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Ernie's House of Whoopass! January 6, 2015
January 6, 2015

The Unseen Terror of East Prussia. Kinda Cute, Too.

So yesterday while I was doing some research and trying to figure out what that Russian medal was -- TJ and Ryan have the answer below -- I stumbled across this colorized photo of Roza Shanina, a revered Soviet sniper from World War II, credited with fifty-four confirmed kills including 12 German snipers during the Vilnius Offensive. That of course led to a shit to of tangent links that I looked into, some of which I wanted to share.

For starters, the medal Shanina is wearing is not in any way related to the Allied/Soviet victory over the Nazi's in World War II. The medal on her chest is the Order of Glory, which she earned in the battle for the village of Kozyi Gory, on 17 April 1944. According to the report of the commander of the 1138th Rifle Regiment, Major Degtyarev, between 6 and 11 April 1944 Shanina killed 13 enemy soldiers despite being subjected to artillery and machine gun fire. She became the first Soviet female sniper and the first servicewoman of the 3rd Belorussian Front to receive that award. Also in her chest? A huge German shell fragment, which disemboweled her eight months later in January of 1945, when she used her own body to shield an artillery commander. She was three months shy of her 21st birthday. Meanwhile, your fucking kid won't get off the couch.

Shanina's weapon of choice? The infamous Mosin-Nagant rifle, which was adopted by Russia in 1891 after trials of several repeating bolt actions. It fires the 7.62x54R cartridge and is a combination of designs by Russian Sergei Mosin and Belgian Leon Nagant, the latter's primary contribution was the feed system. Production of the Model 1891 took place at the Russian arsenals at Izhevsk, Tula, and Sestroryetsk. n 1930 updates to the Mosin-Nagant were adopted and the “new” rifle was designated the M91/30. Changes included the front and rear sights, split barrel bands retained by springs, and a round receiver as opposed to the hexagonal receiver used earlier. These changes didn't take place immediately, but were phased in as existing parts were used up and new machinery was put in place. Primary production ended in 1944 with few examples, mostly snipers, dated later. M91/30s were used as the basis for sniper rifles from the mid-‘30s with several types of mounts and scopes. The most commonly encountered today is the PU scope which was adopted in 1942 and uses a side rail mount.

On the subject of Mosins, I again strongly encourage everyone to buy one. Seriously. Despite being a functional firearm -- always very useful -- it's a terrific piece of history. The oldest one I have is from 1929; stop for a second and think about everything that's happened in the world since then. That was the year the Great Depression started. The first satellite. The first man in space. The first man on the moon. The Polio vaccine. The Cuban Missile crisis. JFK assassinated. The personal computer. Vietnam. The discovery of DNA. The atomic bomb. AIDS. Not to mention the fall of the Soviet Union, oddly enough. And being built before the ubiquitous days of MADE IN CHINA, they're built like brick shithouses. [Torture Text Part 1 - Torture Text Part 2]

Not sure, can't quite make out the relief on the medal, but my best guess is the Soviet Commemorative Medal For MARSHALL ZHUKOV 1896-1996 . Happy new Year Ernie! TJ in Okla

The Ribbon itself is on a lot of medals. But from what I can see on the design of the actual medal. It's the Soviet WW2 Marshall Zhukov Medal. The Medal of Zhukov is now awarded to soldiers for bravery, selflessness and personal courage in fighting for the protection of the Motherland and the public interests of the Russian Federation, for distinction in military bearing during service, for alertness and active participation in exercises and maneuvers, for excellent performance in combat training. I wasn't able to identify the Badge on the right Chesticle. -Ryan

The earliest ad offering Mosin Nagant rifles to civilians was this Ye Old Hunter ad from 1962 for the whopping price of $9.95, which is $77.80 after adjusting for inflation. And for the next 40 or 50 years or so, that pretty much stayed the price range. Less than a handful of years ago, you could still pick up a basic rifle for $59, and the PU snipers for only $379; the latter are upwards of $600 when you can find them. Usually my first place to look is AIM Surplus, but they're out. After some hunting around, Bud's Gun Shop is offering them for the same price, but even then it's more than twice what they were five years ago. The reason is simple... they haven't made a new Mosin in over seventy years and the supply is running out. So once they're gone, that's it, they're gone.

And the surplus ammunition -- once very plentiful -- is also a finite resource. There's newer commercial ammunition available, sure, but at 3x the cost of the surplus stuff. Which by the way, I managed to find for $89 for a 440 round spam can. You're welcome.

As for my Mosins, what's going to happen to them after I die? I'll pass them on to my nieces and nephews. On the condition that they don't chop-top the barrel like one of those beaners, don't paint any idiotic camouflage on it like some white trash hillbilly, and don't put a big, gay pistol grip on the bottom like you see on all the other zipperheads' guns. It just looks like hell. If you can refrain from doing any of that... they're yours. But the PU will be buried with me. You know, toslay Fascists in the afterlife.

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