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Under the Red Star – Navy Caps

Caps of the Soviet Navy

Included here are caps worn by officers and personnel of the Soviet Navy during the Cold War. A thumbnail image accompanies each cap description. Clicking on that thumbnail will bring up a larger, higher resolution image.

Navy Chief Petty Officer Service

1940-1969

This 1954 dated cap is typical for naval caps of the period. It has the smaller, white piped crown with black ribbon band and small fiberboard visor. The black chinstrap and standard naval “anchor” buttons were worn by all ranks from Chief Petty Officer through Captain First Rank. The only difference between these ranks was in the cockade. This one carries the special Chief Petty Officer/Naval Senior Sergeant cockade, consisting of a gold wire embroidered anchor in an oval with an enamel white and red star. The next higher naval enlisted rank (Michman) wore the officer’s cockade, while more junior petty officers and seamen wore the simple red star. The special emblem was eliminated in the 1969 regulations. As with other naval visor caps of this period, this cap would have stood double duty as part of both winter service and parade uniforms. Scarce

Navy Captain 1st Rank

1950’s-1969

Although made in the 50’s, his cap is virtually identical in appearance to those worn by Captains 1st Rank (senior captain) of WWII. The same cap is worn for both service and parade wear. The cap has a black wool crown with white piping and a black band. The band is mostly covered by a tally ribbon – but without the lettering or the “tails” of the enlisted cap. All badges and buttons are in gold – reserved for line officers during this period. The gold cords, metal leaves on the visor and embroidered leaves surrounding the cockade mark it as a senior officer’s cap. Although the cap was manufactured in the 1950-1960s, the anchor on the front of the cockade is more modern. Anchor elements during this period had a separate wire “rope” rather than the later one piece casting shown here. Scarce

Navy Engineering Officer Service

1945-1969

This cap belonged to a “non-line” naval engineering or technical officer. Like other Navy officer caps of the period – it has a black napped wool crown piped in white, a band surrounded by a black silk ribbon, a rounded black fiberboard visor and a black oilcloth chinstrap. Shape is the standard “teller” form of the pre-1970 era. What sets this cap apart from its common “line” counterparts are its silver ornaments. A heavily oxidized silver wire wreath surrounds an old three-piece cockade also in silver finish. The strap buttons are silver as well, with standard embossed anchors. This metal-color distinction between line and non-line officers disappeared by regulation in 1975 – when all officers went to gold. Scarce

Navy Enlisted Service/Parade

1970-1991

The black winter “bezkozirka” is essentially a visorless visor cap, prompting its inclusion here. This traditional cap of not only the Russian/Soviet navy, but also of most other European navies, it served as both the service and parade (and combat) cap of Soviet seamen. The color and style of this cap have remained virtually unchanged since early Soviet years, although white piping was added after WWII and crown size has increased. The cap shown here has a Baltic Fleet tally and the star & wreath cockade introduced in 1970. A summer version of this cap also exists, all in white with a black band and tally. Note: certain fleet and school tallies are rarer than others and affect the cap’s availability and worth. Common (with this tally)

Navy Guards Enlisted Service/Parade

1970-1991

Identical in style to the previous “bezkozirka” – this 1983 dated cap differs only in its ribbon tally. Instead of the standard overall black, this one is in “Guards” colors, with alternating bands of black and orange. On the tally in gold lettering is “Black Sea Fleet” in Cyrillic. Only personnel assigned to ships or naval units designated as “Guards” within this fleet could wear this tally, representing their elite status. Available-Scarce

Navy Enlisted Service/Parade

1970-1991

The white summer/tropical “bezkozirka” is essentially a visorless visor cap, prompting its inclusion here. This traditional cap of not only the Russian/Soviet navy, but also of most other European navies, it served as both service and parade (and combat) cap of Soviet seamen. The color and style of this cap have remained virtually unchanged since early Soviet years, although crown size has increased over the years. The cap shown here has the generic Soviet Navy tally and the star & wreath cockade introduced in 1970. The white crown (or cover) is detachable for cleaning or replacement. A winter version of this cap also exists, with a black band and crown with white piping. Note: certain fleet and school tallies are rarer than others and affect the cap’s availability and worth. Common (with this tally)

Navy Admiral Parade

1970-1991

The black winter Admiral (or naval general) parade cap reflects traditional Soviet naval influences. This cap differs from a service version only in the additional of a parade cockade with expanded embroidery on the band. The band remains black cloth covered with a black ribbon while the crown is black piped in white. The older-style cockade consists of a 3-piece metal center surrounded by wire embroidery. Gold leaves and a wire ridge near the outside edge are embroidered on the patent leather visor. Normal admiral buttons and gold cords are attached. Standard general-officer interior includes a leather sweatband and silk lining. Available-Scarce

Navy Admiral Service

1970-1991

This version of the white summer Admiral (or naval general) service cap was manufactured from 1970 through 1991. The band is black cloth covered with a black ribbon while the white, replaceable cover is unpiped. Although the cap is dated 1973, the 2 piece senior officer’s cockade surrounded by wire embroidered leaves was probably added later in the 1980’s. The gold cockade indicates “line admirals” before 1975 and all admirals after that date. Gold leaves are embroidered on the visor, as is a wire ridge near the outside edge. Normal admiral buttons and gold cords are attached. Standard general-officer interior includes a leather sweatband and silk lining. Available-Scarce

Navy Officer Service

1975-1991

The cap that most epitomizes the Soviet naval officer. It remained virtually unchanged in appearance since WWII and is worn for both winter service and parade wear. This cap has a black crown with white piping and a black band. The band is mostly covered by a tally ribbon – but without the lettering or the “tails” of the enlisted cap. All badges and buttons are in gold – once reserved for line officers (technical and admin officers wore silver) – but standardized for all officers around 1975. The gold cords and lack of metal leaves on the visor indicates a junior officer wore this cap. The metal cockade could be either all metal or wire embroidery with a metal center and star (senior officers favored the embroidered version). Available

Navy Officer Service

1975-1991

The white, summer version of the above cap; again worn for both service and parade wear. The cap is made of white cotton without piping and a black band. The band is mostly covered by a tally-like ribbon – but without the lettering or the “tails” of the enlisted cap. The white summer version of this cap typically had a detachable cover (for cleaning) while the black winter version had a fixed crown. All badges and buttons are in gold – once reserved for line officers (technical and admin officers wore silver) – but standardized for all officers around 1975. The gold cords and lack of metal leaves on the visor indicates a junior officer wore this cap. The metal cockade could be either all metal or wire embroidery with a metal center and star (senior officers favored the embroidered version). Available

Navy Officer Field

1975-1991

Introduced around 1975, the Soviet Navy blue tropical field cap was unique in that the visor was detachable – attached with buttons. Both enlisted and officer personnel wore the same cap, differentiated usually only by the badge. The cap is made from blue cotton with white piping. The black chinstrap should be worn regardless of rank, although on rare occasions this rule was violated by substituting gold cords. Officers wore the normal metal or embroidered naval cockade; while enlisted wore either the small star or the star & wreath combination. Available

Navy Admiral Winter

1975-1991+

Probably the most luxurious hat worn in the Soviet military! Introduced in 1975, this style of hat is unique to the Soviet Navy. The hat resembles many other winter Russian fur/wool hats, but with a visor attached. The body of the insulated hat is covered in black lambs-wool, while the visor is made of patent leather embroidered with gold bullion. The black chinstrap is also made of patent leather. An admiral’s parade cockade is worn on the front flap. Although a variant of this hat exists for Captains First Rank (O-6), this particular hat is an admiral’s (or naval general’s) model, as determined by its admiral-grade buttons and cockade and its full lambs-wool top. This cap could be worn with either the winter service or parade uniform. It has remained in service with the Russian Navy since 1991. Scarce – Rare (for a complete cap)

Navy Captain 1st Rank Winter

1975-1991+

Introduced sometime after 1975 and before 1987 for wear only by Captains First Rank or naval colonels (O-6), this hat is a near copy of the admirals visored lambs-wool hat. As with the admiral’s hat, the body of the insulated cap is covered in black lambs-wool, while the visor and chinstrap are made of patent leather. However, the top of this hat is leather rather than lambs-wool, the visor has no embroidery, and the chinstrap buttons are normal naval anchor design, rather than admirals’. A naval senior officer’s embroidered cockade is worn on the front flap. Note: admiral buttons may sometimes be found on these hats, noting an expected promotion or an admiral’s personal preference for the leather-topped model. This cap could be worn with either the winter service or parade uniform. It has remained in service with the Russian Navy since 1991. Scarce