People's Commissar of the Navy
- Jan 3, 2010
Chapter 26: Daylight
1 May 1942, Moscow
The Award Committee -- a panel of six members of the Communist Party -- was beginning to find its work a trifle excessive. With the war coming to a close, everybody was arguing that their friends or relatives deserved more prestigious awards. Committee members got enough bribes to choke a camel, which normally made the job a pretty sweet one, but the paperwork was getting absurd. The Chairman of the Committee looked at his comrades, sighed, and motioned for his staff aide to bring in the first case.
"Comrade Chairman, the Yugoslav SSR has nominated a local businessman for the Order of Lenin for skillful business practices."
"What did he do?"
"His ingenuity enabled our Yugoslav Comrades to buy their own squadron of close attack aircraft, enabling their protectors and friends of the glorious USSR to transfer air assets from Yugoslavia -- er, sorry, the YSSR."
The Chairman leaned over to another of the committee members, a Colonel in the Red Air Force. "Is this legitimate, Comrade Stepanov?"
"Well, yes, except for one thing: they bought the aircraft license from us."
The Chairman snorted humorlessly. "So shouldn't we get the medal? Never mind, don't answer that."
The committee spoke among themselves for a few moments. The Chairman announced that he would be given the Medal for Distinguished Labor.
The next requestor walked in and placed a map on the table.
"So, who is this for? The British for taking some worthless islands in the Pacific?"
"No, Comrade Chairman. It is for the cartographer. He did these maps too."
"That is some fine cartography, Comrade. What award is recommended?"
"The Badge of Honor. This one cartographer, has, in fact, made every single map the entire war."
"One guy has done all that?" asked a committee member incredulously.
Another congress ensued. "We award him the Order of Lenin for making so many maps and doing such fine work with them. Wait, is he in the army?"
"Order of Lenin it is then."
"Thank you, Comrade Chairman."
The next few awards were military in nature. General Vishnevskii, for finally breaking through Japanese lines and reconnecting Vladivostok to rest of the Soviet Union, was named a Hero of the Soviet Union.
A new category of campaign badges was created for individuals who'd fought against Germany, Italy, and Spain. About 10,000 of these were awarded in mid-March.
The entire Vladivostok Front was awarded the Medal of Courage for their incredible tenacity in the face of lost supplies. Perhaps even more rewarding was the pocketing of all remaining Japanese troops in Soviet territory.
The Siberian Front, on the other hand, received the Red Banner for inflicting most of the casualties on Japan.
The 5th, 6th, and 7th Mountain Divisions also received Red Banner citations for their work on the western end of the front against Japan and her puppets.
General N. A. Nikitin, for leading two Guards Divisions against the remainder of the Japanese Army on Soviet soil, also became a Hero of the Soviet Union; when the entire Japanese army surrendered, each of the divisions was given the Red Banner.
The hardworking cartographer won his second Order of Lenin for his outstanding maps of Soviet victory in Spain and in the Far East.
Exhausted, the Awards Committee awarded itself the Red Banner (despite the fact only three of them served in the military) and went home.