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Soviet Cold War Wings

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Here are M1950 pilot 3rd Class and Navigator/Bombardier 2nd Class.

M1950 3rd Class Pilots Wings: gilt brass with pale blue enamel shield bearing red enamel ?3? under a red enamel star. Gilt steel screwback disk marked by ?Victory? Factory, Moscow. Threads on both post and disk are well worn and almost stripped.

Dark blue Authorization Booklet from USSR War Ministry has 16 republic state seal and design of badge and title for the 3rd Class Military Pilots Badge in gilt. 1950 issue book with photo of Captain Vladimir Ivanovich Vidman, showing him in M1949 air force tunic (buttons and wings on tabs, soft shoulder boards) wearing Unclassed Military Pilots Badge over right pocket and three ribbon bar for Military Merit Medal, Victory Over Germany Medal, and 1948 Military Jubilee Medal. Entries show Book # 15417 authorized per 24 October 1950, twice signed by Lieutenant General Bogorodetsky on 28 February 1951 as Commander of Long Range Aviation (atomic bombers) and as chief of the classification commission. Stamps of Armed Forces Long Range Aviation Staff have 11 Republic pre-1947 seal!

There was no distinction between army aviation and naval aviation flight badges in the 1950s. Only the Ministry issuing the specified class wings on the cover of the authorization book-- and any uniformed photo inside-- indicates branch of service.

M1950 military Bombardiers'/Navigators? Wings, 2nd Class. Screw back silvered, gilt and red enamel with screwback disk marked to maker, Victory factory in Moscow. Includes pale blue document for same showing the badge on cover and Naval Ministry of the USSR at top. Inside is missing small photo on left hand page next to three red bars, shows Northern Fleet issue to Major Verbitsky, issued 16th Illegible 195illegible, with annual renewals of this qualification to 31.12.57 and again to 31.12.58. Authorizing stamps have bled away to illegibility from hard pocket wear, with scribbled COs? signatures. These are the only two pages in this later book.

Naval Aviation Major Boris Ivanovich Verbbitsky had been a Senior Lieutenant with naval air of the Northern Fleet when WW2 ended. I have his Orders and decorations, including a photo in his Orders Book. The photo from his 2nd Class wing's book MAY have been removed when he changed classification.

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Before 1949, there were only specific badges for graduation from particular aviation schools, no "wings" as such, though some insignia worn on the sleeves of pre-1943 uniforms served as "wings" in effect.

In both these cases, the badge is that of the 1st Military Pilots School.

Junior Platoon Leader Vasily Yerefeevich Bovits, undated, probably pre-war:

This unnamed Major was a "Captain of Formation" at the 17th Training Aviation Regiment, 29 March 1943:

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Air Force Guards Junior Lieutenant Kashintsev of 721st Fighter Regiment (here, circa 1946) received two Orders of the Red Star, an Order of Glory 3rd Class (the only rank of officer eligible for this award) and a Valor Medal, and Wound Stripe--

no wings. There weren't any in 1946!

Naval Aviation Technical Engineer Lieutenant Colonel Popov (here, circa 1948), who had been decorated for making a non-stop flight across the length of the Soviet Union before the war-- no wings.

There weren't any in 1948!

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The classes were levels of proficiency. How anybody could have been "unclassed," I don't know, but the levels went UP from that to 3rd, then 2nd, then 1st. I have read that individual squadrons were made up of air crew all of the same proficiency, with tasks assigned based on which crews were the "best."

In 1949 wings which had no class designations were created. Those had much longer wings than the M1950 4 classed (un-, 3,2, 1) wings.

Air Force Guards Lieutenant Colonel Aleksandr Sergeevich Kholodov on the staff of 80th Bomber Aviation "Bobruisk, Berlin, Order of Suvorov" Corps in 1950 is wearing BULLION M1949 Bombardier/Navigator wings.

He was probably the Command Bombardier/Navigator of this Corps from his rank. Notice that the wings are roughly "three ribboned medals across" while M1950 wings roughly span a ribboned pair as worn.

Compare with the 1st Class of the same wings M1950, worn by Lieutenant Colonel Naum Aronovich Zabransky of "Military Unit 61824" in May 1957.

(He is also wearing custom made plastic "ribbons" on his medal bar-- but that is another thread some day.)

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  • 2 months later...

Just in today-- M1949 wings for engineering and technical services officers.

Unlike the pilot and bombardier/navigator M1949 wings which were almost immediately superceded by the later short winged type in 1950, the M1949 engineer/technical wing below was worn until 1958.

Brass with a nickled finish on front.

References say the M1949s are 99 mm wide, but I get 95mm from this one-- though it it slightly curved, probably to fit the original wearer. the pin is the usual awful drawn steel wire.

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Before 1949, there were only specific badges for graduation from particular aviation schools, no "wings" as such, though some insignia worn on the sleeves of pre-1943 uniforms served as "wings" in effect. ................

Hi Rick

Got to update you on that one.....they did issue for a short period in 43 to 44 to the navy only, pilot and air engineer wings,

These came in two variations, the ordinary versions and the commander variant, the Cdr variants are the more Square types as seen in my attachment.


Junior Platoon Leader Vasily Yerefeevich Bovits, undated, probably pre-war: ,,,,,, was awarded first in 1932 award


Edited by Chris S
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beer.gif Reverses are rarely ever shown in books, leaving us with no idea what the reverse sides should look like if we ever actually see a rare badge!

The screw disk in #14 is actually for a wartime/pre-March 1946 Honored Railway Employee badge-- "N.K.P.S." was the People's Commissariat of Rail Communications. It is amazing how often the old badges DO retain their original screw disks, given how often they must have been ripped through and off clothing over all those long years in wear.

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  • 3 months later...

Sorry Rick

But I will regress even more from your original thread...these badges trace back even further to 1923.

What the award criteria is I don't know but definitely in helping with soviet air power.

Anyway..beautiful badges executed in silver...according to my AVERS 5 the 1923 marked badge was also made in gold but I have never seen one of those.


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  • 1 year later...

Very pleased that I was able to get a complete set of all three grades of the M1950 Navigator/Bombardier wings at today's show. :jumping::jumping::jumping:

All are brass screwbacks made by the Victory factory, Moscow.

Also got Little Brother, the M1960 Unclassed Navigator/Bombardier. That is brass and screwback to-- suggesting at least a "latest" date before these went over to aluminum and pinbacks by the M1966 types.

Reverse of the 1st Class above:

The screw post on that has been shortened by the wearer so it wouldn't jab as badly.

It must have been very difficult wearing this without them getting snagged and spinning to strange angles.

Well, these pretty much make up for my "duck and cover" drills in 1962. :rolleyes:

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