Ranks and insignia of the Red Army and Navy 1935–1940
This was mainly directed to supreme commanders, commanding officers, and personnel in charge to exert command and control in the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, published by order number 176 of the USSR People's Commissariat of Defense, dated from December 03, 1935.
Situation in 1935
According to these new orders, new insignia of command personnel should indicate:
- Branch of service (e.g. Army, Air Force, or Navy), or special troops
- Qualification, professional responsibility, specific knowledge
- Rank insignia, operational/ tactical responsibility, e.g. level of military command, formation, unit, or sub-unit.
The top military rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union was created by order of the USSR Central Executive Committee and the “Council of People's Commissars” from September 22, 1935 onward, before the new ranks were issued.
The military ranks created as a result of the joint decision of the “USSR Central Executive Committee” and the “Council of People's Commissars” from November 21, 1935 are contained in the table below. These replaced the ranks used from 1924.
|Naval forces||equivalent in GUGB/NKWD|
|Enlisted men & junior leading staff|
|Red Army Man||OR1||Red Fleet Man|
(from 1943: Matros)
|Junior commander||OR7||No equivalent|
|Lieutenant||OF1||Sergeant of the state security|
|Starshy leytenant||Mladshy leytenant of state security|
|Kapitan||OF2||Captain lieutenant||OF2||Lieutenant of state security|
|Major||OF3||Captain 3rd rank||OF3||Starshy leytenant of state security|
|Polkovnik||OF5||Kapitan 2nd rank||OF4||Kapitan of state security|
|Kombrig||OF6||Kapitan 1st rank||OF5||Mayor of state security|
|Komdiv||OF7||Flag officer 2nd rank||OF6||Starshy mayor of state security|
|Komkor||OF8||Flag Officer 1st rank||OF7||Commissioner of state security 3rd rank|
|Komandarm 2nd rank||OF9||Fleet Flag Officer 2nd rank||OF8||Commissioner of state security 2nd rank|
|Komandarm 1st rank||Fleet Flag Officer 1st rank||OF9||Commissioner of state security 1st rank|
|Marshal of the Soviet Union||OF10||No equivalent||State Security Commissioner general|
The same orders mentioned above provided for separate ranks for the Political commissars and military specialists, as in the table below.
all service branches
|Military-technician staff||Military-administration and support all service branches||Military-medical service all service branches||Military-veterinarian all service branches||Military-legal service all service branches|
|Land forces &
|No rank established||Mil-technician 2nd rank||Technical-intendant 2nd rank||Army-surgeon||Veterinarian army-surgeon||Junior military jurist|
|Politleader||Mil-technician 1st rank||Technical-intendant 1st rank||Senior army-surgeon||Senior veterinarian army-surgeon||Military jurist|
|Senior political leader||Mil-engineer 3rd rank||Intendant 3rd rank||Military physician 3rd rank||Military veterinarian 3rd rank||Military jurist 3rd rank|
|Bataillon commissar||Mil-engineer 2nd rank||Intendant 2nd rank||Mil-physician 2nd rank||Mil-vet-physician 2nd rank||Military jurist 2nd rank|
|Regimental commissar||Mililitary engineer 1st rank||Intendant 1st rank||Mil-physician 1st rank||Mil-vet-physician 1st rank||Military jurist 1st rank|
|Brigade commissar||Brig-engineer||Engineer Flag officer 3rd rank||Brig-intendant||Brig-physician||Brig-vet-physician||Brig-mil-jurist|
|Division commissar||Div-engineer||Engineer Flag officer 2nd rank||Div-intendant||Div-physician||Div-vet-pysician||Div-mil-jurist|
|Corps commissar||Cor-engineer||Engineer Flag officer 1st rank||Cor-intendant||Cor-physician||Cor-vet-pysician||Cor-military-jurist|
|Army commissar 2nd rank||Army engineer||Fleet Engineer Flag officer||Army intendant||Army physician||Army veterinarian||Army military-jurist|
|Army commissar 1st rank||No equivalent ranks created|
More regulations were established in 1937, following general instructions of the Red Army. According to paragraph 10 of this instruction, the following subdivision of personnel was made:
- Leading staff: Military officers and heads of departments, military administration and commissariat, medical service, veterinarian service, military legal service
- Commanding staff: Personnel with the ranks commander in chief and commander
- Junior commanding staff
- Enlisted men/ratings
Paragraph 14 of this instruction contained the individual ranks and rank designations according to the order of September 22, 1935, and thus officially sanctioned the additional established OF-1c ranks (Junior lieutenant and Junior military technician), taking effect on August 5, 1937.
By decision of the extraordinary session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (end of August until early September 1939) the law on universal compulsory service took effect, and the new OF4-ranks of Podpolkovnik and Battalion commissar were introduced as a result of the amendments to the rank regulations of 1935. An equivalent OF4-rank for the Soviet navy was not established, however.
In addition to individual ranks the establishment of defined rank insignia was made in December 1935 as well. From this time military staff, including political commissars, military administration, commissariat, medical service, veterinarian service, and military legal service of the Red Army wore rank insignia as follows:
- Rank insignia chevron: on both sleeves (short above the cuff)
- Rank insignia big: on both collar-edges of the uniform coat
- Rank insignia small: on both collar-edges of the battle jacket (Gymnastjorka)
However, naval military staff wore sleeve insignia (stripes and stars) on both sleeves of the uniform.
- Commander in chief, higher commanding officers and top appointments OF10 to OF6
- Rank insignia, big (overcoat): on a rhombic padding, gold coloured border, one to four rhombic red enameled badges, gold coloured Soviet star small/ big
- Rank insignia, small (Gymnastjorka): on rectangle padding, gold coloured border, one to four rhombic red enameled badges
- Sleeve insignia (overcoat): one to four gold colored chevrons, Soviet star small/ big, one red coloured extra chevron OF10
- Commanding officers and unit leaders OF5, OF3 and OF2
- Rank insignia big (over coat): on rhombic padding, gold coloured border, one to three red enameled rectangle badges
- Rank insignia small (Gymnastjorka): on rectangle padding, gold coloured border, one to four red enameled rectangle badges
- Subunit leader OF1
- Rank insignia big (over coat): on rhombic padding, gold coloured border, one to four red enameled square badges
- Rank insignia small (Gymnastjorka): on rectangle padding, gold coloured border, one to four red enameled square badges
- Sub-subunit leader and enlisted men OR8 to OR1
- Sub-subunit leader
- Rank insignia big (over coat): on rhombic padding, gold coloured border, one to three red enameled triangular badges
- Rank insignia small (Gymnastjorka): on rectangle padding, gold coloured border, one to four red enameled triangular badges
- Enlisted men: simple rank insignia big (over coat)/ simple rank insignia small (Gymnastjorka)
Table of rank insignia land forces and Air Force 1935–1940
|Rank designation||Marshal of the Soviet Union||Komandarm 1st rank||Komandarm 2nd rank||Komkor||Komdiv||Kombrig|
|(native designation)||(Маршал Советского Союза)||(Командарм 1-го ранга)||(Командарм 2-го ранга)||(Комкор)||(Комдив)||(Комбриг)|
|Rank designation after 1940||No change||General of the Army
(Chief marshal of the branch & Marshal of the branch)
|Colonel general||Lieutenant general||Major General|
Middle and senior commanders
|Designation||Senior commanders||Middle-level commanders|
|Rank designation||Polkovnik||Major||Kapitan||Starshy leytenant||Lieutenant||Mladshy leytenant|
|(Native designation)||(Полковник)||(Майор)||(Капитан)||(Старший лейтенант)||(Лейтенант)||(Младший лейтенант)|
Junior commanders and enlisted men
|Designation||Junior commanders||Enlisted men|
|Starshina||Junior platoon commander||Section commander||Red army man|
|(native designation)||(Сташина)||(Младший комвзвод)||(Отделённый командир)||(Красноармеец)|
|Rank designation after 1940||No change||Starshiy serzhant||Serzhant||No change|
|(native designation)||(Старший сержант)||(Cержа́нт)|
Table of rank insignia for the navy 1935–1940
The following ranks and insignia were used by the Soviet Navy from 1935 to 1940.
|Designation||Commander in chief, higher commanders and top appointments|
|Flag officer of the fleet
|Flag officer of the fleet
|(native designation)||(Флагман флота 1-го ранга)||(Флагман флота 2-го ранга)||(Флагман 1-го ранга)||(Флагман 2-го ранга)|
|Rank designation after 1940||Admiral of the Fleet||Admiral||Vice admiral||Counter admiral|
|Designation||Commanding officers and unit leaders|
|Kapitan 1st rank||Kapitan 2nd rank||Kapitan 3rd rank||Kapitan leytenant||Starshy leytenant||Leytetant||Mladshiy leytenant|
(from 1937 onward)
|(native designation)||(Капитана 1-го ранга)||(Капитана 2-го ранга)||(Капитана 3-го ранга)||(Капитан-лейтенанта)||(Стазший лейтенанта)||(Лейтенанта)||(Младший лейтенант)|
Sub-subunit leader and enlisted men
|Designation||Sub-subunit leaders, specialists & enlisted men|
|(native designation)||(Старшина)||(Отделенный командир)||(Краснофлотеец)|
- History of Russian military ranks
- Ranks and rank insignia of the Russian armed forces until 1917
- Ranks and insignia of the Red Army and Navy 1918–1935, and ... 1940–1943
- Ranks and rank insignia of the Soviet Armed Forces 1943–1955, and ... 1955–1991
- Ranks and rank insignia of the Russian Federation´s armed forces 1994–2010
- Rank insignia and sequence of ranks of the “Workers' and Peasants' Red Army” as to order number 2590 of the “USSR Central Executive Committee” and “Council of People's Commissars” from September 22, 1935. Other solutions to ground forces and navy of the “Workers' and Peasants' Red Army” were disposed by order 2591.
- Order number 176 of the „People's Commissar of Defence of the USSR” from December 3, 1935 pertaining individual military ranks of the land forces and the Navy of the “Workers' and Peasants' Red Army”.
- The abbreviation "OR" stands for "Other Ranks / fr: sous-officiers et militaires du rang / ru:другие ранги, кроме офицероф"
- The abbreviation "OF" stands for de: "Offizier / en: officer / fr: officier / ru: офицер"