Article The cold war - Soviet Army

Иван Феоктистов

Mi Major General
MI.Net Member
Jan 27, 2021
Приветствую, товарищи.

Soviet Army in the Cold War. A detailed story dedicated to the day of the Soviet army.

Of course, I am still a newcomer to your forum, but I have already managed to be noted in some discussions - about the Red Army in World War II, the war in Afghanistan, the Cold War, and so on. I spoke in detail about the biography of the Soviet general and Hero of the Soviet Union Vladimir Karpovich Pikalov. At the request of my foreign colleagues, I am starting this topic.

Briefly about yourself. I am a student of history, my main area of interest is my homeland in the 20th century. And I am especially interested in the themes of the history of our legendary Army and Civil Defense. I will say right away - I understand absolutely nothing in aviation and the navy, I am a little weak in small arms (of course, I know the main types of weapons in the Soviet army, but nothing more).

I plan to tell you about the Soviet army after the Great Patriotic War. Her history, her traditions. I'll tell you about the uniform of our soldiers, their equipment and interesting facts. I will tell you about the sacred and honorable duty of every citizen of the USSR, about soldier's romance and soldier's humor. In the process of narrating, I plan to attach a lot of photos, films (from the NShGO archive) and musical interruptions in the form of the Alexandrov Red Banner Song and Dance Ensemble.

Well, do you like it? Then join the discussion and call your friends. Feel free to ask questions - I will try to answer everything. The more people there will be, the more motivation there will be to write further. ;-)

Let the song "Enduring and Legendary", performed in 1943, begin my story. For more than 70 years, this wonderful song has opened every performance of the Alexandrov ensemble.

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So, on May 9, 1945 one of the most terrible wars in the history of mankind ended. The Soviet Union, having lost 27 million people in the cruel war against the fascist aggressors (most of whom were civilians who fell victims of the Hitlerite genocide) and more than a third of all national wealth, hoisted the red banner over Berlin. Soviet and American soldiers rejoiced at the end of the war in fraternal embrace.

Soviet soldiers broke the back of the strongest army in the world, and fought from the Volga to the Spree. Four brutal years of war gave the army the most valuable experience, trained many valuable officers of the junior and senior command echelons, new specialists. The latest developments of the Reich were at the disposal of the Soviet command, which were immediately put into circulation. However, this was precisely what frightened the leaders of Western countries. No sooner had the soldiers of the two fronts on the Elbe and in conquered Berlin exchanged pleasantries, than the plan of Operation Unthinkable was already ready in London. The world was rapidly heading towards a new, cold war.

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A 1945 US soldier's instruction for communicating with a Red Army soldier.

It is immediately written in English, so I think it will be much easier for you to familiarize yourself with it. Unfortunately, I could not find the full version of this brochure on the Russian-language Internet, so if anyone finds it, be sure to share it.

Soviet soldiers celebrated Victory Day in 1943 model "gimnasterka". In the winter of 1943, the Red Army changed insignia and, as a result, uniforms. Instead of old uniforms of the 1935 model and buttonholes, shoulder straps and uniforms with a standing collar came. "Gymnasterka" - a special type of uniform, first of the tsarist, and after the Red and Soviet army. I think it will be clearer for you if I call it a blouse. I think you can see its characteristic feature in the photos that I will attach below. During the war years, serious metamorphoses took place with equipment. The place of expensive knapsacks was firmly taken by canvas "duffel bags"; instead of unloading systems, the soldiers were content with only a belt with pouches. However, one should not think that asceticism is degradation. Many controversial decisions of the pre-war period were replaced - for example, the Budennovka and the "khankilgolka" helmet completely disappeared from the army; they were replaced by more advanced hats ("ushanka") and steel helmets of the 40th model. I will also attach a link where there are interactive samples of 1941 and 1945 fighters.

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On June 24, 1945, the main parade in our history, the Victory Parade, took place on Red Square in Moscow. I suggest you watch his tape. I am sure you will be very interested. The event was hosted by Marshal Georgy Zhukov, commanded by Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky. The Victory Banner erected over the Reichstag was delivered from Berlin especially for the parade, but it was never carried out. At the event, a ceremony was held to defeat the enemy banners and standards, after the parade they were sent to the Central Museum of the Armed Forces.

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In connection with the victorious end of the Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany, the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics considers it necessary to demobilize the older ages of the active army personnel. In accordance with this, the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics decides:
1. To approve the proposal of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR on the demobilization of the first stage - the thirteen senior age personnel of the active army.
2. The demobilization of the thirteen senior age personnel of the active army specified in clause I of this Law shall be completed in the second half of 1945.
3. Transportation of the demobilized is carried out at the expense of the state to their place of residence.
4. Provide demobilized with food on the way at the expense of the state.
5. Provide the demobilized with a full set of uniforms and shoes.
6. To issue to the demobilized a lump sum reward for each year of service in the army during the Great Patriotic War in the following amounts:
a) rank-and-file personnel of all branches of the armed forces and services who receive salaries at the combined-arms tariff - an annual salary for each year of service;
b) for the rank and file of special units and subdivisions, receiving an increased salary - a six-month salary for each year of service;
c) non-commissioned officers of all branches of the armed forces - a six-month salary at official rates up to 900 rubles and not less than 300 rubles for each year of service;
d) the officers who served during the Great Patriotic War:
one year - two months salary,
two years - three months' salary,
three years - four months' salary,
four years - five months' salary.
7. To oblige the Soviets of People's Commissars of the Union and Autonomous Republics, the executive committees of the territorial and regional Soviets of Working People's Deputies, the heads of enterprises, institutions and organizations in urban areas to provide work for the demobilized no later than one month from the day they arrive at their place of residence, taking into account the experience they have acquired and specialties in the Red Army, but not lower than the work they performed before they left for the army, and also provide the demobilized with living space and fuel.
8. To oblige the executive committees of the district and village Soviets of Working People's Deputies and the management of collective farms to provide all-round assistance to the peasants who have been demobilized from the army returning to the countryside in the matter of finding jobs and setting up an economy.
9. To oblige the Soviets of People's Commissars of the Union and Autonomous Republics, the executive committees of the territorial and regional Soviets of Working People's Deputies in the areas affected by the German occupation, to withdraw free of charge demobilized from the Red Army in need of construction or repair of dwellings, the logging fund for logging construction timber.
10. To oblige the All-Union Bank for Financing Utilities and Housing Construction (Tsekombank) in areas affected by the German occupation to issue loans to demobilized people in need for the construction and restoration of residential buildings in the amount of 5 to 10 thousand rubles with a loan maturity of 5 to 10 years.

Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR M. Kalinin Secretary of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR A. Gorkin Moscow Kremlin June 23, 1945 - The law on the demobilization of older ages of personnel of the active army, approved by the XII session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, June 23, 1945

In accordance with the adopted Law of the USSR, dated June 23, 1945, on the demobilization of the army, aviation and navy, there was a consecutive transfer of the USSR Armed Forces to peacetime states. Demobilization in the USSR began on July 5, 1945 and ended in 1948, the Armed Forces of the USSR were reduced from more than 11,000,000 to less than 3,000,000 personnel, the State Defense Committee (GKO), the Supreme Command Headquarters (SVGK) and almost all fronts (except Far Eastern and Zabaikalsky). The number of military districts in 1945-1946 decreased from 33 units to 21. The number of personnel, weapons and equipment of the troops stationed in East Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Romania significantly decreased. In September 1945, Soviet troops were withdrawn from Northern Norway, in November - from Czechoslovakia, in April 1946 - from the island of Bornholm (Denmark), in December 1947 - from Bulgaria.

The demobilization of the defense industry was carried out. The people's commissariats (People's Commissariat) of the military industry were redesigned. On the basis of the commissariats of the tank industry and ammunition, the commissariats of transport and agricultural engineering were created. The People's Commissariat for Medium Machine Building was transformed into the People's Commissariat for the Automotive Industry, and the People's Commissariat for mortar weapons was transformed into the People's Commissariat for Mechanical Engineering and Instrumentation. Demobilization included the definition of new proportions between industries, the redistribution of labor and personnel employed in production, a change in the structure of financing production. The demobilization of industry in the USSR was carried out in record time - 1.5 years after the end of the war.
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In February 1946, the RKKA (Workers 'and Peasants' Red Army -Raboche-Krest'yanskaya Krasnaya armiya) was officially renamed into the "Soviet Army" (Sovetskaya armiya). In February-March 1946, the People's Commissariats of Defense and the Navy merged into the Ministry of the Armed Forces of the USSR. In March 1946, Marshal G.K. Zhukov was appointed commander of the Ground Forces, but in July he was replaced by Marshal I.S.Konev. From 1949 until Stalin's death, the Minister of Defense of the USSR was twice Hero of the Soviet Union, Marshal Alexander Vasilevsky. You can read about the biography of this wonderful man yourself, or wait until I write about him in the section on World War II.

In 1945-1946, in connection with the end of the war, the production of weapons was sharply reduced. Except for small arms, the annual production of artillery decreased the most (by about 100 thousand guns and mortars, that is, tenfold)

Маршал Василевский
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Okay. For the first jerk, it seems not even bad. I'll continue tomorrow morning, stay tuned for more.

"Eh, roads, dust and fog." The brilliant Russian singer (tenor) Georgy Vinogradov and the Alexandrov Choir and Ensemble of the Soviet Army are singing. Concert in Germany, liberated from fascism on August 9, 1948. A rare documentary chronicle with synchronous sound. To date, it is practically the only video on the Internet where you can see a live performance of a song by the genius Russian singer Georgy Vinogradov.

Pay attention to the number of military awards given to the choir singers. After the war, many front-line soldiers returned to the Ensemble and continued their musical careers. Stills from the documentary "Performance of the Red Banner Ensemble of the Soviet Army in Berlin". 1948

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On March 5, 1946, Churchill delivered his famous speech at Fulton. The Cold War began.

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This speech received a wide response in the USSR. Ordinary inhabitants of the Soviet country were hard on the idea that the recent allies now declare the USSR their enemy. It is not surprising that such an agenda received a wide response in Soviet art of the 1940s. One of the most iconic paintings of this period was "Meeting on the Elbe" - in general, an anti-war picture, posing a clear thesis - "Could people of the whole world live like brothers? They could, if they were not disturbed." I propose to introduce the heading "What to see" ... Of course, it will be difficult to search for Soviet films with subtitles, but I will try to resolve this issue.

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Well, the war was over. A tremendous work began on processing all the experience gained. Indeed, the volume of work in all areas at once is simply amazing. Already in 1946, the first own jet aircraft, the Mig-9, appeared in the USSR. Work is underway to master and improve the V-2 missiles. The talented Soviet scientist Korolev, who later sent Yuri Gagarin into space, is actively involved in this work.

Immediately after the capitulation of Germany, the Mittelwerk plant, located in the mountains of Thuringia, where the V-2 was built, was under the control of the Allied troops. The Americans removed about 100 tons of trophy cargo (missiles, engines, spare parts). Chief designer Wernher von Braun with a group of leading employees voluntarily surrendered to the American side. German missilemen were stationed in the American occupation zone and received an offer to work in the United States. Two months later, in accordance with international agreements, Thuringia came under the control of the USSR. The Soviet Union got production without technical documentation, individual parts of missiles without drawings and calculations. Some of the documentation and scattered parts of the missiles were later found in various places in the occupied territory. On their own initiative, the seconded specialists set up the Rabe Institute in Bleicherod, which collected and studied missile developments.
Modernization and reduction of tank forces began. The T-34/85 tanks produced during the war years are being significantly modernized and improved, the T-34/76 tanks are beginning to be massively withdrawn from the troops. Later, most of the T-34/76 will be used as targets at the Semipalatinsk test site when testing Soviet atomic weapons. KV tanks disappear from the army, production of SU-76s stops, which are sent for storage. The mass disposal of many tanks began - steel was needed for the country that had survived a terrible war. However, unfortunately, local disposal was often carried out very thoughtlessly, which is why many samples of tank equipment were lost or became rare.


After the war, production of the newest tanks, the IS-3 and T-44, began. These cars are rightfully considered one of the symbols of the initial period of the Cold War. Powerful, graceful, they have absorbed all the experience of tank battles of the Second World War.

The IS-3 was put into operation in the parade of the winning countries in Berlin. You can find recordings of this parade, I'm sure. An indescribable sight - they say that when dozens of new cars appeared at the beginning of the street, shining with protective green paint, the earth began to literally tremble. The "pike" nose, thick armor at rational angles, and a powerful weapon (122 mm) made this tank almost invulnerable to contemporaries.


The T-44 became the ideological successor of the T-34-85. The gunner-radio operator was removed from it, the engine, unlike the T-34, was placed across the hull, which made it possible to move the turret and reduce the dimensions of the vehicle. I do not know about you, but I find the T-44 one of the most beautiful domestic tanks. (A small fact. When, by the mid-60s, the German tanks used in the USSR were worn out, the creation of mock-ups of German tanks based on the T-34 and T-44 began. Sometimes it turned out beautifully, sometimes not. For example, created on the basis of the T-34 " The tiger were very well shown in our epic "Liberation". One of these cars starred in the film Saving Private Ryan". And if in Soviet films there were good actors and a good plot, which made it possible to ignore such machines, then in modern cinema (often hack and made only for money) this is very striking. Like this)

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Serious work has begun to replace the weapons of ordinary soldiers, infantry ("pekhota"). During the war years, a lot of wonderful weapons appeared - for example, Sudaev and Shpagin submachine guns (PPS and PPSh), carbines of the 1944 model, the first Soviet machine guns chambered for an intermediate cartridge. However, progress did not stand still. And in 1947, HE appeared in the Soviet army.

7.62 mm Kalashnikov assault rifle (AK). For some reason, abroad it is mistakenly called AK-47, although in the USSR this name was never used. I am attaching a photo of the instruction (Personally, I have not yet come across numbers in the name of the machine... If you do find it, share it). The troops immediately fell in love with the new weapon. Simple, reliable, in operation and handling it was much better than PPSh. Together with the AK, the famous canvas magazine pouch for shops appeared in the army, which has been supplying our glorious army for over 70 years. No kidding, along with modern body armor and tactical helmets, this irreplaceable thing still finds a place in Syria.


Machine guns began to be replaced. Instead of the DP-27 that had gone through the whole war, RPD (Degtyarev light machine gun) and RP-46 (Rotary machine gun, model 1946) began to appear en masse. In 1949, the famous Simonov self-loading carbine (SKS) appeared, and with SKS, the pouches that remained in warehouses from the Mosin rifle were often used. In 1951, the famous Makarov pistol began to be produced...
The RPG-2 was developed - the father of the future RPG-7

The newest cumulative anti-tank grenades appeared, the old RG-42 and RPG grenades gradually went out of circulation. And after all this (by the word all I mean old Soviet weapons), in the most interesting way, appeared on the fronts of the civil war in China and the war in Korea :0

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Since the beginning of the 1950s, the mass introduction of the latest technology into the army - armored personnel carriers - began in the USSR. During the War, the Red Army used either the American "Scouts" supplied under Lend-Lease, or captured German "Hanomag". The first Soviet armored personnel carriers were the BTR-40 and BTR-152. In their own way, legendary cars that have become an integral image of the Soviet army of the 1950s. From the Soviet armored personnel carriers (up to the BTR-60) it was possible to get out through the roof. The moment when the soldiers jump to the ground, captured in many photographs, has truly become legendary.

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In 1950, Soviet fighters for the first time since the pre-war era received an unloading system. The new conditions of war forced the soldier to carry a lot of equipment and be as mobile as possible, act in equipment and be able to quickly leave it. And the old belt was missing here ... The 1950 model unloading system with minor changes was produced before the collapse of the USSR, it was actively used in Afghanistan and Chechnya. This system is still used by the servicemen of the Russian army. Personally, I have a wealth of experience wearing such a system - I went in it on more than one trip. And for its time and its tasks, this thing turned out to be literally brilliant - can you think that a few canvas straps for three kopecks are so capable of making life easier for a soldier? In 1949, the soldier's uniforms were improved - trousers and tunics received fabric overlays on the sleeves and knees (according to the experience of the war, they were erased very quickly). In 1954, Soviet privates and sergeants received new tunics with pockets on the chest (the 1943 model did not have them). In this uniform, Soviet soldiers will pass the next 15 years - the famous closed tunic will appear only in 1969. Soviet officers had uniforms similar to soldiers - the same tunic, only made of wool. In 1956, Soviet soldiers received a new ceremonial uniform, which I will talk about later.

Now... Who wants photos of Soviet soldiers from the 50-60s?)

Twice Red Banner Song and Dance Ensemble of the Soviet Army. A.V. Alexandrova sings "Song of Young Soldiers". Music - P. Akulenko, lyrics - Y. Shvedova Soloists - Georgy Babaev and Vsevolod Puchkov Conductor - Boris Alexandrov

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Soviet soldier (it seems, sergeant - shoulder straps are not visible) from the Air Force. The soldier is wearing a special gas mask MM-1 (for vehicle crews, radio operators and telephone operators). In general, what I have always disliked in English was the difficulty of conveying information about Soviet gas masks. Okay, I'll try again - look. In Soviet terminology, a gas mask ("protivogaz") consists of a mask ("maska"), a filter-absorbing box and a bag (at least). Depending on the kit, it may include a corrugated extension tube ("gofra"). Separately, a rubber mask cannot be called a gas mask, a gas mask is always a set. (Live with this information !! 1! - infernal Soviet laughter, the anthem of the Bolshevik Party plays in the background)

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A Soviet Marine Corps unit changes the gun's firing position. The 76.2 mm ZIS-3 guns passed World War II with flying colors and remained in service with the Soviet army for a long time. With the proper skill, the soldiers could transport this weapon in a variety of conditions - up to sheer cliffs.

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By the way, in many photographs of the war and post-war period you can see some "skatka" on the soldiers. This is a soldier's overcoat rolled into a roll, just a wonderful thing. Soviet overcoats (unlike the German ones, which they regretted near Moscow and in Stalingrad) were made of thick felt. Due to my studies, I had to repeatedly go out to the field in an overcoat - in winter you can easily lie in it in the snow. Human warmth melts the snow, but the overcoat does not get wet - it is simply covered with a crust of ice. In summer, you can protect yourself from the rain in it, at night - wrap yourself up like a blanket. A special belt was needed to roll the overcoat. I will attach a video on rolling a greatcoat to the post.

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Two Soviet officers on a city street. Note the elegance of the "gimasterka" and breeches. The officers wore boots made of pure leather or "chrome" boots, each officer had a wide leather belt and a harness that was threaded under the right shoulder strap. The officer had a service pistol, a leather tablet with maps and documentation; before going out, he could receive a gas mask and a protective kit.

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