This is mainly a guide for lower-ranks and so officer uniforms won’t be gone into detail. Eg ‘French’ officer uniforms won’t be mentioned.


The gymnasterka was the standard tunic of the Red Army. There were 2-versions, the M35 and M43.

The M35 was introduced in 1935 at the same time as the M35 collartab ranking system. The M35 Tunic had a fold-down collar and 2 chest pockets for all ranks. Officer’s tunics had branch piping on the cuffs and collar.

The M43 was introduced in early 1943 at the same time as the M43 shoulderboard ranking system which replaced the M40 ranking system. EM tunics did not have chest pockets in order to save material. The only exception was for female personnel issued the male M43 tunic. Officers tunic had chest pockets and some but not all had branch-piping.

Both variants of the gymnasterka were made in cotton for the summer and wool for the winter, but supply logistics and lack of wool meant this was often not the case and many soldiers wore cotton throughout the year.

During the transition period of early 1943, it is common to see M43 shoulderboards sewn onto M35 tunics before soldiers received the M43 tunic due to logistical problems.

The best place to get the gymnasterka is from Schusters.ru (they do custom sizing) or from voin.zp.ua.

Harovari (Breeches)

All EM and most officers wore the harovari, also known as breeches, aka horse-riding pants. The cut was loose around the thigh to allow freedom of movement and tight around the calf to allow easy insertion into the jack-boot. It had 2 deep slash pockets, a small pocket next to the left pocket for the death note and most variants had a rear right pocket.

Officer versions did not have waist belt loops but instead had buttons for suspenders, and instead of end ties, had straps held with buttons. Also officer versions did not have knee-pads.

Original early-post war ones are the best but are rather expensive. Also note that you need the arrow-head shaped and not 90 degree tip kneepad as those are post-war.

The best place to get the harovari is from Schusters.ru (they do custom sizing) or from voin.zp.ua

Shinel Greatcoat

The Shinel (greatcoat) was the standard winter clothing for soldiers of the RKKA. 2 variants were made, the M35 and M41. they were closed by hook and eyes instead of buttons. The M35 had a decorative curved cuff reinforcement which was omitted in the M41. Buttons on the chest are only for officers. It had 2 side pockets, and on the M35, a hidden pouch in the left cuff for carrying a field dressing.

The Brezhnev shinel was a post-war shinel which is abundantly cheap in the surplus market. It was similar to the M35&41 and requires minimal conversion to a M41. However, the collar cut and material is slightly different but not visible from a distance and is the most common seen worn at events. However, for better accuracy, one should obtain a reproduction greatcoat if the budget allows. Best reproductions are from Ziegfried in St Petersburg (obtainable through Cyrill Mekhanitchev) or from Schusters.

Telogreika Vatnik

The telogreika vatnik is a padded jacket that was warmer than the shinel and was also close-fitting, reducing chances of getting snagged on branches or debris. Originally designed to be worn only under the shinel (it didn’t look smart), it soon proved to be so practical that they were allowed to be worn on their own. The original design was centuries old worn by peasantry, and was adopted in 1932 for the military under the designation telogreika vatnik M32 to be worn under the shinel. it proved to be very practical during the Winter War and so was altered to have a fold-down collar as the M41 so it could be worn without the shinel while still keeping a professional appearance. But the outbreak of war meant excess material for uniforms had to be removed and factories reverted to making the M32. The M32 was produced well into the 70s and are plentiful. The M41 however, due to its limited production lifespan, are extremely rare. The M41 was only worn from 1941-42 and is not recommended to purchase due to it’s limited time of use and that the m32 was also used during that time period. Differences between the M35 and M41 include:

M32: rear-half belt M41: belt loops on sides

M32: collarless M42:fold-down collar same of M35 Gymnasterka

M32 of post-war origin can be easily purchased anywhere such as ebay, or Cyrill Mekhanitchev, and requires only changing buttons to make it look wartime.

M41 can be made by schusters.ru

Telogreika Harovari M32

The M32 telogreika harovari was basically padded trousers using the same material as the telogreika vatnik, and worn in the winter. Post-war made ones are aplenty and can be bought at sites listed for the telogreika vatnik as well. There are discussions online of people saying the kneepads were a post-1944 addition but there have been pictures of the kneepads in Stalingrad so that is a myth. The only alteration needed to make post-war ones wartime is to remove the right thigh pocket for the field dressing.

M35 Double-Breasted Jacket

The M35 double-breasted jacket saw limited service due to it’s expensive manufacturing cost. There were made in regular cotton for EM and double twill cotton for officers. They were rarely worn in the GPW, with photographic evidence only pointing to certain units wearing them in the winter of 41-42. Production stopped in 1941. A M42 version appeared but was only issued to officers and was also not common.

Reproductions can be bought from schuster.ru

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