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Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Российская Советская Федеративная Социалистическая Республика 9th November 1917 - 25th December 1991

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Old 09-08-2007, 12:45 PM   #1
DougD
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Guide To Honorary Revolutionary Red Banner 1920-24

I am working on a basic guide to Soviet Unit flags from the different eras. The first will be the era of the Russian Civil War. I am not going to be able to do all the odd variations of the RCW era, so am trying to just the the "regulation" flags of the Red Army.

The first real Red Army unit flag was the Honorary Revolutionary Red Banner, first issued without any real decree in 1918. By 1920, the regulations came about that actually placed the HRRB as a decreed unit award (individual awards were still a bit frowned upon).

In 1920 the Central Committee decided on the HRRB as the first “official” unit award and even had the organization initials on the banners themselves (VT s IK). What makes the HRRB such an interesting unit flag is that it was not simply issued to all units, but rather it was an award. The only real follow up to that would be the Guards unit flags of WWII; they had to be earned as well.

Even with this regulation, the design of early unit flags from 1918-1924 varied incredibly, though it is not my intention to cover all of them here. Rather, i will just stick to the ‘official’ unit flags. This however, does not mean that all HRRB were the same; they varied quite a bit as well.

As far as I know there are only a handfull of these outside museums; one HRRB outside of a Russian / Soviet museum. It is shown here, for the Voronezh Red Commanders School, the students at which fought bravely against the whites and were awarded this unit flag in 1920 (Red Army schools were issued unit flags).

Made of heavy red velvet, with hand done embroidery, the front side shows the early Red Army star, with Hammer and Plow device. The rear is unique, as it shows a factory (located in Voronezh?) and two workers breaking their chains of oppression. This is the only example I know of were an HRRB has a hand painted scene on it.
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File Type: jpg RedBanner1.jpg (101.4 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg RedBanner2.jpg (111.5 KB, 12 views)

Last edited by DougD; 03-06-2010 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 09-08-2007, 12:47 PM   #2
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detail shots

More shots, showing the incredible detail work, surpassing anything ever produced in the TR!
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File Type: jpg HRRB2.jpg (53.2 KB, 29 views)
File Type: jpg HRRB4.jpg (59.5 KB, 36 views)
File Type: jpg HRRB5.jpg (64.6 KB, 32 views)
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Old 09-08-2007, 12:49 PM   #3
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Central Armed Forces Museum

2 HRRBs hanging in the Central Armed Forces Museum (CAFM); they show the unit name and the parent unit as well. Note the use of the hammer and sickle, probably a sign these flags were issued later, perhaps 1922-1923 or so.
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File Type: jpg cavredbanner.jpg (94.9 KB, 40 views)
File Type: jpg RDBmus1.jpg (39.0 KB, 25 views)
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Old 09-08-2007, 12:51 PM   #4
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Central Naval Museum

More traditional HRRBs hanging in the Central Naval Museum, St.Petersburg.
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File Type: jpg RDBmus2.jpg (42.0 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg rdbnnr.jpg (91.9 KB, 36 views)
File Type: jpg rdbbnnr2.jpg (72.8 KB, 22 views)
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Old 09-08-2007, 12:53 PM   #5
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KGB Museum

The head of the KGB museum, holding the HRRB of the Cheka. I have my doubts this flag is original. I think it might have been made later (1967?) to show the flag as it should have been. The original might have been lost. I might be incorrect and it might be original, but the condition makes me question its age.
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File Type: jpg kgbmus2.jpg (92.1 KB, 54 views)
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:16 PM   #6
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Re: Guide to Honorary Rev. Red Banner 1920-24

HRRB in use by Cavalry unit, 1920.
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File Type: jpg rbcv.jpg (65.3 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg rbcv2.jpg (34.9 KB, 14 views)
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Old 11-28-2009, 01:16 PM   #7
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Re: Guide to Honorary Rev. Red Banner 1920-24

Cheka HRRB on parade. Very little detail can be seen.
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Old 12-19-2009, 05:52 PM   #8
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Re: Guide to Honorary Rev. Red Banner 1920-24

A superb photo from Tal that shows a captured Hon.Rev.Red Banner in the hands of Finnish forces in the Winter War. Really amazing to see this style of unit flag, which is Russian Civil War era, captured on the eve of World War II.

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File Type: jpg FinnBan1.jpg (63.0 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg FinnBan2.jpg (117.1 KB, 19 views)

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Old 12-20-2009, 09:56 AM   #9
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Re: Guide to Honorary Rev. Red Banner 1920-24

A great shot from Marco!
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Old 03-06-2010, 05:06 PM   #10
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Re: Guide to Honorary Rev. Red Banner 1920-24

A great 'naval' example of the HRRB given to the 'Karl Liebknecht' for sinking two enemy ships in 1920.
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