The Order of the Patriotic War is a Soviet military decoration that was awarded to all soldiers in the Soviet armed forces, security troops, and to partisans for heroic deeds during the German-Soviet War, known since the mid-1960s in the former Soviet Union as the Great Patriotic War.
The Order was established on 20 May 1942 and came in first class and second class depending upon the merit of the deed. It was the first Soviet order established during the war, and the first Soviet order divided into classes. Its statute precisely defined, which deeds are awarded with the order, e.g. shooting down three aircraft as a fighter pilot, or destroying two heavy or three medium or four light tanks, or capturing a warship, or repairing an aircraft under fire after landing on a hostile territory, and so on, were awarded with the first class. It was also given to some allied troops and commanders, including western allies. All together, over 324,903 of the 1st class and 951,652 of the 2nd class were issued during the war. Until 1985, the total number reached about 1,370,000.
n 1985, during the celebration of the 40th anniversary of Victory Day, it was decided that all surviving veterans of the war would be awarded either 2nd or 1st class of the Order, and about 2,054,000 first class and 5,408,000 second class were issued then.
As of January 1992, the total number of all awarded Orders was 2,487,098 first class and 6,688,497 second class variants.