In our country, shoulder straps first appeared at the very end of the 17th century, in the era when the young Tsar Peter the Great came to the Russian throne. It is interesting that shoulder straps had a purely practical purpose: with their help, a rifle belt and a pouch were fixed on the shoulder. Accordingly, only the lower ranks wore shoulder straps, since the officers were not supposed to have guns. Only from the beginning of the 19th century, shoulder straps began to be used as insignia.
10 interesting facts about epaulettes:
- The ancestors of shoulder straps were metal shoulder pads that protected a warrior from sword blows.
- Shoulder straps for the sailors of the Russian fleet appeared much later than in the ground forces - in 1802. Sailors also did not carry guns on their shoulders, therefore, shoulder straps were replaced with chevrons on the sleeve.
- In 1907, two types of shoulder straps appeared in the Russian imperial army - field and everyday. Moreover, at the lower ranks they were two-sided. It is enough to turn the shoulder strap to turn it from everyday to field and vice versa.
- During the First World War, the shoulder straps of the Russian army were significantly changed - the colored coating was removed from them, which was clearly visible and became an excellent target for snipers. Protective shoulder straps of "khaki" color, or, as Russian soldiers called them, "peas", were introduced.
- After the Great October Revolution, shoulder straps in the army were canceled. All ranks, titles and orders were also abolished. As the poet-emigrant Arseny Nesmelov wrote in one of his poems: "Red freedom tore all shoulder straps from the officer's shoulders." Until 1924, shoulder straps were replaced with sleeve insignia, and then with buttonholes, which were sewn on overcoats and tunics. The Bolsheviks called shoulder straps a symbol of inequality.
- But in the White Army, shoulder straps were preserved during the Civil War. But, the military formations of the White Guards were scattered, therefore, their form was significantly different. Most often, they used the uniform and shoulder straps of the old tsarist army. And sometimes even, due to a lack of uniforms, it was necessary to wear the clothes of the Entente countries. Basically - England and the United States.
- On January 7, 1943, a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR was published in the newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda, according to which shoulder straps for personnel were reintroduced in the Red Army. The newspaper emphasized that "the heirs of Russian military glory" adopted shoulder straps from their ancestors, as a sign of the continuity of the military traditions of our state. After a long break, the word "officer" was used again. It is also worth noting that the shoulder straps of the Soviet officers were 5 millimeters wider than that of his colleague who served in the army of Tsarist Russia.
- During the reign of Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev, shoulder straps were canceled from railway workers, diplomats and other employees of civilian departments. Moreover, in November 1962, a decision was made to unify the military uniform of the Soviet Army. According to this project, it was supposed to replace the shoulder straps of servicemen with buttonholes again. But, this reform lasted for several years, and after the resignation of Khrushchev, they forgot about it. By the way, Nikita Sergeevich himself had the rank of "Lieutenant General", which was awarded to him on February 2, 1943. During this time he was a member of the Military Council of the Southern Front.
- In 1986, sewn-in shoulder straps without gaps appeared for the first time (field uniform - "Afghan"), where military ranks differed from each other only in the size of the stars.
- Graduates of military universities have a tradition, after the official part of the prom, they hide several bills under each shoulder strap. The money is received by a junior cadet who will be the first to give a military salute to a newly-made lieutenant and congratulate him on being awarded the rank.