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

    Order of the Patriotic War 1st class, Type 2 Variation 1, #43498, awarded on 3 November 1944 to Guards Petty Officer 1st Class Georgiy Golnev, crewman of a small Northern Fleet submarine chaser, for exceptional bravery shown in two amphibious assaults in the arctic during the Petsamo- Kirkenes Operation in October 1944 and for completing 86 combat voyages on his boat within a single year - many of them to protect Soviet and allied merchant ship convoys.

    Order of the Patriotic War 1st class, Type 2 Variation 1, #43498, awarded on 3 November 1944 to Guards Petty Officer 1st Class Georgiy Golnev, crewman of a small Northern Fleet submarine chaser, for exceptional bravery shown in two amphibious assaults in the arctic during the Petsamo- Kirkenes Operation in October 1944 and for completing 86 combat voyages on his boat within a single year - many of them to protect Soviet and allied merchant ship convoys. The name of the recipient was determined using the serial number list in the reference guide Cavaliers of the Order of the Patriotic War, 1st cl. (Naval Issues), Vol. 1 by N.V. Efimov.

    Solid 14 K gold (starburst, hammer & sickle emblem), sterling silver and enamels. Measures 45.3 mm in height, 43.2 mm in width; weighs 29.2 g without screw plate. Relatively scarce early issue with a single-line slightly curved up mint mark. Note the very low serial number which is engraved in the manner characteristic of the early Type 2 screw backs.

    In excellent condition. The enamel is exceptionally well- preserved and shows beautiful luster throughout. There are a few tiny contact marks and miniscule scratches, mostly on the upper and lower right arms, but they are practically unnoticeable to the naked eye. The enamel is completely free of chips, flaking, or any other significant wear. The hammer & sickle emblem has a few tiny scuffs nearly invisible without magnification, while the golden starburst is nearly pristine, with perfectly preserved, crisp details. The reverse is completely pristine and shows very attractive reddish toning to gold and beautiful patina to silver. The screw post is full length, approx. 11.5 mm, and comes with original silver screw plate which is correct for the early issues of Type 2. Mikhail Golnev was born in 1916 in a village of the Tver (later renamed Kalinin) province of Russia. He enlisted in the armed forces in 1937 and was still on active duty at the beginning of the Patriotic War. Early during the war, he joined the crew of a brand-new submarine chaser of the MO-4 series. These small oceangoing swift boats - the designation MO stands for Malyi Okhotnik, literally a "small hunter" - were designed primarily for coast guard duty but used by the Soviet Navy throughout the war in a variety of ways including antisubmarine warfare (even though they were not adequately equipped for this role), amphibious operations, and convoy protection. Golnev's boat was built during late 1940 - early 1941 at the Leningrad NKVD Shipyard #5 (aka Leningrad Primorskiy Factory) which specialized in manufacturing small wooden-hulled fast boats for NKVD Border Guards. Launched in spring 1941, the ship was commissioned in late July, one month after the German invasion, and officially became a part of the Northern Fleet on 8 August 1941. Originally, it received the designation MO-161, but on 1 April 1942 the submarine chaser was re-named MO-135 and generally became known under the latter name.

    Serving as a mine specialist of the MO-161 / 135, Golnev distinguished himself on a number of occasions. In the fall of 1941, the crew spotted a German submarine lurking in a deep-water area near the Kildin Island, located one mile off shore in the Barents Sea just east of the entrance to the Kola Bay. Due to quick and proficient actions of Golnev, a series of depth charges precisely hit the sub and reportedly, destroyed it. The Kola Bay was the only passageway for Soviet and allied ship convoys heading to the Port of Murmansk, and it is easy to imagine what damage even a single U-boat could inflict there had it remained operational (to be fair, we could find no independent record of a single German submarine lost to Soviet action in 1941- 42.)

    On 10-11 September 1941, Golnev participated in one of the earliest successful Soviet amphibious assaults of the war. The operation was a raid targeting heavily fortified German naval artillery position on Cape Pikshuev in the Motovsky Bay, near Zapadnaya Litsa Fjord (ironically, early in WW2 the same area west of Murmansk had been leased to Germany by the Soviet Union to build a secret naval base called Basis Nord; the base had been intended primarily for submarine warfare against Great Britain and was actually used to launch a supply transport Jan Willem during the invasion of Norway). Over the course of the operation, the Soviet special operations group wiped-out the German garrison on Cape Pikshuev killing 180 enemy soldiers and taking nine POWs, completely destroyed all the fortifications and meteorological station, and successfully withdrew with only minimal losses of their own. Golnev's MO was one of the nine small boats that carried the landing parties during the operation. His boat was anchored in rough waters during the landing and re-embarkation of the naval infantrymen, and on both occasions Golnev stood in icy water holding the gangplank and helping the men to get off and on board.

    On 17-18 September, he took part in another similar amphibious operation against the German strongholds (codenamed "Mogilnyi" and "Obergof" in Russian accounts) on the coast of the Motovskiy Bay. On this occasion, the Germans had been alerted to the landings and operation did not go as planned. The Soviet raiders were forced to withdraw under heavy enemy fire, and during the most critical moments Golnev was covering them with machine gun fire from his boat. He also spotted a German fighter airplane that was about to strafe the landing zone and by the fire of his machine gun threw the enemy plane off track thwarting the attack. In his Russian-language book of memoirs Battlefield: Shore (C. 1997, USSR Defense Ministry Publishing House) Lt. General Kabalnov, chief of coastal defense of the Polyarny area during much of the Patriotic War, specifically mentioned MO-135 among the six submarine chasers whose captains and crews distinguished themselves in the September 17-18 operation. According to Kabalnov, they made repeated trips to the hostile shore and by their heroic actions saved the naval infantrymen who were, by his words, "literally pulled from an inferno" by the crews of the six MOs.

    On 28 March 1943, Golnev was recommended for an Order of the Red Star by the Submarine Killer Squadron (KDIPL) of the Coastal Defense Zone, Main Naval Base of the Northern Fleet (port town of Polyarny). At the time, Golnev already had nine written thank you notes from his command but not a single decoration, so the order was intended as cumulative award for the actions mentioned above and in general, exemplary service for the nearly two years of the war. The award was bestowed by official decree of the Main Naval Base command on 13 April 1943.

    By late 1944, Golnev had been promoted to Chief Petty Officer 1st cl. and appointed a section leader on his boat, which since early 1944 had been sailing under the new name MO-430 (as a side note, since M-135 had disappeared from official Soviet records, it was mistakenly put on the list of MO sub chasers lost in action by Jurg Meister in his book Soviet Warships of the Second World War). During 1944 alone, Golnev took part in as many as 86 combat sorties. Among these were 50 voyages to escort Soviet and allied convoys (including 20 in White Sea and Barents Sea), 30 combat patrols targeting enemy submarines, and 6 amphibious landing operations.

    On 9 October, he took part in yet another amphibious assault on Cape Pikshuev, this time as a part of the much larger operation having the goal of clearing the entire northwestern part of Kola Peninsula and then pushing the Nazi troops out of northeastern Finland and Norway. Known in post-war Soviet history books as "The Tenth Stalin's Strike", the operation began with the offensive of the land forces of the Karelian Front (army group) and near simultaneous landing of the 69th Naval Infantry Brigade in the enemy rear to cut the road of retreat to Petsamo (Pechenga). When the flotilla of Soviet ships including Golnev's MO-430 was approaching the beach, it came under a "hurricane" of enemy fire. None withstanding the danger, Golnev released the gangplank and was the first to use it to come ashore. When he realized that the ramp was unsteady, he without hesitation rushed into the water and supported the gangplank with his shoulders until every single naval infantryman safely disembarked. When his small ship, having fulfilled its mission, was leaving the area, it came under very precise artillery fire. As shells were splashing in close proximity, Golnev was given the immediate task of creating a smokescreen. One of the smoke grenades he was using burst on fire risking to reveal the position of the boat, but the quick-thinking sailor promptly tossed it overboard. Another faulty smoke grenade exploded and burned him, but undeterred, Golnev went on with his task and continued laying the smoke screen to save his ship.

    With the success of the initial Soviet naval landing on October 9th and rapid advance of the land troops to the Finnish and Norwegian borders, the operation expanded to include additional amphibious assaults further west. On 12 October, Golnev's MO-430 took part in the audacious assault on the Norwegian port of Kirkenes which was conducted in the face of murderous fire of German coastal batteries. During the approach, Golnev was responsible for creating a smokescreen and performed the task flawlessly. Once again, he was the first man to step ashore and once again, supported the gangplank under heavy artillery, mortar and machine gun fire until all the infantrymen got off the boat. On the return journey he like before proficiently laid a smokescreen. Once again, one of the smoke grenades malfunctioned and burst into flames threatening to set the entire ship ablaze. Although the furiously burning grenade seemed impossible to reach, Golnev rushed into the flames and tossed it overboard.

    On 29 September, captain of the MO-430 recommended Golnev for an Order of the Red Banner. Although approved by the squadron commander, the recommended award was lowered at some level in the chain of command and on 3 November 1944, Golnev was awarded instead with the Order of the Patriotic War, 1st cl. by a decree of the Northern Fleet.

    In late September - October 1944, Golnev took part in four more missions to land naval infantry and bring supplies to the Norwegian shores. In addition to these and all the previous voyages on his ship, by the end of the war he had taken part in numerous other missions including 20 for convoy escort duty, 23 operations to search for enemy submarines, 20 voyages to conduct acoustic surveys of the waters adjacent to the Main Naval Base in Polyarny, and 20 special missions to rescue crews of vessels torpedoed by U- boats. Golnev especially distinguished himself in one of his boat's four missions to search and destroy naval mines: he spotted a mine that surfaced just 10 meters dead ahead and by alerting the skipper who changed course in the nick of time, saved his vessel and crew from imminent demise. The mine was then machine gunned from a safe distance and destroyed.

    Golnev once again proved to be an outstanding sailor during the rescue of the crew of a British warship (referred to as "a corvette" in the subsequent award recommendation) sunk by a U-boat on 29 April 1945. According to various Internet sources, the Royal Navy ship was HMS Goodall (K479), a Captain-class frigate which was escorting Convoy RA 66 in the Barents Sea on the return journey to the United Kingdom. As it was leaving the Kola Bay during her last voyage, the frigate had been repeatedly targeted by German submarines; one of them, U-286, eventually hit Goodall with a "GNUT" torpedo which caused ammunition magazine to explode blowing off forward part of the frigate. Over half of the Goodall's crew and her captain perished in the attack, but the remaining sailors abandoned ship and managed to stay afloat swimming in the ice-cold water of the arctic sea until approached by the MO-430. At this point, Golnev climbed down to the fender and standing up to his knees in the water, plucked the sailors one by one out of the sea. When all of the survivors were onboard, he helped to give them first aid. On 29 May 1945, Golnev was awarded with an Ushakov Medal for his role in the rescue mission as well as his overall exemplary record of service from September 1944 through May 1945. This extraordinary sailor thus ended the war with a well-earned total of three combat decorations - an unusually large number for a Soviet naval NCO.

    Research Materials : photocopy of the award commendations for the Order of the Red Star, Order of the Patriotic War 1st cl. and Ushakov Medal from the Soviet military archives.

    Item# 35842


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