Order of Nakhimov naval award during the Great Patriotic War

Order of Nakhimov I and II degree
Order of Nakhimov I and II degree

The Order of Nakhimov is one of the most valuable wartime awards. In the families of cavaliers, single copies have been preserved, most of the insignia are exhibited in the expositions of historical museums. The main characteristics of the Order of Nakhimov

Author: Architect Modest Anatolyevich Shepilevsky (1906–1982);
Country: USSR;
Date of establishment: 03 March 1944;
Number of degrees: 2;
Size: 58mm x 58mm;
Weight, 1st class: 57.0 2.3 g;
Order weight II degree: 43.6 1.7 g;
Order material, 1st class: Gold, rubies;
Material of the order of the II degree: Silver, enamel.

The history of the creation of the Order of Nakhimov

The Order of Nakhimov was established at a turning point in the course of hostilities, when Soviet troops confidently launched an offensive. However, Admiral Nikolai Kuznetsov, at the beginning of 1943, suggested that the Supreme Commander-in-Chief develop naval awards for officers of the Navy. Stalin did not immediately support the idea, but the military leader repeatedly raised the issue in subsequent reports and eventually achieved the consent of the generalissimo.

The Order of Nakhimov was developed in parallel with the Order of Ushakov, which, after long disputes, was given a higher status. The proposal to establish two awards at once came from Stalin, and the candidates for the names of commanders were selected by a special commission of naval officers who knew history well. Admiral Pavel Nakhimov became famous as a talented strategist who won a brilliant victory in the Battle of Sinop, so it was decided to give one of the orders his name. There were two degrees for awards.

Order of Nakhimov, Order of Nakhimov I degree
Order of Nakhimov I degree

In parallel, a whole group of artists worked on sketches. It was headed by Captain 1st Rank Boris Khomich, who since childhood was fond of the fine arts and studied at an art school. According to his drawings, signs have already been created for the Navy Guards, naval pilots and submarine crews. The first sketches contained elements of marine paraphernalia anchors and ropes, the center of the composition was a five-pointed star, and the portrait of the admiral was copied from a drawing by the Russian painter and graphic artist Vasily Timm.

The prepared samples looked very modest and were made in the same color.

The naval officers decided that the simple design reflected the harsh spirit of service in the navy, so they suggested using the most inexpensive alloy. Stalin did not like the work, and the artists had to start all over again. The author of the most successful project was the architect Modest Shepilevsky, who radically changed the color scheme and added shtralas to the star diverging rays of a different shade.

The material for the order of the first degree was gold, for the second silver. The finished project was shown first to Nikolai Kuznetsov, and the admiral approved it. Then the results of the work were presented to Stalin for approval. The leader studied the models for a long time, and then took out from the table a richly decorated Order of Victory. He returned to the drawings and suggested adding rubies to the decoration, which, in the opinion of the Generalissimo, would look great on the order.

M. A. Shepilevsky. Approved sketch of the Order of Nakhimov, 1st class, 1944
M. A. Shepilevsky. Approved sketch of the Order of Nakhimov, 1st class, 1944

The order was carried out without question. As a result, the order of the 1st degree was adorned with precious stones, and the rubies were replaced with bright scarlet enamel at the junior award. When developing the ribbons, they settled on the colors of the Order of St. George black and orange. The production of the awards was entrusted to the Leningrad Mint, which was partially evacuated to Krasnokamsk during the war. The order with rubies was manually assembled from ten elements, in the starting batch there were only thirty pieces.

For which they were awarded the Order of Nakhimov

The decree establishing a naval award was issued on March 3, 1944. The Order of Nakhimov was awarded for operations that were, rather, of a defensive nature. The list of merits for the order of the 1st degree included:

  • successful actions in defense, which led to the defeat and pursuit of the enemy at sea;
  • tactical leadership of naval subunits to destroy significant enemy forces;
  • counteraction to the landing of enemy troops;
  • successful defense of the coastal zone and naval bases during a combat operation.
  • Feats worthy of the Order of the II degree:
  • laying mines and blowing up ships;
  • neutralization of enemy minefields;
  • destruction of the enemy fleet;
  • skillful leadership of the battle, which ended in victory over the enemy.
Order of Nakhimov, Exhibition at the Central Naval Museum in With the name of Ushakov and Nakhimov, 2019
Exhibition at the Central Naval Museum in With the name of Ushakov and Nakhimov, 2019
Cavaliers of the Order of Nakhimov

Lieutenant General Pyotr Morgunov in 1941 commanded the coastal defense in the Sevastopol region. He was faced with the difficult task of repelling the attack of enemy tanks without covering his units with fire. Thanks to the general’s tactical decision, it was possible to defend the artillery unit and drive the enemy back. Subsequently, the city had to be abandoned, but for the heroism shown during the defense, and then the liberation of the Crimean peninsula, the military leader was awarded the Order of Nakhimov, I degree.

It so happened that the first cavaliers were determined simultaneously by two departments. The patch was due to the fact that the responsibility for awarding was initially assigned to the command of the fleet. The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, for some unclear reason, did not take this circumstance into account and selected its own candidates.

As a result, in the navy, the order badge No. 1 was received by the Baltic citizen Nikolai Feldman for military operations in the area of ​​the islands of the Vyborg Bay.

A similar situation happened with the order of the II degree.

The first cavalier was supposed to be the commander of the naval aviation link Nikolai Vasin, but death in battle prevented the hero from receiving the award.

By the decree of the Presidium of July 22, 1944, two officers were awarded at once: the chief of the rear services of the Navy, Major General Yevgeny Zhidilov, and the chief of the defense staff of the Northern Fleet, Daniil Tuz. The naval insignia is highly valued by Russian and foreign phalerists. Many awards were illegally taken abroad, and they ended up in private collections. In 2006, the Order of Nakhimov became one of the most expensive lots in the collection, which they tried to sell at the Sotheby’s auction. The seller put the starting price of the rarity at 176 thousand dollars. At the insistence of the Russian side, the bidding was canceled, but negotiations on the return of the awards to their homeland were not crowned with success.