Why did the Soviet Union abandon tunics in favor of jackets

  • Jan 31, 2022
Why did the Soviet Union abandon tunics in favor of jackets

The image of a Red Army soldier is inextricably linked with such a wardrobe item as a gymnast. At the same time, most people have no idea what the Soviet army decided to eventually abandon these old miracle shirts in favor of jackets made from cotton fabric. Let's try to understand this issue.

The tunic appeared in the tsarist army. Photo: forum.ww2.ru.
The tunic appeared in the tsarist army. / Photo: forum.ww2.ru.
The tunic appeared in the tsarist army. / Photo: forum.ww2.ru.

As you might guess, the tunic was by no means a Soviet invention. In total, this piece of clothing served for about 100 years, having appeared in the Russian Imperial Army in the second half of the 19th century. The full and correct name of this piece of clothing is “gymnastic shirt”. It was officially introduced in 1862. The tunic quickly became the main subject of the wardrobe of the lower army and departmental ranks. And there is nothing surprising that this form, as well as its production, migrated to the new Soviet state after the 1917 Revolution.

Soviet gymnast. / Photo: antikvariat.ru.
Soviet gymnast. / Photo: antikvariat.ru.
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The tunic lasted until the early 1970s, when the Soviet Army began to gradually abandon this garment. To replace the unpretentious and proven over the years tunics have become new, much more complex and somewhat more expensive to manufacture cotton jackets. However, even in the army, the transition did not become instantaneous. Until the end of the 1980s, the tunics remained in warehouses and were used as uniforms for reservists (“partisans”) called up for military training. The remains of tunics were worn, including in disciplinary units, and back in the 1990s.

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Used until the 1980s. / Photo: 123ru.net.
Used until the 1980s. / Photo: 123ru.net.

Why did the transition to a new form of clothing take place? The simplest and at the same time rational explanation boils down to the fact that, in fact, the royal tunic is simply obsolete. On the one hand, the light industry of the Soviet Union was ripe for something more complex and perfect. On the other hand, the tunic was not very convenient to use in the new realities. It was believed that pulling off a tunic from a wounded man or even cutting it was much more difficult than opening a buttoned cotton jacket. In addition, new types of weapons appeared, like napalm. As you know, the latter is not extinguished without special means, and if it gets on clothes or uniforms, all that remains for the soldier is to get rid of the flaming equipment as soon as possible. Throwing off a jacket is much easier than pulling off a tunic.

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The jacket is better. / Photo: shnyagi.net.
The jacket is better. / Photo: shnyagi.net.

In continuation of the topic, read about why did the Red Army cancel Budyonovka yet before the start of the Great Patriotic War.
A source:
https://novate.ru/blogs/051021/60760/