The very first standardizated uniform for the personnel of the Chief Directorate of the Northern Sea Route under the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR (Главное Управление Северного Морского Пути, also known as Glavsevmorput’ or GUSMP), hereinafter referred to as Glavsevmorput’, and its network (institutions, sea-going vessels and aircraft) was introduced by the Order of the Glavsevmorput’ No.87/a dated June 01, 1933 “On Uniform of the Glavsevmorput’ and its Network Personnel”. Wearing of the uniform was compulsory for all representatives of sea-going and flying expeditionary personnel of the Northern Sea Route according to gazetted Table of Sleeve Insignia for Officials of the Glavsevmorput’ and its Network, Description of Uniform for Officials of the Glavsevmorput’ and its Network and Regulations on Clothing of the Glavsevmorput’ Personnel.
Regulations on clothing, Description of uniform and sleeve insignia for commanding personnel as well as Rules for wearing of uniform of the Glavsevmorput’ and its network personnel were approved by the Central Committee of Water Transport Workers via Memorandum No.449/20/2805 dated May 27, 1933 sent to the latter by the Naval Department of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army (RKKA) and the Chief Department of the RKKA.
Uniform for the Glavsevmorput’ and its territorial coastal departments personnel was introduced into practice since 1933 for commanding personnel only. Order No.87/a stipulated that commanding personnel holding positions not covered by the Table of Sleeve Insignia for Officials of the Glavsevmorput’, but who still were entitled to wear uniform according to their positions, were allowed to wear uniform but without sleeve insignia.
After the Order came into effect, wearing of uniform and rank insignia of other agencies by the Glavsevmorput’ personnel was prohibited.
In the first place Supply Department of the Glavsevmorput’ was instructed to distribute summer uniform, while winter uniform had to be issued not later than September 01, 1933.
Wearing of uniform was regulated by the following rules:
1. Uniform was worn by the Glavsevmorput’ personnel in the course of duty including mission trips.
2. Combination of proper uniform and inappropriate sleeve insignia was prohibited.
3. Ordinary civilian clothing was allowed to be worn by off-duty Glavsevmorput’ personnel.
4. Apart from proper uniform items, those working in extremely freezing conditions were allowed to wear sheepskin coats, sheepskin jackets and knee-high felt boots (“valenki”) as well as leather overcoats, military-style rubber cloth raincoats and protective clothing in the line of duty.
5. Female personnel of the Glavsevmorput’ headquarters and Territorial Departments were allowed to wear skirts and double-breasted jackets of appropriate pattern instead of trousers and tunics.
6. Those discharged from the Glavsevmorput’ institutions, sea-going vessels and flying units were not allowed to wear uniform.
7. Those violating Rules for wearing of uniform introduced by the Order No.87/a, including those having dishevelled appearance, were subject to administrative and disciplinary sanctions.
According to the “Instruction Regulating Categories of the Glavsevmorput’ Network Personnel Eligible for Wearing of Uniform” dated June 01, 1933, uniform was issued to the following categories of the Glavsevmorput’ personnel:
1. All commanding and non-commanding sea-going personnel of sea vessels, icebreakers, motor ships, steamships, schooners, cutters, boats, as well as motor ships, schooners and cutters of all sea ports, e.g. ports of Igarka, Lensk, etc. Sea-going personnel of barges, scows and ferry boats (fishing and transportation boats, including steamboats) were not entitled to wear uniform.
2. All flight and field personnel of the Air Service.
3. All heads and their deputies of polar stations and radio stations of Franz Joseph Land, Novaya Zemlya and all islands.
4. All commanding sea-going personnel of river vessels (steamships, motor ships, lighters, schooners and cutters) that belong to manufacturing and industrial trust of the Glavsevmorput’ network, namely captains, engineers, their assistants, cutter commanders and petty officers, quartermasters and boatswains.
5. All commanding, sea-going and coastal personnel of the Siberian Department for Navigation Security.
6. Non-commanding employees of the central office and territorial bodies with posts of navigator, ship engineer, radio technician and boatswain. It was emphasized that those employees were allowed to wear sleeve insignia of the corresponding grade according to the Table of Sleeve Insignia for officials of the Glavsevmorput’ and its Structure.
7. All commanding personnel of the Glavsevmorput’ headquarters and its Territorial Departments:
- Headquarters: head of the Glavsevmorput’ and its deputies, Glavsevmorput’ Board members, heads of departments and sectors and their deputies, assistants to heads, heads of sections.
- Territorial Departments: heads of Territorial Departments and their deputies, heads of divisions and sectors and their deputies.
Instruction mentioned above emphasized that commanding and non-commanding personnel of all expeditions working in polar stations “are not issued with any uniform in 1933 and therefore are not entitled to wear it”. All polar clothes issued to such employees were regarded as property of expeditions, polar stations, detachments and units and as such were supplied free of charge (except underwear, pyjamas, shirtfronts, fustian socks and handkerchiefs) for the duration of their work within the Arctic Circle.
Regulations on Clothing of the Glavsevmorput’ Personnel emphasized that uniform must be issued as tailor-made items only for cash at cost price. Distribution of uniform in the form of cloth, fabric, etc. was strictly prohibited. Proprietorship for uniform was acquired by the Glavsevmorput’ personnel only after full payment of its cost. All items of uniform were manufactured on precise individual measurements by cooperative and state garment factories according to special contracts signed by the Supply Department of the Glavsevmorput’, Territorial Departments of the Glavsevmorput’ and port authorities.
1.1. “British marine-style” black peaked cap with semidirect visor of black enameled leather or of vulcanized fiber for non-commanding personnel. Chinstrap with two slides of the same material was fixed to the cap with two small-sized uniform. Cap band was covered with black cloth tape and had “distinctive headgear badge”, i.e. cockade at its centre. During summertime peaked cap was worn with white cover.
1.2. “Marine-style” quilted winter hat manufactured of black broadcloth.
1.3. Commanding and non-commanding female personnel wore Panama hats that were manufactured either of broadcloth (for winter uniform) or of white hopsack (for summer uniform).
2. Headgear Insignia
2.1. Junior commanding personnel, non-commanding and female personnel wore light blue metal pennant showing anchor and two abbreviations “SSSR” (“CCCP”) standing for the “Soyuz Sovetskikh Sozialisticheskikh Respublik” or “Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics” and “SMP” (“CMП”) standing for the “Severnyj Morskoj Put” or “Northern Sea Route” on each side. The pennant was worn in the middle of the cap band or Panama hat.
2.2. Commanding personnel wore embroidered emblem in the shape of the horizontal oval open-ended wreath made of gilt laurel leaves and measuring 6x4,5 cm. Gold-embroidered sickle and hammer were situated at the top of the wreath. Middle of the wreath had light blue metal or cloth pennant with anchor and two abbreviations “SSSR” and “SMP” on each side.
3. Pea Jacket
Double-breasted pea jacket manufactured of black-lined black broadcloth or thick woolen cloth, with 12 cm wide cuffs and five large-sized buttons. It could be worn with the upper one unbuttoned. At the sides, pea jacket had two inside pockets with protective flaps.
British pattern double-breasted ample cut overcoat 20 cm below knee length was manufactured of dark blue broadcloth or thick woolen cloth. It had 12 cm wide cuffs, five large-sized uniform buttons and broad turn-down collar that was allowed to be changed to a black fur one for the winter time. Lower part of the collar had special flap with buttons for additional protection of a throat when collar was raised. Overcoat had loose-fitting back that was strapped with a half belt sewn in side seams. 7 cm wide straight half belt was fastened with four large-sized uniform buttons that were sewn on in the middle in two vertical lines. At the sides, pea jacket had two inside pockets with protective flaps.
5. Double-breasted jacket
Double-breasted jacket “of common international marine style” was manufactured of black broadcloth or any other thick woolen cloth. It had turn-down collar and three large-sized uniform buttons. Sleeves had two middle-sized uniform buttons each: upper one was sewn on at a distance of 7,5 cm, while lower one at a distance of 3,3 cm from the lower edge of the sleeve. Jacket had one pocket on the left part of the breast and two side pockets with protective flaps. Regulations emphasized that double-breasted jacket must be worn “with white shirt that had piqué front, piqué collar and black cravat made of silk repp, but not tied in a bow”.
Waistcoat of the civilian pattern was manufactured of black broadcloth or other woolen cloth, and with small-sized buttons. Interestingly, Description cited never specified size of the “small” buttons, unlike “large” and “medium” ones.
7. Cloth Tunic
“Marine-style” single-breasted tunic of dark blue cloth with 12 cm wide cuffs, five large-sized buttons and stand-up collar fastening by two hooks. Two sewn-on breast pockets with rounded lower edges and flaps in the shape of curly brackets. Side and inside tunic pockets had protective flaps.
8. White Tunic
Single-breasted “marine-style” tunic of white hopsack, with 12 cm wide cuffs, five large-sized buttons and stand-up collar fastening by two hooks. Two sewn-on breast pockets with rounded lower edges, but with no flaps.
9. Flannel Blouse (Flannel)
Flannel blouse, or “Flanelka” manufactured of dark blue broadcloth or other woolen cloth, with 9 cm wide cuffs and with overhanging wide straight collar. Collar slit was fastened with two middle-sized dark blue buttons. According to regulations, fastened cuffs had to wrap hands tightly. Flannel blouse was worn with the pennant sewn on the left sleeve.
10. Uniform Blouse (Duck Blouse)
Uniform blouse, or “Formenka” of the same cut as the flannel blouse but manufactured of white coarse calico. Collar and cuffs were dark blue. Two white anchors with letters “S.M.P.” (“C.M.П.”) standing for the “Severnyj Morskoj Put” or “Northern Sea Route” around anchors were situated at corners of collar. White medium-sized bone buttons.
Note: flannel blouse and uniform blouse were either worn together, or just the latter was worn. When worn together, collar of the uniform blouse should be placed over that of the flannel blouse. Flannel blouse and uniform blouse were allowed to be worn with striped vest only (see below) and were ordered to tuck into trousers.
11. Striped Vest
Striped vest, or “Telnik” of knitted fabric with black and white stripes 1 cm wide each, with long sleeves, without slits and buttons.
12. Trousers and belt
Winter trousers were made of black cloth, while summer trousers of civilian pattern with wide legs and dropout front flap but without bell-bottoms, were manufactured of white hopsack. 2,2 cm wide black enameled leather belt was worn with ordinary metal buckle. On the back from the waist the belt was passed through special clips and at the front it was covered with a flap.
Instead of trousers, female personnel wore short plain or pleated skirt. The latter was manufactured either of dark blue fabric (for winter uniform) or of white hopsack (for summer uniform).
Black leather shoes were worn with winter uniform, while white canvas shoes – with summer uniform. Note: junior commanding personnel as well as rank-and-file of flying expeditionary units were allowed to wear jackboots instead of shoes during rainy weather.
Gilt buttons with plain rim and anchor on a mat background. Large buttons measured 2 cm in diameter, medium ones measured 1,2 cm.
Commanding personnel of the Glavsevmorput’ wore sleeve insignia in the shape of horizontal rectangular gold lace stripes that were sewn from one seam to another on both sleeves of cloth tunics and double-breasted jackets above cuffs, 11 cm from the lower part of the sleeve. Top stripe formed into diamond.
On overcoats, waterproof coats, pea jackets and flannel blouses lace stripes measuring 8 cm in length were sewn on the backing cloth material of corresponding colour, 11 cm from the lower part of the sleeve. When sewn on waterproof coats and white tunics, backing cloth material had a shape of the vertically placed shoulder strap with rounded upper edge.
Gold lace stripes were manufactured in three sizes: 2,8 cm (wide stripe), 1,3 cm (medium stripe) and 0,5 cm (thin stripe) in width.
Rank-and-file, sea-going and flight personnel of the whole structure of the Glavsevmorput’ wore no sleeve insignia. Instead, they sewed regulation cloth blue pennants on sleeves of their overcoats, pea jackets and flannel blouses.
Gold embroidered coat of arms of the USSR, one wide and three medium gold lace sleeve stripes: head of the Glavsevmorput’ under the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR.
One wide and three medium gold lace sleeve stripes: deputy head of the Glavsevmorput’; Glavsevmorput’ Board members; director of the All-Union Arctic Institute.
One wide and two medium gold lace sleeve stripes: heads and deputy heads of Departments of the Glavsevmorput’; heads of all Territorial Departments (Leningrad, Arkhangelsk, Vladivostok); executive directors of industrial trusts; deputy directors of the All-Union Arctic Institute.
One wide and one medium gold lace sleeve stripes: heads of the Siberian Department for Navigation Security, the port of Igarka and their deputies; head of the Glavsevmorput’ Hospital Inspection; Glavsevmorput’ Board Senior Secretary; captains of “Sedov”, “Sibiryakov” and “Chelyuskin”-class icebreakers; heads of large-scale polar stations, e.g. Novaya Zemlya, Franz Joseph Land and other similar stations; deputy heads of all Territorial Departments (Leningrad, Arkhangelsk, Vladivostok); deputy executive directors of industrial trusts; heads and deputy heads of sectors of Departments of the Glavsevmorput’; Glavsevmorput’ Senior Inspector.
One wide gold lace sleeve stripe: heads of sectors of all Territorial Departments and trusts of the Glavsevmorput’, of the Siberian Department for Navigation Security, of the port of Igarka and other ports; Krasnoyarsk-Igarka airline heads; deputy heads of polar stations Novaya Zemlya, Severnaya Zemlya and other similar stations; heads of sectors of the All-Union Arctic Institute.
Four medium gold lace sleeve stripes: deputy sector heads of all Territorial Departments and trusts of the Glavsevmorput’, of the Siberian Department for Navigation Security, of the port of Igarka and of the All-Union Arctic Institute; section heads of the Glavsevmorput’; captain of a ship with over 20 tons displacement; chief mates of “Sedov” and “Sibiryakov”-class icebreakers; commanders of independent polar flights of the Glavsevmorput’ Departments; commanders of independent marine units of the Glavsevmorput’ Air Service Department; navigators of the Glavsevmorput’ and of its Territorial Departments; captain of the port of Igarka.
Three medium gold lace sleeve stripes: ship engineers of the Glavsevmorput’ and its Territorial Departments; heads of sounding hydrographic parties and chiefs of hydrographic survey managers; first mates of ships with over 20 tons displacement and second mates of “Sedov” and “Sibiryakov”-class icebreakers; senior ship engineers; senior ship surgeons; maritime pilots and lotsmeisters; watercraft wardens of ports and Territorial Departments; shipping agents; senior inspectors of Territorial Departments (Leningrad-Arkhangelsk); heads of dockyards; hydrographers; heads of all insular weather stations and radio stations; commanders of Air Service squadrons and independent flights; commanders of first class aircraft.
Two medium and one thin gold lace sleeve stripes: second mates of ships with over 20 tons displacement; second engineers of ships with over 20 tons displacement; third mates of icebreakers; captain of the port of Tiksi and those of respective positions; commanders of second class aircraft; first class junior engineers.
Two medium gold lace sleeve stripes: commanders of flights; ship surgeons; senior superintendents of the port if Igarka and other ports; chiefs of radio stations of ports; radio mechanics of ships and ports; heads of storehouses of Territorial Departments and ports, ship quartermasters; third mates of ships and lighters; third engineers of ships; first class pilots; first class airplane observers; second class junior engineers.
One medium and one thin gold lace sleeve stripes: masters of landing stages; fourth mates of ships; lighter commanders; senior aerial mapping operators; senior aircraft mechanics; fourth engineers of ships; second class pilots; second class airplane observers; first class flight mechanics.
One medium gold lace sleeve stripe: junior aircraft mechanics; junior pilots; junior aerial mapping operators; commanders of cutters of 100 horsepower and above; lighthouse chiefs; third class pilots; third class airplane observers; second class flight mechanics.
Four thin gold lace sleeve stripes: senior boatswains; commanders of cutters of 99 horsepower and below; third class flight mechanics; depot ships engineers.
Three thin gold lace sleeve stripes: Paramilitary Security platoon commanders; chief petty officers (machinists, motor mechanics, steersmen, etc.); second class depot ships engineers.
Two thin gold lace sleeve stripes: boatswains; assistant cutter commanders; Paramilitary Security assistant platoon commanders.
One thin gold lace sleeve stripe: petty officers (machinists, motor mechanics, etc.); ship petty officers (signallers, steersmen, electricians and other technicians).
Extracts from the Rules for Wearing Uniform in the structure of the Glavsevmorput’
2. Rank-and-file, sea-going and flight personnel of the whole structure of the Glavsevmorput’ are not issued with sleeve insignia.
3. Wearing of uniform and sleeve insignia of inappropriate staff position is prohibited.
4. Uniform with sleeve insignia is to be worn solely by higher, senior, middle and junior commanding staff in strict accordance with the “Table of Sleeve Insignia for Officials of the Glavsevmorput’ and its Structure”.
5. Junior commanding staff wore uniform similar to that for the rank-and-file personnel but with sleeve insignia.
6. When holding several positions sleeve insignia of the highest is to be worn.
7. Commanding personnel transferred to the reserve of the Chief or Territorial Department of the Sevmorput’ are allowed to wear uniform with insignia corresponding to the latest position held.
8. When wearing uniform, colourful shirts, neckties and other garments not mentioned in the “Description of uniform for officials of the Glavsevmorput’ and its Structure”, are not allowed to be worn.
9. When wearing uniform, umbrellas, walking sticks, riding crops and other such objects are not allowed to be carried.
10. Glasses and pince-nez could be worn on the basis of the corresponding medical report.
11. Service uniform must be worn during watch keeping and while on duty on sea-going vessels, in coastal, polar and flying units and flights, as well as in institutions.
13. Watchmen, orderlies and men on duty on vessels, in units and in institutions are to wear corresponding sleeve badges on the upper left sleeve. These badges should bear regulation pennant and inscription indicating watchmen, orderlies and men on duty of a vessel, unit, etc.
14. Summer uniform is to be worn from May 01 to September 15 in Leningrad and Far East region, and from May 15 to September 01 in Arkhangelsk and Siberian rivers region.
Regulations described in the current article were applicable prior to the entry into force of the Order of the People’s Commissariat for Water Transport No.238 of 1936 that made amendments into the statutory regulations of the Glavsevmorput’.