Individual rank insignia to the (Army) ground forces and (Navy) naval forces (1935–1940) were established by orders 2590 and 2591, effective from September 22, 1935.
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.
According to these new orders, new insignia of command personnel should indicate:
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||Military technician 2nd rank||Technical intendant 2nd rank||Army-surgeon||Veterinarian army-surgeon||Junior military jurist|
|Politleader||Military technician 1st rank||Technical-intendant 1st rank||Senior army-surgeon||Senior veterinarian army-surgeon||Military jurist|
|Senior political leader||Military 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||Brigade engineer||Engineer Flag officer 3rd rank||Brig-intendant||Brig-physician||Brig-vet-physician||Brig-mil-jurist|
|Division commissar||Division engineer||Engineer Flag officer 2nd rank||Div-intendant||Div-physician||Div-vet-pysician||Div-mil-jurist|
|Corps commissar||Corps engineer||Engineer Flag officer 1st rank||Corps intendant||Corps 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:
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:
However, naval military staff wore sleeve insignia (stripes and stars) on both sleeves of the uniform.
|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|
|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)|
|Designation||Junior commanders||Enlisted men|
|Starshina||Junior platoon commander||Section commander||Red army man|
|(native designation)||(Сташина)||(Младший комвзвод)||(Отделенный командир)||(Красноармеец)|
|Rank designation after 1940||No change||Starshiy serzhant||Serzhant||No change|
|(native designation)||(Старший сержант)||(Cержа́нт)|
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||Starshiy leytenant||Leytetant||Mladshiy leytenant|
(from 1937 onward)
|(native designation)||(Капитан 1-го ранга)||(Капитан 2-го ранга)||(Капитан 3-го ранга)||(Капитан-лейтенант)||(Старший лейтенант)||(Лейтенант)||(Младший лейтенант)|
|Designation||Sub-subunit leaders, specialists & enlisted men|
|(native designation)||(Старшина)||(Отделенный командир)||(Краснофлотец)|
Marshal of the Soviet Union (Russian: Маршал Советского Союза; Russian pronunciation: [ˈmarʂəɫ sɐˈvʲɛtskəvə sɐˈjuzə]) was the highest military rank of the Soviet Union.
The rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union was created in 1935 and abolished in 1991, and forty-one people held this rank. The equivalent naval rank was until 1955 Admiral of the fleet and from 1955 Admiral of the fleet of the Soviet Union. Both ranks were comparable to NATO rank codes OF-10, and to the five-star rank in anglophone armed forces.
While the supreme rank of Generalissimus of the Soviet Union, which would have been senior to Marshal of the Soviet Union, was proposed for Joseph Stalin after the Second World War, it was never officially approved.Ranks and insignia of the Red Army and Navy 1918–1935
In the period from 1918 to 1935 of the young Soviet Union any bourgeois military thoughts were put under general suspicion by the communists, the new political establishment. Among others, the Old Russian tradition to wear epaulets and shoulder straps as rank insignia was rigorously abolished and was replaced with a new tradition of rank designations and insignia for the new Red Army and the nascent Soviet Navy.
Military ranks and insignia by country
|Commonwealth of Nations|