Communist Uniforms 192745

The early Communist fighters would either have worn civilian dress or uniforms captured from the Warlord armies or the Nationalists. Shortage of good equipment in general was to be a problem for the Communists for the whole of the period of conflict. As they established bases and Soviets, they were able to manufacture the simple cotton uniforms in small workshops.

The Communists were not too interested in the smart appearance of their soldiers and a typical Communist fighter of the 1920s and 1930s would often have been dressed in quasi-civilian dress. Early attempts to produce a unique uniform gave soldiers patchwork-type uniforms with large red stars sewn on home-made caps. Different combinations of cotton shirts, jackets, puttees and field caps would have been worn, with home-made shoes or sandals and home-made canvas bandoliers. Communist fighters could not be choosy about what they wore; they took anything available from their own sources or the enemy's. Even the highest ranking officers wore the same uniform as a private, and if any insignia at all was worn it was usually the red star on the cap and red collar patches of the plainest design.

No rank system existed in the Communist forces of the 1920s and 1930s, since their political beliefs meant that all soldiers were equal. They did have positional titles (see Table 5), but these were not indicated by

1920s Chinese Military Uniform

A puppet army cadet poses during Kendo sword training with Japanese instructors in north China in the 1930s. The eight-pointed star on his cap badge suggests that he belongs to the fledgling army of the Provisional Government in Peking. (Ronald III)

Guerilla Fighters 1930

Communist spearmen set out on a guerrilla operation against the Japanese in the late 1930s. All wear civilian dress and are armed purely with their roughly made spears; at the first opportunity they would swap these for a captured rifle. Although these spearmen might have looked ridiculous in the modern military age, they did provide a ready trained force for when better equipment became available. (Xinghua News Agency)

Communist spearmen set out on a guerrilla operation against the Japanese in the late 1930s. All wear civilian dress and are armed purely with their roughly made spears; at the first opportunity they would swap these for a captured rifle. Although these spearmen might have looked ridiculous in the modern military age, they did provide a ready trained force for when better equipment became available. (Xinghua News Agency)

any rank markings. It was only when the Communists fought with the Nationalists in the 'United Front' against Japan that rank insignia was worn, and this was of the Nationalist type. The two armies of the Communist forces under the command of the Nationalists during the 'United Front' were the New 4th Army, which was made up of various Communist units from east China, and the 8th Route Army from Shensi. These armies wore Nationalist uniforms and were officially units of the Nationalist Army; even after the ending of the alliance with the

Nationalists, in 1941, soldiers of these units wore their enemy's uniforms. The commander-in-chief of the Red Army, Chu Te, was seen as late as 1946 wearing the Nationalist sun badge, but this was for the benefit of the US general marshal, who was trying to broker peace in China at that time.

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  • elliot
    Why were triangles worn on uniforms?
    8 years ago

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