Russian Uniforms of WW1 I THE GREAT WAR Special

Russian Uniforms of WW1 I THE GREAT WAR Special

Some 15 million people served in the Tsar`s imperial Russian army in the First World War. And each one had to be outfitted, equipped and armed. No small feat for any nation. But particularly challenging for Russia. A relatively backward nation beset with resource shortages, poor infrastructure and a corrupt bureaucracy. But outfitted they were! And today I`m gonna look at the uniforms of the Russian army. I`m Indy Neidell. Welcome to a Great War special episode about Russian army uniforms in the First World War. No military, even to this day, has adopted one single uniform for all of it`s personnel. Russia, a hundred years ago, had distinctive dress for each branch of service, but also a wide variety within each branch, depending on things like rank, place of origin or job description. In fact, there was a dizzying array of uniforms in just the army. The infantry had more than one thousand distinct regimental units. And while their uniforms were not all strikingly different, they were all different. Some units also had height and hair color requirements. The cavalry also had loads of different units like the Don Cossacks, who had four hundred squadrons. And yes, their uniforms, though similar to one another, were distinct. There was also the field artillery, horse artillery, heavy artillery, howitzer divisions, mountain batteries, the pigeon station, courier corps, telegraph company, sappers, engineers, motor corps, machine gunners, pontoon battalions, railway battalions, disciplinary battalions and that`s not the whole list. They each had distinct uniforms. But in general, the frontovik, or fronline Russian soldier, wore a simple uniform, adopted in 1905 during the reform programs begun after Russia`s defeat in war with Japan On their heads the men wore a furazhka, a picked cap with a visor, made of khaki colored wool, linen or cotton. These were sometimes stiffened with wire or cardboard. The visor was painted green or black. The caps showed the black and orange imperial rosette and, maybe, a unit badge. Officer`s versions were better quality. Were often lined with silk or leather and had a chin strap. In winter the men wore the papakha – a tall grey or brown fleece cap with flaps of wool that could fold down over the ears and neck. When it got really cold, these were wrapped in the cone-shaped bashlyk cap; model 1881 Helmets were issued in limited numbers The French 1915 Adrian helmet was issued to elite troops and officers in 1916. It was khaki brown and stamped with a Romanov double eagle. Rarer was the Russian Model 1917 Sohlberg helmet, not produced in large quantities. There were several types of blouse produced. The 1912 version of the Gymnastyorka was the most common. The officers wore tailored versions and the enlisted men`s version was far from standard. The color was generally greenish khaki, but because of several factors, including the origin of the dye, there were many different shades. Some were greenish brown, others even white. These had shoulder boards which varied in color from unit to unit; and with different markings according to rank. The blouses were belted and worn over khaki pants of cotton or wool. These were loose at the hips and thighs and tight at the knees, and tucked into what was most likely a Russian infantryman`s most prized possession after his rifle, if he had one. His high top black leather boots called sapogi. The tough knee-length 1908 model boots were seamed at the back of the calf, had an iron horseshoe heel and hobnailed soles. They were so desirable, that even German soldiers were known to replace their own boots with the Russian ones if they could get their hands on a pair. Later in the war, though, when the was a shortage of leather and everything else they were replaced by ankle boots and puttees. The Russians did not wear socks. They wrapped strips of cloth around their feet which was cheaper and, from what I could find out, more comfortable, if done properly. As to the Russian field gear, it was worn on, over, or attached to the Gymnastyorka. In winter it went over the greatcoat or shinel a large, heavy brown or greyish overcoat you`ve probably seen in a million movies and photos. They could be both single- and double-breasted and could have buttons or hooks to close them. Officers wore a similar version; not as roughly cut; that was lined with fleece or fur and had a big chest flap, that could be buttoned up. The buttons were of different designs and different materials. The belts worn over these blouses and greatcoats were leather, either black or brown, and had a rectangular brass buckle stamped with a double eagle or some other emblem. On either side of the buckle was a brown leather ammunition pouch; the 1893 model each one holding 30 rounds. The men carried a variety of other gear in addition to ammunition. Canteens were made of aluminum, copper, glass or wood and were slung over the left shoulder and secured at the hip. On the right hip was a shovel that doubled as a frying pan, perhaps also an axe and one of several types of wire cutters. Men carried a bread bag, a mess kit and a gas mask. Gas masks were of several types actually. But probably the most effective was the Zelinksky model, which used charcoal filtering that was originally designed for purifying vodka. The bashlyk, that cone-shaped winter headgear, was carried crisscrossed over the chest with the ends tucked into the belt. Some men also carried ammunition bandoliers or rolled up bedding. Now, you rarely saw a bayonet scabbard, though, since the model 1891 bayonet was to be always attached to the rifle. Again, these were the general uniform details. there were well over a thousand variations, as I said before See, you get a bewildering variety of uniforms in just the army let alone the air service, the navy and the administrative units behind the lines. Russian soldiers endured conditions that were at least as bad as those on the Western Front, if not far worse. Scorching hot summers, brutally cold winters, mountain peaks, filthy trenches, swamps, deserts, you name it. The men of the Russian Imperial army fought everywhere, died by the millions and were indeed a mighty force with which to be reckoned. Today was a brief look at what they wore. We will include some source materials in the comments, if you want to look up more. We would like to thank Lawren W. Mitchell for the research for this episode. If you want to learn more about British uniforms from World War I you can check out our special about that right here! There are some great books on World War I military equipment. You can buy these in our Amazon store where we get a percentage of the checkout price. Don`t forget to subscribe. See you next time!

100 Replies to “Russian Uniforms of WW1 I THE GREAT WAR Special”

  1. I am half Russian half Hungarian, because my great-grandfather on my father's side was Russian. He fought in the great war and injured and became a P.O.W in Hungary.
    He worked in a manor, where he met her Hungarian wife, later he settled down and found a family. I know that he was a gentleman's tailor, but I don't know that in Russia or in Hungary…

  2. At 4:49 the man standing on the right of the group is an Austro-Hungarian officer, an Oberleutnant. Perhaps captured.

  3. Ive noticed how Indy generally pronouces the words from other languages correctly be it Russian or Chinese. Good attention to detail!

  4. Considering how much of a meatgrinder this war was, Was there any soldier who survived from 1914 to 1918?

  5. And don't forget that the Terek and Kuban cossacks wore Caucasian traditional garments called Cherkeska.

  6. Imagine if World War 1 was a fashion competition instead of a 4 year slaughter. Germany or England probably would've won if that was the case. The English always know how to look spiffy while going into war. I never really did understand why collars were ever worn by soldiers. I'd think it be easy to grab someone by and just beat the fashion sense out of them. Same with long hair really.

  7. 15million soldiers and you still couldn't push west into Germany. Man that makes the Soviet Union sound like an upgrade!

  8. peace of clothes, instead of socks, are called "portyanki", and Russian army, fleet and air forces used them until 2000's, when they were replaced by socks.

  9. I like the uniforms in WWI. Doesn't matter if it's for the Entente or Central Powers, the style is interesting and it has a sense of pride in it for each country. Would like to see it nowadays.

  10. The website La Legion Russe has a section on uniforms that includes a graphic showing how to wrap the foot cloths. Check it!

  11. The Russian military fiercely resisted the abolition of footcloths and the introduction of socks into the army. Therefore, replacing footcloths on socks in the Russian Army finally succeeded only in 2017th year. The era that had begun in the times of Ivan the Terrible ended.

  12. Fun fact. The Pavlovsky Grenadiers were exempted from wearing the peaked cap. They wore the tall mitre caps from the Napoleonic era. Tsar Alexander I acknowledged their bravery in the Napoleonic wars by keeping their bullet riddled caps.

  13. Why it is shown mostly captured Russian soldiers ?English bitchy propaganda.2 :42 Yes if they had any boots.Narrator can you decide , wheter the Russsian Army was outfitted or not?

  14. A video full of ignorance , scorn, and lies . English made , as usually. Charcoal filtering was not made for vodka , you english dog 5;42

  15. Hi, fyi Canada did issue the same work dress uniform to all soldiers, army,navy, air foce in the 1968. It was hatted with a passion (navy with green uniforms!). The only thing that varied was an ascot tie that varied from regiment or units. In the 80s, I was a navy cadet and we still had these old uniforms, with some variations between land,air,navy. The uniforms were split again in 1980. They look similar in cut, but the colors vary between army, navy and air force.

  16. The reason for wearing cloth on your feet instead of socks is due to the boots they were wearing. Wearing socks with jackboots, especially if they are slightly loose, can easily wear the sock and cause it to tear. With cloth, this problem is avoided.

  17. My father remembers his mother's father destroying his old green uniform before the Reds arrived at his farm. That was around 1942 when the Reds came to search the properties for anything of value and traitors to the regime. He gave them a lot of alcohol and they passed on their way.

  18. i’m sorry, but your accent is so cringe. i get that it’s hard for americans to pronounce some of our words, but you’re trying a bit too hard.

  19. Discplinary Battalions? Was that the Imperial Russian equivalent of the US military police or the Imperial German (and later 3rd Reich) equivalent of the Gendarmerie?

  20. Did they ever wear helmets, I heard late in the war they decided to wear French helmets at the last moment.

  21. How about asking the first slavic man you know about what are you want to say? Furazhka, gimnastiorka, shinel… You are just have no idea what you are talking about and thus why you are refering a totally bullshit. Furazhka is not what you are showing in fhe film, the gimniastorka has killded me from laughthing, because the gimnastiorka ist not a uniform, it is a underwear, just a T-shirt, shinel is not what you are showing in the film, sopogi are also not what we see in the film, absolutely not. Even the statment that the bayonets were always on the rifle is of course not true. How could they be? Just think a little. It doesent hurt.

  22. 15 million served! Man the tactics and strategy must have been bad if Russia had that many soldiers.

  23. The world's first gas mask was coined by Nikolai Dmitrievich Zelinsky in 1915. About the fact that it was made for the purification of vodka is a box and Western propaganda. In Russia, 70% of the population do not drink alcohol at all, even on holidays.

  24. An interesting issue, but very,very brief. I hope there will be a continuation.
    You told about bashlyk, but never showed him.
    Best wishes!

  25. Russia: has poor infrastructure and resource shortage
    Also Russia: "let's have a bazillion different uniform patterns"

  26. Слышь суслик,из всего сказанного и написанного я понял только спонсировать…. Это ты по русски написал.

  27. My grand father belong to Smolensk infantry regiment.
    Interesting..what kind of uniform they had..?

  28. fun fact about those footclothes (called portyanka in russian): my dad, who fought during First Chechen War in 1995 also used those. This was a part of an equipment of Russian solider until late 2000th. I served in Russian navy in 2015-2016 and we had socks, but my dad says that footclothes are much better, cuz if you wet your foot you can wrap it upside-down and have a nice dry foot again,which can't be done with socks. Other fun fact, when he was heading home he wore socks for the first time in 2 years and his foots were absolutely destroyed, so he had return to portyankas.


  30. What was the name of those canvas like bags they would wear like a ring over the one shoulder and around under the other arm?

  31. я плохо знаю английский.
    но что хочу сказать: материал не враждебный, где-то даже очень объективный. не без глупостей, конечно. но они простительны западному человеку. автор рассказал о фуражках, папахах, башлыках, шинелях, гимнастерках, сапогах….
    видимо автор в своих исторических исследованиях не дошёл ещё до одного элемента экипировки российской армии. может побрезговал? а зря….
    этот элемент обмундирование русских армий является одним из самых значительных факторов стойкости, незгибаемости, и в конечном итоге высокой боеготовности русских войск на протяжении нескольких веков.
    этот элемент обмундирование называется " РОRTJANKA".

  32. Infantry mods nagaunt bayonets were permanently mounted and the sides took into account the bayonet! Whereas cavalry carbines and mounted infantry rifles had detachable bayonets and had normal sites

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