Have you been exploring the history of the Soviet Union and its Red Army? Here are some of the Red Army facts that you probably did not know.
- During the Soviet Union, the Red Army defeated the Kaiser’s troops on 23 February 1918 near Narva and Pskov. After that year, the Red Army celebrated its professional holiday every year on 23 February. The Red Army was awarded on 23 January 1918, but the authorities failed to mark their first anniversary and postponed it until next month.
- The broadcloth helmet called budenovka was the main symbol of the Red Army. It was named after commander Semyon Bodyonny. These helmets became a part of the army’s uniform in 1918. Another theory tells that budenovkas were first designed for WWI. The soldiers wore them marching through the streets of Berlin and Istanbul.
- Some of the regiments in the Red Army once wore a swastika in their uniform. The Red Army used the ancient Aryan symbol of swastika until 1920. It was an element of the shoulder sleeve of units formed of Kalmyk who were Buddhists.
- During the civil war, the Red Army almost ran out of weapons and uniforms. The military honours and awards were not good either. Before the awards and honours, the soldiers and officers received watches, boots, saddles, and tunics for their bravery.
- The Red Army did not have officers until 1943. Instead of officers, the Red Army has commanders who were distinguished by their collar insignia and service straps. The officer ranks came after the momentous victory in the battle of Stalingrad.
- The Red Army has combat camels in its ranks. They were first deployed with the 28th Reserve Army near Astrakhan in the summer of 1942. More than 3000 camels transported goods and artillery from the banks of the Volga River to Berlin. Legends say that when Grasshopper, the camel lead to the Reichstag, it spat on the building.
- The Red Army was the biggest in early 1945 with 11,365,000 soldiers. The weakened postwar Soviet economy could not maintain such a big army, and the number was too high during the peacetime. Three years later, the size reduced down to 2,874,000 soldiers in 1948. The young men moved back home and helped in rebuilding the country.
- The Red Army switched its name to the Soviet Army in 1946. Stalin believed that the word ‘Soviet” would help rally the nation in their choice of socialist path for their country’s development.
- During the Afgan war, The Soviet Army faced the longest siege in its history. This war became known as the Rukha Standoff. The army held positioned on a small plateau at an abandoned village of Rukha in the Panjshit Gorge for three years and ten months. During this time, the Soviet soldiers face rifle and mortar fire day and night from 13,000 militants. When the siege ended, and the regiment was withdrawn from the Panjshir Gorge in 2988, the army lost 386 men.