Captain Viktor Reznov was the deuteragonist that appeared originally in Call of Duty: World at War, and later as a single-level playable character in Call of Duty: Black Ops, with a role as a key plot element in Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
The character himself is notably popular in part to the charismatic and bombastic performance of his voice actor, Gary Oldman. Effectively embodying Oldman’s infamous villainous roles from the 90s, perhaps most notably the Radek loyalist Ivan Korshunov in Air Force One (1997), only this time as a hero. Thus it is not surprising to see a recurrent interest in the character, one key area that can be addressed is Reznov’s military accolades. Famously monikered as “The Wolf” and the “Hero of Berlin”, much speculation abounds about the recognition Reznov would have received from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, as no dress uniform was shown nor were any decorations mentioned. So, assumptions can only be made on his actions and renown, in light to what awards were available at the time.
Awards & Decorations
The allocation of these following decorations is based on assumptions from both the Call of Duty franchise, that Reznov has appeared in and the conflicts that he has been confirmed to been a combatant in and those we can assume he was, based on his service branch history.
We can also make some assumptions through comparisons to a number of real-life Soviet soldiers and the infamous Snipers of the Soviet Union, who played an important role mainly on the Eastern Front of World War II, such as:
It should be noted that Reznov is confirmed to have died at the age of 50 years on the 6th October 1963 at the Vorkuta Labour Camp in the Komi Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It is believed that he had been imprisoned in the camp for 18 years, thus he would have been imprisoned in 1945. This is important to note, as it would give us an official cut-off date for his eligibility for various Soviet decorations, including both military and commemorative, such as the Badge For Bravery And Determination In The Great Patriotic War, that was awarded to Veterans of the Second World War on the event of the 25th Anniversary of Victory in 1970. Another noted medal that Reznov would have theoretically been eligible for, is the Medal “For the Defence of the Soviet Transarctic”, which was awarded to all participants in the defence of the Soviet Arctic region, is omitted due to the fact that the military operation that would make him eligible, Project Nova, resulted in his imprisonment.
To be more precise with his date of imprisonment, we can work from the date he was deployed in the Arctic Circle with the 3rd Shock Army Special Operations, as part of Project Nova at 1200 Hours on the 29th October 1945. This is based on the assumption that he was captured on the same day of the assignment, or at the very least within a few days after.
While Reznov’s imprisonment in the Vorkuta Labour Camp, most likely would have included a dishonourable discharge and thus stripping of his various military and state decorations, this will be omitted for the sake of this list.
Also, these decorations are not being presented in any definitive order, thus their placement on this list is not in line with their official status or order of precedence, etc.
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Medal “For the Victory Over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945”
As a veteran of the Second World War, Reznov would have been awarded the medal, that was awarded to all military and civilian personnel of the Red Army, of the Navy and of the troops of the NKVD who were directly involved on the different fronts of WWII and ensured victory through their work in the various military districts.
Although the medal was awarded in 1945, Reznov would still be eligible, as the medal was established on the 9th May, five months before the Project Nova incident and his imprisonment.
Medal “For Battle Merit”
Awarded for “combat action resulting in a military success”, “courageous defence of the state borders”, or “successful military and political training and preparation”. Before a state-mandated revision and the creation of the long service awards, the medal was also awarded for 10 years of service (leaving it open to rampant abuse in being awarded for years of service rather than actual bravery during a battle).
We can assume Reznov received the medal for his service in defence of Stalingrad, thus falling under the criteria of both “combat action resulting in a military success” and “courageous defence of the state borders”.
Order of Lenin
The highest civilian decoration bestowed by the Soviet Union, eligible to citizens, foreigners, institutions, enterprises and collectives.
The Order held a number of awarding criteria, including:
- Civilians for outstanding services rendered to the State.
- Members of the armed forces for exemplary service.
- Those who promoted friendship and cooperation between peoples and in strengthening peace.
- Those with meritorious services to the Soviet state and society.
Before the institution of a number of specific length of service medals, from 1944 to 1957, the Order was also used as an award for 25 years of conspicuous military service.
It should be noted that those who were awarded the titles “Hero of the Soviet Union” and “Hero of Socialist Labour” were also given the order as part of the award. Thus we can assume that Reznov would have received the Order alongside the title of Hero of the Soviet Union for his actions at both Stalingrad and Berlin.
Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union
The highest honour bestowed by the Soviet Union, it was awarded personally or collectively for heroic feats in service to the Soviet state and society.
As the highest distinction, replicants received a number of privileges, which included:
- A pension with survivor benefits in the event of the death of the title holder.
- First priority on the housing list with 50% rent reduction, tax-exempt and an additional 45 square metres (480 sq ft) in living space.
- Annual round-trip first class airline ticket.
- Free bus transportation.
- Free annual visit to sanitarium or rest home.
- Medical benefits.
- Entertainment benefits.
It should be noted that those awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, also received the Order of Lenin, alongside a certificate describing the heroic deed from the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. To distinguish sole recipients of the Order of the Lenin and those of the Hero title, the Hero title included a Gold Star medal (from 1st August 1939 onwards).
We can assume that Reznov received the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union (and the accompanying Order of Lenin) for his actions with Private Dimitri Petrenko of the 150th Rifle Division of the 3rd Shock Army, which lead to the successful assassination of Lieutenant General Heinrich Amsel of the Wehrmacht during the Battle of Stalingrad; and for his actions during the Battle of Berlin, where he assisted Private Dimitri Petrenko in removing the Nazi flag on the Reichstag and replacing it with the Soviet flag.
Considering we can make assumptions for two possible cases of justified awarding of the title, it is possible Reznov received the distinction twice. A Hero who received the title again for another subsequent heroic feat was awarded the title again with an additional Gold Star medal and certificate. No additional Order of Lenin was given for such a subsequent awarding until 1973, although in 1988 during perestroika, the practice of awarding the title multiple times was abolished by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.
Excellent Sniper Badge
Reznov is known to have been a sniper on the Eastern Front, with an apparent focus on high-target assassination, as he was known to be trying to assassinate Lieutenant General Heinrich Amsel of the Wehrmacht, a mastermind of the massacre of the 62nd Rifle Division of the Red Army in Stalingrad.
Considering his assassination focus, we can assume that Reznov was a highly regarded sniper and thus it would not be unexpected for him to have received the Excellent Sniper Badge in recognition for this.
Medal “For the Capture of Berlin”
A campaign medal awarded to all Soviet service personnel of the Red Army, Navy, and troops of the NKVD, alongside other direct participants of the assault and capture of Berlin from 22 April and 2 May 1945. Organizers and leaders of combat operations in the capture of this city were was awarded the medal.
Reznov served during the Battle of Berlin, notable during which he assisted Private Dimitri Petrenko in removing the Nazi flag on the Reichstag and replacing it with the Soviet flag.
Medal “For the Defence of Stalingrad”
Awarded to all participants in the defence of the city of Stalingrad, this included soldiers of the Red Army, Navy and troops of the NKVD, as well as participants from the civilian population who took part in the defence of the city during its siege by German forces.
Reznov was a known combatant in the Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 1942-2 February 1943), firstly as a sniper, assassinating high target German officers and commanders, and later on as a infantry gunner sieging German communication posts, after the loss of his trigger finger from a German ambush, that resultantly affected his aim with his scoped 3-line rifle M1891/Mosin-Nagant.
For his actions in defence of the city, he would have been awarded the medal, which was established on 22nd December 1942.
Yellow Wound Stripe
During the Great Patriotic War (the Eastern Front of WWII), Soviet soldiers who were injured wore a coloured cloth stripe over the right breast. The stripe came in two colours, Yellow to indicate wounds received in battle requiring medical attention, and Red to indicated less serious wounds.
Considering we only have one confirmed canon injury for Reznov, that of his injured right hand and missing right index finger/trigger finger (which was blown off), we can assume his stripe was Yellow, as the avulsion of a digit would require medical attention.
Order of the Patriotic War, First Class
Awarded to soldiers in the Soviet armed forces, security troops, and to partisans for heroic deeds during the Great Patriotic War, the order came in both a First Class and Second Class depending upon the merit of the deed.
We can assume that Reznov received the First Class grade, as his actions contributed to both the liberation of Stalingrad and the capture of Berlin, perhaps most notably the raising of the Soviet flag over the Reichstag.
Order of the Red Star
Established on the 6 April 1930, the Red Star was awarded for great contribution to the defence of the USSR in war and in peacetime and for ensuring public safety, Reznov’s actions during both the Battle of Stalingrad and the Battle of Berlin would merit its eligibility. Notable in line with either of the following criteria: “for personal courage and bravery in battle, for the excellent organisation and leadership in combat that contributed to the success of our troops” or “for successful operations of military units and formations which resulted in the enemy suffering considerable casualties or damage.”
Order of the Red Banner
Awarded to recognised military deeds, the Order served as the highest (and practically the only) military order of the USSR, until the establishment of the Order of Lenin in 1930.
Close to all renowned and well-known Soviet commanders were invested as Cavaliers of the Order of the Red Banner, thus we can assume that an officer-ranked commander and soldier such as Reznov would also have been invested for his actions.
It is unknown which variant of the Order that Reznov would have received, either the pre-1943 variant which was a screw-back badge or the post-1943 variant which was hung from a standard Soviet pentagonal mount with a ring through the suspension loop.
Order of Suvorov, 3rd Class
Created to reward senior army personnel for exceptional leadership in combat operations, the Order was divided into three distinct classes:
- Order 1st Class: To army commanders for exceptional leadership of combat operations.
- Order 2nd Class: To corps, division, and brigade commanders for a decisive victory over a numerically superior enemy.
- Order 3rd Class: To regimental commanders, their chiefs of staff, and battalion and company commanders for outstanding leadership leading to a combat victory.
As a Sergent and later Captain, Reznov would have been a company commander and thus would be eligible for the 3rd Class of the Order.
Order of Kutuzov, 3rd Class
Established to reward senior Red Army officers for outstanding military leadership. This could include skilful organization and conduct of operations during which, despite the numerical superiority of the enemy, the objectives of the operation were met; or for tenacity in repelling enemy attacks from the air, land or sea, for retaining the combat readiness in designated areas of responsibility, for the creation of conditions for conducting subsequent operations with offensive purposes, etc.
As with other eponym military orders of the USSR, it came in three classes; 1st Class, 2nd Class and 3rd Class to commanders of military units and their deputies, as well as to commanders of battalions and companies.
As a Sergent and later Captain, Reznov would have been a company commander and thus would be eligible for the 3rd Class of the Order.
Order of Glory, Second Class & Third Class
Awarded to soldiers and non-commissioned officers of the Red Army as well as to aviation junior lieutenants, for bravery in the face of the enemy. The Order saw its overwhelming majority of awarding for combat valour in the Great Patriotic War.
As Reznov’s actions at both Stalingrad and Berlin showed bravery in the face of the enemy as well as his military rank, it is likely he would have received both the Second Class and Third Class of the Order, much like the Soviet sniper Senior Sergeant Roza Shanina, who was a recipient of the Order of Glory Second Class and Third Class.
Medal “For Courage” (Medal “For Valour”)
Awarded for personal courage and valour displayed in defending the socialist motherland during the performance of military duties, for “acts of bravery during a battle, during the defence of the state borders or during military duties associated with risk to life”.
More than 4.2 million were awarded during the Great Patriotic War, which would make it highly likely for Reznov to also have been awarded the medal.
It is unknown which variant Reznov would have been awarded either the early Soviet variant of 1938-1943 or the later Soviet variant of 1943-1991.
Blood Donor Badge – 1st Class, 2nd Class & 3rd Class
While not a conventional award and not one we can make any assumptions about on Reznov’s known actions, it is possible Reznov may have donated blood during his service and thus he could have been awarded a Blood Donor Badge of unknown class. Although this is sorely speculative and only mentioned as there is a slim and remote possibility of Reznov received it.
Excellence in the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army Badge
This badge decoration was issued to Red Army personnel for excellence before the force was renamed after the Second World War.
Considering Reznov’s actions and other eligible possible awards, it would be likely he received this badge.
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