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Veteran badge of the 1st Guards Proletarian Moscow - Minsk Motorized Rifle Division, Special Issue in Commemoration of the 50th Jubilee of the Unit, 1976.

Aluminum, paint; the pendant measures approx. 36 mm tall (incl. eyelet) x 32 mm wide. The inscription in the white band of the medallion is "50 Years of the Proletarian Moscow - Minsk Division". The suspension has inscription "Guards" and shows ribbons for the decorations awarded to the unit: Orders of Lenin, Red Banner, Suvorov 1st cl. and Kutuzov 1st cl. This is of course an unusually large number of high decoration for any Soviet unit. Excellent condition.

The division was originally formed in 1926 as Moscow Proletarian Rifle Division. It immediately became a sort of showcase u

Aluminum, paint; the pendant measures approx. 36 mm tall (incl. eyelet) x 32 mm wide. The inscription in the white band of the medallion is "50 Years of the Proletarian Moscow - Minsk Division". The suspension has inscription "Guards" and shows ribbons for the decorations awarded to the unit: Orders of Lenin, Red Banner, Suvorov 1st cl. and Kutuzov 1st cl. This is of course an unusually large number of high decoration for any Soviet unit. Excellent condition.

The division was originally formed in 1926 as Moscow Proletarian Rifle Division. It immediately became a sort of showcase unit that boasted some of the best trained personnel and most modern weapons, and routinely participated in military parades and high profile military exercises. On its 10th anniversary, the division received an honorary red banner for outstanding results in training and in 1936, was transformed into a motorized division. Early during the Patriotic War, it distinguished itself in the defense of Smolensk and in August 1941, was briefly transformed into a tank division of the 16th Army, Western Front. In this capacity, it bravely counterattacked at Yelnya under its commander Hero of the Soviet Union Lizyukov, but eventually lost most of its tanks and large number of officers and had to be withdrawn to the rear. While it was being refitted in Mozhaisk in September 1941, the division was given the title of Guards unit and once again became a motorized rifle division (unlike most other Soviet Guards divisions, the 1st Moscow Motorized Rifles kept its original serial number.)

The division was back at the front soon thereafter when it heroically counterattacked at Kharkov and Sumy and once again took severe losses. Once again, it had to be refit and then was sent back north to take part in the Battle of Moscow. In late October, it waged bitter battle for the town of Naro-Fominsk near Moscow and although it lost 70% of its personnel and was forced to abandon the town, the division inflicted very serious losses on the troops of the German Army Group Center and thwarted their further advance in that sector.

During 1942-43 the division took part in several unsuccessful offensives at Rzhev and Orel, and was re- designated 1st Guards Rifle Division apparently due to losses in motorized transport. In July 1943, the division bravely fought in the Battle of Kursk under the 11th Guards Army. Later, it took part in the liberation of Karachev and Bryansk, and during the winter of 1943 / 44 was engaged in heavy fighting near Vitebsk. In the summer of 1944, it performed so well in the Bagration offensive and especially the liberation of the capital of Belorussia that it was given the honorific title of Minskaya (i.e. of "Minsk fame") and was awarded with an Order of Suvorov 1st class - a very high and uncommon honor. For the forced crossing of the Neman, as many as 11 of its soldiers received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union - an unusually large number for any single division. Late that year, the division broke into East Prussia and was awarded with an Order of Lenin for this feat. In April 1945, its troops distinguished themselves in the storming of Koenigsberg, and as the result, the division received another unusually high award, an Order of Kutuzov 1st cl. The division ended the war by storming the port city of Pillau. This unit was without a doubt one of the most illustrious and famous among all Soviet WW2 infantry divisions!
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