The severe shortage of footwear led to a drastic measure intended to restore a semblance of uniformity among soldiers, who had even been seen wearing laced ladies' boots or white gaiters. This was the adoption of leather la pit or peasant boots, which were made of interlaced leather strips, and were rather non-military in appearance. Ordinary lapti, made of birch bark, were also widely used, and were even regulated by a Prikaz
Members of a Cheka 'slum troop examine a cannon captured from Denikin's II hite Army at Sochi, March 1920. Men of sncli shock- units were dressed from head to toe in black-leather. I hey were always well supplied with equipment and Jar a long lime were almost the only units to wear official Red Army breast badges.
on May 15. Besides the officially introduced leather hipti, boots worn with puttees were common, while commanders and commissars usually had privately purchased military- or civilian-cut leather jackboots.
Despite the official introduction of the new uniform over the course of 1919, the majority of soldiers and commanders still had no alternative but to wear ex-Tsarist uniforms. The general clothing situation continued to be desperate, and permission was given, b\ a special Prikaz, for Red Army men to keep their own clothes, though these had to be "close to uniform style', and of 'either light-motley or grey colour.. .bright, contrasting colours are not allowed'. By the end of 1919 everyone in the Red Army was at least wearing a red star badge, patches in branch colour and the sleeve badges mentioned above.
Some peculiar situations and abuses of the system were developing in the period of uniform shortages, as the titles of several Prikazes suggest: 'On the prohibition of undressing one unit to provide clothes for another unit' (Prikaz 2185 of 23 December 1919); 'Badges for commanders may be obtained along with other types of clothing allowance bur not more than three sets for one year' (Prikaz 1364 of 21 July 1920).
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