The list of required items for your impression is listed here, on the Requirements page.
Tan/ olive drab coveralls for Airborne personel - Intended for Airborne personel, this uniform possesses special features exclusive to Airborne needs. Manufactured of tan cotton twill, these coveralls have no external pockets and no exposed features. The button plaquette in the front, center of the uniform is covered to prevent snagging on equipment. The sleeve has an elastic cuff and acts as a "wind cuff" in which prevents the harsh wind from a jump to enter the uniform.

This uniform has been seen much in photographs being worn by airborne troops during training and exersices. Photographs show this uniform being worn during the December 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. By 1980, the VDV went back to the M-69 uniform which was eventually replaced by the 4 pocket, tan uniform.

M-69 Uniform - This uniform was the standard issue of the Soviet Armed Forces until the Soviets replaced it with the 4-pocket uniform in the 1980's. The experience in Afghanistan was the driving force behind the change. Even though this uniform was being phased out, evidence shows that it was still in use (in a limited capacity) until the fall of the Soviet Union.

This uniform is a simple design tracing its roots back to the second world war. It is made of cotton twill and the color varies between tan to olive (depending on dye lot). The jacket lacks a liner making construction very easy and fast. Trousers are made of the same materials and with the same simplistic features. Collar tabs and shoulder boards (either in a colored and subdued variant) are worn with this uniform. In somes cases, a patch is worn on the left arm denoting the soldiers service arm ("MOS" in American military vernacular). Click here to see the uniform being modeled by Jean-Paul Bligny

Left - The tan coveralls of the VDV. Photo by Collect Russia

Right - M69 uniform. Photo by Jean-Paul Bligny

First model, 2-piece, tan uniform - Once the Soviets started to abandon the stale and archaic military thinking that was greatly influenced by the second world war, the Soviets became more practical and began using the experiences gained by the at-the-time new conflict in Afghanistan. One of the first advancements that came from this war was a new uniform that was better suited to aid the soldier in a modern war. This uniform was designed with more pockets to help with carrying more gear. There are not many photos with this uniform and it was almost immediately replaced with the second model, tan uniform. Photo by Collect Russia

Second model, 2-piece, tan uniform - Known as the "Afghanistan" uniform, the jacket and trousers are made of tan cotton twill. Just like the first model, the jacket has pockets, but unlike the first model, it has four pockets instead of two and the buttons on the pockets are covered. The trousers have drawstrings at the cuffs and external cargo pockets on the thighs. This is the most common model uniform seen in Afghanistan. The jacket tightens at the waist with a single steel buckle and strap. The trousers have drawstrings at the cuffs and external cargo pockets on the thighs and a special knife pocket on the right thigh. Photo by Collect Russia

2-piece, camouflage uniform - A two-piece, cotton camouflage uniform also existed in the same pattern of the second model uniform. The uniform was issued at about the same time as the second model, uniform but was issued in Afghanistan in VERY limited numbers. The camouflage pattern is TTsKO. You can read more about TTsKO camouflage below under the camouflage catagory.

Second Model
First Model
Insignia - Insignia, including rank, was not commonly worn on the combat uniform (limited exceptions did exist). Obvious reasons being that an individual or an entire unit can be singled out by the enemy. It was standard Soviet practice to go into combat without any identifying insignia on their uniform. Written Soviet combat accounts and photographic evidence confirms this fact. Civilian Clothing - Civilian clothing was used in a limited capacity out in the field. Items such as sweaters, blue jeans, suspenders, belts and sneakers were usually sent from home and worn by pesonel in the field. Due to lack of uniform discipline in the field, different civilian clothing items were seen on soldiers.



By Steven J. Zaloga

"Inside the Blue Berets: A Combat History of the Soviet and Russian Airborne Forces, 1930-1995" Presidio Press, 1995

"Chapter 7, Imperial Storm Troopers, Blue Berets," pgs. 151-152

"Elite forces have traditionally distinguished themselves from the rest of the military by adopting distinctive uniforms or insignia. The Soviet VDV was no exception. Colonel General Margelov was an enthusiastic proponent of the effort, feeling that it bolstered unit morale. The first step was the adoption of the Soviet Navy's striped blue and white sailor's shirt, the telnyashka, under the normal khaki tunic, to distinguish the paratroopers from the rest of the Soviet Army. This was an odd choice for an army unit, and was due to Margelov's combat career in World War II. In the early years of the war, Margelov had served on the Leningrad Front. Many Soviet warships were bottled up in harbors in Leningrad, so the sailors of the Baltic Fleet were brought ashore and used as elite infantry. Although an army major, Margelov was assigned to command the 1st Naval Infantry Regiment, which was used for raiding behind German lines."

"Margelov associated the striped sailor's shirt with this highly effective unit. He had kept his own naval shirt as a memento of past glories, and now he decided the sailor's shirt would serve as the basis for the new VDV paratrooper's uniform. In spite of its odd beginnings, the blue-and-white-striped shirt became the predominant symbol of Soviet and Russian elite forces, especially after Afghanistan. It is now used not only by the VDV, but by other elite formations, including the Spetsnaz and elite special police units."

Telnyashka - Originally a naval garment (naval version pictured above), this is the most identifiable article of clothing of the Soviet paratrooper, Spetsnaz and various other Soviet special forces (a version of this shirt with green stripes exists for the KGB border guards). Read below for more on the history of this shirt in the VDV. The difference between the naval and airborne shirts is that the blue stripes on the airborne version is in their branch color, a lighter blue color (cornflower blue). This cotton knit shirt has blue a white horizontal stripes the entire length of the shirt. A long sleeve and short sleeve version exsist for the navy and no sleeve version is the version used for the airborne. I have seen photographs of airborne personel in Afghanistan wearing both a short sleeve and long sleeve version. Our unit uses the light blue striped shirt. It does not matter what the sleeve length is.

"Kamuflirovannyy letniy maskirovochnyy kombinezon" or "camouflaged summer deceptive coveralls" is commonly known by its abbreviation "KLMK". Though manufactured in limited production in other camouflage patterns prior to 1968, the coveralls were commonly seen in the two-color, stair-step camouflage used by the Soviet Armed Forces. In 1969, this camouflage pattern was introduced and issued to special purpose forces. This garment is made of a plain-weave, cotton fabric. The colors of the camouflage are light-gray "stair-step" splotches over a mid to dark green background. The soldier in the center in the photo on the left is wearing these coveralls.

"Kostium zashchitnoi seti" or "camouflaged net outfit" Better known as "KZS," this garment is a two-piece uniform that entered sevice in the mid-1970's. KZS is intended to be a low-cost overgarment that provided a quick means of camouflage. It can be put on easily and can be disposed of once back from a mission. This uniform is made of burlap and the camouflage pattern is the same "stair-step" pattern as the KLMK uniform. The colors used in the camouflage runs the gamut of earth tones. The soldier to the far left of the photo on the left is wearing the KZS uniform.

"Tryokhtsvetnaya kamuflirovannaya odezhda" or "three-coloured camouflaged clothes," abbreviated as "TTsKO" and introduced in 1981 was highly kept secret from the West by the Soviet Union until the 1985 parade day celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Great Patriotic War. This pattern is clearly a use of the US ERDL pattern camouflage. There are two TTsKO camouflages, one with a brown base and another with a lime green base. This camouflage did not see as much action in Afghanistan as KZS or KLMK but it did see its way into the Chechen conflict. It is still used in limited quantites today and has a derivative in use by the Ukrainians. This is originally a Soviet camouflage and would have most likely seen more service if the Soviet Union would not have collapsed. The soldier to the far right of the photo on the left is wearing the TTsKO pattern uniform.

Above - Three camouflage uniforms that were worn by the airborne. On the right is a two-piece, TTsKO camouflage. Center is the one-piece, cotton KLMK coveralls. The individual on the left is wearing the two-piece, burlap KZS clothing. Illustrations by Ron Volstad.
The Soviets were traditionally issued overcoats for winterwear. In World War Two, the overcoat proved to be a very hindering garment to wear in combat. A two piece padded uniform was created that vastly increased the individual's mobility and also their warmth. Though overcoats are still issued, a two piece winter set is still manufactured and issued for combat use but looks nowhere like its Second World War predecessor. The current winter uniform is a two piece, lined jacket and trousers. The first models were tan and later variants were camouflaged in TTsKO. The jacket itself is made of cotton and has four pockets on the body and has one small pocket on the upper part of each sleeve. The button plaquette is covered with the exception of the throat button. The jacket lining is removable or can be attached for additional warmth and has a gray fur collar that is exposed over the collar of the jacket.

The trousers are the same in which they too are lined. Also made of cotton, they have a pocket on each thigh and have draw-in ties on each cuff of the leg. Suspenders help support the trousers. The three men in the illustration on the left are wearing the two piece winter uniform. The man on the right is wearing the set in TTsKO camouflage. Below are detailed photographs of the winter set in tan.

Click here to see the uniform being modeled by Jean-Paul Bligny

Above - Examples of the winter coat and trousers. Two men wear the tan winter uniform. The man on the right has a winter set in the "lime" TTsKO camouflage. Illustrations by Ron Volstad.
Above - Lined tan winter coat. Above - Liner to the coat. Above - Lined tan winter trousers.
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