Uniforms

HI Zamkompolka (Deputy Regimental ( ommander), Cavalry, 1922 I his commander is dressed in 1922 winter uniform tdenovka helmet, long cavalry greatcoat with collar itches, star, razgovory tabs and sleeve badge all in the ivalry branch colour, cornflower blue. The silver mbroidery on the sleeve badge indicates a wound in .lttle or at least one year's Red Army service. lie is rmed with a Mauser k-96 pistol and a Cossack shashka sword, and his decorations are the Order of the Red anner and the...

Senior Commanders

I Commissar, Special Tusk I nit, 1919-20 pecial Task Units, or ChONs, could be distinguished m ordinary Red Army units by their banners, which ere covered with slogans and communist symbols, id by the youth of the men mostly between 14 and Jil years old. All members of Special Task Units also ore large red cloth stars on their left sleeves. Many nits served in Turkestan and fought against the iasmtilflii Central Asian Muslim rebels. These units ere issued with cotton 'panama' hats, as shown...

Weaponry

By 1417 Russian industry was able to satisfv most the Tsarist Army's demand tor weapons and ammun tion, with imports accounting for about 12 per cent the total. Mthough the bulk of these resources fell in Bolshevik hands, they turned out to be inadequate ( needs of the Civil War. The overall command of the weapons industry handed to the Supreme Soviet of State Kconorr Special 'Labour rmies' were formed to pro ide I Red Army with weapons and clothing. W ithin rh-years, by 1920, more than 2,000...

Red cross and railway insignia

Only in October 19 cS did the Soviet government ado the Geneva Convention and order 'all organisations a facilities dealing with sick and wounded' to install i Red Cross flag, and all medical personnel to we enamel Red Cross badges in their headgear. Vledic orderlies in a battlefield were additionally to wear white armband with a red cross on the left sleeve. On 22 August 1919 an armband was introduced f commandants of railway stations (earlier a civilian p fession, but militarised because of...

The Front

The highest operational unit of the Red Army was t Front, the first of which was created in June 1911 Each Front was given a geographical name, and usual comprised between two and five field armies as well detached forces, reserve units, specialist troops an administrative bodies. From mid-1919, when more cal airy became available, Fronts began to include enti cavalry corps and cavalry armies. The Northern Front was established in Septembl 1918 and operated on the Vologda-Archangelsk-Ko . line,...

Command insignia introduced 16 January 1919

Graduales of the High Military School of Sappers, posing before departure in the uniforms oj their future regiments. Two men in the front row have typical I' I' insignia, embroidered in gold on red cloth patches. The facings on headgear and on the gyninastcrka are black with silver as in the Tsarist Army . The leather equipment is o f I'll I pattern, but with one shoulder belt instead of two, as worn by White and former Tsarist officers. Graduales of the High Military School of Sappers, posing...

Artillery

Thanks to the drastic expansion of arms factorie I the Great W ar and a concentration on the artillery i by 1916 Russia was virtually self-sufficient in howi 4 and field guns, and was producing three-quarters lt n heavy artillery it needed. The ammunition stock set aside by 1917 proved enough to see the Red J through much of the Civil W ar. The 3-inch field gun M.1902, the 3-inch mrnia gun 1.1909 and the M.1910 howitzer made upJ bulk of the Red Army's light artillery . The two common makes of...

Cavalry Regiments

Mounted MG Signals Logistics Regimental Demolition Road Bridging Sapper Platoon Team Team School Platoon Team Squadrc- headquarters and a signals section altogether it numbered between 80 and 100 men. Each armour platoon was equipped with four armoured cars one of these had a cannon and two machine-guns, while the other three had just two machine-guns each . There were 'line otryads which were parts of rifle or cavalry divisions, and detached otryads, which were subordinated to armies and...

Cavalry

Fairly elitist before the Great War and dominated aristocratic fops, the Soviet cavalry force was tra formed after the Revolution. The typical p gt I Revolution cavalryman could well have been a fori caretaker or gardener of an aristocrat's house. A se lt shortage of trained cavalrymen led to a massive retI ment drive with the slogan 'Proletarian, mount a Anyone who had ever dealt with horses was enl gt and it became normal to see cavalrymen in pec.l clothing ex-office workers in bowler hats...

The Cheka and other special formations

On 7 December 1917, the All-Russia Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-revolution and Sabotage was formed. Its chairman and guiding star was Felix Dzerzhinsky 1877-1926 , a Pole by birth. Known as the Chrezvichaynaya Komissya or Cheka for short, the commission soon earned itself a reputation for brutality beyond the call of duty. The modern image of the Cheka as a 'secret pol lt force, in the style of the later NKVD and KGB, d lt not do justice to its wide-ranging role in the Civil W...

Special task units

The Chasti Osobago PJaznacheniya ChON , or special units, were authorised by the Central Committee on 17 April 1919. The first units were formed in Petrograd and Moscow the provinces followed suit. Only volunteers could join, they had to be aged between 14 and 55 and of fanatic lovaltv - communists, idealistic vvork- crs and peasants, trade union members and members of the Young Comm-unist League Komsomol . Recruitment remained voluntary until ChON units were disbanded in 1924 5. ChON units...

Red Flag and Red Star

The choice of red as the colour of the Russu Revolution deserves further explanation. Red has i centuries been the international symbol of mutiny ai brigandage it was the traditional colour, symbolisq blood, of pirates' flags alongside black, standing 1 death . In international naval usage, the red flag known as the 'flag of defiance', and was raised whe-ship was preparing for battle in contrast to the wh flag, w hich, of course, w as the flag of peace or sum der. In Russian, red or krasm has...

A confusion of clothing

Soldier Budenovka Wearing Soviet Cap

Due to the economic disruption of Russia caused by the Great W ar and two revolutions, it proved imposs- on-regulation sleeve badges, 111H-2H clockwise from top left 1st Kahmik Cavalry Regiment the most popular armoured unit badge 2nd Moscow Red Heavy Artillery Commanders' School rare pattern used by aviation detachments sapper company of an infantry regiment or brigade on-regulation sleeve badges, 111H-2H clockwise from top left 1st Kahmik Cavalry Regiment the most popular armoured unit badge...

The Plates

Astrakhan Hat Papakha

Al Infantryman, 3rd Petrograd City Guard Rifle Regiment, 1 1X The 3rd Petrograd Rifle Regiment was formed from the disbanded Semenovsky Lifeguard Reserve Regiment, which had been stationed in Petrograd St Petersburg . The Semeno sky Regiment proper had been created by Peter the Great in 1695, and was one of the key Imperial Guard regiments, but the Reserve Regiment had never shared this elite status. Immediately after the October revolution all ranks of the 3rd Petrograd Regiment wore their old...

Specialist Troops

Trotsky Armoured Train

1 1 Private, Broneotryad Armour Detachment 1918-22 Red Army men serv ing in motorised, armoured-car at armour units all wore much the same uniform, chara. terised by the rich use of leather. It consisted of . khaki cloth or leather cap with a large square pea-introduced in the Russian Army for automobilists ar samokatchiks velo-cyclists a leather coat typically . black, so-called 'Swedish', 1912-issue and below this gymnasterka. Feather or cloth breeches were worn wit jackboots or boots with...

The Red Army

Red Army Armoured Car Crew

. second day of the Bolshevik Revolution, 2 gt it 1917, a supreme body was created to take over if the armed forces the Committee on and Naval Affairs. It had three members, task was to install Bolsheviks into the highest iry posts and to begin the organising of a new 'People's Army'. On the following day the committee took on six new members, and was renamed the So iet of People's Commissars on Military and Naval Affairs. At the end of November this body was split into two separate...

Introduction

Mr war is a tragedy for the nation involved, he i 2ed for Russia was aggravated by its relative l -i'ss, its enormous territory, the mass illiter-i oi 1 - population, and by the pompous promises of kcfi gt rld to come, which never came true. The m oi gt ut 13 million lives within the years speaks 1 lt in jI War in Russia lasted from 1917 until Bk. i ugh major military operations were over by - - dual fighting continued in Central Asia, km . Reds were opposed by local independence B ci In. and...