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Гвардейский нагрудный знак ВМФ

Soviet Navy Guards Breast Badge

Breast badge for Soviet Navy personnel honoured with newly introduced guards ranks was instituted by the Order of the People’s Commissar of the Navy No.142 dated June 19, 1942.

Design of the badge was elaborated by Captain 2 rank (since 03.11.1951 – Rear admiral) Boris Khomich (29.06.1905-20.11.1992), head of the Organizational Department of the Soviet Navy, skilled artist and author of several naval decorations.

The badge had a shape of the horizontal rectangular brass plate measuring 14x31 mm with two cut-outs parallel to upper and bottom edges for fixing guards ribbon. Two 2 mm deep rectangular cut-outs were made on the side. Aforementioned guards ribbon was manufactured of orange silk repp with three vertical black stripes. In fact, it was nothing less than the revived ribbon of Saint George used by Guards naval depots of the Russian Empire, initially introduced as a cap tally on July 08, 1878. However, the Georgian ribbon emerged for the first time as part of the Order of the Saint Grand Martyr and the Triumphant George, the highest Russian Imperial military decoration, introduced on November 26, 1796 by the Russian Empress Catherine II. Colour scheme of the ribbon symbolized flame and gun smoke.

Guards ribbon was passed through horizontal cut-outs and its both ends were sewn together at the reverse of the badge. The badge was attached to the uniform by screw soldered to its reverse and round nut.

Badges for guards officers and warrant officers had gilt metal plate, while those for guards seamen, petty officers I and II classes as well as for chief petty officers had silvered metal plate. With silver coating eventually wearing down, badges for guards seamen revealed base brass thus starting to look like officers’ version. That is the very reason why surviving badges for guards seamen in their original state, i.e. with intact silver finish are much more rarer than officers’ badges.

Non-regulation covering of ribbon with a piece of thin transparent plastic provided effective protection against moisture and dirt.

Soviet Navy Guards Breast Badge 1

Regulations for wearing of the Soviet Navy Guards breast badge with various types of uniform were as follows.

1) On naval jacket – on the right side of the breast, with its bottom edge 1 cm above centre of the pocket flap.

2) On double-breasted jacket, raincoat, duck blouse and flannel blouse – on the right side of the breast, 3 cm above nipple (sic!).

3) On double-breasted greatcoat, tunic and pea jacket – on the right side of the breast, halfway between second and third top buttons.

4) On single-breasted greatcoat – on the right side of the breast, close to the lapel edge, on an imaginary line passing halfway between second and third top buttons.

Soviet Navy Guards breast badge was prohibited to be worn on working and special uniform.

Enamel Factory of the Artists’ Society of Moscow was the most prominent manufacturer of badges in question. Distinctive feature of its early-production badges, i.e. 1942-1943 was barely visible maker’s mark on round brass nuts caused by usage of dies that have already reached the end of their service life. Those dies have been replaced with new ones in 1943 only and it was since then that nuts were stamped with proper quality.

One batch of badges issued to Black Sea Fleet guardsmen had pins soldered to reverses as an attachment method.

Due to the lack of officially manufactured badges and partly due to the desire of Navy guardsmen to obtain “individual pattern” piece those decorations were produced in huge quantities by skilled craftsmen in field workshops in times of both WWII and peace. As a result of that uncontrolled production numerous non-regulation varieties of the badge came into being and survived until the modern times. Those pieces differ in size, metal, attachment method, ribbon width, etc. Thus, badges with safety pin on their reverse, with frames made of nickel and square pieces measuring 35x35 mm are known to exist.

Most common artisanal Soviet Navy Guards breast badges were transformed from ribbon mounts of Order of Alexander Nevsky and Orders of the Patriotic War 1st and 2nd grade that have been abolished on June 19, 1943. All craftsman had to do was just file down loop at the lower edge of the mount and replace original red ribbon with that of the Order of Glory measuring 24 mm in width.

Although exact number of badges worn by Nave personnel is not known, that decoration was issued on a sufficiently mass scale. List of formations, units and ships of the Soviet Navy honored with guard status in 1942-1945 is provided below, exact date being given in parentheses.

1) 2nd Rifle Brigade (former 71st Naval Rifle Brigade). Western Front (05.01.1942).
2) 1st Mine-and-Torpedo Aviation Regiment. Red Banner Baltic Fleet (18.01.1942).
3) 2nd Composite Air Regiment (former 72nd Composite Air Regiment). Northern 
Fleet (18.01.1942).
4) 3rd Fighter Aviation Regiment (former 5th Fighter Aviation Regiment). Red Banner Baltic Fleet (18.01.1942).
5) 4th Fighter Aviation Regiment (former 13th Fighter Aviation Regiment). Red Banner Baltic Fleet (18.01.1942).
6) 3rd Rifle Brigade (former 75th Naval Rifle Brigade). Northwestern Front (18.03.1942).
7) Oceangoing submarine D-3 “Krasnovgardeyets”. Northern Fleet (03.04.1942).
8) Submarine “K-22”. Northern Fleet (03.04.1942).
9) Small submarine “М-171”. Northern Fleet (03.04.1942).
10) Small submarine “М-174”. Northern Fleet (03.04.1942).
11) Cruiser “
Krasnyi Kavkaz”. Black Sea Fleet (03.04.1942).
12) Destroyer “Stoykij”. Red Banner Baltic Fleet (03.04.1942).
13) Minelayer “Marty”. Red Banner Baltic Fleet (03.04.1942).
14) High-speed minesweeper T-205 “Gafel”. Red 
Banner Baltic Fleet(03.04.1942).
15) 5th Mine-and-Torpedo Aviation Regiment (former 2nd Mine-and-Torpedo Aviation Regiment). Black Sea Fleet (03.04.1942).
16) 6th Fighter Aviation Regiment (former 8th Fighter Aviation Regiment). Black Sea Fleet (03.04.1942).
17) 4th Separate Guards Naval Mortar Battalion. Western Front (03.04.1942).
18) 14th Separate Guards Naval Mortar Battalion. Western Front (03.04.1942).
19) Cruiser “Krasnyi Krym”. Black 
Sea Fleet (18.06.1942).
20) 1st Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment (former 61st Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment). Black Sea Fleet (18.06.1942).
21) 2nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment (former 6th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment). Red Banner Baltic Fleet (18.06.1942).
22) 1st Separate Artillery Battalion. Black Sea Fleet (18.06.1942).
23) Medium-sized submarine “Shch-205”. Black Sea Fleet (01.03.1943).
24) Medium-sized submarine “Shch-303”. Red Banner Baltic Fleet (01.03.1943).
25) Medium-sized submarine “Shch-309”. Red Banner Baltic Fleet (01.03.1943).
26) Mine-Laying Submarine “L-3”. Red Banner Baltic Fleet (01.03.1943).
27) 1st River Gunboat Group. Volga Military Flotilla (01.03.1943).
28) 2nd River Gunboat Group. Volga Military Flotilla
(01.03.1943).
29) DestroyerGremyashchij”. Northern Fleet (01.03.1943).
30) Destroyer Soobrazitel’nyj”. Black Sea Fleet (01.03.1943).
31) MinesweeperZashchitnik”. BlackSeaFleet (01.03.1943).
32) 7th Dive Bomber Assault Aviation Regiment (former 57th Assault Aviation Regiment). Red Banner Baltic Fleet (01.03.1943).
|33) 15th Naval Rifle Brigade (former 154th Naval Rifle Brigade). Don Front (01.03.1943).
34) 11th Naval Rifle Brigade (former 66th Naval Rifle Brigade). Don Front (04.04.1943).
35) Small submarine “
М-35”. Black Sea Fleet (31.05.1943).
36) 8th Assault Aviation Regiment (former 18th Assault Aviation Regiment). Black Sea Fleet (31.05.1943).
37) 9th Mine-and-Torpedo Aviation Regiment (former 24th Mine-and-Torpedo Aviation Regiment). Northern 
Fleet (31.05.1943).
38) 10th Fighter Aviation Regiment (former 71st Fighter Aviation Regiment). Red Banner Baltic Fleet (31.05.1943).
39) 11th Fighter Aviation Regiment (former 32nd Fighter Aviation Regiment). Black Sea Fleet (31.05.1943).
40) Medium-sized submarine “Shch-402”. Northern Fleet (25.07.1943).
41) Medium-sized submarine “Shch-422”. Northern Fleet (25.07.1943).
42) Small submarine “
М-172”. Northern Fleet (25.07.1943).
43) Patrol boat “SKA-065”. Black Sea Fleet (25.07.1943).
44) 1st Fighter Air Division (former 3rd Fighter Air Division). Red Banner Baltic Fleet (25.07.1943).
45) 12th Dive Bomber Assault Aviation Regiment (former 73rd Assault Aviation Regiment) Red Banner Baltic Fleet (22.01.1944).
46) 13th Long-Range Bomber Aviation Regiment (former 119th Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment). Black Sea Fleet (22.01.1944).
47) 1st Separate Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (former 2nd Separate Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion). Red Banner Baltic Fleet (22.01.1944).
48) 1st Naval Artillery Railway Brigade (former 101st Naval Artillery Railway Brigade). Red Banner Baltic Fleet (22.01.1944).
49) 1st Torpedo Boat Group. Red Banner Baltic Fleet (22.02.1944).
50) 1st Patrol Boat Group
. Red Banne rBaltic Fleet (22.02.1944).
51) 2nd Small Submarine Chaser Group. Northern Fleet (01.04.1944).
52) 2nd Torpedo Aviation Division (former 1st Torpedo Division). Black Sea Fleet (05.05.1944).
53) Medium-sized submarineS-33”. Black Sea Fleet (22.07.1944).
54) Medium-sized submarine “Shch-215”. Black Sea Fleet (22.07.1944).
55) Small submarine “
М-62”. Black Sea Fleet (22.07.1944).
56) 2nd Mine-Sweeping Boat Group. Red 
Banner Baltic Fleet (29.07.1944).
57) 14th Fighter Aviation Regiment (former 13th Fighter Aviation Regiment). Red Banner Baltic Fleet (29.07.1944).
58) Medium-sized submarine “S-56”. Northern Fleet (23.02.1945).
59) 1st Separate River Gunboat Group. Dnieper Military Flotilla (30.06.1945).
60) 2nd Torpedo Boat Group. Pacific Fleet (22.08.1945).
61) Patrol Vessel “SKR-2”. Pacific Fleet (22.08.1945).
62) 37th Assault Aviation Regiment. Pacific Fleet (22.08.1945).
63) 13th Naval Infantry Brigade. Pacific Fleet (22.08.1945).
64) 355th Separate Naval Infantry Battalion. Pacific Fleet (22.08.1945).
65) 3rd Torpedo Boat Group
. Pacific Fleet (26.08.1945).
66) Patrol Vessel “Metel’”. Pacific Fleet (22.08.1945).
67) Mine-Layer “Okhotsk”. Pacific Fleet (22.08.1945).
68) Minesweeper “
Т-278”. Pacific Fleet (22.08.1945).
69) Minesweeper “
Т-281”. Pacific Fleet (22.08.1945).
70) 17th Short-Range Bomber Aviation Regiment (former 34th Dive Bomber Aviation Regiment). Pacific Fleet (22.08.1945).
71) 26th Assault Aviation Regiment. Pacific Fleet (22.08.1945).
72) 50th Separate Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment. Pacific Fleet (22.08.1945).
73) 52nd Torpedo Aviation Regiment. Pacific Fleet (26.08.1945).
74) 365th Separate Naval Infantry Battalion. Pacific Fleet (26.08.1945).
75) 140th Reconnaissance Detachment of the Navy Staff. Pacific Fleet (26.08.1945).
76) 19th Fighter Aviation Regiment. Pacific Fleet (28.08.1945).
77) 61st Fighter Aviation Regiment. Pacific Fleet (28.08.1945).
78) 1st Separate River Gunboat Group. Amur Red Banner Military Flotilla (30.08.1945).
79) 1st River Gunboat Detachment. Amur Red Banner Military Flotilla (30.08.1945).
80) Monitor “Sverdlov”. Amur Red Banner Military Flotilla (30.08.1945).
81) Monitor “Sun Yat-Sen”. Amur Red Banner Military Flotilla (30.08.1945).
82) Gunboat “Krasnaya Zvezda”. Amur Red Banner Military Flotilla (30.08.1945).
83) Gunboat “Proletariy”. Amur Red Banner Military Flotilla (30.08.1945).
84) 2nd Naval Artillery Railway Brigade. Red Banner Baltic Fleet (15.09.1945).
85) 11th Separate Railway Artillery Battery. Red Banner Baltic Fleet (15.09.1945).
86) 22nd Fighter Aviation Regiment (former 6th Fighter Aviation Regiment). Pacific 
Fleet (26.09.1945).

Soviet Navy Guards Breast Badge 2“Naval Dress, Orders and Medals Regulations for Navy Personnel” introduced by the Order of the Minister of the Navy No.170 dated September 12, 1951, prohibited wearing of orders, medals and breast badges on greatcoats. Wearing of order and medal ribbons as well as of the Guards badge was allowed during parades and inspections only at the special order of garrison commander and higher military authorities. Guards units and formations personnel were still allowed to wear Soviet Navy Guards badge while on mission, under treatment in military medical institutions and upon transfer to non-Guards unit or formation pending the appointment. In the latter case, increased monetary allowance for guards units was retained until new allowance exceeded “guards” one.

Order of the Minister of Defence of the Soviet Union No.254 dated November 10, 1961 stipulated that wearing of the Soviet Navy Guards badge and usage of a military rank with special designation “gvardii” (i.e. “Guards”) was allowed during active military service in guards units and formations only.
Soviet Navy Guards badge has been abolished after two decades of its existence by the Order of the Minister of Defence of the Soviet Union No.82 “On Breast Badges of the Soviet Army and
Soviet Navy Personnel” dated April 04, 1962. Since then it was replaced with the standard-issue “Guards” badge in the shape of a gilt wreath and red banner advertising the legend “Guard” (“Гвардия”) in capital letters instituted on May 21, 1942 by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the highest legislative body of the Soviet Union. However, it should be noted that during and after the Second World War naval aviation and marine infantry personnel equally wore both distinctions, i.e. either Soviet Navy Guards badge or standard-issue “Guards” badge.

Soviet Navy Guards Breast Badge 3The year 1973 had seen an original renaissance of the Soviet Navy Guards badge, when breast badge commemorating 30th jubilee of the 1st Guards Torpedo Boat Group of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet was manufactured. Actually it was a replica of the obsolete Soviet Navy Guards badge topped with formalized image of the Naval ensign of the Soviet Union bearing torpedo boat silhouette and inscription “ХХХ Years” (“ХХХ лет”).