Uncategorized

Under the Red Star – MGB/KGB Caps

Caps of the Soviet MGB/KGB

Included here are caps worn by officers and men of the uniformed elements of the MGB and KGB. The most visible of these troops were those that provided security for the Kremlin and guarded Lenin’s tomb. However, other uniformed units existed to provide security, intelligence and communications support to the party and state leadership.A thumbnail image accompanies each cap description. Clicking on that thumbnail will bring up a larger, higher resolution image.

MGB/KGB Enlisted Parade

1954-1969

This cap reflects those manufactured immediately after square visors fell out of use. Produced in 1957, it retains a teller shape and a one-piece WWII era red star badge. It has a black oilcloth chinstrap, a rounded-edge fiberboard visor and standard Army buttons. The traditional Soviet State Security dark blue was used for cap band and piping color. Rare

KGB Officer Parade

1955-1958

The KGB also followed the 1955 “Zhukov” uniform regulation changes and adopted a medium gray (steel) parade uniform. Matching caps had gray crowns and gold cords while new emblems were added in the form of the M55 parade cockade and metal visor leaves. Cap band color and piping was traditional state security dark (royal) blue. Rare

KGB Officer Service

1955-1969

Part of the KGB officer’s service uniform worn from 1955 to 1969, this cap is typical of Soviet uniforms before the 1970 “modernization”. It has a teller shaped khaki crown (with wire removed to give it that “experienced” look), black oilcloth chinstrap and rounded fiberboard visor. The cockade is the first version officers’ oval standardized in 1955. Traditional Soviet State Security dark blue was used for cap band and piping color. Rare

KGB Enlisted Parade

1970-1991

Introduced by the 1970 uniform regulations, this cap served double duty as both parade and service cap for enlisted personnel through 1991 (although the visorless pilotka was usually worn as the service cap). Since the wave-green parade uniform was reserved for officers, the M70 enlisted parade uniform was in khaki; and indeed, was merely a “badged-up” M70 service uniform. The cap was identical to KGB officers’ service caps, except for the use of a black chinstrap and the star & wreath cockade also introduced in 1970. This is an early model of this period, with a very small fiberboard visor. Available

KGB Officer Parade

1970-1991

Along with the Army and MVD, uniformed elements of the KGB adopted the new wave green officer parade uniform in 1970. This uniform mirrored that of the Army, except for branch color. The traditional State Security color of dark blue was retained and used on both cap band and piping. All other elements of this cap were the same as for the Army; black fiberboard or plastic visor, gold cords, parade cockade, and standard brass Army buttons. Available

KGB Officer Service

1970-1991

Just as KGB parade uniforms of this period mirrored those of the Army and MVD, so too did KGB service uniforms. As in the Army, the basic uniform and cap crown color were khaki. In the case of the uniformed KGB, however, dark blue was used for the cap band and piping. In all other aspects, this cap replicated that of the Army. It has a “saddle” form crown with a black plastic visor, brass Army style buttons, standard oval officer’s cockade and gold cords. Available

KGB General Parade-Walking Out

1970-1980

Like their Army counterparts, KGB generals were authorized a special light gray parade walking-out summer uniform in 1954. A matching gray cap was worn with this uniform until 1980, when the normal wave-green parade cap replaced it. This particular example is a later version cap identical in design to the post-1980 KGB general’s service cap. The cap has gilt wire leaves embroidered on the band surrounding a general’s all gilt cockade (as introduced in 1970), a patent leather visor, gold cords, and general officer buttons. Of note, the embroidery around the cockade is the rarer “expanded” type, with seven leaves on each side of the cockade, vice the normal four. Inside, it has a leather sweatband and silk lining. Although Army and Air Force versions of this cap are easily available, KGB and MVD versions are rare and seldom seen. Rare

KGB General Parade

1970-1991

Another of the most beautiful Soviet parade caps! Similar to Army general’s parade caps except in its royal blue banding and piping, this cap has appropriate parade-style gilt wire leaves embroidered on the band surrounding a general’s all gilt cockade, a patent leather visor and natural color leather chinstrap with gold wire embroidery, and general officer buttons. Inside, it has a leather sweatband and silk lining. Although this cap was rarely (if ever!) seen in actual service, this cap is surprisingly available to collectors (just like the Border Guard generals’ caps discussed later). Clearly most of these caps, although “original”, were never issued and reflect dealers buying up excess caps from former Soviet uniform warehouses or Russian/Ukrainian uniform shops continuing to manufacture them solely for sale to collectors. Available

KGB General Service

1980-1991

Just as KGB lower officers’ uniforms mirrored those of the Army, this KGB general’s service cap is identical to that of an Army general’s, with the exception of band and piping color in royal blue. The cap has the appropriate gilt wire leaves embroidered on the band surrounding a general’s all gilt cockade. This band ornamentation was introduced on generals’ service caps in 1980. It also has a patent leather visor, gold cords, and general officer buttons. Inside, it has a leather sweatband and silk lining. Although theoretically a “lesser” cap, the KGB general’s service cap is rarer than its parade version. Scarce