This page is dedicated to would be and new members of the unit alike. It's purpose is to give advice on the correct Basic uniforms and kit to purchase. The first part covers the 35 & 43 pattern tunics, Side Cap, Boots, Belts, Breeches and winter clothing. The second part covers equipment and standards. Have a look at the Uniforms, Equipment, Insignia and Awards links.

Obr35 GYMNASTIORKA

This is one of the two gyms that are required to portray Red Army soldiers of what was the Second World War, the Russians called it the Great Patriotic War (1941 - 1945)

The Obr35 Gym was what the Red Army were issued with before the German invasion on the Soviet Union right up to the victories at Stalingrad and Kursk in February and July 1943 respectively.

The Obr35 Gym had a shirt like collar with buttons down the front either concealed under a cover of material or exposed as the pictures on the right show. The pockets came in 2 forms pleated or un pleated and were fastened with 2 buttons which could be black, subdued green or steel in colour. The neck was fastened with a hook and eye.

The pilitsi collar insignia should be the subdued type worn as they were introduced in August 1941 and lasted throughout the use of the gym. The rank insignia on the pilitsi shown, are for the unit's Starshina, Sergeant Major, all recruits begin as a Krasnoarmeyets, Red Army man or woman.

Collar Liner: It was Red Army policy that a Collar liner was sewn and worn on the inside of the collar as this protected the wearers neck from sore red skin and kept the Gym collar clean from grime and dirt. It was regulation to replace the collar liner daily. The white cotton liner should be tacked on the inside of the collar, leaving approximately 2mm to 3mm of the white collar liner showing above the collar.

 

Obr43 GYMNASTIORKA

This the main gym that is required first which was introduced late 1943 and the main difference between the Obr35 and Obr43 pattern Gyms was the high neck collar and shoulder boards (Pogoni.)

The material is of a thick cotton with a particular weave and came in a variety of brown/green shades though Russian dyes tended to fade to a lighter shade through washing and bleaching of the sun so it was common to see troops together with different colour uniforms. Both pattern gyms should be worn with a collar liner.

PILOTKA

The Pilotka or Side cap, was issued as standard to Red Army soldiers and every recruit is expected to have and wear it. The pilotka can also be worn under the steel helmet (Stalui Shlem)

The Red Star cap badge can either be the red enameled& brass backed type (War time pattern) or green, subdued but not the modern anodised type.

Ankle Boots & Puttees: The boots used can be either German WWII repro ankle boots or British Naval Deck boots. Not steel capped boots.
The puttees can be either British officers puttees, (2 pairs sewn together) or reproductions.

LEATHER & CANVAS BELTS

The Red Army issued it's troops with leather and canvas belts which was used to support the ammunition belt, water canteen, pistol & holster and numerous other pouches. The single prong leather belt buckle was issued to NCO's & other ranks while the double prong belt was issued to officers, though senior NCO's could also wear the belt. The canvas and leather 'economy' belt was worn by all ranks. The leather belt is the chosen type but both types of belt are acceptable.

SHAROVARI

The Red Army troops were issued with breeches and not trousers because they were not straight cut but were jodhpur cut in shape. They are fastened by steel buttons and have a fly front.
The lower part of the Sharovari is tapered from below the knee to the ankle and is fastened by 2 buttons and some have tapes to wrap around the ankle.
Both knees are re-enforced with extra material in the shape of a diamond. Those without this re-enforcement were intended for officers. Early post war versions as good repro's are acceptable.

SHINEL

Red Army troops were issued long greatcoats called 'Shinel' which was made up of a thick and heavy blanket wool type of material. The troops were issued these heavy duty coats as blankets were not generally issued. The coat was fastened using 'hook & eyes'.
Below: The earlier pattern was lighter in colour.

TELOGREIKA

This padded jacket was issued to troops for the Russian cold weather and was made of a heavy cotton with wadding between the layers.
The telogrieka was hard wearing and like all Soviet military clothing, it faded with use. It was not uncommon to see various buttons used including German pebbled ones. NCO's with the rank of Serzhant and above could wear the pogoni, rank insignia.

Essential Equipment

WATER CANTEEN

The water canteen container was originally issued in glass before being issued in aluminum. It was covered in a canvas cover which fasterened around the belt, so was easily accessed by the user. I could carry a litre of water.

RIFLE AMMUNITION POUCHES

Troops were issued with MN pouches, though there were variations, the pouches were issued up to the end of the Great patriotic War. The pouches could carry 10 rounds per pouch.

GAS MASK BAG

The gas mask bag was eventually issued to most troops but since the Germans did not use gas, the troops simply disposed of the gas mask and filter, instead, using the bag as a carrier of what ever the needed to eat, drink and kill with. There were a number of variations of the gas mask bag and Red Army troops made good use of the bag. It is an essential part of the kit and most Red Army personnel were issued with one.

MESS TIN & SPOON

This an essential part of your kit to have, you mess tin and spoon, because without it, you could go hungry. The round 'paint' pot type was widely used and eventually, the 'kidney' shaped mess tin and lid was adopted. It is similar to the German pattern. The spoon can either be aluminum or wooden.

STALUI SHLEM

Obr40 Steel Helmet - All members should have the essential piece of equipment as it was widely distibuted throughout the Red Army. The helmet was in service until the 1960's so is still available. It was lined with three canvas or rexin pads filled with wadding; the pilotka was often worn underneath.

                                                                                                  HAIRCUT & FACIAL HAIR

One very important feature that's not been mentioned yet and that's the Haircut and facial hair.
Original pictures show short hair all over or just short or shaved back and sides with side or centre parting on the top part. We also require the same authentic haircut.

As for Beards and Moustaches original photographs show very few Soviet troops with beards even in combat conditions though troops unshaven was common in such conditions. Many Red Army troops did have Moustaches so these are permitted following the lines of authenticity. If in doubt contact the Membership Secretary or join our forum.

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