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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. As you can see, most of these caps were actually authorized around 1955, but I have included them in this period since they are more representative of what Soviet soldiers would wear during the 1958-1969 period. A thumbnail image accompanies each cap description. Clicking on that thumbnail will bring up a larger, higher resolution image.

1958-1969: M58 uniforms

Tank/Artillery General Service

1955-1969

This general’s service cap remained essentially unchanged since WWII, with only the 1955 general’s cockade and round visor reflecting post war influences. The cap’s crown is khaki with a black velvet band and red piping. There is no embroidery on either the band or the visor. Only gold cords, general-grade buttons (with the Soviet crest), and the all gold (gilt) cockade provide external proof of general officer status. However, on the inside it also has the leather sweatband and silk lining typical of general officer’s private purchase. The teller shaped crown and fiberboard visor are characteristic of caps of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Scarce

Infantry General Service

1955-1969

This 1960-dated cap was worn by either an infantry or justice general as part of his everyday summer uniform. Band and piping are red, while the teller shaped crown is khaki cotton. Gold cords are worn above the black fiberboard visor, held in place by general’s style buttons (with state seal). An early two-piece M1955 cockade is pinned to the band. This cap is identical inside and out to the cap described just above with the exception of the cockade, cords and buttons. Although the most common of pre-1969 general caps, these small-crowned caps are still somewhat difficult to find. Available-Scarce

Infantry Officer Service

1955-1969

This unusual service cap reflects a transition between an infantry officer’s and a general’s cap. It appears at first glance to be a typical teller-form officer’s service cap of the era. It has the normal officer’s cockade, black chinstrap and buttons. However, the band and piping are red as for generals, rather than officers’ crimson. The inside, too, indicates a general’s model. It is a private purchase, with leather sweatband and silk lining. Most probably this cap was purchased by an infantry colonel who had been selected for promotion to general. Upon “pinning on” that rank, he would merely have to change the cockade, chinstrap and buttons. Available-Scarce

Special Troops General Parade

1955-1969

The color combination on this parade cap was used by Soviet Special Troops’ generals 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, while both band and piping are crimson. 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 introduced in 1955. It also has general officer buttons, a leather sweatband and silk lining. The teller form of the crown indicates manufacture prior to 1970. Rare

Special Troops General Service

1955-1969

The style of this general’s service cap remained essentially unchanged since WWII, with only the 1955 general’s cockade and round visor reflecting post war influences. The cap’s crown is khaki with crimson band and piping. This color was only used by infantry & justice officers and Special Troop generals during this period. There is no embroidery on either the band or the visor. Only gold cords, general-grade buttons, and the all-gold cockade provide external proof of general officer status. However, on the inside it has the leather sweatband and silk lining typical of general officer’s private purchase. The teller shaped crown and fiberboard visor are characteristic of generals’ caps of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Rare

Special Troops Officer Service

1955-1969

Following the introduction of a white summer uniform (jacket and cap) for armor/mechanized and air force officers in 1952 and for generals in 1954, this uniform was authorized for all Army officers in 1955. The uniform was an everyday service uniform (not dress). White cap variants consisted of either a white cover for existing khaki service caps, or caps with fixed white crowns. Branch colors were retained on the band, but there was no crown piping except on generals’ caps. On this cap, the band was black with dark blue piping along its top edge, indicating Engineer or one of the other Special Troops branches. Other than the white crown/cover, the cap followed normal service cap guidelines – “teller” shape during this period, black chinstrap and visor, and the oval officer’s cockade introduced in 1953. Scare

Army General Field

1958-1969

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 completely 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. A two-piece khaki cockade is sometimes also found on these caps – similar in construction to the generals’ gilt version. The side buttons are painted khaki as well. This is a general’s version but the only difference between it and the normal officer’s is the use of generals’ buttons and the upgraded interior (with leather sweatband and silk lining). This model has the early “teller” shaped crown, similar to those worn in WWII. This shape fell out of favor around 1970, when it was replaced by field caps with larger “saddle” shaped crowns. Scarce-Rare

Army Officer Field

1958-1969

This 1958 dated officers’ field cap is very similar to the general’s cap just described, but without the upgraded interior and with normal khaki “star” buttons. It is a somewhat unusual variant in its use of a black fiberboard visor rather than the regulation khaki one. This no doubt came about due to a shortage of the new colored visor even as production of the caps began. The other early variant element of this cap is its use of a wide khaki colored oilcloth strap, rather than the more common khaki plastic strap. Other than these two elements, this cap was identical to those manufactured all the way up to 1969, when a larger crown replaced this smaller one. Scarce

Infantry Officer Parade

1958-1969

This cap was part of the new khaki parade uniform introduced for officers in 1958, following the abolition of the gray 1955 “Zhukov” uniform. Less elaborate than its predecessor, it lost its special color, its visor decoration and used a smaller cockade/emblem than that found on the M1955 model. This particular cap was manufactured in 1965. The crown was khaki while infantry ownership was shown by its magenta band and piping. The band cockade/emblem was identical to that used by the air force – the normal M1955 cockade surrounded by a wreath. This emblem was usually made in two pieces as shown here, connected by pins – although early one-piece versions also existed. A later one-piece version then became standard after 1969. Gold cords finalized the parade elements of this cap. The visor was black fiberboard without any metal decoration. Scarce

Armor/Artillery Officer Parade

1958-1969

Also part of the M1958 uniform regulations that replaced the “Zhukov” parade uniforms with a more traditional khaki uniform, this is the armor/artillery counterpart of the infantry one above. This cap differed from its service uniform counterpart only in its accoutrements. The simple oval cockade was replaced by an Air Force style one combining leaves with the oval. This cockade was originally two pieces, as shown here, later one piece. Gold cords replaced the black chinstrap. All other service cap features remained unchanged. This particular cap was manufactured toward the end of this period, as evidenced by its “saddle” form crown. It does, however, retain the older fiberboard visor. Available (but copies can be assembled from common pieces)