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Under the Red Star – Army Caps

Caps of the Soviet Army

Due to the large number of caps in this category, I have subdivided the Army cap section into the five uniform periods described on my Uniform Periods page to the left. For organizational purposes, all caps shown on this page could only be worn sometime during this period. Any caps of this period which continued under the 1989 regulations are shown on the M89 Uniform page. A thumbnail image accompanies each cap description. Clicking on that thumbnail will bring up a larger, higher resolution image.

1970-1988: M69-M70 “Modernized” uniforms

Marshal of the Soviet Union Parade-Walking Out

1970-1980

A rather unassuming-looking cap, which to all but a few seems identical to the gray Army generals’ walking-out caps common in many collections and seen below. What sets this cap apart and identifies it as unique to Marshals of the Soviet Union (MSU) is the design of the gold embroidery surrounding the general-officer cockade. Whereas Army generals’ band embroidery of this period took the form of elongated laurel leaves, MSU caps were done in stylized oak leaves and acorns. The embroidery is done in gold thread – not metallic wire, although both types probably existed side-by-side. As previously mentioned, the remainder of the cap is the same as for an Army general. It is made of light gray cloth with red band and piping, with standard officer’s gold cords held in place by two gold colored buttons cast with he Great Seal of the USSR. The visor has a patent leather top, covered underneath with black cloth. Lining is dark gray silk, sweat band is kid leather pierced with a red ribbon. As is common with later general/marshal caps, it is not dated. Although all Marshal caps are scarce, the gray walking-out cap is seen less than the parade or khaki service versions. As with the other gray walking-out caps, this version was phased out in 1980 in favor of the wave-green parade cap. Scarce-Rare

Tank/Artillery General Service

1980-1989

This service cap was only worn by Armor and Artillery generals from 1980 to 1989. The crown is khaki with a black velvet band and red piping. The cap has the gilt wire leaves introduced for service caps in 1980 embroidered on the band surrounding a general’s all gilt cockade. It also has a patent leather visor, gold cords, and general officer buttons. Inside, it has a leather sweatband and silk lining. Wear of this cap was no longer authorized according to the 1989 regulations; being replaced with a red band/red piped version. Scarce

Army General Field

1970-1989

The piped army general’s version of the field visor cap was introduced in 1970. This cap apparently served all army ground force generals, regardless of branch, although I cannot completely discount the possibility that Special Troops and Admin/Medical generals wore ones piped in magenta vice the red shown here. I have simply never seen or read of any such. However, airborne generals wore their own version of this cap piped in light blue (see below), and MVD generals apparently wore ones piped in rust red/maroon and KGB generals had medium blue piped caps. The army generals’ cap shown here is made of khaki cloth, with band and the saddle form crown piped in red. Its plasticized chinstrap, fiberboard visor, and general’s model chinstrap buttons are also khaki. The cockade is a normal officer’s cockade painted khaki or made of khaki-colored metal. As of 1989, wear of this cap was no longer authorized. Available

Army Officer Field

1970-1989

The visored field cap was one of the most popular Soviet uniform items during WWII, serving as ready identification of a Red Army officer. Following the war, normal color-banded service caps took their place in the field, but the field cap staged a comeback with its re-introduction in 1958. Worn by officers of all branches (including Airborne), the cap was all khaki – including its plasticized chinstrap and its fiberboard visor. The cockade is a normal officer’s cockade painted khaki or made of khaki-colored metal. The side buttons are painted khaki as well. This model has the later “saddle” shaped crown introduced around 1970, replacing the earlier “teller” shape. Otherwise, the two caps are identical. As of 1989, wear of this cap was no longer authorized. Common

Soviet Army Ensemble Enlisted Parade

1969-1980

Introduced just prior to the 1970 uniform regulations, this cap was issued to enlisted personnel of the Soviet Army Ensemble and military orchestras. These personnel often accompanied the Honor Guard companies also described on this site in parades and formal military ceremonies. Army Ensemble uniforms were similar to those of the Honor Guards. The cap was a normal enlisted parade cap, but with officers’ gold cords in place of the black chinstrap and with the special military orchestra lyre pinned to the crown. All caps have red bands and piping. The Soviet Army Ensemble replaced the lyre on the crown with the honor guard sunburst in 1989. I don’t know if lesser orchestras followed suit at that time. Scare-Rare

Tank/Artillery General Parade

1970-1989

This striking parade cap was worn by Soviet armor and artillery generals from 1970 until red-banded caps were standardized for all Army generals in 1989. The crown is in the same wave-green introduced for generals in WWII, piped in red. The band is traditional armor/artillery black velvet. The expanded parade-style gilt wire leaves are embroidered on the band surrounding a general’s all gilt cockade. Likewise, wire embroidery is found on the patent leather visor and the natural colored leather chinstrap. It also has general officer buttons, a leather sweatband and silk lining. Available

Special Troops General Parade-Walking Out

1970-1980

When the light gray summer parade-walking out uniform was introduced for generals in 1954, the corresponding cap was devoid of embroidery – a gilt cockade and gold cords were its only decorations. However, embroidery was added to the band in the 1969 regulations; taking the form of laurel leaves sewn on either side of the gilt cockade. This cap is an early example of this new model, dated 1972. The magenta band and piping identifies a general of either medical/veterinary, administration/intendance, justice or one of the special troops’ forces. No, it is not infantry!!! The band embroidery is rather more extensive than usual – with seven leaves on each side, compared with four that are more commonly found. Other than that, the cap is pretty standard for an early cap – black fiberboard visor (instead of later patent leather), gold cords, and generals’ buttons. Scarce

Army General Parade-Walking Out

1970-1980

A red-banded version of the above cap, this one was worn by all other Army generals. These light gray caps were worn with the matching gray uniform jacket until 1980, when the normal wave-green parade cap replaced it. This particular example is a later version cap different only in color to the post-1980 Army general’s service cap. The crown is in light gray fabric, while both band and piping are red. The cap has gilt wire leaves embroidered on the band surrounding a general’s all gilt cockade, a patent leather visor, gold cords, and general officer buttons. Inside, it has a leather sweatband and silk lining. Tied with the post-1980 Army general’s service cap as the easiest general’s cap to find. Common-Available

Medical/Administration Officer Parade

1970-1989

Described in the 1970 regulations, this 1977 dated cap was part of the wave green (sea-wave) parade uniform introduced for all officers. Along with the new uniforms, branch colors were simplified at this time. Now all non-technical support branches (medical, veterinary, justice and administrative) adopted crimson as their cap and piping color. A new one-piece cockade similar to but somewhat different from the M55 parade cockade was introduced for wear on this cap. This particular cap has a “saddle” form crown and plastic visor. It remained in use until 1989, when branch colors were again simplified and these branches adopted red. More difficult to find than one would suppose. Scarce