize, despite the unfortunate enamel damage, this is still an extremely attractive complete piece in much better condition than most other surviving Type 1 awards.

    Kalistrat Chkhaidze, an ethnic Georgian, was born in 1901. In 1922, he joined the Red Army and became a career military officer. Starting from 1 October 1942, he took part in the Patriotic War, initially in the defense of his native Caucasus region and then, following the Nazi defeat at Stalingrad, in the Soviet countermarch that pursued the retreating German Army Group A into the Kuban Cossack region. As of March 1943, Chkhaidze had the rank of captain serving as an infantry battalion commander in the 876th Rifle Regiment of the 276th Rifle Division (dubbed "Georgian National Division" because its second formation was raised in the Georgian city of Kutaisi and comprised almost entirely of ethnic Georgians). Operating as part of the 9th Army, North Caucasian Front, the division took part in the offensive that brought it to Kuban and eventually, to the determined Nazi defenses on the infamous "Blue Line" on the Taman Peninsula.

    From 6 - 10 March, Chkhaidze's regiment was engaged in battle for the village of Belikov located in the marshy area close to the Sea of Azov, in close proximity to the northern flank of main fortifications of the Blue Line. Operating in the most important sector, Chkhaidze led his men by personal example of courage. He was the first to break into the contested village at the head of his battalion forcing the Germans to retreat.

    He once again showed determination and utter contempt of death when storming the village of Svistelnikov. On 30 March, his battalion was stopped by withering enemy fire forcing the soldiers to drop down and seek cover. At the critical moment, Chkhaidze rose up and with a rallying cry "Forward, for Motherland!" led the renewed attack. Encouraged by his example, his men broke through and advanced 4 km. Their success however cost the life of the battalion commander: Chkhaidze was killed during the assault by a bullet of an enemy sniper.

    Chkhaidze was immediately recommended for a posthumous award of the Order of the Red Banner by his regiment commander. Although approved by superiors through the army command, the award was later downgraded to the Order of the Patriotic War 1st cl. bestowed by a decree of the 9th Army on 10 May 1943. It had an important distinction: unlike the other posthumous Soviet awards such as the Hero Star or Order of the Red Banner, the actual insignia of the Order of the Patriotic War of either class could be issued to the unit and retained by the next of kin. Thus, the order #23335 was issued by the North Caucasus Front and eventually sent to the Chkhaidze's family.

    Research Materials: photocopy of the following: archival award commendation; relevant page of the official roster of award serial numbers and names of their intended recipients compiled by the North Caucasian Front; official letter sent in 1944 in reply to the inquiry by Chkhaidze's father about his son's whereabouts; and of the relevant pages of the list of diseased Red Army soldiers buried in the village of Petrovskaya (located just south of Belikov and north of Svistelnikov.) A photo of Kalistrat Chkhaidze shown near the top has been found on a Russian website

    Item# 34704


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