Ranks and insignia of the Soviet Armed Forces 1955–1991

The ranks and rank insignia of the Soviet Armed Forces between 1955 and 1991 were distinguished by the reorganisation of the Soviet armed forces after the death of Stalin, resulting in changes to ranks, insignia, and uniforms.

Changes to distinction insignia[]

Shoulder straps to field utilization[]

In December 1956 the coloured border piping on officers' shoulder straps was changed. A cinnamon-brown color was used instead of the burgundy red previously worn by commanders and commanding officers. All other officers and other ranks wore corps colours as follows:

The regimental numberings of the 1943 system were removed altogether.

Enlisted men, non-commissioned officers, warrant officers, and michman[]

Army, Air Force[]

Enlisted men Non-commissioned officers Warrant officers
Shoulder boards to
service uniform
basic
(ground forces)
Rank insignia of рядовой of the Soviet Army.svg Rank insignia of ефрейтор of the Soviet Army.svg Rank insignia of младший сержант of the Soviet Army.svg Rank insignia of сержант of the Soviet Army.svg Rank insignia of старший сержант of the Soviet Army.svg SA A-inf R8FirstSg 1963v.svg Rank insignia of старшина 2 of the Soviet Army.svg Rank insignia of прапорщик of the Soviet Army.svg Rank insignia of старший прапорщик of the Soviet Army.svg
Shoulder boards to
service uniform
basic
(air force & aviation)
Rank insignia of рядовой of the Soviet Air Force.svg Rank insignia of ефрейтор of the Soviet Air Force.svg Rank insignia of младший сержант of the Soviet Air Force.svg Rank insignia of сержант of the Soviet Air Force.svg Rank insignia of старший сержант of the Soviet Air Force.svg BSA A-inf R8FirstSg 1963v.svg Старшина 2 of the Soviet Army.svg Rank insignia of прапорщик of the Soviet Air Force.svg Rank insignia of старший прапорщик of the Soviet Air Force.svg
Rank
designation
Private Private First Class Corporal Sergeant Staff sergeant until 1963
Sergeant First Class
from 1964
Sergeant First Class
from 1971
Warrant Officer
from 1981
Chief Warrant Officer
Рядовой Ефрейтор Мл. сержант Сержант Ст. сержант Старшина Прапорщик Ст. прапорщик
NATO-equivalent OR-1 OR-4 OR-5 OR-6 OR-7 OR-8 OR-9

Ratings of the Navy, coastal services and other shore commands[]

Enlisted ratings Boatswain/ petty officers Michman
Shoulder boards to
service uniform
basic
Rank insignia of матрос of the Soviet Navy.svg Rank insignia of старший матрос of the Soviet Navy.svg Rank insignia of старшина 2-й статьи of the Soviet Navy.svg Rank insignia of старшина 1-й статьи of the Soviet Navy.svg Rank insignia of главный старшина of the Soviet Navy.svg Rank insignia of главный корабельный старшина of the Soviet Navy.svg Rank insignia of главный корабельный старшина 2 of the Soviet Navy.svg Rank insignia of мичман of the Soviet Navy.svg Rank insignia of старший мичман of the Soviet Navy.svg
Rating
designation
(naval services)
Seaman Apprentice Seaman Petty Officer 3rd class Petty Officer 2nd class Petty Officer 1st class until 1955
Warrant Officer
1956-1971
Warrant Officer

from 1971
Chief Petty Officer
from 1971
Warrant Officer
from 1981
Chief Warrant Officer
Матрос Старший матрос Старшина 2-ой статьи Старшина 1-ой статьи Главный старшина до 1955
Мичман
1956-1971
Мичман
с 1971
Главный корабельный старшина
с 1971
Мичман
с 1981
Старший мичман
...
(coastal services
and other shore commands)
Seaman Leading Seaman Junior Sergeant Sergeant Senior Sergeant until 1957
Major Sergeant
from 1958
Major Sergeant
from 1971
Warrant Officer
from 1981
Senior Warrant Officer
Матрос Старший матрос Младший сержант Сержант Старший сержант до 1955
Старшина
1956-1971
Старшина
с 1971
Прапорщик
с 1981
Старший прапорщик
NATO-equivalent OR-1 OR-4 OR-5 OR-6 OR-7 OR-8 OR-9

Letter codes from 1972 onward[]

Army officers and generals (all services)[]

Designation Lieutenants Captain´s rank Field officers Higher commanders & commander-in-chief
Shoulder boards
to
parade uniform
land forces
(Army)
RAF A F1-3SubLt since 2010par.svg RAF A F1-2Lt since 2010par.svg RAF A F1FstLt since 2010par.svg RAF A F2Capt since 2010par.svg RAF A F3Major since 2010par.svg RAF A F4LtCol since 2010par.svg RAF A F5Col since 2010par.svg RAF A F6MajGen since 2010par.svg RAF A F7LtGen since 2010par.svg RAF A F8ColGen since 2010par.svg RAF A F9GenArmy until 1974.svg RAF A F9GenArmy 1974-1991.png Rank insignia of маршал Советского Союза.svg
Air force Rank insignia of младший лейтенант of the Soviet Air Force.svg RAF AF F1-2Lt since 2010par.svg RAF AF F1FstLt since 2010par.svg RAF AF F2Capt since 2010par.svg Rank insignia of майор of the Soviet Air Force.svg RAF AF F4LtCol since 2010par.svg RAF AF F5Col since 2010par.svg RAF AF F6MajGen since 2010parade.svg RAF AF F7LtGen since 2010par.svg RAF AF F8ColGen since 2010par.svg
Rank designation
(Ground and air forces and independent branches)
Lieutenant Junior Grade 2nd Lieutenant 1st lieutenant Captain Major Lieutenant Colonel Colonel Major general Lieutenant general Colonel General General of the army
until 1974 and after 1974
Marshal of the Soviet Union
Мл. лейтенант Лейтенант Ст. лейтенант Капитан Майор Подполковник Полковник Генерал-майор Генерал-лейтенант Генерал-полковник Генерал аpмии Маршал Советского Союза

Naval officers and flag officers (all services)[]

Designation Lieutenants Captain lieutenants Staff officers Flag officers & higher commanders
Shoulder board
to
parade uniform
Navy
RAF N F1-3SubLt since 2010par.svg RAF N F1-2Lt since 2010par.svg RAF N F1FstLt since 2010par.svg RAF N F2CaptLt since 2010par.svg RAF N F3LtCom since 2010par.svg RAF N F4Com since 2010par.svg RAF N F5CaptNavy since 2010par.svg RAF N F6RearAdm since 2010par.svg RAF N F7VicAdm since 2010par.svg RAF N F8Adm since 2010par.svg RAF N F9AdmirFleet 1943-1955par.svg RAF N F9AdmirFleet 1962-94 Vertical.svg RAF N F10AdmFleetSU 1955-1991.svg
Sleeve insignia UdSSR Navy 1943-1991 OF1c insignia.svg UdSSR Navy 1943-1991 OF1b insignia.svg UdSSR Navy 1943-1991 OF1a insignia.svg UdSSR Navy 1943-1991 OF2 insignia.svg UdSSR Navy 1943 OF3 insignia.svg UdSSR Navy 1943 OF4 insignia.svg UdSSR Navy 1943 OF5 insignia.svg UdSSR Navy 1943 OF6 insignia.svg UdSSR Navy 1943 OF7 insignia.svg UdSSR Navy 1943-1991 OF8 insignia.svg UdSSR Navy 1955-1991 OF9 insignia.svg UdSSR Navy 1962-1992 OF10 insignia.svg
Rank
designation (naval services)
Ensign Lieutenant Junior Grade 2nd lieutenant 1st lieutenant Lieutenant commander Commander Captain Rear admiral Vice admiral Admiral Fleet Admiral Admiral of the Navy
(1955-1961) (1962-1994) (1955-1991)
Младший лейтенант Лейтенант Ст. лейтенант Капитан-лейтенант Капитан 3-го ранга Капитан 2-го ранга Капитан 1-го ранга Контр-адмирал Вице-адмирал Адмирал Адмирал флота Адмирал флота Советского Союза
Rank
designation (Shore services of the Navy)
Junior lieutenant Lieutenant Senior lieutenant Captain Major Lieutenant colonel Colonel Major general Lieutenant general Colonel general No equivalent established
Мл. лейтенант Лейтенант Ст. лейтенант Капитан Майор Подполковник Полковник Генерал-майор Генерал-лейтенант Генерал-полковник
NATO-equivalent OF-1 OF-2 OF-3 OF-4 OF-5 OF-6 OF-7 OF-8 OF-9 OF-10

Top ranks[]

Marshal ranks and Supreme commanders of the Soviet armed forces
Shoulder board
to
dress uniform
SA A-artil F9Mars 1974v.png SA AF F9Mars 1974v.svg SA A-armour F9Mars 1974v.png SA A-sign F9Mars 1974v.png SA A-engin F9Mars 1974v.png SA A-artil F9ChiefMars 1974v.png SA AF F9ChiefMars 1974 v.svg SA A-armour F9ChiefMars 1974v.png SA A-sign F9ChiefMars 1974v.png SA A-engin F9ChiefMars 1974v.png Rank insignia of маршал Советского Союза.svg
Rank designation General of the branch Vice marshal of the branch Marshal
of the Soviet Union
NATO-equivalent OF-9 OF-10
Supreme commander of the Soviet Navy
Shoulder board
to
dress uniform
RAF N F10AdmFleetSU 1955-1991.svg
Rank
designation
Admiral of the Navy
(1955-1991)
NATO-equivalent OF-10

See also[]

Notes[]

  1. ^ The abbreviation "OR" stands for "other ranks"

References[]

  1. ^ Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, 3th[clarification needed] ion 1982, order number: 576 973 7, licence number: 433 130/182/82, volume IV, page 128-129 "Rank insignia of the Soviet Navy"