Russian tank crew uniform

Red Army/ Soviet Army tank and Armored Vehicle crew uniform

As the request of our western friends we begin the description of the Red / Soviet/ Russian army uniform and insignia based on the Saumur tank museum (France) collection. Prepared by Mikhail Blinov, the military expert.

1. Tank crew summer uniform for everyday. 1939-1940

Gymnasterka (= gymnastic shirt, traditional Russian military dress since 1877/1912 till 1969) with the turndown collar, M1935, used till 1942

Color. Grey color. The main color for the gymnasterka was olive “protection”, people named not correct is “green”. Gray color officially named “steel” was also permitted for the Armored Forces tunic (M1935 see appendix), but used for the gymnasterka also.

The cloth material. This made from the cotton (permitted the fine wool for winter time but used for summer time too)

Insignias. Senior lieutenant rank M1935.
Buttonholes on the collar. Black velvet edged with metal gallon of gold color. Tank emblem, yellow metal. Three squares= “cubari” (red enamel).
Sleeve, additional designations of the rank. Three stripes (angles) of the red color on each sleeve, the red color thin wool. Replaced in 1940 by another model M1940 insignias, but sometimes used until 1942

Badges
Halhingol”, the Red Army vs. Japan local war in Mongolia (August 1939)
For excellent driving” . Pre-WW2 badge for the tank drivers. Note the BT soviet high speed tracked (rolled) light tank based on USA Christie chassis (same like the branch of service emblem). Testing, competition, long march etc. Usually for the officer ranks. Replaced by “The best tank crew member” in 1942 (but the soldiers/ sergeants ranks)

Period, the battles.
1939 August. Local war at Halhingol (Mongolia. Against Japan Army.
1939 September. An attack on Poland. Joint parade with Germany.
1939/ 1940. Winter war (Finlandia). Used under the wintercoat.
1940 Occupation the Baltic states and West Ukraine.
1941 The begin period of WW2
Pilot cap. M1935 from the same material like the tunic/ gymnasterka. Officer rank. Used instead the cap (“furazka” M1935)
Belt. Brown leather with the yellow metal belt buckle with a star. Optional pistol holder (for TT)

Personals, usage, photos.

Colonel Denisov (Kubinka polygon military officer)
Halhingol participant (senior lieutenant rank). Awarded also by the “Halhingol” special badge. Lieutenant Denisov (left), WW2 tank troupes gymnasterka without sleeve insignia (canceled 1941) Buttonholes on the collar. Black velvet (? or wool) edged instead the metal gallon by the red woolen piping (like political commander and military cadets, he still used after Tank Academy). Gymnasterka color is olive or «steel» (he had both). His friend (? brother) in the pilot uniform (right). Photo 1941-1942 year, Moscow. Sub-colonel Denisov (right photo) in the parade uniform (M1943) with shoulder boards after WW2 (M1946 six angles) «gold» color metal gallon with 2 big silver stars (sub-colonel rank) . Note the «Hanhingol» badge participant on the tunic.

Colonel Kalinina (WW2 veteran, the repairing and testing team)
Pre-ww2 tank tester, Awarded after T-40 soviet tank drive (from Moscow, Kubinka to Kiev) by “Excellent tank driver” badge.

to be continued…

see also