Nationalist Uniforms in the Civil

When full-scale civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists broke out in 1946 new uniforms were introduced on the Nationalist side. The new officer's uniform consisted of a US-style khaki peaked cap with a cap badge which had the old sun emblem surrounded by a wreath. The green-khaki service tunic had a rounded collar with new branch badges replacing the old branch colours. The new branch badges were as follows: infantry - crossed rifles; artillery - cannon on wheels; cavalry - crossed swords; staff - crossed batons; signals - crossed flags; quartermasters -wheel; tank troops - tank; engineers - castle; and military police - crossed pistols.

Many of the Nationalist soldiers still wore the old-style uniforms from 1937-45 but with more American equipment such as belts and boots.

As the Civil War drew to a close, a new padded grey cotton uniform was in service, similar to the old winter issue uniform but smarter in appearance. The hat had ear flaps as in the old uniform but without the fur lining and with cutouts for the ears so the ears were protected when the flaps were worn down. US Ml steel helmets were also worn during the Civil War, particularly by the American-trained divisions that had been set up in India during World War II, and were airlifted back to China by the Americans at the end of the war. The Americans were supplying more and more equipment and uniforms, but these often didn't reach the front-line troops due to bad organisation or corruption.

Communist Uniforms in the Civil War

By the start of the Civil War the Communist forces were much better dressed and equipped than in their earlier campaigns. The new equipment came mostly from the Japanese army stocks in Manchuria, captured by the Russians when they invaded in 1945. Although the Communists could have developed new uniforms at this point, they continued to wear basically the same uniform as their Nationalist enemies. This had the advantage that any captured Nationalists that came over to the Communists could simply remove their Nationalist insignia. Unit patches were sometimes worn on the left sleeve, and pin badges were issued for special anniversaries such as the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Red Army, in 1947. These were the only forms of insignia worn by the Communists, and even the unit patches were not uni versally worn.

Japanese steel helmets were widely worn, sometimes by whole units, and they were handed over in vast numbers by Russians from stocks captured in Manchuria in 1945. As the conflict wore on, the Communists were often better dressed and equipped than their Nationalist foes, and this was largely due to the stocks captured from the defeated Nationalists. The Red Army troops victorious in the Civil War had evolved from a badly-equipped, trained and dressed group of desperadoes in the 1920s into one of the largest combat-efficient armies in the world by 1949.

Uniforms The Civil War

Well-turned-out Nationalist private 1st class on parade in a cotton uniform of a mid-brown colour. His rank is indicated by the metal collar patch, which is red with three gold triangles. The unit patch over his left breast pocket is bordered with red for the infantry branch. (Popperfoto).

Red Army Infantryman Wearing The Uniform

Well-turned-out Nationalist private 1st class on parade in a cotton uniform of a mid-brown colour. His rank is indicated by the metal collar patch, which is red with three gold triangles. The unit patch over his left breast pocket is bordered with red for the infantry branch. (Popperfoto).

Nationalist machine-gun crew train with their American Browning medium machine-gun in the late 1930s. The crew wear the blue-grey padded cotton jacket with field cap in contrast to the 'dapper' looking officer. He is wearing the standard officer's khaki service uniform with brown leather gloves. (Fusiliers' Museum, Lancashire)

Communist soldier of 1947 wearing a padded cotton uniform in a blue-grey colour and cap in a much lighter shade of grey. The cap badge could be one of the many pins issued to commemorate victories or anniversaries of the foundation of the Red Army. His home-made bandolier and haversack would have carried all his worldly goods and everything he needed on campaign. (Xinghua News Agency)

Nationalist motorcycle troops of one of the few mechanised units of the army on the Hankow Front. This unit had German Sd Kfz 222 armoured scout cars as well as the motorcycles, and would have been a 'showpiece' unit. They have M35 German helmets with the sun emblem on the left-hand side and unit patches on their sleeves. Unusually for Nationalist troops of the late 1930s, they have no collar rank insignia. (Imperial War Museum).

BELOW Cavalry of the Communist Army on morning parade in Yanchang in the 1940s. The Communists had 14 cavalry divisions totalling about 100,000 men. These men are mounted on Ningxia ponies, bigger than the Mongolian ponies normally used by cavalry in China. The cavalry was regarded as the elite of the Communist forces, and soldiers would have seen it as an honour to serve in units like this. (Xinghua News Agency)

Mongolian Cavalry

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