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Shoulder Boards, Insignia and Branch Markings of the 95th Guards Poltava Division

                                                 

This quite unusual but undoubtedly interesting article is nothing but a post-WWII information report of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America partially declassified (with most sensitive parts still classified and still not available for public access even today for security reasons), approved for release on September 18, 2009 and published in online non-profit library “Internet Archive”. Judging from the character of that document prepared more that sixty years ago, it was based on the data provided somewhere in 1954 by a CIA informer who at that time served in Austria with the 95th Guards Poltava Order of Lenin, Order of the Red Banner, Order of Suvorov, Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky Division. That division was disbanded the following year, on September 09, 1955.

“CentralIntelligenceAgency

Information Report

Confidential

Country: Austria

Subject: 95th Gds. Rifle Div., Soviet Army: Shoulder Boards, Insignia, and Branch Markings

Date of information: /censored/

Place acquired: /censored/

Date distr.: 29 Oct 1954

No. of pages: 4

 

General

1. /censored/ until 1952, regulations concerning the wearing of shoulder boards were strictly enforced in the Soviet Zone of Austria. After that date, gradual laxity in the correct wearing of shoulder boards became apparent. /censored/ none of the junior officers in his unit knew the exact prescribed manner for the wearing of shoulder boards. Officers mixed gold and silver stars regardless of the background colors. Some officers wore the metallic emblem devices (znachki), others did not. There were no directives or other attempts to discourage this.

2. Listed below are the shoulder boards worn in the regimental and divisional units of the 95th Gds. Rifle Div. /censored/

Battalion Level

3.

a. Rifle Co.: Officers and EM wore infantry shoulder boards. No one wore metallic devices.

b. Mortar Co.: Officers and EM wore infantry shoulder boards. Some of the officers but none of the EM wore the artillery metallic device.

c. MG Co.: Officers and EM wore infantry shoulder boards. No metallic devices were worn.

d. AA-AT Co. (/censored/ the Bn. Arty. Btry.): The CO and the 57-mm. Plat. Commander wore artillery shoulder boards. All other officers and all EM wore infantry shoulder boards. All the officers and some of the EM wore the artillery metallic devices.

e. Sig. Plat.: Officers wore signal shoulder hoards and the signal metallic device. EM all wore infantry shoulder boards. Some of the EM wore the signal metallic device.

f. Housekeeping Plat.: There were no officers assigned. All the EM wore infantry shoulder boards. Some of the NCO’s wore white rank stripes. None of the EM wore metallic devices.

g. Bn. Hqs.: The battalion medical officer wore medical shoulder boards; the technical officer wore motor transport shoulder boards without metallic device. The remainder of the officers and EM wore infantry shoulder boards without any metallic devices.

Regimental Level

4.

a. Recon. Co.: Officers and EM wore infantry shoulder boards. No one wore any metallic devices.

b. Sig. Co.: All the officers with the exception of one wore signal shoulder boards with the signal metallic device; the one exception wore infantry shoulder boards without any device. All the EM wore infantry shoulder boards and some also wore the signal metallic device.

c. Engr. Co.: All officers wore engineer shoulder boards; EM wore infantry shoulder boards. Only one officer and a few of the EM wore the crossed-axes metallic device.

d. Trans. Co.: All officers wore the motor transport shoulder boards with the motor transport metallic device. EM wore infantry shoulder boards. Some EM wore the motor transport metallic device. Technician NCO’s wore white rank stripes on the shoulder boards.

e. AAA Plat.: Some officers wore infantry shoulder boards; others wore artillery shoulder boards. EM wore infantry shoulder boards. No metallic devices were worn by either the officers or EM.

f. Housekeeping Plat.: There were no officers in this section. All the EM wore infantry shoulder boards without metallic devices. Most of the NCO’s wore white rank stripes on their shoulder boards.

g. Medical Co.: Officers wore the narrow medical service silver shoulder boards with medical metallic device. EM wore infantry shoulder boards without metallic devices.

h. Hq. Plat.: There were no officers assigned to this platoon. All EM wore infantry shoulder boards without metallic device. Most of the NCO’s wore white rank stripes on their shoulder boards.

i. Chemical Squad: Officers and EM all wore infantry shoulder boards without metallic devices.

j. Regtl. Arty.: Officers of the 57-mm. AT Btry. and the 120-mm. Mort. Btry. wore artillery shoulder boards with the artillery metallic device. All EM wore infantry shoulder boards. Some of the EM wore the artillery metallic device. Officers of the Su-76 Btry. wore the new-type tanker’s uniform and the tank and mechanized shoulder boards with the tank metallic device. (The EM of the Su-76 Btry. were the only EM in the entire regiment who did not wear infantry shoulder boards. Instead, they wore the tank and mechanized shoulder boards with tank devices.) However, EM of the Su-76 Btry. did not have the new-type tanker uniform.

k. Rear Svcs. Elements: The officers, with the exception of those in the Ord. Ammo. Svcs., and all the EM and EW wore the infantry shoulder boards without metallic devices. Some of the NCO’s wore white rank stripes on their shoulder boards. The officers in the Ord. Ammo. Svcs. wore the wide shoulder boards with the artillery metallic device.

l. Tech. Svcs. Elements: The Deputy CO for Technical Matters, the Chief of POL, and the Chief of Repair Shop (vehicle) wore motor transport shoulder boards, with the motor transport metallic device. EM wore infantry shoulder boards. Some EM wore the motor transport metallic device.

m. The Regtl. Band: /censored/ the CO wore shoulder boards of the infantry. All the EM wore infantry shoulder boards. Some of the NCO’s wore the bandsmen’s metallic device.

n. Regtl. NCO School: All officers and EM wore infantry shoulder boards without metallic devices.

o. Regtl. Hq.: The Chief of Artillery wore artillery shoulder boards with artillery metallic device. The Senior Medical Officer wore the narrow silver medical shoulder boards with the medical device. The Deputy CO for Technical Matters wore the motor transport shoulder boards with silver background and motor transport metallic device. The Chief of Communications wore the signal shoulder boards with gold background and the signal metallic device. The regimental interpreter (German) wore the narrow silver administrative services shoulder board without metallic insignia. The remainder of the officers in the regimental headquarters wore infantry shoulder boards without metallic devices.

5. With the exception of the EM of the SU-76 Btry., all enlisted personnel of the entire regiment wore infantry shoulder boards; wearing of metallic insignia by enlisted personnel of the various regimental subunits varied throughout the regiment.

6. There was a much more marked variation in the wearing of shoulder boards by the officers /censored/. For the most part officers wore the shoulder boards of their particular branch of service (officers in signal subunits wore signal shoulder boards, officers in the engineer subunits wore engineer shoulder boards). This, however, was not a hard and fast rule.

7. All regimental officer personnel with the exception of the officers in the SU-76 Btry. were required by a regimental order to wear the infantry color hatband on their garrison caps (furazhky). Some of the officers who were not infantry men did not like this. (The officers in the Sig. Co., for example, merely sewed the infantry hatband over the signal hatband and then removed the former when leaving the caserne.)

8. In addition, regimental officers of the various branches of service for the most part wore the stripe of their particular branch of service on their breeches. There was a tremendous amount of discrepancy in this, however, and officers could be seen wearing an infantry colored hatband, infantry shoulder boards with an artillery metallic device on the shoulder board, and perhaps an artillery stripe on their breeches.

Divisional Level

9.

/censored/ the following shoulder boards at divisional level:

a. Arty. Gun Regt. and Howitzer Gun Regt.: Both officers and EM wore the artillery shoulder boards. All the officers and some of the EM he had seen wore the artillery metallic device.

b. Tank-SU-76 Regt.: Officers and EM wore the tank and mechanized shoulder boards. All officers and some EM /censored/ wore the tank metallic device. During field training, /censored/ tankers always were in black or dark blue coveralls. For dress uniform, tank officers and SU-76 officers wore the new-type tank dress uniform. None of the EM had this uniform.

c. Sig. Bn.: Officers and EM /censored/ wore the signal shoulder boards. All the officers and a few of the EM /censored/ also had the signal metallic device.

d. Engr. Bn.: Officers and EM /censored/ wore the engineer shoulder boards. /censored/ officers and a few EM with an unknown type of metallic device.

e. Medical Bn.: All the officers /censored/ wore the narrow silver medical shoulder boards with the medical metallic device. There was a mixture of infantry and medical shoulder boards among the EM and EW.

f. AT Bn.: Officers and EM /censored/ wore artillery shoulder boards. All officers and some of the EM also had the artillery metallic device.

10. Source could not give further information on other divisional subunits.

11. /censored/

12. /censored/ the line of demarcation in the wearing of shoulder boards of their own branch of service by enlisted personnel, other than infantry, was above regimental level. Thus, EM in a signal company in a rifle regiment would wear the same type of shoulder boards as the infantry personnel of the regiment while an EM in a signal battalion above regimental level would wear signal shoulder boards. /censored/ unable to distinguish any similar line of demarcation at any unit level concerning the wearing of metallic branch insignia.

Approved for Release 2009/09/18”