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Item# 36430   $650.00  Add to cart   Show All Images   Download PDF
Order of the Red Banner, Type 4 Variation 1, #88397, awarded on 17 September 1943 to Major General Mikhail Leshko, Chief of the Supply Train Service of the Main Engineering Agency of the Red Army.

Silver gilt, enamels; measures 45.6 mm in height (incl. the eyelet and lower projections of the flagpole and torch), 37.5 mm in width; weighs 23.7 g without the suspension and connecting link. Manufactured at the Krasnokamsk Mint in July - September 1943, this specimen is one of the first Type 4 pieces ever made.

Features relatively smooth reverse. The "Monetnyi" in the mint mark is in small font, with the mid-section of the first letter "M" reaching the bottom of the line. The plow does not touch the flagpole but comes closer than on most of the later issues.

Silver gilt, enamels; measures 45.6 mm in height (incl. the eyelet and lower projections of the flagpole and torch), 37.5 mm in width; weighs 23.7 g without the suspension and connecting link. Manufactured at the Krasnokamsk Mint in July - September 1943, this specimen is one of the first Type 4 pieces ever made.

Features relatively smooth reverse. The "Monetnyi" in the mint mark is in small font, with the mid-section of the first letter "M" reaching the bottom of the line. The plow does not touch the flagpole but comes closer than on most of the later issues. Note the serial number which is extremely low for Type 4, very near the bottom of its serial number range (which starts at 84251). Likewise, the date of award decree is very early for a suspension type Red Banner - the remaining Type 2 "screw backs" were still routinely issued through the rest of 1943 and even well into 1944.

In outstanding, excellent condition. The enamel shows magnificent luster and is literally perfect, completely free of any flaking, scratches or other flaws. There are only a couple of microscopic contact marks that can be barely found even under a 10x loupe. The wreath likewise shows no wear detectable by the naked eye; the original gilt is still present and clearly visible in the recessed areas, although it is partly obscured by silver patina. There is also very attractive even patina to silver on the reverse. Comes on a period suspension device, a two-layer model in steel and brass with a perfectly preserved old ribbon. The connecting link is a replacement. To summarize, the condition of this piece is absolutely superb and cannot be upgraded, especially for a Red Banner from the relatively early period, awarded well before the mass issue for length of service.

Mikhail Leshko was born in 1891 in the town of Ostyor of the Chernigov region of Ukraine. After receiving an elementary school education, he found a job at a plywood factory in Kiev. In 1905, Leshko reportedly took part in the abortive First Russian Revolution. In 1910, he joined the Communist Party while it was banned in the Russian Empire and became one of the early adherents of its Bolshevik wing. Leshko was drafted into the military and fought in WW1 prior to taking part in the Revolution of 1917 as a Red Guard in Vladimir Region of Russia and was subsequently appointed Military Commissar of Vladimir and later, Nikolaev Region. Starting from 1918, he fought in the Russian Civil War taking part in suppressing the rebellion of the SR (Social Revolutionary, aka Eser) Party in the city of Yaroslavl, putting down several peasant revolts, fighting against the White Army of General Denikin, and eradicating "banditry" (nationalist and anarchist insurgency) in the Kherson and Nikolaev Regions.

In the interwar period, Leshko was appointed Military Commissar of the city of Odessa. Interestingly, he either completely escaped the purge of the old Bolshevik cadres in the late 1930s or was prosecuted but shortly thereafter restored in his rank and position: his biographies currently found on the Internet are silent on the matter. Whatever might be the case, in 1939 Leshko's career was clearly on track: on the last day of the year he received his first decoration, an Order of Lenin #2547, clearly a "New Year's present" for decades of diligent service to the Bolshevik cause.

In the first days of the Patriotic War, Leshko was appointed Chief of the Supply Train Service of the Main Engineering Agency of the Red Army, a position of enormous importance entrusted him in view of his huge prior administrative experience. In this capacity, Leshko was responsible for organizing wagon trains of supplies for the Soviet frontline troops, the task he fulfilled to the utmost. He was also extremely effective in evacuating factories in his care into the Soviet interior and restarting the production of wheeled and sledge-run wagons. Among other things, Leshko organized new production centers of field kitchens for the Red Army.

For his achievements in the field of supplying the Red Army, Leshko was awarded with an Order of the Red Star (#31548) on 3 March 1943. A year later, he was recommended for an Order of the Red Banner by the Quartermaster Chief of the Red Army Lt. General Drachev. The order was bestowed on 17 September 1943 by a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. Prior to the end of the war, Leshko was also awarded with his second Order of Lenin (#26542) and second Order of the Red Banner ("plain" issue, #16200), both for length of service in the military.

After the war, Leshko briefly served as Deputy Commander of the Odessa Military District prior to his retirement from the military in 1947. He obviously remained very active politically and in recognition of his veteran status, was sent as a delegate to the XXII Congress of the Communist Party in 1961. Leshko passed away in the city of Moscow in 1974.

Research Materials: photocopy of the award record card, relevant pages of the award decree for the 1942 Order of the Red Star, and award commendation for the Order of the Red Banner.
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